Hermione wiped away a tear as she made her way through the first compartment of the train. The additional letter in her envelope had asked her to please be seated in the Head’s Compartment, which was the second on the train.
She berated herself for crying over such a small matter. The entire Weasley family had accompanied Harry to say good-bye to her. What if Ron was busy elsewhere? It hardly mattered.
She had had a bitter argument the day before, when she had asked Ron to come with her, trying to lure him with everything from teenage fan-following to newspaper mentions. But he hadn’t listened.
Hermione was not a person to grovel in front of somebody. She had caught herself before she did just that, and…
Oh God…What the hell have I done?
She had told Ron to take a break. She had called off their relationship, stating she needed a desperate break from him, and that she was no longer sure of her own love for him.
Ron had looked like a bludger had just hit him in the head. Then he had retorted that there were many other fish in the pool to play with, sexier and more worthy women waiting for the new him than a bushy-haired know-it-all who didn’t know how to kiss.
And he had crushed her heart into a million pieces.
Hermione sat down heavily in the empty compartment. Apparently the Head Boy was late.
I’m not gonna think about Ron. I’m not beautiful, but I’m smart… and I’m well-liked. I…
He doesn’t love me. I’m just…a bushy-haired know-it-all who doesn’t know how to kiss.
Her back straightened as she wiped her eyes. No. This was not the answer. She had no business crying over the spoilt brat that called itself Ronald Weasley. If anything she should be happy to know his feelings about her before she did something silly, like moving in with him.
There are many other fish in the pool to play with, sexier and more worthy women waiting for the new me…
There was no one waiting in the holds for her. She felt so alone…
“Err…Granger? Mind shifting your feet?”
Hermione quickly shifted her feet from the opposite window-seat and turned to look at the Head Boy.
Who in their right minds would make a former death eater a Head Boy?
She opened her mouth to make the comment, but Malfoy spoke first.
“Speechless Granger? Why, that’s new.”
The sneer did not quite reach his eyes. Hermione swallowed her scathing reply long enough to really look at him. Malfoy’s eyes looked haggard and hollowed-in, like he was losing a terrible amount of sleep. His chin was shadowed, and the sneer on his face looked like a grimace of pain.
In short, Malfoy looked seriously demented.
She couldn’t find the venom in her to make any quirky comments about his appearance. Instead, she stood up and made her way to the door. “Excuse me. I need to talk to Professor… To any teacher.”
“Right,” he just slumped into the chair opposite hers.
Hermione hurried through the train, looking for any teacher who might be on the train. Her mind was whirling. What the hell was happening anyway with Malfoy? How come he looked so…frenzied?
The entire school will think he is the enemy. And he has to face all that alone.
Hermione actually shuddered when she thought about the treatment the new Head Boy was going to get. Poor Malfoy. Nobody should be friendless and attacked like that, not even him.
She found Professor Horace Slughorn in Compartment C, talking to Madam Pomfrey.
She knocked on the glass door, and entered when Slughorn beckoned her in.
“Ah, Miss Granger! What a surprise! Oh course, I was about to ask you to join me for lunch soon… is something the matter?”
“I would like to talk to you Miss Granger,” said Madam Pomfrey. “If you would please step out?”
Once outside, Madam Pomfrey told Hermione, “I am sure you want to talk about the Head Boy. Am I right?”
“Yes. He is a—”
“Was, Miss Granger. He was the first person to turn up at the Ministry the night after the War ended. That boy has spent the last month and a half in St. Mungos’, fighting acute depression and self-depreciatory thought-processes. He hates himself, and thinks the others do too. Will you be the first student to prove him right? Professor Dumbledore and Professor Snape asked Professor McGonagall to give him a chance. Don’t take it away. Please.”
Hermione stopped. Hadn’t she said in every interview that she wished people should let bygones be bygones? Was she worse than the people she had lectured? Would she rob Malfoy of the only chance he had to redeem himself in his own eyes?
“How can I help?”
“You’re a kind girl. Follow your instincts. You will live with him in the Head’s Dorm, and so your help and support will matter to him.”
Hermione walked back to the Head’s compartment, a bit dazed by the recent turn of events. Malfoy was on medication? He had lived at St. Mungo’s?
Hermione slid quietly back into the seat she had vacated before. Malfoy was staring at her, ready for her sarcasm.
“Err… Hi. Draco.”
He stared. It was a full minute before Malfoy moved. He turned his head towards the window, not meeting her eyes.
Malfoy—Draco—looked at her outstretched hand like it was an alien entity. That made her feel real sorry for him.
Then he took it.
AUTHOR’S NOTE: -This one looks kind of short. Sorry. Should I continue? Give me a review and tell me please! This story’s a lot bigger too, probably a short novel, and I have told you before, I have a phobia of writing BIG pieces. So please boost my confidence with a review ;)
Seriously, I AM nervous. Please? Go on…be a sport!