Chapter 8 : Fear Conquerer and Broomsticks
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“I don’t think I’ve ever seen you this happy.” He said with a smirk. “I take it things with Granger turned out well?”
“Very well,” Draco told him as he too stretched out. “Had to play things her way for a bit, but it eventually turned around for me and took an interesting turn.”
“Really now..? Well, I guess the first question I should ask is what was the mudblood’s surprise?”
“Her book club,”
“Her book club..?” Blaise asked with his face set up in a disgusted manner. “She wanted you to go to a book club?”
“Grotesque, isn’t it?” Draco agreed. “What’s more horrifying is that I went.”
“What the hell; you went?”
“Unfortunately, yes… This is part of the story where I was Granger’s toy. If I didn’t go she’d have something to hold over me. Cowardice, for instance,”
“She has something bigger to hold over you now mate.” Blaise observed. “Not to mention the other people who were there.”
“Well, that’s one of the funniest things. Every one of those girls who was there I’ve shagged.” He smiled. “And with an owl I could have a date with every one of them for each day of the week. Knowing them, they’ll keep talk about my being there to themselves.”
“I bet Granger didn’t like that one bit. She probably faded into the background while the girls twittered over you like bloody birds.”
“Exactly… And when it was over, Granger and I talked. She said that my cocky nature was annoying –as I imagine it is as much for me since she’s just as smug –and I asked her if there was anything that she liked about me.”
“Well, that’s bold of you.”
“Damn right it was.” Draco agreed. “And you know what? She answered me. Said that she liked my determination,”
At that Blaise laughed. He took his feet down from the table and sat up with a smile. “Your determination..? Bloody hell, Granger doesn’t know what she just did, does she? You’re not going to let her have a moment’s peace.”
“Not until I get what I want, no… And now that I know what she likes about me, well, it’s time to let my no-quitter attitude shine through.”
The next night at the tutoring session Granger seemed to be in a good mood. When Draco had gotten there no sarcastic remarks were given or even a look of subtle hatred. He took this to be a very good sign and, as not to ruin the tranquility, made sure that he was on his very best behavior. This entailed listening to Granger lecture and not look bored, taking notes, and basically being good. It wasn’t that hard to do, but Draco could be honest and say that it was bloody boring. Being nice and sincere to her was very distressing. He lived and breathed to push Granger’s buttons. Seeing her twist in annoyance at him really was the highlight of his day and he was sure that if he didn’t get his daily dose of her that he’d go into withdrawal.
“Let’s quit.” Draco said abruptly. Hermione, who had been in the middle of going through a chapter from the textbook, looked up at him in surprise.
“Let’s quit. Let’s put the books away and just get out of here.”
“Malfoy, as much as I’d like to head back to my own dormitory, we’ve only gone fifteen minutes into your tutoring session.”
“So what..?” Draco argued. He let a smile come to his lips as he added, “We’ve already come to the conclusion that I don’t need these sessions anyway.”
Granger had her thinking face on. Draco supposed that she was weighing through what he had just said and after only a few seconds she shut the book and sighed.
“You’re right.” Hermione said. “You don’t need them. I don’t even know why we’re still having them.”
“Maybe it’s because you like my company.”
“It’d be a good assumption, but sadly I don’t think that highly of you.”
“Oh, well that hurt, Granger.” Draco replied with mock sadness. Hermione laughed at that though he could tell that she had been desperately trying to hold it in. He watched as she gathered her things and he began to do the same. They both left the library and walked down the corridor in silence. Draco glanced at her from time to time and turned his head back straight when she went to look at him. Yesterday after the book club he had hooked her and now all he had to do was slowly reel her in –very slowly¬, for Draco knew that if anything had gone wrong, Granger would very quickly go back on the full-blown defensive and it’d be very hard and damn right impossible to get her to remotely trust him.
“I suppose you’re going to head back to your room to read or something.” Draco said randomly. He didn’t look at Granger when he said it either, but rather kept his head straight. But even with that, he knew that she was looking at him.
“Why do you sound like that?”
“Like going to my room to read is such an awful thing… You like to read.” Hermione pointed out, and Draco nearly broke his jaw by suddenly clamping down his top teeth onto his bottom.
“But alas,” He retaliated. “We’re not talking about me.’”
“Well, I’m talking about you.”
Always making things so bloody difficult! Draco was shouting in his head, but to keep his composure he took deep and unnoticeable breaths and chose to ignore Granger’s rebuttal by going off on the slight tangent he had intended.
“All I’m saying is, is that you could do something better with your time.”
“And what’s better, might I ask?”
“I don’t know. Going for a walk? Finding some friends to talk to? Flying?”
Now, whenever Draco used the expression “her face had drained of all color” he never really meant it. It was just something to express that there was some fear going on or just something that wasn’t liked in general. But after Draco had mentioned flying, Granger’s face really had drained of all color, and she looked completely pale. By now he had a huge smirk on his face and was controlling his impulse to laugh.
“Granger… Are you afraid of flying?”
“No,” Hermione replied quickly, but her cheeks were now bright red and Draco was thoroughly amused.
“Yes you are! Miss I’ve-Been-Fighting-Alongside-Potter-Since-I-Was-Eleven is afraid of flying!”
“I’m not afraid of flying! I’m just a little scared of…heights.”
“Well, you know what they say then.” Draco said with a smile. “The only way to conquer your fear is to face it. Let’s go.”
“Go? Go where?” Hermione asked frantically. “Malfoy, I’ll sit in a library with you, invite you to my book club, hell, we can even hold a small conversation together, but I refuse to go anywhere with you.”
“For Merlin’s sake Granger, I won’t bite you.”
At least not yet… Draco was thinking since he was told several times by the lovely ladies of Hogwarts that he had a tendency to turn nibbling into a bite that hurt. He nudged Granger on, but he made sure not to force her. He merely shrugged his shoulders in a “why not?” fashion and began heading in the direction of Quiditch Pitch –not walking too fast so she could catch up, and not walking too slow in case she caught on to his little game. As Draco got to the end of the corridor, he almost thought that Granger wasn’t going to bite and that he’d have to try a new tactic, but then he heard her steps rush towards him.
Draco didn’t say a word, nor did he let the smile come out that he was holding in. They walked in silence. He led her to the Quiditch locker room and took out two spare brooms from the closet. He wasn’t really supposed to do this. The Quiditch season for Hogwarts was over, and the brooms weren’t supposed to leave from its station outside of the season and outside of practice.
But what they don’t know won’t kill them… Draco reasoned, and it wasn’t like as if he hadn’t done this plenty of times before. Granger obviously could tell that, and from the corner of his eye he could see her giving him her famous look of disapproval. Once they got out onto the Quiditch pitch, Draco threw his books aside and gave her one of the brooms. He mounted his and was ready to take off, but then looked over at Granger who still held the broom in her hand and was staring at it with a boat-load of trepidation.
“What, going to let me fly all by myself?” He asked her. Hermione looked up at him and frowned.
“Well, aside from the fact that I’ve already told you that I hate flying…. I haven’t quite been on a broom since Madame Hooch’s flying lessons became electives rather than mandatory.”
“So you don’t know how to fly at all?”
Draco stared at her with bright eyes and then he laughed. This was better than he thought. Granger’s cheeks began turning red like Weasley’s ears usually did, and this made him laugh a bit harder.
“I never thought that I’d see the day.” Draco said with a smile. “There’s actually something that you don’t know how to do.”
“Come off it, Malfoy.” Hermione said, trying to hide her cheeks with her hair. “If I could actually stand mounting on a broom and wasting my valuable study time, then I’m sure that I’d be just fine at flying. Maybe I’d even be on the Quiditch team.”
“Ha! Now who’s being cocky?”
“That was not being cocky. I’m sure of myself is all.”
“Annoyingly sure of yourself,”
“And what’s that supposed to mean?”
“Are you kidding?” Draco sighed, shook his head, and let the broom fall to the ground so he could stand properly. “You’re bloody annoying as hell. You kiss professors’ arses like it’s your job, write fifteen pages for an assignment when five was the minimum and a whole bunch of other things. It’s amazing that Potter and Weasley like to hang around with you.”
“Well, with all of that, why do you want to hang around with me?” Hermione retaliated. He smirked, and picked back up the broom.
“…Are you going to answer the question?”
“Are you going to get on that broom?”
“Then no,” Draco replied with a grin. Saying this was potentially dangerous. She could just take that, gather her things, and leave. But that wasn’t the case. He was more than sure that the Queen of Rebuttals wouldn’t be able to come up with one, but what she said caused Draco to drop his broom and stare at her with wide eyes.
“But I’ll get on yours.”
“…You’ll fly with me? On the same broom..?”
“Yeah, why not? Is that so hard to believe?”
“Yes,” Draco admitted. “I thought you’d be afraid that I’d push you off the broom in the middle of flight or something.”
“Well, if that does happen, I’ll have the satisfaction in death that Harry and Ron will kill you. And if they don’t exceed there’s always Azkaban.”
Granger was smiling and Draco was in awe. Here she was –a moment ago complaining about going anywhere with him –wanting to get on the broom with him. As she walked closer to him and he made room for her on the broom, he began to wonder if it’d be her doing all the pushing when they were in the air. She’d have the guts to do it too…
When it came time for Granger to get onto the broom, he could sense her hesitancy. All the bravery she had suddenly mustered had melted away and now it was as though she was having second thoughts. But knowing Granger, she wouldn’t back out. She had a point to prove now, and in one clean swoop she was on the back of the broom.
“Alright, let’s get this over with.” She said rather agitatedly. Draco snickered and turned to look back at her.
“Unless you want to fall off, you’re going to have to hold onto me.”
Granger audibly groaned. It wasn’t like Draco was entirely enjoying this either. He had been quite looking forward to having that broom all to himself –a fly around the pitch about twice, raise Granger’s comfort levels with him a few notches and done. This had now taken a few extra turns.
Internally sighing, Draco felt her arms snake around his waist and knew the grip there would tighten once they were up in the air. After kicking off he found that he was right and began to think that she’d end up breaking a rib. They hadn’t even gone above ten feet yet and he could hear her berating herself under her breath trying to figure out exactly what she had gotten herself into.
“Just don’t look down.” He told her. Hermione gripped him tighter and buried her head into his back.
“What do you think I’m doing back here?” She retorted. “Staring at the grass below?”
“Obviously not… You’re too busy destroying my ribcage.” Draco chuckled as he rose higher. “You can look at the sky you know.”
“I don’t want to look at anything.”
“You’re just going to stay scared if you don’t look at something.”
Draco was finding this hysterical. Granger was always so brave. She never showed fear of anything, and yet here she was acting like as if she was about to have a panic attack. But soon he could feel her head lifting up from resting on his back. Her hold on him lessened and she seemed to have calmed down considerably.
“We’re so high up.”
“You’re looking down?”
“Merlin no..! We’re above the goal posts…”
“Yeah, well, it’s not really flying if you’re close to the ground.”
“If only it was.” Hermione muttered. The cool night air was whipping through their hair as they began to fly around the stadium. It was an incredibly cold night. Draco hadn’t even noticed that it was positively freezing, but then again, he had Granger keeping his back warm. “So, Malfoy, how many other girls have you taken to the Quiditch pitch after hours –of which we’re going to get into so much trouble for if we’re caught.”
Always thinking about the rules… Draco was thinking before he answered. “Dozens... I can hardly give the actual number.”
“Typical,” She replied. “…How many have you given flying lessons to out here?”
“A few…but we hardly have time to get off the ground anyway, Granger.”
Draco heard her call him an arse, and he didn’t fight it this time around. This time he was owning up to it and smiling, though he knew that she couldn’t see it.
“And what about actually flying with you? On the same broom…how many girls?”
“For Merlin’s sake… What’s with all the questions?”
“There’s nothing to do up here but fall off, Malfoy.” Hermione answered him. “Last one I swear and then can we please get back on the ground?”
Draco rolled his eyes and opened his mouth to answer. After no words came out he shut it and then thought hard. How many girls was it? He didn’t need an exact amount, just an average. But after a minute or so, he realized that there wasn’t a number.
“None,” He said softly. Hermione’s arms tightened on him once again, for they were beginning to descend.
“None..?” Hermione repeated. “Just me..?”
Once they were back on the ground, the two of them gathered their things, put the brooms back where they belonged, and went their separate ways. As Draco drew near to Slytherin House, he was rubbing his left arm up and down and felt a bit off. That whole flying thing wasn’t new. He did it to all his potentially “hard” targets –usually never having to get onto the broom at all. But it was necessary tonight. And Draco realized with an irritable pain in his side that he had told Granger things that Pansy had been asking him for years.
If Granger doesn’t feel comfortable around me by now I effing quit…
author's note: and so, im in a good mood, listening to For You I Willy by Teddy Geiger and other great artists and i go, "hmmm, maybe i should post" and so here it is! lol..... hope you all liked it and i look forward to reading your reivews!
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