Lavender being outed as the leak was forgotten quickly as the Gryffindor/Slytherin match drew closer. It was only ten days from the moment that they had confronted Lavender to the actual match and both teams where vying for permission to use the pitch.
The pitch was where Hermione spent most of her time. It was every other day that Gryffindor practiced and every day in-between that it was Slytherin. On the upside she did manage to get her book more or less finished in those moments. Now all she had to do was re draft it. Something which she started immediately.
If she was honest there was no chance that Slytherin where going to bet her team. Harry was too quick at finding the snitch, Ron had gotten very good at saving, even against his own professional level sister who the entire team seemed to think was the reason that they were going to win. Dean, Demelza, Cootes and Peaks where working off their team mates perfectly and Hermione didn’t think she had seen a better Gryffindor team in her whole time at Hogwarts.
The Slytherin team was completely different. Blaise being keeper was good and Draco managed to catch the snitch quite quickly but Astoria was causing tension in the team. She was playing so aggressively and she was shouting at the whole team that Daphne ended up in tears. Daphne wouldn’t listen to Blaise and kept crying whenever she looked at him and the other chaser took Astoria’s side when the beaters kept hitting the bludgers in Astoria’s direction. No one really wanted to play with each other and by the looks of it everyone hated it.
By the end of the session they were all down trodden and soaked from the rain. Hermione had created a small bubble in which she sat which kept her perfectly dry but the players couldn’t move for rain. Hermione sincerely hoped it wouldn’t be like that on the day of the match. The Gryffindor Slytherin match was the one everyone looked forward to. The schools two greatest enemies competing against each other in the wizarding world’s greatest game. It wouldn’t be a very good day if everyone got soaked.
By the time that the Slytherins left the pitch the sun however was starting to peak through the clouds and the rain had stopped when Harry led his team onto the pitch for their afternoon practice.
“We are doomed,” Draco groaned as he sat down next to her. Hermione popped her bubbled and closed her book.
“You are not doomed,” she replied, “you have very little chance of winning, but you aren’t doomed. Draco smiled slightly as his eyes darted across the pitch following the players.
“No one wants to play with each other, there is so much tension on that team. We will be lucky if we score a goal.”
“Draco,” Hermione said turning to him, “I can’t really help you on this, you know I’m bias.”
“Yeah I know,” he smiled taking her hand gently, “let’s just hope Astoria doesn’t kill me by the end of this.”
Hermione walked into the great hall on the morning of the match and saw a very loud very hyperactive student body waiting for her. Glancing up at the ceiling she saw that the sky was clear. Perfect conditions. She also noticed that everyone seemed to have gone back to their own tables. People not wanting to mix on the day of the epic match. Draco looked relaxed enough when she spotted him laughing with Blaise. He caught her eye and smiled before leaving the hall with the rest of the team.
Ginny rushed over to her and engulfed her in a hug before pointing up to the top table. Two wizards and one witch were standing with McGonagall and Professor Harrow.
“They are the scouts Hermione! They are here to see me!”
“Well you best win then hadn’t you,” Hermione laughed as she sat down at the table.
“Just think, I could be one step closer to going professional by the end of today.”
“We all know you will get there Gin, you’re too good not too,” Harry smiled. He turned to Hermione, “the team have all had breakfast we are going to head down.”
“Ok, good luck guys,” she smiled in response and watched them all as they left the hall. She scooted down the table and sat next to Neville, Seamus and Privati.
“Oh, hello Hermione,” Neville said, “you looking forward to the match?”
“Of course,” she replied. She turned to Privati, “have you still not made up with Lavender? Where is she this morning?”
“I haven’t spoken to her in a while, and she’s over there.” Hermione glanced down the table and her eyes caught sight of the girl who had ruined her relationship. If she was honest Lavender didn’t look too good. In fact she looked like she was ready to throw up at any minute.
“Is she ok?” Hermione asked.
“I don’t know,” Privati shrugged before turning back and continuing her conversation with the two boys.
Neville was explaining his plans for the future to the pair and Seamus seemed to think it was rather unfair that he was going to be let into the auror office without proper training but was in awe of it at the same time. Privati however seemed not to be able to take her eyes off Seamus and Hermione couldn’t help but wonder what was going on between the two.
When they got up to walk down to the pitch Privati pulled Hermione off slightly, linking their arms together as the made their way across the grounds.
“Ron told Seamus that you said that you couldn’t be with him because you are dating this prince charming,” she said.
“Yep,” Hermione replied.
“So it’s true then, you are officially dating Draco Malfoy?” Hermione blushed slightly.
“I keep forgetting all you girls know he’s the prince charming. I’m glad you haven’t told anyone and yes it’s official.” Privati let out a small squeak.
“I think it is adorable,” she said, “it’s like you have reformed the bad boy.”
“I think he did most of the reforming on his own,” Hermione laughed.
“Oh but you know what I mean. Are you still keeping it under wraps? Padma, Hannah and I were all talking the other day and we decided that we could tell now. Like the way he looks at you. So they told me to tell you to be careful. We don’t want to see you getting hurt.”
Hermione smiled gratefully.
“Thank you for the tip off, I’ll make sure we are more careful, could you imagine the fall out if it got out!”
“It would be horrific and the boys would go ballistic! Especially Dean.”
“Dean?” Hermione asked curiously.
“He is very protective of you; he was pestering me asking if I knew who this prince charming was. I think he might like you a little more than he cares to admit.”
Hermione was taken aback by this information. She never would have thought in a million years that Dean would like her. She decided to change the subject as they entered the ground.
“So, what’s going on with you and Seamus?” she probed. Privati just blushed.
“Nothing much really, I mean he said he liked me but he’s going back to Ireland when he’s finished school and I was going to go an work at Madame Malkins.
“You could just apperate back to Ireland, it only takes a second.” Privati nodded.
“I guess, I suppose I’m just going to have to talk to him.”
They took their seats with the boys and watched as the game began to unfold before their eyes. Unsurprisingly Luna was commentating and it made for a very funny game. When Gryffindor was in possession she would talk about how much she liked them and when Slytherin was in possession she would talk about how Astoria’s hair extensions could be seen and about how Blaise was looking manly and well-toned. Once or twice she referred to Malfoy as ‘that nice boy that punched Ronald Weasly’ which for some reason had Seamus in stiches beside her.
The game seemed like a good one. Ginny played excellently scoring one hundred points for them against Blaise and two penalty’s (one was because Astoria had knocked Ginny into the stands rather violently and one because Astoria had tried to knock Ron off when the ball was the other end of the pitch). By the time Harry had even caught a glimpse of the snitch it was one hundred and forty to sixty.
An hour and a half had passed before the crowd caught sight of Harry diving, his arm stretched in front of him. Hermione watched as Draco zoomed after him but Harry was too far in front and caught it before Draco was even level with him. Needless to say, three quarters of the stadium erupted in loud cheers as the rest of the team converged on Harry, none of them seeing what happened next. Hermione being the exception.
As the Gryffindor’s ran onto the pitch Astoria took one of the beaters bats and smacked a bludger right into the back of Malfoy. Even over the crowd Hermione swore she heard a sickening crunch as he crumpled and fell about twenty feet from his broom onto the grass below.
Hermione let out an ear splitting scream that no one failed to notice and the crowd went silent as they began to realise what had just happened. From that point on it didn’t matter to Hermione who knew, it didn’t matter if she blew their cover she needed to get to Draco. It took her a while to get to the other side of the pitch but as she pushed through the crowd she caught sight of the red grass. He was bleeding, he was bleeding so badly. But he wasn’t there when she arrived she only saw Harry and Ginny.
“Where is he?” she asked her best friends frantically, her eyes not tearing from the fallen broom and the blood stained pitch. She had grabbed hold of Harry’s robes tightly, she was scared to let go, her legs were weak. Harry and Ginny just looked at her, fear in their eyes.
“Tell me where he is!” she screamed, “What happened to him!”
“M-Madame hooch took him up to the hospital wing,” Ginny said, slow tears begging to drip down her face. “Mione he didn’t look good, I think he might have broken his back and his head was bleeding…oh Mione!”
Ginny tried to clutch onto Hermione’s hand but she yanked it away and began sprinting as fast as she could out of the field and up the slope towards the school. Her heart felt like it had stopped, her entire body was shaking but she still didn’t stop running. Though her legs felt like they were going to collapse and her eyes streamed acid tears she still didn’t stop running.
Taking the stairs two at a time she bounded towards the third floor. She ran to the hospital wing and burst through the double doors.
Those who were in the room instantly fell silent and turned to look at her. There was Madame Pomfrey, Professor McGonagall, Professor Slughorn and Astoria. Hermione’s eyes narrowed. The girl was standing a little away from the group as Madame Pomfrey bent over Draco her wand in one hand and a bottle of some potion in the other.
“What is she doing here?” Hermione snapped. McGonagall looked shocked by the amount of acid that shot from the head girls mouth.
“Miss Granger, Miss Greengrass is here as Mr Malfoy’s Girlfriend.” Hermione’s eyes shot to Astoria as her eyebrows raised.
“Girlfriend? I think you might have been forgetting the moment when he broke up with you Astoria.” Astoria just looked at her with a smirk as if goading her to tell the room she was really the girlfriend.
All Hermione wanted to do was scream at her to go away and give into her goading. Astoria wasn’t the one in tears or who had rushed as fast as she could to find him. Astoria was the one who had caused all of this!
“He would need it if Astoria hadn’t hit a bludger at him!” Hermione cried. This was where the professors in the room all twisted to stare at her.
“Miss Granger,” McGonagall said aghast, “that is a very serious accusation.”
“Well it’s a true one, I saw it happen.”
Hermione watched as McGonagall’s lips tightened as she surveyed the pair. The head knew that Hermione wouldn’t lie and she wasn’t stupid enough to not be able to notice the way she had grown closer to the man on the bed over the year. In fact in her mind what Hermione had said made perfect sense.
Hermione couldn’t suppress the relief that she felt when McGonagall led the auburn haired girl from the hospital wing and up to her office and Slughorn noticed it immediately. He pulled up a chair by Draco’s bed and Hermione sat in it, holding his hand and stroking his skin with her thumb, soft tears rolling down her face. She couldn’t help but think that this was all her fault. If she wasn’t with Draco he would never have broken up with Astoria and she would never have hurt him.
It had gone dark by the time the double doors of the hospital wing opened and Ginny, Blaise and Pansy came rushing in.
“Hermione, is he ok?” Ginny cried, her long red hair swinging behind her. Hermione didn’t look away from Draco’s pale face as she shook her head.
“No, he lost a lot of blood and Madame Pomfrey said that Astoria had cracked his skull but we won’t know the damage to his brain until he comes around.”
“We would have been here sooner but McGonagall wanted to speak to us,” Blaise said, “and Pomfrey wouldn’t let us in until now.” Hermione just nodded.
“She’s been kicked off the team,” Ginny beamed, “some ravenclaw fourth years came forward and told her that they had seen it. McGonagall kicked her off and has given her detention twice a week for the rest of the year.”
“It’s lucky she wasn’t expelled,” Pansy breathed, “serves her right if she was though.” The three newcomers looked at Hermione and then at each other. Ginny hugged her friend quickly and told her that they would be in the seventh year common room now that the Gryffindor party was over. Hermione didn’t say anything but nodded and laid her head on Draco’s legs. Pansy covered her up with a blanket and all three left the room whispering softly to one another.
Hermione didn’t wake up until she heard a light coughing and felt a rustling beneath her head. Stretching as she sat up her brown eyes locked onto the silver grey of the guy she was slowly falling in love with. A huge rush of relief flooded through her body and she let out a breath she didn’t realise she was holding.
“Draco,” she whispered. He flashed her a weak smile.
“I’m sorry if I woke you up,” he replied softly reaching his hand out to push a strand of hair out of the way of her face.
“No, it’s ok, what time is it? How long have you been awake?”
“Erm past four I think, I’ve been awake about half an hour.” She looked at him aghast.
“Why didn’t you wake me up then?”
“I was watching you sleep,” he admitted as he scooted over and patted the bed beside him. Hermione snuggled under the covers and into Draco’s arms. It was the best feeling Hermione had ever felt in her life. The relief that he was ok, the safety she felt with his arms around her. All the worry had been washed away and she felt calm and peaceful for the first time that day.
Draco didn’t take long to begin to ask questions. He asked about what had happened after the match and Hermione told him all about Astoria. About what she had said and what McGonagall had done. Draco was pleased by the idea that he wouldn’t have to play her in the next match. Then they laid in silence for hours. Hermione had a feeling Draco was trying to work up the courage to say something but it took a while for him to actually come out with it.
“Hermione, would you like to stay with me over the Easter holidays, at my apartment?” She looked up at him in astonishment.
“Are-are you sure?” she stuttered. Draco lifted her face to his and kissed it lightly.
“I’m sure,” he smiled. A bright beam broke out across Hermione’s face.
“I would love to.”
It was another few hours, when the pair had concocted a plan of how to get past Ron that Hermione made her way back up to the dorm. Light was beginning to stream through the windows and when she walked in the common room was deserted…all apart from the small redhead who was stretched out on one of the sofa’s covered in a blanket.
Hermione shook her awake carefully.
“Gin,” she whispered, “Gin he’s ok.” The youngest Weasly hugged her best friend tightly.
“Good, can you imagine what you would have been like to live with if he hadn’t been ok,” she laughed.
“You never told me about the scouts,” Hermione said as she settled under the blanket with her best friend.
“Oh that,” Gin shrugged, “well both teams gave me an offer to train with them this summer and join the team when I have finished my N.E.W.T.S.”
“Gin that’s amazing,” Hermione beamed.
“Yep, now I just have to choose which one to go for.”
“I think I know the answer already,” Hermione laughed, “I mean, who would want to play for the Chudley Cannons.”