Chapter 25- reconnections and more
AN: Hope you like it. Please read and review! Thanks for the reviews from last chapter!
When they finally got up that Sunday, they decided to celebrate Valentine’s Day, the dance had been great, but they had been so busy planning it and making sure it went well that they did not have much time together. Draco made brunch for them in their room and they sat on the couch in front of the fire. They started by exchanging gifts. Hermione had had trouble thinking of what to get Draco, he had so much already, and she was sure that whatever she got him would never be able to hold a candle to what he was going to get her. So she decided to go with something personalized.
“What is it?” Draco shook the box she had handed him. She laughed.
“Why don’t you open it and find out?” He unwrapped it and opened the box. Inside was a Quidditch cloak in green and silver. It looked a lot like the Slytherin team’s cloaks, except this one had Draco Malfoy sewn onto the chest right above the crest and it had silver stitching that made it stand out. There was also a sleek silver watch.
“Wow Hermione! This cloak is amazing, it’s perfect! But what is this?” Since wizards do not really wear watches, Draco was perplexed by the item in the box, it looked like really ugly jewelry.
“It’s a watch, it tells time like a clock, only portable. Muggles wear them. That is a man’s watch in the same style as my father’s. I thought you might like to have something from my world, plus, when you meet my parents it can be something you and my dad have to talk about.” She giggled nervously.
“Oh, cool. I like it. Thanks so much!” He leaned over to hug her and kiss her forehead. She grinned. Then he passed her his gifts for her. There were three.
“Draco, I can’t accept three gifts!”
“Yes you can, besides, you haven’t even opened them yet.” He pouted and smirked at her, both at the same time. The result was odd, but it got her to laugh and take the gifts. She opened the first one. It unwrapped and was a velvet box. When she opened it she gasped. Inside was a stunning drop pearl necklace. Wear the pearl met the silver chain there was a cluster of three diamonds.
“Draco,” she breathed, “It’s stunning. I love it.” She turned to him and kissed him, smiling the entire time.
“I’m glad you like it.” He laughed while he said this. “Now open the others.” He looked more excited about the gifts than Hermione. The next one was a larger box, when she opened it she nearly dropped it.
“Draco,” she was almost scared to ask, “Is this what I think it is?” He smiled at her and nodded. She gasped again. “How did you get your hands on one? Only a handful of first edition copies exist today?” She was staring at a first-edition, mint-condition copy of Godric Gryffindor’s autobiography. She touched it with tentative fingers, wanting to open it but not wanting to risk hurting the spine.
“Hermione,” Draco said, watching her, “you can open it, it has tons of spells on it to protect it from wear and tear and all that stuff. Go ahead, I know you want to.” She did. She had to stop herself after a minute. After all, she had forever to read it, that day was for her and Draco. She set it down carefully and turned to get her last gift off the table in front of her. Only it was not there anymore. She turned to Draco.
Her heart stopped and she couldn’t breathe.
“Hermione, don’t freak out. I know it hasn’t been all that long. But I’ve never known anyone like you. I almost lost you. I won’t go through that again.” Draco was holding the last box in his hand, kneeling down on one knee in front of her. He opened the box to reveal an extravagant diamond ring nestled in a velvet box.
“Hermione Jean Granger, I love you. I know that no matter how long I wait from here on out I will always love you. I want to be with you forever. Will you marry me?”
Hermione was crying. Draco looked a bit worried. She tried to talk, but nothing came out but a hiccupy sob. Finally she managed to articulate herself.
He jumped up from his kneeling position to embrace her. He squeezed her so tightly that she burst out laughing. She thought her body was going to explode she was so happy. When she pulled away she looked into Draco’s eyes, begging for him to understand what she was going to ask of him next.
“Draco, now please, just try to understand and don’t get angry…” She chewed on her lip, looking nervous.
“What is it?” He looked scared, was she going to take back her acceptance.
“I love you, I do. And I really do want to marry you…”
“But?” Draco said it for her, wondering what could be coming next.
“Could we please keep this a secret for now? Could it be just between us for a little while?” Draco looked disappointed. He wanted to share the news and he had thought that she would feel the same way.
“Why? Are you ashamed to be marrying me?” Hermione looked aghast and rushed to reject the idea.
“Of course not! Never! I just need to take it slowly with my friends. They haven’t even accepted that I’m with you as friends, never mind boyfriend, I need them to get used to us as a couple first, get close to them again like I was before, and then we can tell them. I just want to go slowly for now. Is that ok?”
Draco sighed. “I guess, but you have to tell them by graduation.” Hermione agreed to this and they spent the rest of the day together. They played cards, went on a picnic for lunch, using heating charms to have fun eating in the snow. Draco helped Hermione to perfect her German and piano skills and Hermione helped him in turn.
“You’ve almost got it. You are so close. Just concentrate really really hard. You can do it. I know you can.” With Hermione’s words of encouragement Draco tried again. He concentrated and then next thing she knew, Hermione was looking at a red fox where Draco had just been. Like when Hermione first transformed into her animagus form Draco could only hold onto his form for a few seconds. Soon he changed back.
“You did it!!” Hermione ran up to hug him. “Oh my gosh! I’m so proud of you. And a fox, that’s a great one. Way less conspicuous than mine.” Draco looked really pleased with himself.
After dinner in the mess hall they went back to their rooms and just hung out. They decided to go to bed early and chose Hermione’s room. They changed into their pajamas and cuddle together in her bed and quickly fell asleep.
Next on Hermione’s mental list of things she needed to do, since she had her life back without the fear of dying, was to reconnect with Harry and Ron and Ginny. She really wanted her friends back. They meant the world to her, and she did not want to lose them just because she chose to love the former enemy. She walked up to them that Monday during breakfast.
“Don’t leave” she said as they started to get up at the sight of her. “I just wanted to ask if we could talk. I think all those years of friendship and fighting evil has earned me that. Please meet me in the Room of Requirements after dinner. I have a lot to tell you. There is so much you don’t know about what has gone on this year. Please show up. Thanks.”
She walked away quickly before they could say no or argue. She spent her entire day worrying that they wouldn’t show and contemplating what she was going to say to them. She told Draco her plan. He offered to go with her, but they both agreed that that would be a bad idea.
Hermione reached the Room of Requirement as soon as dinner was over, she actually left dinner early to be sure that she was there first. She had the room set up like a common room to make it comfy. She brought her Diagnose Your Own Magical Maladies book and sat in the lazy-boy to wait. Eventually Ron, Harry and Ginny entered, looked around, and came over to sit on the couch. Hermione was the first to speak.
“Thanks so much for coming; I know you don’t really want to talk to me right now. But I feel like you might be a bit more understanding if you knew what this year had been like for me.” They nodded, and then Ron spoke.
“We talked and decided that we would hear what you had to say, but we aren’t sure you can say anything that will justify becoming friends with Draco Malfoy. However, we are willing to listen.” Hermione frowned, worried that they were already set in their minds that Draco was evil and nothing could ever explain her actions.
“Well, to start at the beginning I would say it all started after we defeated Voldemort. You guys were so excited to finally be able to live normal lives, famous, but not in fear of death or worried about a final fight. You were so busy living the normal teenage boy lives, dating girls, sneaking into bars, staying out all night, going camping and the like, that you seemed to forget that I was ever there. You guys have been my only friends since I came to Hogwarts. Once you two started only hanging out with guys and Ginny went back to only hanging out with the girls in her year, I was completely alone. When I found out that day on the train that Draco was head boy I wasn’t happy about either, but at that point I still had the hope that returning to Hogwarts would return you guys to me. I was wrong. Weeks passed and each day it seemed like the only person I spoke with was Draco, and that was out of necessity since we lived and worked together. Then the masked ball happened. I met a guy who called himself Damien and I called myself Emily. We had a blast. I hoped that Damien was one of you so you would remember why you were friends with me. But when Damien removed his mask it was Draco. I was upset and I refused to remove my mask. I told Draco that I didn’t like him and he didn’t like me. But after a few days I missed Damien. I had talked with him, and I hadn’t talked to anyone like that in a long time. I sent Draco a letter saying that I wanted to be friends with him, but not reveal my identity. He agreed. He had missed Emily too. So we became friends. Meanwhile we became friends in real life too. He started helping me with some stuff I’ve been doing this year. At Christmas we spent the night together as Damien and Emily in the Room of Requirements. That night we realized that we liked each other as more than friends. Though he still didn’t know who Emily really was.”
At this point Harry, Ron and Ginny looked shocked. They had thought that Hermione and Draco were just friends. But Hermione continued anyways.
“We started acting more as a couple when we were together. Soon after that he found out, by accident, that I was Emily. It took him time to adjust, but he soon accepted me for who I was and we started dating in real life as Hermione and Draco. We really care about each other. But there is something even more essential to understanding this all.”
They looked more attentive at this.
“The reason Draco and I started getting along better in the first place, ignoring what was going on between Damien and Emily, was because he discovered something about me that I never told you guys. You know that my parents got me that new book this summer, Diagnose Your Own Magical Maladies.”
They nodded, acknowledging that they remembered her receiving that gift.
"Well I started displaying strange symptoms at school, not too long after we started the new school year. I entered my symptoms into the book, curious if it had a name for what was going on with me. It had several options. But the one that seemed most fitting to my symptoms was Fluxi Magus, which is an irreversible, non-contagious disease that results in complete loss of magical abilities and in many cases death. There is no cure for this disease as of yet. Knowing that I didn’t have much time I made what we muggles call a bucket list. It’s a list of things to do before you die. Draco accidentally saw my book and the page it was turned to and figured it out. He started acting nicer and even offered to help me with my bucket list. Only recently did another symptom surface that changed the diagnosis to Hicca Magicus, which is a disease that won’t go away on its own, but is easily cured, it is a hiccup in your magic. We went to Madame Ponphrey a little while ago and she cured me in a few hours. Going through that, thinking I was dying and Draco thinking he was going to lose me, brought us much closer. I don’t see us breaking up any time soon, but I don’t want to lose you guys either. I became friends with Draco because I didn’t have any friends in a time when I needed them the most. I’m not sure I would be here today if I hadn’t had Draco the past few months. He saved me, in more ways than one. He was the one to realize that I had misdiagnosed myself. Please don’t stop being my friends. I have gone so long without you guys, I don’t know what I will do if I lose you for good.”
She stopped talking then and just sat there looking at them and waiting for their response. They all looked stunned. Harry spoke first.
“You thought you were dying and you didn’t tell us?” Hermione looked sheepish.
“I almost did. I wanted to. But you didn’t really seem to care about what was going on in my life and you never seemed to have time for me. I did try to tell you guys, but you didn’t have any time, you were too busy chasing girls and playing Quidditch.” The boys looked at their hands in their laps, knowing that this was true. Ron was the next to speak.
“So you and Draco are a couple now?” Hermione nodded. “If we did choose to be friends with you again, would we have to see a lot of him?” Hermione frowned.
“Probably. We would make the transition slow, but I really think you would like him if you gave him a chance. He is so different; he has really changed.” They looked skeptical of this. “At least give me a change.” The three looked at each other. Harry was the first to nod, then Ginny, and finally Ron. Ginny spoke for the group.
“We have missed you too. I think you are right; we have been a bit caught up in our own lives to remember that you don’t have anyone else and we are sorry about that. We would like to try to be friends with you again, but we aren’t sure about Malfoy.” Hermione accepted these terms and the four of them parted on amicable terms. Hermione returned to her room smiling.
AN: Hope you liked this chapter. Lots of big stuff happened. Please leave a review. Thanks to everyone who reviewed the last chapter, I really appreciate it. Feel free to leave ideas you have in a review, I often take the advice of those who review. Thanks a ton and sorry for the wait!