Chapter 9 : Letters
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Draco had fallen asleep just after I had finished the story and a few hours later I found myself perfectly awake and admiring his peaceful face as he slept. He looked so pure and innocent.I could watch him forever or so I felt. Just when I was about to fall asleep he let our a terrified moan, and my eyes snapped open right away to find him still sleeping. Another moan escaped his parted lips and his head trashed to the side. He was having a nightmare.
I did not know what to do.
“Draco?” I tried but his head just trashed to the other side, followed by another moan. I gently shook him. “Draco?”
“Hermione...” He mumbled it so quietly that I at first thought that I had imagined it. His eyes opened and he looked at me. I did not know what to expect from him but when he smiled I was shocked. “It was just a dream.”
I nodded, and laid down again, and felt his heart beat underneath my hand as I rested it on his chest. His heart was racing. Even after I had seen his naked chest a lot lately, I never really got over the perfection. I sighed.
“I dreamed about you.” He whispered and that made me look up at him.
“Thought you had a nightmare.”
I would have moved away if I had been able to, but I acted as if someone had Petrified me. What the hell was he saying?
“That came out wrong.” He said after a long pause. “Look, what I meant was that you were in the nightmare. We were at my place... You know, that night. I was unable to help you. Again.”
His hand started to caress my sleeve as he spoke. “You could never be a nightmare.”
When he spoke in that low, sweet voice and touched me like that I relaxed again. It was impossible not to be effected by him, he knew exactly what to do, what buttons to press...
“Oh.” was all I managed to say. He kissed the top of my head and told me to sleep. I wondered if he knew that I had been up all night watching him...
I woke up by feather light kisses that trailed down my neck making my eyes flutter open to be met by Draco's grinning face. “Good morning.”
And it was a good morning. Things went smoothly, we had breakfast in the come-and-go room, and stayed there for a long time. Until Draco insisted that we had to be shown outside of the room, so that we would not cause suspicion. If I and Draco just vanished from the school then there would be consequences to deal with and we were not in the mood for that.
What I worried most about was what would happen if we ran in to Ron. I believed that that could end badly.
We sat in the Great Hall, opposite of each other with a letter each in our hands. Mine was from my mother.
'Dear Hermione... yadda yadda.'
I decided that I would answer it later that day, maybe put some effort in to it. Not just another meaningless letter. I let my gaze search the hall, and it landed on Matthew. He was glaring at us. I could feel a strong hate build inside of me when I looked at him. But for then, I ignored it and looked over at Draco. He looked upset, his eyebrows were furrowed and he seemed to be glaring at the letter.
“Ridiculous.” He muttered. Up on seeing my curious face he started to read, mimicking his fathers drawl. “Draco. I hope school is fine. I wanted to let you know that while your mother and I visited France last week, we ran in to none other than Miss Parkinson and her family. I wish that you would reconsider your decision to leave her. Write her, Draco, ask her if she wish to come back to Hogwarts, and to you. If so, your mother and I would be very pleased.
Lucius.' It is absolutely ridiculous! How can he even think that I would do that?”
“Well, he is only suggesting it...” I said in a small voice. To think that Lucius wanted his son to be with Pansy was like being kicked while lying down. I would never be good enough in Lucius eyes, would I?
“You don't know my father like I do, Hermione. His words are pretty much law even if he is trying to make it sound less like an order. I wonder...”
He smirked and his eyes twinkled. “I wonder what he would say if I simply told him 'no'?”
“Well, can you simply tell him 'no', Draco? I mean... Have you stood up against your father many times before?” Something inside of me told me that he had never.
“Once...” He shuddered at the memory. “Thought he would kill me, seriously, you should have seen the fury in his eyes.”
“What did he do?” I whispered, hoping that he had done him no hurt.
“You see this scar?” he pointed at a barely visible scar on his right cheek. “Maybe its hard to see, it was healed many times...It's the only scar still visible.”
“No, I see it.” It was almost invisible, but if I focused then I could see the soft scar that reached for a good 4 centimetres.
“He hit me with that cane of his. Repeatedly in the face, when it got too deep he healed it and started over. He kept doing it until his arm hurt. It was my mother who healed me after he was done.”
I felt sick, disgusted. How could a father do something like that to his own son? “Another reason for me to not believe that he was changed. Its horrible, Draco.” I reached out and let my fingers trace the scar on his face. “Why can't you heal it fully?”
“I haven't thought about it, to be honest. It has just always been there.”
“If you want to, then I can heal it for you.” It seemed like the least I could to, since he had healed me in a way. He smiled at me and nodded, before he once again looked at the letter.
“Do you have a quill on you, Hermione?” He asked after a few seconds. I quickly took one out of my robe and he rolled his eyes. “Of course you have a quill on you...Well... Would it be too much to ask for some parchment as well?”
I laughed a bit while I searched my bag for a piece of parchment to give him. “Here.” I said as I handed it to him.
He started to write at once, and it did not take him long. He cleared his throat and read it out loud.
I do not want anything to do with Pansy, surely you and mother will respect my wishes. I will not write to her. Tell mother I miss her.
Draco. So, how does it sound?”
“Are you sure about this? I mean... Last time you spoke against him did not turn out so good, did it? What makes you think he wont do it again?”
“I'm older now, I can take care of myself.” He said simply, and attached the letter to his owl. I looked at both him and the dark owl, Draco seemed to care about the animal. I found it sweet that he would pat the owl gently, and speak to it. I couldn't hear what he was saying, but he did speak to it and the bird seemed to like Draco back.
“But would you want to fight with your father?”
“Look, Hermione.” He said and looked me sternly in the eye. “Of course I do not want to fight with him, but I refuse to be pushed around anymore. I don't want anyone to control my life I want to be able to do whatever I feel like, and be with whoever I want to be. If I don't ever stand up against him, then he will continue to make decisions for me until he dies. I've had it. I'm done with his rules.” He took a deep breath and fell in to silence while still looking at me, his eyes held a sort of sadness but also determination.
“Okay.” I said and took a breath myself. “Okay, if you really want to, then I will just shut up.”
“Thank you.” He smiled and the owl flew away with the letter. “How much to you want to bet that he will send me a howler?”
“What if he comes here?” I ignored his attempt to be funny, and his face grew a bit serious.
“Hm, didn't think about that possibility. He could come here, of course. It does not seem likely though, I don't think he is very liked here.”
“Since when does he care if he is liked?” I muttered. Draco laughed and nodded.
“Good point. Lets just drop the topic for now, okay?” He didn't wait for my response. “We have all the same classes tomorrow, can turn out to be interesting.”
“Yeah... We have Charms first lesson, right?”
“Indeed, and don't forget that you have a flying lesson with me at 13:00 tomorrow. I was thinking, that you might want to try out to fly yourself?” He raised an eyebrow as if asking me what I thought of that. I felt my eyes widen in dread.
“I don't know, Draco... I'll just end up falling off the broom.”
He mumbled something that involved the words 'stupid Gryffindor, witch and wand'.
“But what if...” I begun but was interrupted by Draco who held his hand up and shook his head.
“What if doesn't exist.”
“I'll give it a try.” I sighed in defeat and his face lit up.
“Lovely.” he leaned backwards with a satisfied smile on his lips. Such a simple word should not affect me as much as it did. Maybe it was just because it was coming from his lips.
I was taken aback when he let out something that sounded like something in between a snort and a growl. He seemed to want to dash out of his seat and his hand automatically took a hold of his wand, even though he did not draw it. But he stayed put. I followed his... glare... and saw what he saw. Of course. Ron had just entered the Hall, followed by Lavender, Harry and Ginny. It was obvious that Lavender had taken my place in the group, but I did not feel jealous just let down.
“That damned red haired carrot has the nerve to show his face in here today. I should curse that bloodtraitor in to oblivion!” He kept muttering foul words under his breath, he was saying words that shocked me sometimes. I felt the need to stop him, seeing that when he did that he got even more angry.
“You need to calm down, Draco, you'll have a heart attack...”
“Calm down?” He snorted while still looking at Ron. “You think I should calm down? Not going to happen. Just because I promised that I wouldn't do anything, that does not mean that I will pretend that it did not happen. If he ever touch you again...” He left the threat hanging.
“I'm not asking you to forget about it! Just don't make a scene in here... Please?”
I could see it in front of me, Draco and Ron shouting in each others faces.
“I wont make a scene. In here.” He smirked. I grimaced. I couldn't stop him and that was something that I knew. He was far too angry with Ron to not confront him. I decided to let him confront him, trusting him enough to know that he was not going to break his promise.
We sat in silence as he continued to watch Ron's every move with fuming eyes. I watched as Dracos jaw clenched and unclenched repeatedly. Then he suddenly stood up, and walked quickly away. I looked around, confused beyond belief. Then I understood; Ron was on his way out as well, with the rest of the little gang. With a loud moan I hurried after them, and felt a cold feeling of dread in my chest. It could end badly.
“You should have stayed.” Draco hissed in my ear as he took my hand in his in a way that made me feel like he was protecting me. His strong hand held me tight, and he pulled me closer to him.
“Remember your promise... That is all I am asking of you.”
“Yeah, I know. I won't hurt him.” He muttered. Ron pulled Lavender in to a kiss right in front us making Draco fake a gag. “Disgusting.”
All four of the people turned around, and all of their eyes fell my hand in his. Harry was the first to look up at me. His jaw was clenched, but he did not seem surprised.
“Keep your thoughts to yourself, Malfoy.” Ron muttered, and made an attempt to turn but caught himself. He did not want to leave without his friends.”Shall we leave?”
No one answered him.
Draco released my hand and stepped towards Ron, who held his ground. “If it were not for Hermione, then you would so not be standing here right now, Weasley.” He spoke in a low, intimidating voice that brought shivers to my spine.
“What is he talking about?” Whispered Lavender to Ginny. Ginny, who obviously still thought her brother was oh-so-innocent, shook her head as if she didn't know.
“But I promise you this.” Draco ignored the girls, and continued to speak to Ron. “If you ever lay your disgusting hands up on her again I will personally make sure that you regret ever being born.”
“Malfoy, you are not making any sense. Ron has not done anything.” Lavender spoke up for her boyfriend, and that made Draco roll his eyes.
“Oh, but he has. Have you not, Weasley?”
Ron's blue eyes found Lavenders and he looked straight at her when he spoke. “I have no idea what he is talking about.”
I stayed silent, even though I wanted to hit every inch of him. He was not the person I had once known.
“Do not lie!” Draco roared making Ron flinch.
“I'm not. I don't know what Hermione have told you, but I did not in any way hurt her.”
“Do not speak like that, Ron.” Harry finally spoke. “Do not put the blame on her... You should apologize instead. I saw what you did, Ron. You did hit her.
Ginny looked like she had been slapped across the face when Harry said it. “I can't believe it.”
She said silently, and looked away from Ron. Lavender on the other hand took Ron's hand.
“If he did... Then I am sure that he had good reasons.” She looked right at me, with a self satisfied look on her face. The way she held him screamed – look what I have taken from you.
I could not care less. Draco seemed calm when he spoke.
“You do not hit a girl, no matter what she has done. What will you do when he gets upset with you, Brown? When he hits you?”
“He would never hit me. Maybe its just that he loves me more than he loves her.”
“Right.” Draco said doubting. “I am sure that that excuses everything!” He threw his hands up in the air and fakes a cheerful smile and then his face fell and he looked at them both with accusing eyes.
“She is just jealous! Just because she was too boring for him to love, this is just her revenge!”
“Oh yeah, that must be it!” I took a step closer to them and my voice was full of sarcasm. “No, Lavender, I am not jealous. Nor will I ever be jealous of you. I am perfectly happy as it is.”
Draco smirked at their facial expressions.
“I am, however, extremely sad over how this all ended, there were a time where I could call all of you friends. I don't think I can do that anymore.”
Ginny bit her lip, as if she wanted to say something but she decided against it after a glance up at Harry's stone like features.
Draco took my hand again, and pulled me against him. “What I came here to say was: Stay away from her, Weasley.”
He turned us around and we walked away from them without looking back, hand in hand. Us against them. Them against us. How strange it felt. The Golden Trio was broken.
It was rather sad, considering everything that we had gone through, but at that moment... All I could feel was the anger and the hurt that they had caused me.
I had no idea where he was taking me and right then I didn't care, I was just going through memories in my head.
The battle at the department of mysteries, the Quidditch world cup, when Harry and I had gone back in time using the time turner, mine and Ron's kiss at the final battle, the ignore-everything that has happened-thing... And then Ron's slap across my face.
I closed my eyes briefly as we turned a corner. It was no use to think about those things, because it would not change anything. The damage was done, and to dwell over what could have been was simply no use. The silence between us started to become awkward, and if I had not been as upset as I was then it would have been almost amusing.
A door opened in front of me, and not until then did I realize where we had been heading. Why are we in the kitchen?But as usual, I let him go through with whatever plan he had in mind and did bother to ask.
Draco went up to Pix, who at first looked terrified, but then she smiled and nodded fast. In a matter of seconds Draco walked back to where I was sitting. He handed me a white plate with vanilla ice cream and a few strawberries.
“I have heard that ice cream helps when one is upset.” said Draco and brought his own spoon to his mouth. I could not help but to smile then. He had walked all the way here just to calm me down, okay maybe he had wanted to calm himself down as well but the gesture was still as sweet. “And I do recall that you like strawberries.”
“This is just what I need!” I smiled and tasted the soft vanilla flavoured ice cream.
“Oh, me too.” He mumbled and looked down. “Was it good?” he said while putting another spoonful in to his mouth. I nodded and not until then did I realize that he was not having the same flavour as I did.
“What are you having? Looks yummy.”
He chuckled. “It's pear with chocolate bits in it. Want to taste?” he asked and brought his spoon to my mouth. It tasted just as good as it looked. “It good, right?”
I nodded while smiling and then I felt the cold pained feeling that I usually got when I had eaten ice cream too fast. I rested my forehead in my hands while I waited for it to ease away.
“Are you okay, Hermione?” asked Draco worriedly and put his spoon down.
“Yeah, yeah. Ate too fast.”
Draco laughed out loud. “Should have recognized that, my mother can't eat ice cream fast either.”
Somehow I had a hard time picturing Narcissa Malfoy eating ice cream at all, but to picture her sitting like I did now seemed close to impossible. Draco's laughter turned in to just a soft chuckle.
“Water helps, you want some?”
“Nah, I'm fine.” I shook my head and looked up. A few elf's had stopped their work to look at me, confused over my behaviour. I gave them a shy smile and they quickly got back to work. What was left of my ice cream I ate slowly and after Draco had finished, he spent a while looking at my slow eating with a amused look up on his face.
“What?” I asked, after I had swallowed the very last of the delicious ice cream.
“Nothing.” He smiled and I snorted, there was obviously something. But I decided to let it be so I said nothing. “You ready to go?”
I stood up and so did he, he held out his hand like always and as always my heart started to beat really fast. We said our goodbyes to the elf's – especially Scrappy – and then we walked out of there.
“Draco... Can we walk up to the owlery? I have a letter that I should write and send...”
We did a complete turn and walked towards the owlery, much to my delight. “Thanks.”
Draco didn't answer, he just smiled.
Once up there I took out a quill and a piece of parchment and began to write my letter to my parents.
Mum and Dad...
I am doing really good in school now, things are finally looking better. Much thanks to a new friend, I can tell you more when I get home over the holidays.
I have been taking up flying and Draco says that I am improving, so I am really happy about that. But what about you, how are you? How's everyone back home?
Hope to hear from you soon.
Love – Hermione.
It wasn't much, but it was far more than my previous letters which had consisted of one sentence.
I attached it to my owl and patted it on its head. I noticed that Draco had gone to the window and saw that his owl had just arrived with a letter. It was not supposed to have arrived until the next day at lunch, probably... He took the letter but did not open it. He put it in his pocket and mumbled something about reading it later.
My owl flew away just as we were leaving. I knew that my parents would be glad that life was going good for me, it had been a while since it had.
We had walked out to the grounds and we were sitting by the lake, resting against a tree.
He had yet to read his letter, but he held it in his hands and had been staring at it for the last half hour.
It had begun to darken, fall was definitely here, I could feel it in the air.
He sighed heavily, but did not make a move to open the letter. It was rather annoying, why wouldn't he just open it?
“Just go a head and read it!” I blurted out after another five minutes of him staring at it.
His head snapped up and he looked at me with wide eyes. “What if I don't want to know what it says?”
“There is really only one way to find out.” I moved closer to him, and rested my head on his shoulder. “Who is it from?”
I understood why he did not want to open it, but it needed to be done. “Its easier to just get it over with.”
“You are right, as usual.” He mumbled.
“If you want, I can read it for you, and tell you if it is good or bad?”
He stared at me and broke out in a smile. “Nah, I'll do it myself. Thanks anyway.”
Draco opened the letter, and took a deep breath before he started to read.
I guessed that the letter was not long, because it looked to me as if he were reading the same lines over and over again. His jaw was clenched and his eyes hard. His fists were holding the small letter as hard as they could without tearing it apart.
“What...?” I began, but was cut off when he looked at me and spoke in a whisper.
“My father is coming to Hogwarts.” and with that he let the letter fall out of his hands, and I caught it and read it fast.
I have had enough of your stupidity. I am coming to visit you.
From what I knew, there was no way that it was going to be a friendly meeting between father and son. Draco had tried to tell me that Lucius had changed, but after hearing that he had repeatedly hit Draco when he was younger... It made me doubt it. I figured that Lucius was not pleased with his son, and thought that it would take quite a lot for him to come here. Obviously he wanted Draco to do as he said, I just hoped that Draco would tell his father 'no' again. If Draco wrote to Pansy... I didn't even want to think about it. I would be out of Draco's life faster than I had entered.
But maybe... Just maybe Lucius had changed. After all he had not participated in the final battle as much as he had tried to find his son. Maybe he wasn't as much of a racist. Just maybe.
“It'll be fine.” I found myself saying, much to Draco's surprise.
“You really think so?”
“Well, you have said that he was changed, a bit at least, and you wont be alone against him.”
Draco was quiet for a while, as if thinking about what I just said. “You want to meet him.” He stated.
“Yes I do.” I must be out of my mind. “But it is up to you, do you want me to come with you when you meet him?”
“I don't want it as much as I need it. I couldn't face him... alone. I couldn't do it without you. I need you to come with me.” He seemed almost ashamed over that fact, maybe it was because he was used to keep everyone away from him. He was not used to needing people. I took his hand.
“It's settled then.”
Draco leaned down and kissed the top of my head as if saying 'thank you'.
[Thanks for all the wonderful reviews. You are all amazing! Im writing chapter 12 right now, and I think that it is turning out quite good. So what do you think of this chapter? I really, really hope that you don't find it boring... Thanks again.(Also, check out my Meet the Authors page!) - Cathyyy]
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