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Chapter 4 : Revelations
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A/N: I just want to thank everyone for sticking with me so far. I hope that I haven't confused anyone with what all is going on. Thanks for reading, and don't forget to review!
Their eyes locked for a moment before she jerked her wrist away.
However, he noticed that she didn’t rush from the room this time.
“Do you hate me that much?” he asked, barely louder than a whisper.
“Why do you even ask me that?”
“I thought…well…that maybe…”
“Maybe you thought wrong.”
He noticed, however, that her voice wasn’t quite as venomous as it had been the night before.
“You know, you don’t have to do it if you don’t want to.”
Her eyes narrowed so much they were almost completely closed.
“I knew you read it! I can’t believe you. Actually, I can. I shouldn’t have expected anything less.”
He gave her a small smile. “Regardless of what you say, I don’t you don’t completely hate me. I heard you come in last night. You tried to apologize.”
Her face turned red. How did he get to be so perceptive?
“You dropped it on the floor on your way out, I suppose. I picked it up and was going to hand it to you. I couldn’t help but see what it said.”
“I’m sure you couldn’t,” she said, but it seemed as if much of the fight had left her voice.
The silence in the room built around them as he stared into her eyes.
“I’m serious. Don’t let anyone tell you what you have to do. You’re seventeen. Let it be your choice. After all, look where listening to people and worrying about what they think got me.”
It was the first time that he had ever made a mention of any of his feelings aloud. He still wasn’t sure exactly how he felt about it.
However, he kept talking, finding that talking about it really did make him feel better, especially when it was someone who knew how to string together more than two words.
“I was always told that how I needed to be, what I needed to do. I was afraid to do anything that might get back to my father. He had basically spelled out to me how I needed to act and who I needed to be, so I…” he trailed off, ending with a shrug.
Her eyes seemed to soften a bit as she looked at him, but it was more as though she was looking through him, rather than at him, lost deep in thought.
“They really do mean well,” she said, finally. “They just don’t understand. And Ron, well, I don’t even want to go there,” she practically spit out the last part of that.
He rolled his eyes. “I figured that Weasel - Weasley, had something to do with this.”
Her eyes got hard and narrow again. “Don’t - don’t call him that.”
“You still care about him. You can try and deny it all you want, but I can see that it‘s there.”
Her shoulders slumped, and her eyes looked sad, as though she had just pretty much given up. “I don’t know anymore. I just don’t know.” It came out as barely a whisper, and he didn’t know if she was even aware that she had said it.
“Do you want to talk about it?” I mean... you don't have to, but--sometimes I talked to Zabini. Most times, I talked to Crabbe and Goyle when I had things on my mind." He smirked, though his heart was torn askew by the tragedy only months before. Crabbe was gone. Despite his lack of sense, no one deserved such a horrible death. "They couldn't really understand a thing I said, but I didn't carry it alone. It helps."
That seemed to open up a new outlook, for both of them.
She smiled at him, a small, downcast smile, which was probably the first smile that she had ever given to him in the years that they had known each other.
"What else is there to talk about? You read the letter. You know that my parents are hoping that I will get over my ’magicness’ and head off to a real university. Though you probably don't even know what that is."
He raised an eyebrow. "Give me some credit, Grang-Hermione," he said, her name still feeling strange coming out of his mouth. "I may have been sheltered in the wizarding world, but it doesn't make me an idiot."
"Sheltered?' she sputtered out. "You call, whatever all that is... or was-- or whatever you do or did-- or whatnot being sheltered?" She started laughing.
“Go ahead. Laugh at my expense, why don’t you. You know what I mean. just because I’ve never lived among the mud---Muggles, doesn’t mean that I don’t know anything.”
She shook her head. “Fine, whatever. Anyway, so that’s what they want for me. After all this time, I thought that they had accepted that I was the way that I was and weren’t going to try to change me.” She snorted. “I should have known better.”
He began to wonder if getting her started on this topic had been a mistake. She certainly seemed to talk a lot when she got started, but at the same time, he realized that he didn’t really mind. In fact, he, well, he liked it.
“They’re dentists, you know. Well, you may not know what that is --- they, well, they take care of people’s teeth, and it looks as though they are wanting me to follow in their footsteps.”
She sighed. “I don’t even like teeth. I have always detested my own teeth, much less taking care of others people’s teeth.”
“I guess it is pretty funny, isn’t it?”
“The best part, though,” he said, “is the fact that you’re smiling. You do realize that it’s the first time you’ve smiled in weeks.”
“I didn’t know you were looking that closely.”
“I don’t have that much to do these days. Not to mention that I’m pretty observant. While we’re on this honesty kick, I guess you should know that I’ve heard you come in in the evenings. Upset and crying.”
“You just can’t help yourself from spying on me, can you?” She started to sound defensive again. Just by looking at her, he could see her body go tense.
“What did you expect? Me to just lock myself up in my room and hide?”
“It’d be nice. It’s the least you could do.”
He rolled his eyes.
“So what’s up with -- between the two of you anyway? Or is that none of my business?”
“Even if I said it wasn‘t, you wouldn’t leave me alone about it, would you?”
“You just don’t know when to stop, do you?”
He stayed silent a moment, before he started to speak again.
“Do you realize that this is the first time, in seven years, that we have actually had a conversation?”
She stared at him. “You were the one who called me a mud-blood. You’re the one who thought I shouldn’t be here. Besides, I don‘t recall you ever wanting to have a conversation with me.”
“I’ll admit that I did my fair share of --- things. Yet you called me ferret-boy.”
Her lips twitched as she remembered that priceless time back in fourth year when the one they had all thought was Professor Moody had turned him into a ferret.
“You can’t say that you didn’t deserve it.”
“Professor McGonagall didn’t seem to think I did.”
“You forget that I was the one who had gone to get Professor McGonagall. Not to mention that she’s too nice to let her true feelings show.”
“Do you always have to get in the last word?”
“Are you trying to change the subject on me so I won’t ask more questions?”
“Evidently it didn’t work. I’ll make a bargain with you, Mal- Draco.” Apparently saying his name was as hard for her as her name was for him.
He tilted his head to show her that he was listening as he finished shovelling some breakfast into his mouth.
“I’ll talk to you if you’ll answer a question for me.”
“I thought you were talking to me.”
“That is exactly why I never bothered to! You can’t even let me finish!”
“I’m just joking, Granger. Give me a bloody break.”
She shook her head. “I knew talking to you was pointless. That’s why I never did before.”
“I’m sorry, alright? What’s your question?”
“Why did - I mean how - bloody hell, Draco. Why are you being so nice? What is it in for you to start being so nice to everyone? It’s really creepy, you know.”
“You know how you’re upset because your parents want you to do something that you don’t want to?”
“I wish I had that opportunity. My parents are dead. I saw them murdered in front of me. If that doesn’t put your life in perspective, I don’t know what does. Then your precious little friend decided to be my hero and save me. He jerked me to the ground to make me avoid a killing curse. It wasn’t meant for me, I don’t think but Aunt Bellatrix was the one who sent it that direction. It put a new perspective on everything I do, everything I say. Just remember that - next time you’re upset because they want you to do something you don’t want - be glad you still have them alive.”
Hermione was speechless. What could she say? She knew that the Malfoy’s were dead, but hadn’t gotten all of the details. Now she wished that she would have, before she had asked that. She didn’t even know that it had been Harry who had saved Draco’s life.
“So what happened between you and Weasley? I answered your question, you get to answer mine now.”
After what he had said, her problems seemed pale in comparison. It almost embarrassed her to bring them up, considering they were nothing compared to his.
“I -- we, well, I think we were happier before. You know, as friends? Then, once I got the letter from my parents, it just made things worse. I made the mistake in telling him about it, and he got all upset and told me that it wasn’t up to my parents to decide anything for me, that I was seventeen and should be able to make my own decisions.”
She looked over and caught his eye.
“That probably sounds ridiculous to you, after all, I said I felt the same way, didn’t I? But it was more than it. Not to mention that it’s different when I say. After all, it’s my parents, and my life. It was the fact that I didn’t even tell him how I felt before he started telling me what to do. How did he even know that I didn’t want to go? That was what hurt the most. All those nights you said you heard us fighting? That’s what it was about. Last night was the final straw. It’s not even fun being with him anymore. We can’t do anything without it getting brought up.”
“It’s not ridiculous,” Draco said. “He’s supposed to be there for you, to support you.”
“Are you sure that you’re really Draco Malfoy? Because I think you’ve switched personalities with someone else.”
“Not quite, Hermione. I’ve just grown up.” He stared into her eyes. “I’ve also realized where my priorities in life lie and that I have a lot to make up for.”
He had finished eating by then, gathered his books for class, and was out the door before she could say another word.
She stared at the door after it closed with her mouth open. What had just happened?
A/N: Once again, thank you so much for reading. I promise, things are going to pick up in the next chapter. I just realized that the pasts few chapters have taken place within only hours of each other. While that's nice, it means if I continue this way, I'll have 1,000 chapter story or something to get it all told. But don't worry, that doesn't mean that I'm going to skip, it just means that new and exciting things are headed your way : )
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