Chapter 7 : I Need You, You Need Me
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“Night, Hermione.” Harry called as he made his was to the boy dormitory, closely followed by Ron who also grunted, “Night.” She waved back at them and smiled, “Sweet dreams.” she wished the two of them before returning to her book.
Hermione sat alone curled on one of the deep red leather armchairs in the Gryffindor common room, re-reading “A History of Magic” by her favourite author, Bathilda Bagshot. The final chime of the historic grandfather clock declared that it was eleven o’clock in the evening. As the sound of the clock died down, Draco’s voice came out from behind the chair Hermione was occupying.
“I must say, I do like it in here. Very cosy.” He said whilst looking around the room, nodding approvingly.
“Jesus Christ!” Hermione exclaimed, jumping at the sound of his voice.
“I thought we’d already covered this,” Draco started, “my name’s Draco Malfoy, and just so you don’t get confused, yours is Hermione Granger.” He winked. Hermione stuck out a pointy pink tongue at him and went back to her book, pretending to be in a mood with him.
“Aw, you’re not in a mood with me are you?” He frowned, falling back onto the burgundy leather sofa placed opposite the blazing fire. Hermione looked up at him and scowled.
“Just teasing!” She said as her face broke from the scowl into a beaming smile, “You should have seen your face!” She laughed. He shook his head at her.
“Immature.” However he still let the sides of his mouth curl into a smile. He tilted his head to view the cover of the book Hermione was holding and snorted.
“What? It’s interesting!” She said defensively, hugging the book tightly to her chest which only caused Draco to roar with laughter.
“Not even the first time, Hermione.” He chuckled. She carefully placed the book onto the nearest coffee table, folded her arms and focused all her attention on him.
“Let’s see if you can prove yourself any more interesting then.”
“Oh I could, but that would be inappropriate.” He launched into his second fit of laughter as he saw her raise her eyebrows at him, alarmed that he would suggest such a thing.
Hermione was so innocent, Draco thought to himself, one of the many contributing factors to Draco’s new found fixation on her. He carelessly wondered if she was still a virgin, with no attempt to hide the smirk that dominated his perfect shaped lips as a crude scenario played in his mind. Snap out of it, you’re a ghost! His conscience screamed at him, however Draco ignored it.
“What are you smirking at?” Hermione asked curiously.
“Wha-? Um, nothing.” He stuttered. Smooth.
“Seriously, I was just… thinking.”
“Oh, you know… things.”
“What type of things?” Hermione quizzed. If it wasn’t for the mild blush that coloured his pallid face, she would have dropped it, but Hermione knew from his guilty expression, that whatever he had been thinking about he shouldn’t have been, which made her even more determined to find out what it was.
“Just you know… guy things.” He replied, slightly embarrassed he’d been caught in his pleasurable daydream.
“Sex, then?” Hermione giggled. He sighed and rolled his eyes.
“Guy things don’t necessarily mean sex!” He argued, although she was correct, of course.
“But this time?” She smirked, already aware of the answer.
“But this time guy things was sex, yes.”
“You certainly weren’t.” He smirked, welcoming back the mental nude image of Hermione. She grimaced at his comment and remained silent. He is truly disgusting, she thought to herself but couldn’t prevent the mental sex scene between the two of them occurring in head. Stop it! Don’t lower yourself to his level!
“So,” He began, “How was potions with Weasley?”
“It was fine,” She replied, smiling as she remembered the potion that blew up in Ron’s face, covering him in black soot. Another thought entered her mind as she remembered back to the conversation between Crabbe and Goyle she had overheard, “Um, Draco?”
“This is going to sound silly now, but, er… have you tried to, well, you know, haunt anyone?” She paused to study his face. He slowly shook his head, “Not even Crabbe?” She asked. A smirk played along his lips, “Draco!”
“Oh come on, I needed a bit of fun!” He chuckled. Hermione shook her head disapprovingly at him but couldn’t help smile at the satisfied grin placed on Draco’s mouth.
“Thought any more about why you’re still here?” Hermione asked after a short pause.
“Yes. But I can’t see why any of them would prevent me from moving on.” He sighed and slouched back onto the sofa, resting his eyes.
Draco hadn’t slept since the night he was murdered. He didn’t know if it was because he couldn’t sleep, him being a ghost and all, or that he was afraid to sleep. But for whatever reason, he hadn’t welcomed sleep back into his… afterlife? He also realised that he hadn’t eaten since he’d died; he hadn’t even been hungry which he found very unusual since his mother was always complaining about having no food in the house due to her son raiding the cupboards every half an hour. As if Hermione had read his mind, she asked “When was the last time you slept? You look tired.”
“Over a week ago.”
“Can ghosts not sleep?!”
“I haven’t been able to sleep. Then again, I’m a solid ghost that only you can see.”
“Very true,” She agreed, “Have you tried?”
“I haven’t wanted to.”
“What if I don’t wake up?”
“But, that’s what you want, isn’t it?”
“No, what I want it to move on.”
“I don’t understand.”
“Never mind, Hermione. You must be tired, why don’t you go to bed? I’ll still be here in the morning.” He smiled at her. She hesitated for a moment before deciding it best not to argue with him. Once she was standing, she walked over to him, leant down and placed a kiss on his cheek before picking up her book and walking to her bedroom.
The hours Hermione slept were the hours Draco found the loneliest. He spent most of them in the library, a place that reminded him of her, however no matter how hard he tried, he couldn’t see what Hermione found so interesting about the shelves of ancient books about celebrated wizards who had made astonishing discoveries. He scanned his eyes over the rows of dusted books, none took his interest. He considered returning to the Slytherin common room, however his last visit involved walking in on Pansy mounted on top of Blaise, he should of realised that the gentle moans were not coming from a weeping portrait.
As the sun began to rise, Draco decided to slowly make his way back to the Gryffindor common room where he told Hermione he would wait. The corridors were empty, with the exception of one or two students returning to their own common room from, what Draco imagined to be, and experimental night. Once arriving, he placed himself down on the armchair she had previously occupied. Inhaling the scent of her fruity perfume that had stained the soft cushions, Draco lent back into the leather and waited.
“Harry, do you think we should ask Hermione about Malfoy again?” Ron asked as the two sluggishly trailed down the stairs into the empty common room. Draco’s head shot up at the mention of his name, “ask Hermione about Malfoy again”, what exactly had Hermione told them? He turned to see them settle on the identical burgundy sofa at the opposite end of the room. He carefully stood up and moved to occupy a nearer seat.
“I don’t know, if she’d seen him since the funeral, she would have said something.” Harry answered, and then added, “Wouldn’t she?” Ron shrugged in reply.
“I guess so.”
“You need to stop worrying about her, mate. She seemed fine yesterday, didn’t she?”
“Hermione always seems fine.” Ron replied. Draco agreed silently, mentally adding; Hermione always looks fine, too. “But she’s been a bit distant, don’t you think?” He continued.
“Ron, Malfoy died, despite Hermione’s hatred towards him, death’s death. Girls take everything harder than guys.” Ron nodded slowly in agreement. Before he got the chance to reply, Hermione bounded down the stairs, grinning.
“Morning, Hermione.” Ron stuttered. Her smile fell when she saw that just the two of them were in the common room, however it soon returned as she replied “Good morning, Ronald! Harry!” She rushed over to give them both a quick hug. Draco stood up and walked cautiously into Hermione’s view, careful not to startle her. When she saw him she smiled warmly, quickly directing her eyes back to Harry and Ron to prevent any difficult questions.
“Anyone up for breakfast? I’m starving!” She exclaimed, rubbing her stomach which let out a grumble. The two boys laughed as they stood up. Hermione gave them a quick full body inspection before stating;
“As much as I love you both, I will not be walking to the main hall with you both in your jimjams.” Harry and Ron laughed at Hermione’s word for nightwear, a third laugh was also to be heard, but Hermione was sure that this one, only she could hear.
“Shut up,” She frowned, “All of you.”
Harry and Ron continued to laugh but made their way to their dorm nevertheless, dropping jokes about their jimjams as they went.
“Jimjams?” Draco chuckled, walking over to give her a one armed hug.
“What’s wrong with that?” She pouted back.
Hermione had always used the word jimjams when talking about nightwear, it’s what her parents had taught her. She made a mental note to upgrade her vocabulary before mentioning anything of the sort to her two best friends again, and to Draco. It felt weird regarding Draco as a best friend, despite how close they had become the past few days. She was very fond of him, the feelings experienced during their kiss had confirmed that, but he was Draco Malfoy, he didn’t suit the title best friend.
Did Draco have a best friend? Hermione wondered. She knew who he hung around with; Crabbe, Goyle, Blaise and that stuck-up bitch, Pansy. However at his funeral, she noticed neither one of them shedding a tear. Maybe it was to keep up to their heartless expectations most people had of the Slytherin house, but surely they’d show some emotion towards the death of their friend.
“Oh nothing… if you’re a first year.” Draco tittered, interrupting Hermione’s thoughts. Unable to come up with a decent reply that she knew would shut Draco up, Hermione settled on raising her middle finger at him, something he found highly amusing.
“Www… Not very friendly.” He joked, collapsing back onto the chair from which he had risen. She smiled back at him, mimicking his movement on the opposite chair.
“How was your evening?” She asked politely.
“Lonely. But it gave me time to think.”
“I think you’re right about returning to the place I died.” He confessed.
“But I can’t go back there alone.” His locked eyes with hers. Hermione made no attempt in hiding the shock that had overcome her when she realised what Draco was insinuating.
“You want me to assist you to the manor?” She swallowed.
“I… I don’t know!” She exclaimed, “People can see me! What if one of the deatheaters see me? Then I’m a goner for sure!” Draco moved to crouch in front of her, taking on of her hands in his.
“I know it’s a lot to ask, and you really don’t have to, but I really think this could be what’s holding me back.”
“I just don’t understand how I’d be much help.” She sighed.
“You’d be there, you’d give me the strength to go through with it.” He whispered, gently caressing her hand with his thumb.
“They’d see me.”
“Not if you were to borrow Pot- …Harry’s invisibility cloak.” He hinted. Draco watched as Hermione struggled to answer. She wanted to help Draco, she really did, but it was dangerous, too dangerous. He was already dead, no harm could come to him, but her, she had her whole life ahead of her. Selfish, she thought to herself. There was no denying that she wasn’t being selfish, but sometimes being selfish was good, wasn’t it?
“You know what? Forget it. Forget I even mentioned it. I’ll stay a few more days, and then I’ll leave for the manor. Alone.” Draco whispered to her, squeezing her hand reassuringly.
“No.” She breathed back, “I’ll come with you, you need me.”
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