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Chapter 3 : A Moth To The Flame
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Draco sent the owl off through the wide window of the Owlery, his father was pestering him at least once a day now, asking for updates and what not, he was beginning to wish Lucius would just leave him to it. The owl was a mere dot before Draco sat down and thought about the next bird he was going to get killed, surely someone would notice the birds going missing, and if he replaced them he was still sure someone would notice the change. Why the others had to kill them before sending them back he didn’t know, but his Aunt Bellatrix was a cold blooded killer so it obviously didn’t make a difference to her, it probably gave her a thrill. He wished he had that same thrill, then this whole thing wouldn’t be so hard, and he would have perhaps done it by now, but he didn’t harbour it at all, he even felt sorry for the birds.
Snape was bothering him just as much as his father, but because Snape was in school with him it was worse, but he didn’t need Snape’s help, he was perfectly capable on his own. Of course none of them thought he could do it, he desperately wanted to prove them wrong, but even his own confidence was starting to waver. So much rested on his success, he didn’t want anyone to be hurt because of his incompetence and impaired concentration, which was being caused by the worst person possible.
Hermione Granger was suffering, perhaps just as much as he was. She seemed to really love Weasley, Draco didn’t know how that felt in the slightest, he hadn’t loved anyone in his life, except his mother. The Gryffindor girl interested him for some reason that he couldn‘t even begin to try and fathom, she seemed to be the only person that understood him, and if anyone would accept he could change in the slightest, it would be her.
He didn’t know how long he’d been sitting there until the noise of footsteps retrieved him from his thoughts, he could guess who they belonged to. Sure enough, less than a minute later Hermione appeared in the doorway of the owlery, a piece of parchment in one hand.
“Oh,” she stopped in her tracks, a little surprised to see him, she was normally the first to arrive. “You’re here,” she took a few steps into the room and looked up at all the owls, as she expected Hedwig flew down and landed on her shoulder.
“Isn’t that Potter’s owl?” he asked, a little confused as to why she was using it, and even more confused as to why he was asking.
“Yes, I’m sending a letter for him because he’s been cornered by Slughorn,” she knew it was none of his business but she felt it didn’t make a difference if she told him or not, she felt that for some peculiar reason, she could trust him.
“Ha, lucky Potter,” Draco watched her as she tied the parchment to the snowy owl’s foot.
“What? But you’ve wanted to be in the Slug Club since it started,” she sent Hedwig out the window and turned to him with a puzzled frown.
“Well I did, but things like that don’t matter, not really,” he brought both his knees up and rested his arms on them.
“I suppose they don’t, but I still have to go to his small get together tonight,” she leant on the near by window sill, the glass was gone and she felt the wind rip through her long hair, probably making it even more bushy than usual.
“How fun,” he said, his tone dripping with sarcasm. Hermione looked out at the castle and lake, the sun was beginning to set casting a golden glow over the scene in front of her. She couldn’t quite believe she was having a civil conversation with the usually arrogant and unpleasant Slytherin. But this new interest in each other that they shared had a depth beyond anything they could have imagined.
“It looks so beautiful,” she muttered to herself, Draco pushed himself onto his feet and took the place next to her.
“It does,” he glanced at her as she continued to survey the sight. After a few seconds she turned her head to look at him, he was staring at her with a strange look in his grey eyes. Draco slowly leant forward, their faces inches apart, Hermione’s heartbeat began to increase rapidly, he was so close she could feel his freezing cold breath on her skin, causing her to shudder.
“I have to go,” she took a big step back and hastily left the Owlery, her speed resembling something close to a run. He sighed out angrily and before he could stop himself, he punched the wall with a growl. He was such an idiot, she was Granger, there were so many reasons for why it was wrong, she was a Mudblood, she was a member of the Order of the Phoenix, or so he thought. But there was something about her, she wasn’t her normal irritating know-it-all self, this only heightened his curiosity and the peculiar feeling in his gut. He was beginning to think he was loosing it, big time.
* * *
Hermione stepped into the common room, her mind was racing, Malfoy had nearly kissed her, she had nearly kissed Malfoy. It was all wrong, terribly wrong. The blonde intrigued her, he was different, something had changed him, and for the better it seemed, or maybe he was on drugs. She dismissed that idea straight away with a quiet snort, it was ridiculous. He wouldn’t have known what drugs were, as they were a muggle concoction.
“Hermione,” Harry appeared by her side and she gasped in surprise, causing her whole body to jolt.
“Harry! You scared me,” she hit him on the arm and he sniggered.
“Sorry. Are you ready for Slughorn’s?” he asked. Hermione noticed what he was wearing now, he had black trousers on, a blue shirt and a black dress jacket on top, he looked very smart and it made her smile, something that had become very rare to cross her lips in the past month or so.
“Erm no, I’ll only be a few minutes. hang on,” she walked briskly to the stairs but turned back before climbing them. “Oh, Harry?”
“You look handsome,” she smiled for the second time before mounting the first step and disappearing from sight.
* * *
Draco paced along the corridor opposite the Barnabus the Barmy tapestry, trying to focus but failing as he couldn’t help but look at the two girls standing in front of it. He had used Crabbe and Goyle in his plan as look outs but he was beginning to regret making them transform themselves into girls, as they looked hideous and annoyed the hell out of him.
“I told you to keep look out!” he snapped as Crabbe, or who he though was Crabbe, had begun to turn towards him.
“Sorry boss,” it had turned out to be Goyle, but Draco didn’t care, he just wanted to get into the Room of Requirement and away from the world. So he began to pace once more, his brain was beginning to hurt but he carried on until the door finally appeared and he dashed inside, roughly shutting the door behind him.
Draco leant his back against the door and steadied his breathing, closing his eyes as he did so.
He shot his eyes open again, had he just seen what he thought he had, Granger had been right there in front of him, staring at him with tears running down her cheeks and blood all over her face. He searched round but saw nothing other than the usual broken pieces of furniture and thousands of books stacked miles high. After a pause to regain his composure he started to wind his way through the masses of hats and clocks and corked bottles which contents still seemed to shimmer evilly, he passed several swords and a blood stained axe before stopping when he reached an enormous stuffed troll. Slightly hidden by the ugly troll was a tall black cabinet, Draco opened its door to see the dead bird where he had left it, he hadn’t been able to move it before and he still felt strongly the same now. But he knew it had to be moved at some point so after staring at it for a few more seconds he picked it up and walked a few yards to where the others were. Draco slammed the door of the cabinet angrily, the pain in his knuckle returning instantly causing a hiss of pain to escape his lips, not only had he almost kissed Granger but now he had also broken his hand, well perhaps not broken.
Draco stepped out of the Room of Requirements half an hour later, he was just about on schedule so his nerves relaxed a little, Crabbe and Goyle were waiting in their female forms, and as Draco shut the door behind him they checked the coast was clear before transforming back into their own bulky bodies.
“Draco, will you tell us what your doing in there yet?” Crabbe mumbled in his deep drone of a voice.
“I’ve said it a thousand times! No!” Draco stormed off down the corridor in the direction of the owlery, leaving them both standing there, scratching their heads but knowing full well not to follow him.
* * *
Slughorn’s party wasn’t as bad as Hermione thought it would be, in fact she found herself having a little fun. The professor had told them stories about their famous relatives, well of course her own parents were muggles so the list didn’t include them, but he had asked about them. She hadn’t seen the point in the question, as no one at the table apart from Harry knew what dentists were, but she’d answered just the same and ended up feeling unbelievably embarrassed at the blank faces staring at her.
The party had just ended and Slughorn was saying farewell to each of his guests, taking ten minutes per person. Hermione had managed to keep any thoughts of the blonde Slytherin at bay, trying her hardest not to think of how their proximity had made her shudder or how hard she had fought within herself to back away from him. There was something drawing her to him, like a moth to the flame, it unsettled her right to the core and she was scared.
“Ah, Mr Potter, Miss Granger, I hope you hade an enjoyable night,” her thoughts were interrupted as the two of them reached the professor standing by his office door.
“We did, thank you Professor,” Harry shook Slughorn’s hand, closely followed by Hermione, she smiled politely but didn’t say anything, she feared that if she did open it, all control she had would be lost.
“Harry, do you remember what I-?” Slughorn began, which didn’t surprise the two students.
“Sorry, Professor, we should really we getting to bed,” Harry interjected before stepping out the door and half pulling Hermione with him.
“Right, I’ll catch up with you some other time then!” Slughorn called after them as they walked hastily down the corridor and out of sight.
The two of them walked in silence, Harry’s mind seemed to be focused on something else, as was Hermione’s. She couldn’t help but want to go to the owlery, it was her sanctuary, her place for comfort where no one could hurt her. Nevertheless, her legs wouldn’t take her, because they knew just as well as she did, that he would be there waiting for her, and after what had happened earlier that afternoon she had all the more reason not to go. She knew avoiding him wouldn’t solve anything, of course it couldn’t, she would still have the nagging feeling at the back of her neck, pushing her further and further towards him.
“Hermione?” Harry broke the silence, and Hermione’s thoughts dispersed, to her relief.
“Yes, Harry?” she turned to look at him and smiled weakly, she knew he wouldn’t guess anything was wrong if she just smiled, no boys could ever tell, except a certain Slytherin that had been on Hermione’s mind a few too many times, the same boy that was about to be brought up in conversation.
“Malfoy is using the Room of Requirement for something, but I can’t figure out what,” he ran his hand over his face before resting it on his mouth. She stared at him for a second, registering what he had said, before finally deciding what to say.
“Harry, I know where your going with this. But we decided about the Malfoy issue weeks ago,” she looked down at her hands which were now fiddling with her silver sequined purse, she was sure Malfoy didn’t have anything to do with Voldemort, of course she knew that was a stupid thing to think, the Malfoy’s were Voldemort’s favourites. She just wished that he didn’t have anything to do with it, she desperately needed him not to be a part of it.
“I know, but I have reason to think-”
“Harry! Stop it. Malfoy has nothing to do with this, ok? His parents may be on Voldemort’s side, but that doesn’t mean he his!” her voice was raised and she wondered why she was believing her words, there probably wasn’t an ounce of truth in them, but her brain seemed to believe it enough to have it spurted from her lips with such force. Harry looked shocked, and confused. This was a very odd occurrence in Harry’s eyes, he knew Hermione didn’t think Malfoy was a death eater, but he hadn’t realised just how much she believed it.
“I don’t know what's going on with you. Hermione. If this has something to do with Ron and Lavender,” he regretted saying it as soon as it left his lips, annoying an already wound up Hermione wasn’t the best thing to do.
“Don’t you dare bring them into this, this has absolutely nothing to do with them!” she could feel tears welling in her eyes and was desperate to just run to where she knew her legs would take her, but she couldn’t, not there. With him. She gave Harry one last glance of desolation and anger before tossing her hair over her shoulder and storming down the corridor and disappearing into the blackness.
As she went, she was totally oblivious to the fact that a blonde boy was sitting in the freezing cold night. Waiting for her. A look of despair on his pale and hollow face.
I'm really glad so many people like my story so far, I send you all big thanks for that! Also, I'm not sure about the order of all the main events, so if I put some in the wrong order I apologise now, this mainly applies for later chapters though. And, I'm basing what I write more on the film than the book, so I have got things that are in the film but not in the book. Thanks soooo much again for R&R :D Next chapter should be up soon, I'm already to the middle of chapter 6 so... xoxo
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