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Chapter 12 : Chapter Eleven
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Draco felt a hand on his shoulder, as he was about to leave the room. “You’re just going to leave?” he heard Miranda ask. “Just like that?” Draco heard the pain in her voice, and suddenly felt bothered that her pain didn’t affect him as much as it should have.
He nodded. “We shouldn’t have done that.” Draco told her, as he swiftly closed the door behind him before he would’ve done something else he regretted. The sound of his bedroom door opening once more stopped him from walking further down the hall.
“You know that she’s not fit for you.” Miranda shouted in an enraged voice. “You know that she can’t live in our world- she just a mudblood! She can’t handle it. She can’t live in a high status society, and you know it.”
Draco turned to face her. “That’s exactly where she’ll prove you wrong.” Draco snapped.
She narrowed her eyes at him. “You’re really going to continue siding with her?” Miranda demanded. “Even when you know that she can’t- even when you know the truth, you’re going to continue defending that woman? Look at where the two of you are, Draco!” She exclaimed. “Both of you are constantly being followed by the press because your relationship can’t seem to withstand all of this!” Miranda cried, throwing her hands up in the air. “You two aren’t fit for each other!”
“I’m perfectly content with our relationship!” Draco said, close to shouting. “She can survive through anything Miranda.” He informed her. “Just you wait and see.” He began walking down the hall before her voice stopped him once more.
“Are you walking away from me?” Miranda asked him. “After everything, you’re just going to walk away from me? After what we just did?” she exclaimed furiously. “Am I just some one time fling for you, or something?”
Draco turned. “You left years ago.” He growled. “And then you return, and expect everything to fall back into place.” Draco said angrily, his fist balled up at his sides. “You expected me to completely abandon Hermione, and walk over to you whenever you called for me.” He said. “You came back when I was beginning to heal from what you’ve done to me three years ago and you just tore me back apart.”
“I thought that you’d be happy that I was back!” Miranda shouted. “When I left, you never wanted to make a commitment, and now when I arrive back in London, I see that you’re engaged? How do you think that makes me feel?”
“Just because I didn’t want to marry you when we just got out of Hogwarts doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t want it later on in life.” Draco told her, outraged. “But you can’t just waltz through the door and expect me to drop everything I’ve got just for you.”
Her facial expression softened. “You always did.”
“Not anymore. You know, your entire life, people has been spoiling you rotten.” Draco told her. “And I know that’s not your fault, but you can’t get everything you want in the world. Life doesn’t work like that, and everything is sure as hell not that easy. You can’t manipulate people into getting what you want.”
Miranda stared at him. “You knew I was going to come back.” She said. “You could’ve waited! You could’ve waited till I was ready to face you again, you could’ve waited for the chance to be with me again!”
“I didn’t know you wanted me to!” He shouted. “You didn’t exactly leave a note, or send an owl while you were away. I can’t read your mind Miranda. I don’t know what you want.”
She glared at him. “I’ve told you what I wanted many times Draco.” Miranda said enigmatically. “But that was clearly not what you had in mind.”
Draco threw his hands up in the air. “And we’re back to this again!” he said exasperatedly. “What about what I wanted?” Draco asked her. “What about my plans for the future? Does none of that matter? Is it always about what you want?”
“I’ve dealt with what you wanted during our entire relationship.” Miranda said. “Do you know how difficult it was to hide our relationship from people?” she asked him. “To lie to my own father about who I’m dating?”
Draco rolled his eyes. “That’s far less than marriage.” He said to her. “Just because you jump into a boat going towards a different direction, doesn’t mean that I have to jump in with you.”
“It does if you care about me!” she exclaimed.
Everything was coming back to Draco now. Memories of his old life that he has shut away had returned to his mind, and he couldn’t explain how much it hurts. Draco recalled those countless nights when Miranda returned back to the common room late at night, telling him that she had been in the library studying for her classes. He recalled the countless moments his friends had attempted to open his eyes, but he couldn’t bear to see what was right in front of him. He remembered the lies that she’s told him, about who she was with, when she clearly brought back the scent of another man.
Draco loved Miranda. He loved her with all his heart, and that was what he has been telling himself for the past few years. Draco thought that he would be able to deal with her unfaithfulness because he was once assured that she loved him, and him only. But is it really enough for Draco now? Would it just be enough to have the woman he loves love him in return, even when she was sneaking around with other men?
He didn’t know how Miranda did it. Despite the lies Hermione and him as a couple released to the public, Draco felt as guilty as he would have if they were truly getting married. Perhaps he might’ve felt worse if their relationship was real. He couldn’t live this sort of life- it just simply wasn’t for him. Draco couldn’t return home everyday to a wife, while he’s been with another woman just hours before- he just couldn’t do it, he knew he couldn’t.
He stared at her as his eyes darkened. “Doesn’t caring for someone include not cheating on him or her?” he demanded. “I’m not stupid Miranda.” He said. “I know what you and Wesley have done, and frankly- I’m not entirely sure why I’ve put up with it for so long.”
“What are you talking about Draco?” Miranda asked.
Draco laughed bitterly. “What am I talking about?” he repeated. “Don’t play dumb, it doesn’t suit you very well.”
She shifted on her spot. “How did you find out?” Miranda asked nervously, fiddling with fabric of her dress.
“That’s not important.” Draco told her, shaking his head. “But what is important, is that we have about a hundred guest downstairs, waiting for our presence.”
“You’re really going to marry her?” Miranda asked, her eyes filling with tears. “You’re seriously going through with this marriage?” she continued. “Why is it that you can marry her but not me?” She demanded, tears falling from her eyes. “What is so good about that stupid mudblood?”
Draco sighed, running his hands through his hair in a frustrated manner. “Did you really expect me to leave her for someone who’s given me nothing but grief and heartache?”
Miranda shook her head. “I expected you to leave her for someone you love and care for.” She told him. “I expected you to chose me. So lets have it Draco.” Miranda said, wiping the tears from her face. “Why her? Why choose a stupid little mudblood over me?” Draco thought for a moment. “Well, Draco?” Miranda asked impatiently. “It seems as though you can’t seem to find any reason why you made that stupid decision of yours.”
He leant against the wall of the hall and looked at her. “She walked straight into my life, stepped over everything precious and valuable, leaving everything in ruins.” Draco said.
“Well then why-” Miranda was cut off by Draco’s stern voice.
“I didn’t finish.” Draco said. “She ruined everything perfect and orderly, causing it to tumble down into chaos. And no matter how much I hated her for it, I couldn’t bare to have her away from me.”
She laughed, wiping fresh tears from her face once more. “I remember when I was the chaos in your life.” Miranda said. “I was the one standing next to you- not her. I was the one who was supposed to be wearing that stupid engagement ring!”
“Things change.” Draco said. “People change.”
“You know how h-”
Draco held up his hand. “Hermione is waiting for me downstairs.” He told her. “I don’t have time for this.” He turned around for the last time and headed down the stairs. This time, her voice, calling his name didn’t cause him to look back.
He wasn’t sure whether or not he would regret completely letting go of Miranda. Hell, he wasn’t sure whether or not he was truly and sincerely letting go of the woman he once loved. There were many things rushing through his head, but at that moment all he wanted to do was return back to his friends, and Hermione.
Draco had just thrown away his last chance at getting Miranda back. There was something at the pit of his stomach that made him want to run back up the stairs, and gather the crying girl in his arms- but there was another part of him that wanted to walk away from his past and start a completely new chapter in his life.
“Where’s Hermione?” Draco asked once he had seen Pansy and Blaise. Pansy simply looked at Draco, only to look away from him and back to Blaise. “What is it?” he asked. “What’s wrong?” Pansy still didn’t answer.
“Hermione went outside.” Blaise said. “I think you should call her back soon. The toasts will begin shortly.”
Draco nodded, and ran out of the manor and towards the garden path. He noticed how cold it had gotten, and felt the wind run through his hair. He continued walking down the cobblestone path until he caught sight of Hermione sitting on one of the concrete benches in the centre of the garden.
His eyes flashed with anger when he noticed that she wasn’t alone. There was a black jacket hanging from her shoulders, and another man sitting on the bench next to her. The man stood up, checking his watch before he held out his hand for her to take. Draco watched with immense anger as Hermione took Wesley’s hand, and allowed him to lead her down the path and back into the manor.
He could hear their conversation becoming clearer and clearer the closer as they slowly walked towards him. Draco quickly turned back to the manor before they could see him. He quickly walked through the doors and back into the ballroom. “Bloody Carrow.” Draco muttered angrily.
“Hey mate.” Blaise greeted when Draco had sat down on the chair next to him. “What’s got your wand in a knot?” he asked, taking a sip of his champagne.
“Carrow.” Draco replied bitterly. Blaise laughed slightly. “Where’s Pansy?” Draco asked, motioning to the empty seat next to Daphne.
Blaise looked down at his watch. “She went to talk to Miranda a few minutes ago.”
“Oh.” Draco replied, remembering their previous argument.
“Where’s Hermione?” Blaise asked, frowning. “Didn’t you go outside to find her?” he asked.
Draco shrugged. “I couldn’t find her anywhere.”
Daphne frowned at him. “Well where else could she have gone?” she asked. “She wouldn’t just leave the manor, Narcissa would have a fit and Hermione would never hear the end of it. And it’s too dangerous to wander off too far down the road- if she takes a wrong turn, she’ll get lost, and Merlin knows what’s hidden in those dark alleys.”
“She’ll probably be back soon.” Draco said grudgingly. The sight of Wesley and Hermione together made him want to strangle the man with his bare hands. His eyes were fixed on the entrance of the ballroom, scanning for a certain someone.
He saw Pansy storming in, her eyes ablaze. She sat down next to Draco, slamming her purse down onto the table while she plopped down onto the seat. “I reckon she told you.” Draco muttered.
“You think?” Pansy snapped. “You best hope that no one found out about this.” She said threateningly. There was something in her angry voice that intimidated Draco, no matter how tiny Pansy may be.
Draco looked up at her. “Does Hermione know?” he asked quietly, suddenly feeling worried and anxious.
“What do you think Draco?” Pansy asked, raging mad. “Granger isn’t stupid.” He growled. Miranda chose that moment to sit down next to Pansy, completely absorbed with her nails. “You better get her back here.” She said to Draco. “The toasts will start soon.”
He sighed. “Carrow has got that covered.” Draco told her indignantly.
Pansy narrowed her eyes at him. “Don’t you dare, Draco.” She said. “Don’t you dare even begin on that bit. At this point, you have absolutely no right.” Pansy pointed a threatening finger at him, and Draco knew better than to cross Pansy once she had lost her temper. “I’ll go find her.” She said. “Hold onto this for me Blaise.” Pansy said, throwing her black purse across the table.
She quickly walked across the ballroom once more, feeling that this night has been one of the longest nights of her life. Pansy didn’t know why it always came to her to clean up either Draco’s or Miranda’s mess, but she knew that she couldn’t just leave it there for someone else to clean up. Pansy believed in dealing with things herself, or else it’ll never be done correctly.
Pansy saw Hermione walking in with a jacket draped across her shoulder. “Hermione.” She breathed. “Wesley. The two of you should quickly go in, Narcissa will faint if you’re not there when the toasts starts.” Pansy said.
Hermione nodded, and shrugged off Wesley’s jacket, handing it back to him. “Thank you.” Hermione told him. “For accompanying me as well.”
“It’s no problem at all.” Wesley told her. He slipped his arms through his jacket before he walked back into the ballroom, preparing himself for the upcoming toasts.
Pansy and Hermione slowly walked back into the room together, mostly because Hermione was dreading facing Draco. “It was horrifying.” Hermione told her, breaking the silence between the two girls.
Pansy’s eyes widened. “You’ve seen them?” she asked, startled.
Hermione shook her head quickly. “No, god no!” she said. “I just- I heard them.” Hermione said. “They didn’t exactly think of putting up a silencing charm.”
Pansy laughed. “I remember walking in on them before.” She said quietly. “Well, they didn’t really- er, do it.” Pansy explained. “Well, I wouldn’t know- maybe they did. But I just walked in on them at a very heated moment, and it was rather disgusting.”
Hermione laughed softly. Before they had reached the table, she gripped Pansy’s arm, stopping her. “Is this right?” Hermione asked her, diffident. “We’re not exactly truly bound to each other.” She said. “Do you think I’m just overreacting?”
She shook her head. “Of course not.” Pansy told her. “I’d be ranging mad right now if I were you.” Pansy said. “Even if you two aren’t truly together, he needs to stay loyal and faithful.”
Hermione sat down next to Draco while Pansy sat on the other side of him. She noticed the guilt smothered all over his face, and he might as well have just worn a sign saying ‘I SLEPT WITH MY EX GIRLFRIEND WHILE I’M ENGANGED TO ANOTHER WOMAN’. She wasn’t sure whether or not she should say something to him or if she should allow him to drown in remorse.
There was a loud tinkling in the front of the ballroom, and everyone immediately cleared the dance floor and headed to their tables. Narcissa Malfoy was standing in the front of the room with her husband Lucius Malfoy standing right next to her. “Hello, good evening everyone!” she said happily. “I’m glad you’re all having a good time. Now, we’d like to begin the toasts, and then we may all get back to our frivolity.” Narcissa cleared her throat before she began speaking. “Well as you all know, you’ve all been gathered here tonight to celebrate the accomplishments of Wesley and Douglas Carrow.” The crowd gave a loud applause.
Wesley and his father stood up from their tables, and walked over to the front of the room. As they gave their short, but explicit speech, Hermione was fiddling with her wand. She was suddenly glad that people wouldn’t be able to see what she was doing under the table, as she drew on thin air using a small charm she had learned in her third year at Hogwarts. Hermione knew she would’ve been reprimanded if Draco wasn’t too afraid to speak to her at the moment, and for a short while, she was relieved.
The crowd began chattering once again, entering their own small private conversations while some walked onto the dance floor once more. The waiters and waitresses began moving across the room, offering champagne and small appetizers for the guests.
Hermione glanced at the grand clock that was by the windows. Unfortunately for her, it was only ten thirty and there would be at least a good two hours before she was allowed to go home. She spotted Narcissa Malfoy quickly walking over to their table, her eyes set on her and Draco. “Draco, Hermione- you two should start meeting a few of your father’s guests.”
Draco stood up obediently, who held out his hand for Hermione to take. “Hurry up children.” Narcissa ordered before she walked away from the couple and back to the rest of the guests.
Hermione looked away from Draco, helping herself up as she followed Narcissa towards a group of men standing in a circle. She heard Draco sigh as he followed closely behind her.
“Gentlemen.” Narcissa said, smiling as Draco and Hermione reached them. “This is my son’s new fiancé, I’m sure you’ve read all about them.” She said, introducing the couple. “Her name is Hermione Granger.”
Hermione shook all their hands politely. “It’s a pleasure to meet you.” She said, smiling. Hermione felt a hand on the small of her back, a sign of protection. She felt her hand tingling, wanting to slap Draco’s hand away from her body but she knew better than to act irrational in front of guests.
“And you’ve all met Draco already.” Narcissa said.
The men shook hands with Draco. “Business is good, yeah?” One short, stubby man asked.
Another tall man laughed, his voice booming. “Since when did the Malfoy industries ever suffer under Lucius’ watch?” he said. “I’m sure business will flourish once this young man here takes over.”
Draco smiled. “I sure hope so.”
Narcissa led the two away from the group of laughing men, and towards an old couple who were speaking in hushed tones. “Odette and Offylus Bontecou.”
“It’s a pleasure to meet you.” Hermione said, shaking their hands.
“Pleasure.” Odette said bitterly, scowling at Hermione’s appearance. “It’s a pity that woman these days aren’t very,” She paused, searching for the right word. Odette had an incredibly strong French accent, causing Hermione to have difficulty in understanding her. “Virtuous these days.” She finished with a small deviant smile. “Isn’t that right Offylus?” Odette asked. “Young Malfoy, I thought you’d have more class than this.”
Draco glanced at Hermione who looked at Odette with utter disbelief. “I assure you, Miss. Bontecou, Hermione is exceptionally pure.” Draco said, a twinge of hostility in his voice. “Now if you’ll excuse us, we’ve other guests to meet.”
“Never did like that woman.” Narcissa said, frowning. “She said the same thing to your father an I when we were introduced to them by his mother and father. Even though they were just slightly older than we were.”
Narcissa introduced the couple to several more people, including some of his father’s old death eater friends. Hermione and Draco would circle the room together, not saying a word to one another. What angered both of them the most was how most women commented on Hermione’s presumed infidelity.
Just as they thought, the night turned out to be extremely long and tiring. Hermione and Pansy retired earlier than the rest, complaining about their bleeding feet. They returned to Hermione’s flat, and fell down against the couch. They both kicked off their heals, and suck back against the cushion. It was almost one-thirty, and only half of the guests had gone, leaving the other halfback in the manor.
“Why did Malfoy stay behind?” Hermione asked Pansy, curious.
“He needed to talk to Miranda about something.” Pansy said truthfully. There was no use in keeping Hermione in the dark. It would only make matter’s worse.
“Oh,” Hermione replied softly.
Pansy stood up, taking her shoes in her hand and settling on her bare feet. She winced slightly as both her feet supported her weight once again. “I should get back.” She told Hermione. “I’ve got a long day tomorrow.” She walked over to the fireplace and then turned back to Hermione. “Don’t let Draco off too easy.” Pansy told her, before she grabbed some floo powder and flooed back to her flat.
“I won’t.” Hermione responded.
Draco and Miranda stood several feet away from each other, both of them boring holes into the floor with their attentive gazes. They were both in Draco’s bedroom for the second time that night with Draco leaning against the door and Miranda seated on the bed. Yes, they had already spoken a few hours ago, but he felt that maybe it was finally time to sum everything up. Throughout their entire relationship, no one has officially ended anything- so maybe he had to step up and do it himself.
No, it wasn’t because Draco had sudden feelings for his ‘fiancé’. It definitely wasn’t because of that reason. Their so-called relationship had grown to be strictly platonic, and he knew the both of them would strive to keep it that way. He wasn’t in love with Hermione Granger, and he definitely wasn’t in denial either. Draco simply felt like he was betraying a friend who grew to trust him- that was all.
A part of him wanted to simply walk away from the idea and take Miranda back into his arms to apologize for every absurd statement that has slipped past his lips. Though, because of the sudden intrusion in his life by the most unlikely person, he felt that he finally had the strength to face what he never wanted to face years ago.
“What do you want?” Miranda asked brusquely, breaking the silence between them.
Draco gritted his teeth and allowed his better judgment to take over his actions. “I’m going to ask you to stop with your games.” Draco said harshly. “We’ve all had enough of it.”
Miranda scoffed, and looked away. “So basically you’re just telling me to back off Granger, and let her have it easy right?” she asked him. “You’re asking me to back off because she knows that I’m more fit for you than she is?”
Draco rolled his eyes. “Would you stop turning everything on her?” he asked. “This is about you and me, not me and her.”
“What’s the difference?” She snapped. “She’s always there even if we’re just dealing with you and I! She’s the reason why everything is falling apart.” Miranda said, dropping her head in her hands.
“She’s the reason why I’m pulling myself back together.” Draco growled, knowing that it was a complete lie. “Don’t blame other people for your mistakes Miranda.” He told her.
“Was it my mistake to leave so I can pull myself together again?” Miranda asked. “I’m not going to lie and tell you that it didn’t hurt at all when you rejected me.”
He scoffed irritated. “And I’ll lie and tell you that it didn’t hurt at all when you cheated on me with my best friend.” Draco snapped sourly.
Miranda’s face softened. “You didn’t seem to care.” She said. “You knew and you never said anything. I didn’t do it to hurt you Draco.” Miranda told him. “I loved you then, and I love you now. I felt nothing for Wesley.”
“Then why did you do it?” he asked her, suddenly not believing a word that came out of her mouth. “Why did you spend all those years cheating on me behind my back?” Draco suddenly wanted to make her feel the pain that he did. He wanted to see her body fill with the pain he knew about, and he wanted to be the reason behind it.
“I-I, I don’t know!” she explained, stammering. “He came onto me one night, and it – it just started there.”
Draco rolled his eyes. “Whatever, it doesn’t really matter anymore.” He said. “Leave Hermione alone.” He turned around, opened the door and left Miranda again, for the second time that night.
His flat was dark and quiet when he had returned. Draco saw Hermione’s purse on the coffee table, and her shoes discarded by the door, so he knew that she was home. Draco still had no idea how to face her, and frankly he was a bit frightened at what she would have say to him. He took his coat off, placing it on the back of the couch and slowly walked down the hall and towards her bedroom.
The two hadn’t spoken all night, and Draco knew very well that he owed her an apology. Without knocking, he slowly opened the door of her room and found her tucked under the covers of her bed. He unfastened his tie as he slowly walked into her room, and sat on the side of her bed.
Draco cleared his throat. “Granger?” he asked nervously. “Granger.” He repeated, louder this time. She didn’t open her eyes, nor did she stir. Draco sighed, coming to the conclusion that she was already asleep. He leaned over, placing his elbows on he knees and dropped his head in his hands. He wasn’t sure what he was going to do, and he knew very well that he couldn’t allow their relationship to go on like this forever. “Merlin.” He breathed, taking his head from his hands to face her.
She was breathing at a normal pace, her chest rising and falling every so often. The moonlight illuminated her skin, and he could see a faint glow around her. The shining engagement ring sitting on her left hand caught his attention, and Draco abruptly remembered why he was sitting here staring at her. He remembered why Hermione Granger had been pulled back into his life- because he made it so.
“I’m sorry.” Draco whispered softly. “I didn’t know what I was doing- I don’t even know why I did it.” He felt incredibly stupid apologizing to someone who was sleeping, but he felt safer and more reassured. Probably because Hermione wasn’t awake to scream at him after he had apologized.
The night’s events came rushing back into his head. “I’m sorry that I dragged you into all of this.” He said. “I wish that I had chosen someone else. I wish I had chosen someone who didn’t have to adjust to this sort of life, someone who was already bound to a pureblood lifestyle. Someone unlike you, Granger.” Draco remembered the things he had said to Miranda this evening as he felt the weight come off his chest.
He remembered what Miranda had said about the difficulties of fitting into their lives, and how Hermione definitely couldn’t survive. There definitely was truth to what he had said to her. Draco meant every single word he had said about Hermione. He chose her because she was something entirely different. Hermione didn’t come from a family that raised her to believe what he did, and she definitely didn’t live a pressured life. She was everything he wasn’t, and to him- it fit. Because of her constant arguments, complaints and retorts, it kept him sane. He had something to expect when he came home, he had someone to bother when he was bored, and he had someone to look after in public.
In short, Draco had someone there. Despite the short amount of time she had been in his life, she had slowly been filling up the cracks on the sidewalk for him- the cracks that Miranda had created by walking out. Hermione may have done it in a strange and unorthodox fashion, and it may not have been what he was hoping for, no- it was a lot better.
Draco definitely didn’t want another Miranda in his life, and he definitely didn’t want someone worse. He wouldn’t be able to deal with constant interruptions at work, late night exploits or full days dedicated to one person. Miranda was practically requesting for his entire life to be dedicated to her, and knew he couldn’t give her that.
“Goodnight Granger.” Draco finally whispered. He stood up and walked out of her room, closing the door behind him.
Hermione breathed out carefully, and opened her eyes once she had heard the door close. She rolled over onto her back, carefully thinking about what Draco had just said to her. She distinctly remembered what she had heard thought he door of Draco’s bedroom, causing her to shiver with disgust. Hermione glanced at the door of her bedroom, watching as Draco turned out the light in the hallway and heard him walk into the bathroom.
She thought to herself for a moment, grasping the sides of her blanket. Was there really something more to Draco Malfoy than she thought?
A/N: So i decided that the wait for the next chapter has been too long already. i had actually finished this chapter about an hour after the previous chapter has been published, and i had just decided to post it up a week later.
Because the provious chapter was so incredibly disappointing (i know most of you wanted to bite Miranda's head off, and most of you just wanted to slap some sense into Draco), this chapter should've been a little more interesting ^_^. most of you should be happy that Draco had finally come to his senses, and Miranda was left crying. But this won't be the last you've seen of her, trust me ;) .
The next chapter should be out in a week or so, since i've got a bit more time on my hands. So read and review! Hope you guys like this one :)
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