Chapter 8 : Silent Secrets
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Awake My Soul, Mumford and Sons
Ginny Potter threw herself into a wooden chair, which happened to sit around the Potter’s circular breakfast table. Too sleepy to change into day clothing, Ginny kept her pink chenille robe wrapped around her slender frame. After glancing at the nearby grandfather clock, she brought a polished hand to her mouth to cover a decent sized yawn.
The truth of the matter was that Ginny would have rather stayed in bed for a few more hours. Unfortunately, Harry had given her strict instructions to meet him in the kitchen at 8:00 AM. Ginny was also to contact Ron, Neville, and Luna and tell them to also join the Potter’s for breakfast that morning. After returning at some ungodly hour last night, Harry had told his wife that a meeting about Hermione’s condition was needed right away in the morning. Harry, however, had a quick meeting to attend, and requested for everyone to be waiting for him when he returned.
Ginny really didn’t have a single clue about what this “meeting” would entail. She knew that Harry did visit Hogwarts last evening, in an attempt to find any clues about Hermione’s condition. It was a truly brilliant plant he had conducted in his head; the whole idea of asking the portraits is they had seen anything suspicious over the years. She had been weary of the idea at first, but eventually realized how genius it had been. He must’ve not found anything too drastically thrilling, because he would have told her that night.
She stood up from her seat, and placed a pot of ginger tea on the stove to hand everyone when they eventually arrived; this particular crowd wasn’t keen on timing. Ginny reached for the cupboard above the sink, and pulled out a few patterned mugs, lining them each on the countertop. After a few minutes, Ginny grabbed her favorite lavender mug, and reached for the hot teapot. She swore under her breath when her fingertips touched the boiling side, and immediately reached for a hand towel to grab the handle. To her frustration, the doorbell sounded from the other end of the house.
“Coming! You can let yourself in!” she shouted as she re-positioned the tea pot on the stove, and placed her mug back on the counter. Ginny made sure her robe was pulled tight across her waist as she hurried across the tiled floor of her kitchen and across the wooden flooring to the front entrance. With one turn of the handle, she opened the door to find her brother standing outside.
“Hi, Ron,” She stated as he walked across the threshold.
Ron looked as if he had climbed out of bed a few moments before arriving; his hair was messy, his eyes baggy, and his clothing didn’t seem to quite match.
Ginny narrowed her eyes as she crossed her arms over her chest.
“Well hello Ginny, how are you on this lovely morning?” Ginny sarcastically shot in his direction.
“Come on, Gin. I was getting around to it. How are you?”
Ginny began to walk towards the kitchen, with Ron following her.
“I’m wishing I was still in bed at the moment,” She said as she reached the stove, “Do you want some tea?”
Ron nodded as he took a seat at the table.
Ginny continued to fill his cup with tea.
“But why did Harry want us here so early? He knows I’ve never been a morning bloke.”
Ginny shrugged as she placed his mug in front of him, and lowered herself into a seat across from him.
“I don’t know, he wouldn’t say.”
“Do you think he found anything at Hogwarts?”
Ginny leaned back into her chair.
“I really don’t know, Ron. He came back so late, or I guess you could say early, and went straight to bed. He did seem a little frazzled, so maybe.”
Ron shook his head.
“I just don’t see Hermione kissing anyone else.
Ginny suddenly lowered her gaze into her tea mug as she took a sip.
“I don’t know, Ron. I’m not sure about anything anymore.”
Ginny looked up as the door bell sounded once again.
“Just let yourselves in!” She shouted.
“Why didn’t you say that to me?”
Ginny’s gaze narrowed again.
“I did yell it, you tosspot. You’re probably just too deaf to hear it.”
Before Ron could retort, Neville and Luna entered into the kitchen.
“Hi, guys,” Ginny welcomed as they each grabbed a seat around the table.
“It’s a bit early, isn’t it?” Neville said as he took of his coat.
“That’s the understatement of the day.”
Luna smiled brightly at Ginny as she held out a small basket.
“I baked you some muffins from the plums from my garden. I hope you do enjoy them,” Luna cooed in her whimsical voice.
Ginny thanked Luna as she grabbed the gift. Her brow raised as Neville began to shake his head quickly with a grimace, alluding that the muffins weren’t very suitable to eat.
“So, what’s with the meeting?”
Ginny shook her head.
The four sat in silence for a few minutes before suddenly hearing the front door open. In a few moments, an intense looking Harry appeared in the kitchen.
“Hi, everyone. Thanks for coming.”
“This better be good, mate. It’s too bloody early for me.”
Harry glanced at his friend.
“Trust me, you all will want to hear this.”
Harry pulled over a chair, and lowered himself into a seat beside Ginny.
“I wanted you all to come here, because I have a new hint in the Hermione situation.”
Everyone’s eyes seemed to brighten as Harry began to speak.
“Yesterday I decided to go to Hogwarts to see if I could discover any clues or hints to what…what exactly happened with Hermione. I asked the portraits if they remembered Hermione being…er…intimate with anyone.”
“Did they know anything?” Ginny interjected.
Harry shook his head.
“No, none of them remembered anything.”
Everyone seemed to release a collective sigh.
“But there was one portrait named Marcus Willabee, and he remembered a strange situation that Hermione was involved in during our third year. She had come out of the great hall after one meal, and was yelling at a boy about Buckbeak. They were shouting, and then suddenly stopped. And after a minute, he didn’t remember hearing anything else.”
The group seemed confused.
“And how is this related to Hermione’s first kiss?” Neville asked.
Harry leaned forward.
‘Well, the first thing is that Hermione was alone with a boy. The second thing is that something happened to change their argument.”
Ron jumped into the conversation.
“And just who was the guy?” he shot with some agitation.
Harry tightened his lips as he threw a quick glance in Ginny’s direction.
“Willabee remembered the boy mentioning that he was…he was a Slytherin.”
In an instant, Ron jumped upright, and threw his hands into the air.
“No way, Harry. I know exactly where you’re going with this. And no bloody way.”
“Ron, we have to look at the facts.”
“The facts?! It’s an unreliable testimony from a grouchy portrait!”
Ginny decided to aid her husband.
“Ron, even though all of us despise Draco, it’s beginning to become clear that he may have been Hermione’s first kiss.”
Ron rolled his eyes.
“Listen to yourselves! Why on earth with Malfoy kiss Hermione? They hated each other!”
“That’s what we all thought too, Ron. But it’s impossible to know. This story could be a very critical step in the right direction.”
Ron flew up from his seat, and crossed his arms over his chest.
“Harry, no. There is no way in this entire planet that I am letting that git get within three feet of Hermione.”
“We have to at least try, Ron,” Harry reminded.
“No, Absolutely not.”
“Ronald Weasley-“ Ginny Began with narrowed eyes.
“Were you not there in the hospital room the other day with Malfoy came in and shouted at us? He was joking, trying to get a reaction out of us.”
“That’s what I thought too, until I thought about it. Why would he even show up in the first place? And why would he even suggest it?”
Ron huffed, crossing his arms as he narrowed his eyes. To his right, Ginny sighed.
“Ron, what if is somehow is Malfoy? We have to save Hermione. That’s why we’re here. I miss my friend, and I want her back, even if it means letting Malfoy snog her for a few seconds.”
He seemed to let Ginny’s words sink in for a few moments.
“But it’s Malfoy….” He muttered softly.
“I know, Ron. I honestly can’t believe it either. But it’s worth a try.”
Ron shook his head as he looked at his friend, allowing the group to sit in utter silence for a few moments.
“So let’s say that…that Malfoy did…was…intimate with her. Just how are you going to get him to help us after he went completely mental in the hospital the other day?”
“Yes, Harry. How are you going to manage that?” Luna cooed as she gazed at his spectacles.
Harry paused, glancing at each of his friends.
“Well, I can’t believe I’m even saying this, but for Hermione’s sake, the conversation may have to start with an apology.”
“You’re damn right it does. After how he treated us the other day.”
Harry threw his wife a look of surprise at the intensity of her tone and language.
“I don’t mean from him. I mean an apology from us.”
The following morning at Malfoy and Zabini Enterprises, Draco Malfoy sat glumly at his desk as his work began to pile in front of him. While his head rested in the hand of one arm, he twiddled a pen between his fingers with the other.
He had never been so frustrated and confused in his entire life. The whole “Granger in eternal peril” situation left him agitated and annoyed. It seemed he would never forgive his mother for forcing him to visit the trio. It was distracting him from work, as well as his love life. Whatever form of a “love life” he had anyway. Tossing his pen on his desk, he picked up a stack of papers, and began the attempt to sort through them.
Draco didn’t look up when Blaise walked in.
“This is too much work, Blaise,” Draco stated as Blaise leaned over his desk.
“Come on, it isn’t that awful,” Blaise comforted as he rolled his eyes.
“Then I guess it isn’t a good time to give you these briefing documents,” Blaise said as he placed another stack in front of Draco.
Draco shot him a poisonous glare as he snatched the papers from Blaise.
“No, not really.”
Blaise shook his head playfully as he turned to leave. Before exciting into the hall, he paused.
“Are you sure you’re alright, mate?” Blaise questioned.
Draco sighed as he nodded.
Blaise chewed in his lower lip for a few seconds, and then stepped outside of his office. Draco watched him leave before leaning back into his chair, and running his hands through his silvery blonde hair.
“Will someone please explain why the bloody hell this is happening to me?” Draco snapped as he yelled at the ceiling.
For the next few hours, Draco continued to work at a slow, leisurely pace while his mind raced. He didn’t know what to do. There was no way he would waltz right into St. Mungo’s and put on Granger. No bloody way. Call it Malfoy, or even Slytherin pride, but he couldn’t bring himself to do it. And what if everyone in the wizarding world found out that he had kissed Granger? The thought made him shudder. But then, his mother’s voice inside his head reminded him of everything that Granger and her trio had done to save them during the war. What was he to do?
He looked up as their secretary, Alana, entered his office.
“How can I help you, Alana?” Draco asked, still reclined into his chair.
She gave him an uneasy smile.
‘What is it?” He asked with a more serious demeanor.
Alana cleared her throat.
“You have a visitor.”
Draco shook his head.
“There’s nothing about a meeting on my schedule.”
“This wasn’t on the schedule.”
“Well, who is it?” he asked impatiently.
Alana glanced behind her.
“It’s Harry Potter.”
Draco’s insides twisted.
“What does he want?”
“He wants a word with you.”
Draco grabbed his chin with a free hand, while staring intensely at his secretary.
“Alright, send him in.”
Dammit. Potter was here to continue their shouting match within his own office. His palms became suddenly sweaty as the doorknob turned. Potter stood in the doorway, dressed in his usual casual attire, which seemed out of place inside the corporation. Draco watched him take a few steps toward him before he halted.
“What are you doing here Potter?” he snapped across the room.
Harry seemed uneasy as well, but was masking it better than Draco was.
“We need to talk, Malfoy. Now,” Harry shot.
“Don’t get so fussy, Potter.”
It looked as it Harry was about to retaliate, but he seemed to stop himself.
“I’m not here to cause a fight or play games with you, Malfoy. I’m here for Hermione.”
The sound of her name caused him to fidget in his chair.
“What do you want?”
“I just want to have a word with you, one on one.”
It seemed to Draco that Potter seemed genuine in his request. Draco slowly stood from his seat, but stayed behind his desk.
“I never expected to see you inside my own office, Potter. Think of the irony in that.”
“Trust me, I’m trying not to,” Harry shot.
The two didn’t speak for a few moments, and continued to stare the other down.
“Look Malfoy, we need to finish our conversation.”
“I thought we did.”
“No, we didn’t. And you know it.”
Draco tilted his head.
“If I can remember correctly, you kicked me out.”
Harry’s eyes narrowed.
“And I remember correctly, you barged in and began a screaming match with my friends and my wife, which forced me to invoke the policy of throwing you out.”
“You didn’t come to help; you came to hurt. And that is something I won’t tolerate. But in your tirade you seemed to unknowingly divulge some secret from your past, which brings me here today.”
“I never said anything!”
“Oh, come on, Malfoy, you implied a good amount of things!”
“Get off your sacred broom, Potter. I would never tell you anything that I didn’t want you to know,” Draco snarled.
Harry suddenly held up his hands
“Stop, just stop. You’re missing the point.”
Draco crossed his arms over his chest.
“And what point is that?”
“The point is that you may have implied some things that could be of help to Hermione.”
Harry’s tone seemed to soften a bit as he continued.
“Look Malfoy, I didn’t come here to start another argument with you. I…I came to apologize for how we treated you.”
Draco’s eyes narrowed in confusion as his mouth dropped a fraction.
“Don’t get me wrong, Potter, your apology is quite satisfying, but why the hell are you apologizing to me?”
“Because we didn’t believe you, and came to our own conclusions based on the past. You said that you may have…have kissed Hermione….”
“I never said that, it was hypothetical-“ Draco interrupted.
“Let me finish,” Harry shot, “Whatever you said, or were trying to say, we didn’t believe you, and we didn’t give you a fair chance to speak and help us.”
Malfoy pursed his lips as he studied Harry, still in awe of what he just heard.
“And what convinced you that what I said may have been true?” he asked, wondering why Potter would believe that he would have had something to do with snogging Granger.
Harry looked past Draco and out through the window.
“I went to Hogwarts and asked the portraits to give me any information they had about Hermione being intimate with anyone at Hogwarts.”
Draco froze. Harry seemed to notice Draco’s change in demeanor, which caused him to continue.
“No one had seen Hermione doing anything except walking with either Ron or myself, but there was one portrait who told me a story that caught my attention. He mentioned an argument that he overhead Hermione and a Slytherin involved in during third year, which happened to be about a hippogriff. I don’t think anyone else would have a go at Hermione about Buckbeak, considering you caused him to be sentenced to death in the first place.”
“In case you didn’t notice, Potter, Granger and I were never on civil terms. Especially about that bloody beast.”
Harry seemed to ignore Draco’s comment.
“I wasn’t moved by his story until the end, where he told me that the argument suddenly stopped for a few minutes, and then you both left. Doesn’t that seem a bit strange to you?”
Draco’s body went rigid as the memory of their kiss slid through his memory. There must have been a portrait who had overheard their…conversation. And all this time he thought it was his private secret. For the first time since Potter entered his office, Draco was speechless.
“Look, I don’t know what happened between you and Hermione, and quite frankly, I really don’t have any desire to. Set aside your arrogance and pride just for a few minutes, and please help us save Hermione. She doesn’t deserve to be cursed like this; you are the only on that can save her from an eternity of sleep. You’ll never have to speak to any of us again, I promise. Please, Malfoy.”
Draco was at a loss of words. Potter had uncovered his secret, his secret that he had planned to take to his grave. His entire reputation was on the line.
“Malfoy, please. You know it’s the right thing to do.”
Harry’s last line penetrated his insides. All this time, he knew the right answer, but he had avoided coming to that conclusion. But now was the time to decide. Draco thought of his mother, about the wars, about Hogwarts, and about Granger herself.
“Alright,” he softly stated.
Harry looked at him with a small look of surprise.
“You’re doing the right thing, Malfoy.”
Draco couldn’t seem to face Harry directly.
“When?” he muttered.
Harry began to step towards the door.
“Now. It won’t take very long at all. You’ll be back quickly.”
Draco nodded as he grabbed his jacket, and stepped in front of Harry before opening the door.
“Look, Potter. I don’t want anyone to know about this. My name better not be mentioned in the Prophet,”
“No one has to know.”
The two stepped into the hall, and stood silently outside his door. Just as they began to turn, a voice sounded from down the hall.
“Draco, where the bloody hell are you going?” Blaise shouted as he made his way towards them.
Blaise’s gaze went from annoyance to shock as he caught sight of Harry.
“Potter? What are you doing here?”
Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Potter smirk a tiny fraction.
“Malfoy is needed for some personal business. He’ll be back soon.”
Blaise seemed very puzzled.
“What? Why would you have personal business with Potter?”
Draco narrowed his eyes, unable to resist teasing his friend. He figured Blaise would eventually find out anyway.
“I’m just off to St. Mungo’s to wake up Granger. You may have to finish that paperwork for me.”
Draco turned on his heal as a small smirk formed on his face. Potter followed behind him as the pair began to walk to the lifts.
“Wait….you’re off to what….St.Mungo’s to…to…wake…Granger? What?” Blaise shouted in confusion.
Draco silently waited to Blaise to fully understand. As soon as it sunk in, Blaise began to yell.
“Wait…WHAT? No! HOW IS THAT….DRACO MALFOY TURN YOUR BLOODY ARSE AROUND THIS INSTANT!”
Draco turned around for a second.
“Sorry, Blaise, I’m on a bit of a tight schedule.”
He watched Blaise leap into his office, snatch his jacket and hurry after them down the hall.
“Alana! Cancel all my appointments for the rest of the afternoon!” Blaise shouted as he reached Draco and Harry.
“What?” The thin secretary shouted in confusion, “Where are you two going!?”
When Blaise reached Draco’s side, he turned in disbelief.
“Now this is something that I won’t believe until I see.”
Draco finally made a decison...a good one I think! Wow, we're coming to the end of this story, everyone! I've had such an amazing time writing this. The plan is 2 more chapters, with a possible epilogue.
Again, thanks so much for all of your awesome support! I love you all. Even though Harry Potter is done, it will live forever :) To quote Kat30, "May Harry Potter be continued."
I'm sure you've noticed that this site has been experiencing some problems recently:( (It makes me very sad). But the moderators are amazing and they keep this site working! Just in case the site is down, find me on the forums (my name is the same with a few numbers at the end) for info.
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Until chapter 9,
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