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Secrets in Disguise by x3CherryWatermelonx3
Chapter 22 : XXI
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 9

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Thank you everyone for all of your reads! I really do appreciate it! :) This chapter may be a little dull to some, but it was definitely needed. Please read, review, and enjoy! :D (Gorgeous banner by TheMarauderchick at TDA! :D)

A few weeks had passed, and in was the second week of February. Ginny had talked to McGonagall about what had been written in the Daily Prophet that day. As she talked to McGonagall, she brought up the idea of having a conference with the reporters to straighten out the rumors. 

Draco had wanted to speak to his father, but Ginny asked him not to, that the time would come. After the first night that Draco and Ginny had taken their relationship to the next level, their relationship had grown into something Ginny never thought possible. 

It was right after dinner on February tenth that Ginny was holding the conference in the Great Hall. She was dressed in her nicest robes, as was Draco, who was watching her finish getting ready.

She started fumbling with the diamond bracelet Draco gave her on Christmas, getting agitated as she began to bite on her lip. Draco chuckled softly and walked over, taking the bracelet and clasping it for her. She smiled at him slightly before pecking his lips with her own.

“Thank you,” she said.

“You’re welcome,” he responded. “Just take a deep breath and relax, you’ll be brilliant. You’ve done plenty of them before.”

“Yes, but nothing as big as this,” she retorted nervously.

“Just relax,” he whispered in her ear, his teeth grazing the lobe gently. 

Ginny smiled as a pleasurable shiver coursed through her body. She kissed him again, her fingers playing with the back of his hair slightly. Draco then pulled away and smirked slightly at her. 

“If we don’t leave now, I don’t believe I’ll let you out of this room.” 

“Oh, I’m okay with that,” she smirked as she kissed him again.

Draco kissed her once more and then pulled away. “As much as I’d love to stay here with you all night long, I’m not going to be the cause of you missing your conference. More than half your family wants to kill me, and their just waiting for another excuse to do it.”

“We don’t want that,” Ginny chuckled, her breath brushing against Draco’s lips as she looked up at him.

He smiled at her and leant in closer to her, about to kiss her again when he pulled away quickly. The look that appeared on Ginny’s face caused Draco to laugh.

“Finish getting ready, would you, Miss Temptress.”

Ginny let out a guffaw and finished getting ready quickly, the butterflies in her stomach increasing.


“Ready,” she said as she turned to look at Draco.


He smiled as he saw her. “You look incredible.”


Ginny grinned, heat rising into her face. She bit on her lip as Draco continued to look at her. Rolling her eyes, she slapped his arm lightly before walking out the door. Draco chuckled and followed her, closing the door behind him.


As they made their way down the stairs, Ginny wrung her hands together. Draco noticed out of the corner of his eyes, and reaching out, taking a hold of her hand, giving it a slight squeeze. She looked up at him and smiled, a small sigh of relief escaping.


They finally reached the Great Hall where many reporters already were sitting. Ginny swallowed hard as she saw them all. Draco squeezed her hand and smiled before leading their way into the hall.


As they walked down the aisle the chairs made, Ginny tried to put the best smile she could muster on her face for the flashing cameras.


When they reached the end of the aisle, Draco hugged Ginny and kissed her head. She looked up at him in surprise before whispering, “Don’t you know, you’re up there with me?”


“Are you sure?”


“Well, I can’t answer all the questions they ask about us.”


Draco chuckled and wrapped his arm around her shoulder, guiding her up to the High Table where McGonagall, Bolton, her parents, her Quidditch coach, and Draco’s parents sat. As they went to the two open seats in the middle, Ginny smiled and thanked each of them for doing the conference quietly. She also went down to thank Lucius and Narcissa, who smirked back at her with a dark gleam in their eyes.


She then took her seat in the middle, McGonagall’s usual spot, a smile on her face as she looked out at the reporters.


The large doors closed, and the conference began.


“First, and foremost, I would like to thank all of you for being here. I’d also like to thank my family and friends for being here and supporting me,” she said as she looked down at the first row, on each side, to see all of her family, including Luna, Neville, and her Quidditch team. “Also, I would like to thank the ones sitting next to me who have supported me, and were willing to participate in this.”


She took a deep breath and put a small smile on her face.


“The past four and a half years have been extremely hard for my family and I, along to those who were close to Harry Potter. All the lives in the wizarding world, I believe, had been affected by him. I never truly realized until the day of his funeral how much of an impact he made when complete strangers came to support the life he lived.”


At this, Draco looked down to Bolton who stiffened, and stared out to the reporters without blinking.


Ginny paused as she realized she was rambling on. “But you all didn’t come here to talk and ask questions about Harry, nor did I come here to talk about him much.


“I did, however, prepare this conference to discuss the problem that’s been talked about throughout the papers and magazines, along with my new love, Draco Malfoy.”


Draco turned away from Bolton and grabbed her hand. She looked at him and smiled.


“To put it simply, I am a recovering alcoholic. Besides the mishap a few weeks ago, I’ve been sober for four months. It’s a continuous struggle, and I have a long way to go. With the support of my family, friends, and Draco, I know that I’ll be okay.”


A grin graced her face as the cameras began flashing once again. She then took a deep breath and closed her eyes, preparing herself for the questions that would come. When she exhaled, she opened her eyes and said, “The floor is now open for questions.


Instantly, there was a wave of rushed voices coming at them every which way. Ginny pointed to a reporter who had tight, curly brown hair, and thick glasses with a quick-quotes quill ready to write.


“Miss Weasley, as I have here, you’ve recently reported that you still have a love for flying and the Quidditch game, yet you hate the fame. Is the fame the reason why you left the game?”


Ginny looked at the reporter startled by her questions. Her mind worked quickly, but before she could get the answer, she asked, “May I ask where you retrieved this information?”


“I’m not obliged to say,” the reporter said with a small smirk. “If you could please answer the question.”


“Certainly,” she responded as the memory of talking with Bevan came to her. “I don’t know where you’ve received your information, Ma’am, but I can say that the fame wasn’t what drove me away. I have the greatest fans in the world. Also, who could complain about receiving a paycheck for something they love? The reason why I decided to take a break was of, if I may speak frankly, of all of you – meaning reporters. Not only were you in my every day life, depicting out all of the horrible things, but you were also in my family’s, and they didn’t deserve that anymore.”


Ginny looked down at her parents and smiled. Before they could smile back, she chose the next reporter.


“Coach Helena, what was your reaction to Miss Weasley’s leave of absence?”


“At first, I was shocked,” the coach responded before clearing her throat. “She was one of my star players. After many discussions and pleading, I could see she just needed a break.”


“Your season hasn’t really been hurt since she left. Why do you think that is?”


“Don’t try to downplay the asset Miss Weasley was to the team. The only reason our season hasn’t been completely hurt is because of all the extra practices and hard work my team has done. They barely have any spare time in between practices and games, but I couldn’t be more proud of them.”


Right after Coach Helena responded, another reporter shot up. “Coach Helena, did you know about Miss Weasley’s problem?”


“No, I didn’t -,” she started before the reporter interrupted her. “How could you not know that one of your ‘star players’ – as you claim – had a problem? Certainly you noticed a difference.”


“If you wouldn’t have interrupted me, sir,” she said sharply before continuing, “then you would’ve heard me say that there was a time that I had become concern. I had a talk with her though, and things seemed to have gotten better. As many of you have been, I was quite shocked upon learning about Weasley’s condition. 


“We all have our problems, and go through rough times. The way we handle them isn’t always rational, and shouldn’t completely define our character. The Ginny Weasley I know is a strong, independent woman who can handle anything that comes at her. Tonight, she proves it.”


As Coach Helena finished, Ginny bit her lip as her eyes watered. A single tear started to roll down her cheek, but she quickly brushed it away before she chose another reporter.


“Would you accept Miss Weasley back on your team if she chooses to return?”


“I would be honored to.”


“Miss Weasley, after your year at Hogwarts, do you plan on going back to playing Quidditch?”


Ginny bit her lip slightly. “It’s a certain possibility, but as of right now, I have not made a decision on what I want to do after the year.”


“Mrs. Weasley, what would you think if your daughter went back to playing Quidditch?”


“As her mum, all I’m going to do is worry about her, just like I do now, but if it’s what she wants to do and is happy about it, then I’m happy for her.”


“Would you worry about her going back to her old ways? She is, after all, only four months sober and would be going back into the atmosphere that started it.”


“Don’t you dare question my daughter’s strength. I wouldn’t need to worry about her. She’s the happiest she has been in a long time, and I cannot see her going back to how she was.”


“Speaking of how she was, how has it affected your work at the Ministry, Mr. Weasley?”


Mr. Weasley shifted in his seat, and took off his horn-rimmed glasses. Finally, he answered, “Working at the Ministry is always difficult. What was happening with Ginny was stressful, but my work ethic stayed in place.”


“Does that mean you weren’t there for your daughter when she needed you the most?”


“That’s not what I said at all,” he spat back, flustered. He put his horn-rimmed glasses back on and glared at the reporter. “I know you lot like to put what we say out of context, but you will not do that tonight, and certainly not when it involves how I care about Ginny. I have always been there for my family. When Ginny was going through her problem, Molly and I, along with the rest of our family has been there and have tried to help her.”


“How is it, Mr. and Mrs. Weasley, that your daughter’s problem lasted so long if you were always there to help her?”


Mr. Weasley stood in anger, his face going red as Mrs. Weasley held him back. And before Ginny or anyone could say anything, Fred and George jumped over their chairs and onto the reporter, their fists colliding with the reporters’ body.


Ginny stood, shocked, along with everyone else – other than Lucius and Narcissa, who just smiled darkly. Flashes from the cameras snapped over and over as all the reporters continued to write.


After a few minutes, Charlie, Billy, and Ron were able to reach Fred and George, pulling them off the reporter, leading them to the door behind the high table.


Ginny’s face was in her hands before she started to walk down to the reporter, who was just standing up. Draco grabbed her arm, stopping her. “Where are you going?”


She shrugged him off and moved down to the reporter. When she reached him, she looked at him apologetically.


“I’m so sorry, Mr.,” she paused as she looked at his nametag, “Horner. My brothers never should’ve reacted like that. Whom do you write for?”


Witches and Wizards Knowledge,” he responded shakily as he looked at her nervously.


“Lovely paper,” Ginny commented with a friendly smile. “For my brothers’ actions, we’ll schedule a private interview, and I’ll speak to your boss personally about a business deal. How does that sound?”


“That would be great, Miss Weasley!” he exclaimed.


“Good. Now, are you feeling okay?” Mr. Horner nodded in response. “I’m glad. Do you mind if I answer your question?”


He shook his head, and Ginny smiled and mouthed a “thank you” to him before moving back up to the High Table. “To answer your question, Mr. Horner, my family has always been there for me. Each and every time things got rough they were there. It was my own fault that my problem lasted so long. I hold that responsibility, no one else.”


Before another reporter could ask another question, Ginny said, “If we could have a five minute recess, I’d really appreciate it.”


When there was no objection, Ginny left the table and headed into the room her family was in. As soon as she walked in, her voice raised.


“Are you out of your bloody minds?!”


Thankfully, Draco followed after her and closed the door behind him.


Ginny crossed her arms and glared at Fred and George. When they didn’t say anything, she continued. “I understand that he asked a downright awful question, but that doesn’t mean you go and attack him!”


“Bring back memories, Malfoy?” George grinned, ignoring Ginny.


“Quite…and I’m glad I wasn’t the one getting that right hook again,” Draco answered as he rubbed his jaw at the memory.


Ginny turned and glared at him. He grinned at her guiltily before she looked back at her family. She let out a sigh as she began to pace.


“We don’t have much time in here, and the conference should be ending soon. Dad, why don’t you join the others and have Charlie take your place?


“They’ll be asking about the month I was gone anyway, so they’ll be wanting to ask all the questions they can at Charlie,” she rambled to herself more than anyone.


“That’s fine, Ginny,” Charlie smiled. 


“Thank you,” she said with a sigh of relief. “Well, we better get back out there.”


They all started for the door when Bolton stood in front of it, blocking Ginny and Draco from exiting.


“Ginny, can I speak to you for a moment?” 


“I don’t know, Bolton,” she answered apprehensively as she looked around him.


“Please? It’ll only take a moment.”


“Okay, what is it?”


“Do you think I could step down? They don’t have anything to ask me.”


Ginny looked at him dumbfounded. Her brows furrowed slightly. “You were okay with it a few weeks ago….”


“I know,” he sighed. “I didn’t realize that they would get so personal, and I just don’t feel right about being up there.”


Draco let out a snigger. Bolton looked at him, his expression dark. Ginny looked from Bolton to Draco and back to Bolton.


“I don’t know what’s going on between you, and I really don’t have the time for it. Bolton, you decide what you want to do, but it would mean the world to me if you would stick with it,” she said as she touched his arm lightly. He looked down at her softly, his eyes closing as the memories of her touch rushed to him. “Hopefully I’ll see you out there.”


Without waiting for another word, she walked out, leaving the two of them behind. Bolton’s eyes were still closed when Draco sneered.


“How did it feel when she was talking about you? Your funeral?” Draco whispered. “You think it’s too personal? Or is it that it hits too close to home and painful for you?”


When Bolton didn’t respond, Draco continued, “You better remember her touch because you’re not getting it back. You’re getting exactly what you wanted, Potter.”


Once he finished, Draco moved past Bolton, making their shoulders collide. Draco took his spot next to Ginny, kissing her hand. Ginny looked towards the door, and after a few seconds, Bolton came out and sat in the spot he was in before.


“Sorry about the interruption. We may continue,” Ginny said with a smile.


Mr. Horner stood back up, and Ginny smiled at him. “Miss Weasley, what made you take the empty Charms post here at Hogwarts?”


“Well, Mr. Harper, I received a letter from Headmaster McGonagall asking if I’d be willing to take it. I was about to decline when I actually thought about it, finally deciding it may be the break I needed. Of course, though, Charms wasn’t my first choice, but Professor Lewin here beat me to it.”


The reporter who asked Ginny the first question stood up and cut across the next reporter who was about to ask a question. “Professor Lewin, you’re a new professor here. Is it true that you’re new to the area too?”


Bolton sat up straighter in his chair and cleared his throat. “Yes, this is my first year here in this beautiful country.”


“And where are you from originally?”


“Brazil,” he answered automatically.


“If you don’t mind me asking, what’s your story?”


“Pardon me?” he asked, startled.


“You know, your background. A little bit of your childhood and such.”


“I don’t mean to be rude, but what does my background have to do with anything?”


“Every professor at Hogwarts has shared their background – at least a little bit. It’s a good way for the parents to know who’s teaching their children.”


“Ms. Ramirez, I don’t believe this press conference is about my and my backstory. This conference is supposed to be about Professor Weasley.”


“Exactly, about Professor Weasley. You are a part of her life as of right now, and I believe that all of us would like to know what part you play.”


Bolton shifted back in his seat uncomfortably, playing with the collar of his cloak. He then leant forward, his hands wrung together to keep his discomfort hidden.


“I’m originally from Brazil, as I’ve just told you. My parents died when I was very young, so I lived with my grandparents until I went away to school.


“Eventually, after they both passed, I decided to travel around to all the places I’ve dreamed about. I was in Hogsmeade, in the Three Broomsticks, as a matter of fact, when I saw Professor McGonagall. She was talking about the empty posts, and I couldn’t help but go over and ask her about it. And, as you can see, here I am.”


Another reporter was about to stand up when Ms. Ramirez held her hand out, a coy smile on her lips. “Your story…it seems quite close to the story of Harry Potter’s, if I do say so myself. In fact, you seem to be about the same age as he would be. Could it be possible, Professor Bolton, that you could be,” she paused and looked at him slyly, “trying to, lack of a better word, copy Mr. Potter?”


Bolton swallowed hard as he shifted uncomfortably in his seat again. As his nerves got the better of him, beads of sweat began to form on his forehead.


“Professor? Could you answer the question?” Ms. Ramirez asked with a little laugh in her voice.


“Ms. Ramirez, if I could,” Draco interjected, his hand raised slightly to draw attention to himself. Ms. Ramirez turned reluctantly to face Draco, a sarcastic look on her face. Draco then continued before she could respond. “I believe that you’re looking too much into the similarities between Professor Bolton and Potter.


“Being beside Professor Bolton on a day to day basis, I see a lot more differences than similarities – as any other coworker could tell you.


“The reign of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named has affected each and every family in its own way. And I believe that you are disrespecting each and every person who has lost a loved one or endured the wrath of You-Know-Who himself or one of his followers.”


Other than the flashing cameras, everything was silent. Ms. Ramirez’s mouth snapped shut as her eyes narrowed at him. Draco gave a smirk towards her in response.


“Speaking of You-Know-Who’s followers,” she spat out menacingly, “it’s been rumored that you were one. It’s also a known fact that your father was, along with your aunt, Bellatrix Lestrange, is that right?” 


"Yes, that is a true statement. But the years have passed, and all charges against my father and family have been dropped. There’s no other reason why any of that should be brought up.” 


“Now, Professor Malfoy, who’s the one being disrespectful to the families who have been hurt during the reign of You-Know-Who?”


“I am not being disrespectful. I know what has happened during that reign, in which I’m deeply sorry for my actions, along with my families. But things have changed, and my family and I have turned over a new leaf. Now, if we could get back to the main reason of this conference, it’d be the best for everyone.


“Mr. Porter, I believe you’ve had a question for a while now.”


A tall, gangly man stood up with a wary smile as his eyes shifted towards Ms. Ramirez, who was still standing, grimacing at Draco. His eyes moved back to Draco, and he stuttered out, “Headmaster McGonagall, how has this school year been?”


McGonagall looked at him for a few long seconds before answering. “This school year has been just as good as every other year.”


“With Professor Weasley’s problem, has it been a little more difficult than other years?” another reporter asked as Mr. Porter sat down.


“Professor Weasley’s old problem has been far less to deal with than other professors by large. I’m sure you remember Gilderoy Lockhart – for example of course, Miss Patil,” McGonagall said with a small smile on her lips.


A slight blush rushed to Padma’s cheeks as she sat down. Before another reporter could ask again, Ms. Ramirez stood up again, eyeing McGonagall, another smirk on her face.


“Headmaster, speaking of Mr. Lockhart, he was the professor of Defense Against the Dark Arts, correct?”


“Yes, Ms. Ramirez, that is correct,” McGonagall answered, her lips thinning.


“Professor Weasley, that was the same year Voldemort possessed you, and took you into what was thought to be nonexistent, the Chamber of Secrets?”


Ginny’s eyes grew large, her mouth opened slightly as the memories washed over her. She could hear words coming from her family, and other grunts and whispers from other reporters, but she couldn’t break out of her trance as the memories continued to pour over her. 


That year was still haunting her dreams every now and then. A shiver ran through her when she felt Draco’s breath against her ear and heard his whispers. She turned slightly to listen to him, but then noticed McGonagall standing up, looking at Ms. Ramirez with wrath. Before she listened to what McGonagall was saying, she turned to Draco and whispered, “Have someone check to see if Bevan Tannatt is in her dormitory.”


“And what’s further, Ms. Ramirez – you were invited upon request of Miss Weasley to get the story straight, not to dig up the terrible past that has hurt many!”


McGonagall continued while Draco went over to Bolton, whispering in his ear. After a few short seconds, Bolton was out of his chair and walking out of the hall.


“Ms. Ramirez, I’m more than happy to have you escorted out of this castle, and for you to never walk through this school’s gates again! Mr. and Mr. Weasley,” McGonagall said looking at Fred and George, “care to do the honors and escort her out?”


Fred and George looked up at her, devilish grins on their faces. They nodded shortly and walked over to Ms. Ramirez, each of them grabbing onto one of her arms. 


“You’re making a big mistake,” Ramirez commented as Fred and George started dragging her out.


“The only mistake I’ve made is allowing you to be invited to this session,” McGonagall answered, her lips thinner than ever.


For once, all the photographers weren’t looking at Ginny and snapping pictures. They were faced towards Fred and George leading Ms. Ramirez out, clicking and flashing away as quills scratched along their parchment.


After a few minutes, things calmed down and the conference continued as it had before. About ten minutes after Fred and George walked back into the hall, Bolton returned and nodded towards Draco. He leant forward and whispered in Ginny’s ear.


“Tannatt’s been in the common room all night.”


Ginny’s jaw slightly clenched as Charlie answered the questions the reporters were asking about from the time Ginny spent in Romania with him. Her head turned to Draco slightly and she whispered harshly, “Are you sure?”


“Yes. What are you on about?” Draco asked curiously.


“I’ll explain later,” she said shortly as a reporter directed a question to Draco.


“Professor Malfoy, you and Professor Weasley have been together since before her time in Romania?”


“We were, but it was during that time, once she introduced me to Charlie, that things were defined serious,” he answered, taking ahold of her hand again.


“That must have been a big step for you, Miss Weasley,” another reporter said as she stood up.


Ginny smiled. “It was because Draco’s the first guy I’ve introduced to the family, other than Harry.” 


“How was the first time you introduced him?” 


“Quite awful actually,” Ginny chuckled as she looked to Draco. “My family already knew him, along with his family, and had their thoughts already about him. And it was the first time I had seen my family since I had been sober.”


“How was it for you, Professor Malfoy?” 


“Terrifying,” he answered with a chuckle, along with everyone else. “It was really good though, and it made Christmas day that much better.”


“You went to your father’s house the night before, isn’t that correct?”


“That it is,” Lucius commented before Draco could respond.


“How did that go, Mr. Malfoy?” 


“Besides the little mishap, it was okay,” Lucius sneered.


“As I’ve read in the Daily Prophet, you just had a recent encounter with Miss Weasley.”


“Yes, and as I reported then, she had been drinking, and she became upset with me for Merlin knows why, covering me with the rest of her drink.” 


“If I may interrupt here, Mr. Malfoy,” Ginny responded, look towards Lucius. “I think you should tell them how you were talking about what the papers have been saying about my ‘continuous drinking habit,’ and then how you were blaming me because you couldn’t have your drink of wine on Christmas Eve.”


“I was just commenting about your habits that I’ve read in the paper. I’ve been quite concerned about it, especially since you’re with my son, and then I find you drinking.”


“Fair enough about your son. But, with all due respect, you shouldn’t be paying attention to the papers and what they say.”


“It’s the only thing I have to go on, and they’ve been right plenty of times – such as your wild nights and your line of men you took to bed.”


It took a short second for Draco to stand up and punch his father in the jaw. The cameras began snapping away as another commotion started about. Ginny stood quickly as she heard small cheers coming from her family and teammates, and held Draco back.


“You don’t EVER talk about her like that! Don’t think for even a second that you’ll be talking to her like that and a part of my life.”


“Draco, calm down,” Ginny said gently in his ear.


“I’m not going to calm down, Ginny!”


“Listen to the girl you’re bedding, Draco. There’d be no other reason why you’re with her than that,” Lucius said as he spit at Ginny’s foot with a smirk.


Draco punched him again, triumphing over Ginny’s hold on him. Before he could get too out of hand, Charlie and Bolton pulled Draco off of Lucius, and dragged him to the room they were in earlier. 


Many reporters were trying to ask questions, but they were all ignored. McGonagall looked at Lucius and Narcissa trying to hide a small smile. “I think it’d be best if you had Madam Pomfrey take a look at you, Mr. Malfoy.”


Lucius grimaced as he stood, taking his hands wife, and pulling her towards the exit. Once they left, there was a little round of applause. Then, when everything settled down again, Ginny turned towards the reporters with a slight smile.


“I think that takes care of everything tonight. Thank you again for your time! It’s very much appreciated. Headmaster McGonagall will lead you to her office and you’ll be able to floo to your designated locations. Thank you again, and have a nice night!”


Ginny then started for the door behind the high table, when applause filled the room. She looked out to see everyone on their feet applauding, and a grin grew on her face as tears welled up in her eyes. She continued to grin and waved once before going into the room.


As soon as she walked in, she rushed to Draco, who was about to apologize, and kissed him hard, her arms wrapping around his neck. Caught off guard, Draco was taken aback and kissed her back, confused. When she pulled away and was grinning up at him, he looked at her more perplexed and finally said, “And here we were betting on how you were going to be killing me.”


Charlie chuckled and Ginny shook her head at him. When she didn’t say anything, Draco looked down at her confused and asked, “You’re not mad at all?”


“Not at all,” she replied. “If anything, you just made me even happier than before!”


“Oh, really?” he asked, looking down at her with a slight smirk. “And why’s that?”


“Because now all the doubts my family or anyone else in the wizarding world had, they’re all diminished after what you did!” she exclaimed before she kissed him again.


Draco chuckled as he kissed her. They heard Charlie laughing in the background, and once they pulled away, Draco noticed her family standing in front of him. She looked up at him, and when she noticed he wasn’t looking at her, she turned around to see her family. Not being able to help herself, she grinned at them, a warm and complete feeling filling her.

As everyone began talking and congratulating, Bolton quickly headed for the door. He walked through the door, reaching the empty Great Hall. When he reached the middle of the hall, a voice called to him, and he closed his eyes tightly, cursing himself silently.

“Professor Lewin?” a timid voice questioned.


He turned around and was caught by surprise when he saw Hermione. He stayed silent, not being able to speak. She walked towards him, and placed her hand on his upper arm with a smile. 


“Thank you for supporting Ginny. I know it’s not easy, especially when you’re just a stranger coming into her life.”


Bolton continued to look at her, not knowing what to say. Her smile faltered slightly when he didn’t answer, but maintained somewhat of one. 


“Well, I’m sure you’re busy. I’ll let you go. I just wanted to say thank you,” she said as she turned away.


Before she could walk into the other room, he swallowed the lump in his throat and called, “It was my pleasure, Hermione.”


She turned to say something, her brows furrowed. Her eyes looked around the room to see it completely empty by herself. Her brows furrowed further, and then turned to walk back into the room.

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