Chapter 25 : Stereotyped
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A faint tapping on his shoulder caused him to look up and over, where Neville was looming over him with a smile. “Hi Neville.”
“Hey Harry, did you have fun last night?”
Harry sat up and reached for his glasses, placing them on the bridge of his nose even though he knew they’d be falling in no time. “No, not really.”
Neville’s face fell slightly and he drew back. “Well I figured we could get some breakfast, since, you know, it’s been a while since you’ve been around.”
It was true – Harry had been spending his free time before and after classes huddled with his Professors in an unused classroom near the Astronomy Tower. Since Snape’s escape and the near killing of Dumbledore a few months ago, at the end of the previous school year, all security had been tightened around Harry and his lessons had grown to encompass not only his Headmaster, but all his teachers. As he thought back to that night, which he did fairly often, he felt no shock that Snape had tried to betray all of them. How many times had Harry tried telling Ron and Hermione that Snape was a Death Eater? How many times had there been proof that they all chose to ignore?
Harry looked over at Neville and offered what he hoped was a reassuring smile. “Sure. I’ll, uh, wake Ron.”
Neville nodded and made his way out of the dormitory, closing the door loudly, but happily, behind him.
When Ron and Harry walked into the Great Hall half an hour later, Ron still yawning, the first thing Harry noticed was Ginny wasn’t at the Gryffindor table waiting for them like she usually was. Instead it was just Luna, who had taken to sitting with them over sitting by herself at the Ravenclaw table, Neville, Dean and Seamus. Luna’s mess of curly blonde hair was buried in her father’s latest edition of The Quibbler while Neville watched unhappily as Dean and Seamus played a game of Wizard’s Chess. It was a well known fact that Neville was so awful at the game that even his friends refused to play him.
“Good morning Harry Potter, Ron.”
Ron grumbled a hello at Luna and sat down, already reaching to begin filling his plate.
Harry nodded at the boys and turned his attention to the bubbly girl. “Do you know where Ginny is?”
Luna’s eyes didn’t leave the magazine as she shook her head side to side. “All I know was she was going to be with some boy, so I’m sure she’s with him somewhere.”
Neville looked across the table at Harry, who looked down at his empty plate of food as if it had just talked. “Harry?”
Seamus punched Neville in the shoulder. “I’m sure it’s just for homework, mate.”
Dean nodded but gave no response as he was still getting over Ginny’s prompt and cold breakup with him last spring.
Ron offered Harry a giant cinnamon roll with one hand and poured cold pumpkin juice into his goblet with the other. “I’mzurezshegustfergoweedhadplainz.”
The boys looked at Ron while Luna chuckled and passed him a napkin.
Harry shook his head. “It’s fine guys, really. Let’s forget about it.”
Across the Great Hall, John and Michael strode sleepily over to the Slytherin table and sat down on either side of Blaise who was reading the Daily Prophet and poking at the eggs on his plate absentmindedly with a fork. The headlines on the front page, which were facing Michael, were all about more disappearances of Muggles and the destruction of houses where families supported Dumbledore. To date, more Muggles had disappeared or shown up dead than Wizards, but it was still alarming to see the damage Voldemort was causing with just his low level minions.
John shuffled the eggs on Blaise’s plate into his mouth and hit him playfully with his arm. “Where’d you disappear to last night? Last I saw you, you were sulking against the wall and watching the dancers.”
Blaise ignored him and turned the page of the Prophet.
Michael looked around. “And where in the world is Davin?”
Pansy, who had just scooted down towards them, giggled. “You’ll never guess what girl he’s with right now!”
In the Head’s Dormitory, Hermione woke up stiff on the couch but warm from the fireplace across form her. She was still in her gown from last night and could feel a headache coming on as she moved to sit up. Blurry images of masks, the Black Lake, crying, the kiss…
She looked around frantically for Draco, but he wasn’t on the other couch. With a sigh she looked down at the floor and saw that Draco was curled up on the floor by the couch she was on, also still in his clothes from last night and looking a little disheveled. Hermione wanted so badly to wake up and ask all the questions that were swimming through her head, but what if he regretted it? What if he was going to make fun of her and belittle her like he always did? She didn’t know if she could handle his insults and condescending nature after the emotional night she had just suffered through.
While she was lost in though, Draco slowly opened his eyes and squinted as he appraised the girl directly above him in his line of sight. It was obvious she was lost in that big brain of hers and hadn’t noticed his arousal from sleep. He knew he shouldn’t, but he couldn’t help but stare at the way the dress he bought her fit her body, as if it had been made for her alone. The red lipstick she had worn was almost gone and he had no clue where his jacket was. Her hair was a mess compared to what it had been last night, but he sort of preferred it that way, the way it used to be in the previous years – curly and messy but in an attractive, natural way.
Not that he would admit any of that.
Hermione twitched out of thought and looked down at Draco, a blush creeping onto her cheeks despite how hard she tried to push it down. “Morning.”
He folded his hands under his head and looked up at her expectantly, waiting to see if she would bring up what happened between them last night.
She had been sitting there crying one minute and the next minute she was right up against him, and for the life of him Draco couldn’t figure out why. As he had stared down at the top of her head, listening to her cry against his expensive shirt and hold on to the delicate fabric as if she had the right to, it crossed his mind that maybe being nice to a girl every once in a while really wasn’t that bad. There really wasn’t anything too complicating about it – just stand there and let her cry and you were considered nice. He could do that easily.
He had just put his arms awkwardly around her, hugging her to him to make her feel better, when before he knew it she was kissing him. He could taste the salt of the tears against his lips and feel their streaks against his cheek, if he hadn’t been so focused on how confusing the whole matter was he would’ve missed the fact that she was trembling against his body, those soft lips included. Just as quickly as it happened she was gone, her eyes downcast as she began wringing her hands together. It was obvious she was scared and embarrassed about what she had just done, and he could tell she wanted nothing more than to scoot to the other edge of the step they were sitting on at the base of the Grand Staircase. For reasons he couldn’t even begin to guess at, instead of letting her go, he leaned over and kissed her of his own free will. She was hesitant at first, and he could just imagine all the scenarios as to why he was doing it playing in her head, but after a few seconds it was if she didn’t care – she kissed him back, even going so far as to lean in closer to him.
A sneeze and cough brought him out of his remembering and he sat up to stare at the Head Girl, who was fumbling around in her school bag which she had left at the base of the couch the day before.
“Need a tissue?”
Hermione looked up and saw Malfoy was extending a folded up monogrammed handkerchief towards her. She reached forward to accept it, and gasped as his hand enclosed around hers just as her fingers grasped the edge of the fabric.
“What are you doing?”
Draco stood up, pulling Hermione along with him, and shook his head. “Honestly, here you are clearly sick and just sitting in the common room. It’s as if you want us both to be indisposed!”
Hermione’s eyes narrowed. “I was getting things under control.”
He rolled his eyes. “Come on, go upstairs and take a hot shower. Change into something warm and get under the covers, we can’t have you missing classes now, can we?”
She cocked her head to the side. “Why are you being so nice?”
Draco shrugged. “Why are you letting me?” When she didn’t respond he shrugged and began walking towards the stairs leading up to his room.
“Where are we going!?”
“If you won’t take a bath in your bathroom, you’ll just have to use mine.”
Hermione dug her heels and yanked her hand out of Draco’s. “I most certainly will not!”
Draco turned around to face her. “Then go be the good girl we all know you are and take care of yourself before you get any worse.”
She didn’t want to seem weak, but she had to admit that taking a hot bath would probably make her feel better, so holding her pride she turned and went up to her room and from there into the bathroom.
When she emerged 20 minutes later, wrapped in a towel and wiping the remaining tears from her eyes, she found Draco sitting on her bed reading a book.
Hermione slammed the bathroom door closed. “What are you doing in my room!?”
Draco looked up, closed the book and shrugged. “You left the door open.”
“And you think that means you can just stroll in here uninvited?”
He raised an eyebrow. “It would see like the open door was invitation enough. If you wanted me in here so badly you could’ve just asked.”
Hermione glared back at him and tightened her grip on the towel. “I’ve had more than enough of you to last me a while, my head’s killing me and I really don’t need your sick little games added to the pressure. If you don’t mind, would you please leave? …Hold on, what are you doing?”
Draco’s hands continued to move down his shirt, taking his time undoing the buttons and sighing as if the world’s problems rested on his shoulders. “Getting comfortable. I have a migraine myself.”
“You can ‘get comfortable’ in your own bloody room!”
“But you won’t talk to me in there, will you?”
Hermione’s face fell. She had been hoping he would just ignore what happened between them, how she had initiated a kiss, but it seemed like he was determined to make her feel uncomfortable about it. The whole time in the bath all she could think about was the night before – how bold it had felt to go out on a limb and just kiss a boy, and how the boy in question was supposed to be her mortal enemy. How good it was to feel beautiful, what it was like to have his lips on her’s. She remembered that after he had kissed her, they had started sharing his flask between them, laughing numbly about what had transpired. Try as she might she couldn’t remember coming back up to the common room or falling asleep on the couch.
“Are you ignoring me again?”
She shook her head. “No, I’m just, thinking.”
Hermione glared at him. “What do you think!”
Draco chuckled darkly and stood up, and despite herself Hermione briefly peeked at the exposed skin under his shirt. “Why did you kiss me, Granger?”
“…Why did you kiss me?”
He shook his head. “I asked you first.”
“Well ladies first!”
“So you answer first and then I will!”
“I meant my question first and then yours!”
Draco rubbed his temples, eyes closed in frustration, as Hermione moved around him towards her dresser. “Well,” he began through tight lips, “what do we do now?”
Hermione turned her back towards him and began looking through the drawers. “It’s Sunday, I have homework to do.”
“As do I.”
“Well good for you, why don’t you go do it?”
“Why don’t we do it together?”
Hermione threw her hands up in frustration. “Why are you doing this to me!”
“You really don’t know?”
She shook her head.
“I’m trying to figure out what in the world you could’ve been thinking last night. I want to know why you kissed me. I want to know why I’m feeling like this.”
“Feeling like what?”
Draco ran his hand through his hair. “Just forget it. We’ll go to the library together when you’re ready.” And with that he left her room, closing the door a little too hard behind him.
When Hermione finally emerged, dressed in jeans and a sweatshirt but with makeup and hair done, Draco greeted her with a half smile and handed her bag. He had changed out of his Masquerade clothes and was looking less annoyed.
“I have to write a paper for Trelawney,” Hermione said as she walked by Draco and out the portrait hole.
“If I remember correctly, she’s the one teacher you don’t try to kiss up to.”
Hermione glanced back at him briefly. “I think her predictions are less than accurate and she teaches a subject whose basis isn’t factual.”
Draco snorted. “You don’t believe in predictions?”
“Why should I? You’ve sat in her class, can you honestly say you believe a single word that comes out of her mouth?”
“Why did you take her class this year then?”
She sighed. “Regardless of whether I like her or not, I’m dedicated to getting the most out of Hogwarts and it’s education system.”
Draco fell into step with her. “Wasn’t she the one who made the prediction of ‘The Chosen One’?”
Hermione stopped, her hand hovering above the library door handle. “Predictions can only be retrieved and heard by the person they are about.”
He looked at her and put his hand on her arm. “The prediction wasn’t about you, so don’t waste your time worrying about it.”
“He’s my best friend…”
“And it’s his burden.”
Hermione looked down at his hand then up to his face. “Let’s just get our homework done.”
Draco pushed the door open and made straight for the back tables by the windows near the Restricted Section, passing a blushing Ginny Weasley on his way.
Hermione smiled awkwardly. “Ginny, hi.”
Ginny brushed her long copper hair behind one ear. “Listen I’ve been doing some thinking and we’ve been through so much together that if you want to change a little, who am I to tell you it’s wrong?”
“No, Hermione, listen. You’ve always been such a hard worker, it’s about time you take some time to pamper yourself, you know?”
Draco, who had sat down at the table behind Ginny under the window, rolled his eyes.
Hermione smiled. “It means a lot to hear you say that Ginny.”
Ginny beamed back. She had just started to open her mouth when she paused at the sight of Davin coming out of the bookshelves 2 rows down. Hermione looked from her old friend then over into the direction she was staring and raised an eyebrow.
Davin looked over at the pair and smiled, waving one hand in acknowledgement, then continued on his way towards the library doors.
Ginny cleared her throat causing Hermione to look back at her. “Well I should, uh, I should be going. I have something to take care of. But, maybe we can sit together at dinner?”
Hermione just nodded, her mind too preoccupied by the way Ginny’s whole demeanor had changed when she had see Davin.
“Great! I’ll see you then!” Ginny reached out and gave Hermione a tight hug then followed the path Davin had just taken out of the library.
“What was all that about?” Draco asked as Hermione sat down next to him at the table.
She really had no idea. “Did that seem… Odd? To you?”
Draco scoffed. “Everyone knows your little friend gets around.”
He shook his head. “Nevermind.”
Hermione narrowed her eyes at him but bit her tongue. Did Ginny really “get around”? It was true that boys seemed to be drawn to her (Hermione had always been jealous of her silky red hair) but she had Harry, didn’t she? For as long as the two girls had been friends, Ginny had wanted Harry – it was all she would talk about when the boys were playing Wizards Chess or practicing Quidditch at the Burrow. Looking back though, she did get a lot of letters over the summers Hermione had spent at the Weasley’s home, and she was almost always surrounded by a boy or two…
“So how are you and Davin getting along?”
She looked up from her train of thought and shrugged. “We’re friends.”
Draco was staring so intensely into Hermione’s eyes that she flinched. “He’s a womanizer, Granger.”
Hermione laughed. “And the rest of you Slytherin’s aren’t? Trust me, if I could deal with Blaise, I can deal with all of you.”
He raised an eyebrow suggestively. “I bet Weaslette is dealing with Davin right now.”
She glared back at him, but then hesitated. “Do you really think…”
Draco shrugged. “Your guess is as good as mine.”
“But… Why would she, I mean, she has Harry…”
He scoffed. “Potter? Compared to Davin? Which would you rather pick?”
It was true Davin was more, well, sexy, than Harry was. But would Ginny really pick some Slytherin she barely knew over her brother’s best friend? Too many thoughts were working their way into Hermione’s head – what if she had some sort of deal going on with him like Hermione had with Blaise? What if Davin was just using her? Why would Ginny date a Slytherin? But then again, Hermione had been with Blaise and that had changed everything the school thought they had known about stereotypes… But really, Ginny and Davin? Could it be?
I’m so sorry it took so long to update! I really have no excuse except that I was lazy and moping around in bed :/ But I hope you enjoyed the nice, long chapter – and in the future, all chapters will be about this long (maybe a little shorter, maybe a little longer)
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