Chapter 2 : Sneaking Out and Starting School
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Hermione and Damien had been getting along pretty well. Most of what they talked about had nothing to do with anything. Mostly just ‘would you rather’s and ‘what’s your favorite’s. But Hermione was really starting to get the feeling that she knew Damien. What she didn’t know was the unimportant stuff like house, name, blood-status, etc. She knew what even his friends might not know. She knew what he liked, didn’t like, what his personality was like. She was starting to see why McGonagall had chosen to start the pen-pal program. Her most recent letter to Damien still sat on her desk, awaiting a reply.
I know exactly what you mean! But can you imagine what Peeves’ face would have looked like if he saw something like that!? Anyway, onto more serious topics, I would always choose raspberry over strawberry, it is clearly the superior berry. The real question is would you choose chocolate or vanilla? You can tell a lot about a person from their answer to that question. I would rather bathe in peanut-butter than spend even just ten minutes with Filch. Would you rather be constantly followed around by a flock of owls or a single thestral? Hope your summer is still going well.
But Damien wasn’t the only person Hermione was communicating with throughout the rest of the summer. Ron and Harry were great; it wasn’t like her friendship with them was getting any weaker, not at all. It was just that they were so busy all the time. Harry was dating Ginny, Ron was stressing out about them being together and stalking them all the time. They were both playing a lot a quidditch to prepare for the new season. And when they were with her everything was just so bloody perfect. She loved that she had such a great relationship with them, but after everything she had been through the past year, sometimes she just needed to get out her anger and frustration at the world, just get mad and stay mad, she needed to vent, so that she wouldn’t do so to someone who didn’t deserve it. She would never be able to forgive herself if she yelled at someone who didn’t earn the yelling, just because she needed to be pissed at someone. So she fought, verbally, with Draco Malfoy.
For the last month and a half of summer Hermione somehow ended up showing up at Malfoy manner twice a week to fight with him. It was a mutually beneficial situation. They both dealt with problems, so it was nice to vent and be rude without worrying about the other person caring.
The first time Hermione had gone to see him had been a surprise for both of them. Hermione had spent the whole day before with Ron and Harry. They had played games and just hung out. It was fine, but the next day they went to play quidditch all day. She was glad, she had been so exhausted the day before, spending the whole day watching what she said so as not to bring up sensitive topics or make their happy conversation turn sour. But it was just so much work. And she wanted to be pissed at them for ditching her the very next day, but she couldn’t. So she disapperated.
When she landed she realized where she had taken herself only when the door in front of her opened to reveal Draco Malfoy.
“Granger?” He was stunned. “What do you want?” It had been a week since their conversation.
“Well, you said if I wanted to bicker to come to you. Well I’m pissed and can’t fight with Harry and Ron and I’m sick of watching my mouth to avoiding saying something that reminds someone of something sad, so I disapperated and I showed up here. I was hoping we could fight with each other over tea?” Draco laughed a bit at that.
“I could do with a good fight, come on in.” Hermione walked in and followed him to the same parlor as before. Bitsy showed up immediately. “What tea would you like today?”
“What do you recommend? Since you know tea so well.”
“I would say try pineapple. It is strange, but good.” Hermione nodded. “Bitsy, please bring us snacks, a pineapple tea and a chocolate tea.” Hermione was surprised, this time he had even used please. Bitsy nodded and left. “See,” Draco turned to her, “house-elves don’t fight with their masters, they just always agree, so I’m always placated, even when I’m sick of being placated!” Hermione understood.
“Yeah, I know what you mean. I spend every second thinking about what I’m going to say because everyone has been so sensitive since the war that one wrong word and people get pissy or upset and storm off. I can’t stand it! I just want to talk and be rude when I’m mad or just talk without thinking, but I can’t, because everything that comes out of my mouth is a bloody reminder of something!” Her voice gave away the depth of her frustration. Draco laughed.
“Well, you certainly don’t have to watch your words or language here. It is so refreshing to hear harsh words.” He smirked. “Please, feel free to insult me every now and then, I would love to be called something other than Master Malfoy for a change.” It was Hermione’s turn to laugh, just as Bitsy showed up with their tea and snacks.
“Fine, and you may insult me if you choose, I think it might be nice to be able to get properly pissed at someone for once.” She accepted her tea from Bitsy with a thanks, Draco did the same. They sat for a few minutes in silence, sipping their tea. “This is good, as you said, strange, definitely something different, but different isn’t always a bad thing.” She nodded as she spoke, enjoying her tea.
Over the next few hours they spoke about everything under the sun. They occasionally agreed, but then they would switch topics, finding something they disagreed about and fighting about it. Draco called her a “little know-it-all”, a “mudblood”, a “bloody female”, among others. She called him a “ferret”, a “pureblood arse”, an “ignorant little toe-rag”, among others. Neither really took the names to heart and both thoroughly enjoyed themselves.
Six hours, four cups of tea, and an entire meal made out of snacks later, Hermione got up, saying she needed to get back. They said their very rude but happy goodbyes and she returned to the Burrow. She had never been so happy to have spent six hours arguing in her entire life.
The boys had finished practicing about an hour before she got back and had asked Mrs. Weasley where she was.
“She left about five hours ago. She didn’t say where she was going and hasn’t come back yet. But I wouldn’t worry, she seemed to be going somewhere specific, since she apparated.” The boys nodded and decided to play chess while they waited for Hermione to return.
Hermione walked in through the front door. “Hey guys, enjoying your game? Ron winning?” The two of them looked up at her and smiled. She was in a much better mood that she had been recently.
“Of course I’m winning, I always win.” Ron beamed with pride until Harry elbowed him in the stomach.
“Where have you been? What did you do to make you so happy?” Harry looked at her inquisitively. Hermione blushed, making him more curious.
“Nothing, just went for a walk, wandered around, you know how it is.” Harry wasn’t buying it.
“For six hours? And why would that make you like this? I haven’t seen you this happy all week. Were you with someone?” Ron looked up at this. He knew he and Hermione would never be together, but that didn’t mean he didn’t care who she was with. Hermione blushed again. Harry knew something was up.
“No, I was just wandering around. And yes for six hours. I went to a bookstore and bought a new book, found a café and read while drinking tea. Have you ever tried pineapple tea? It is very odd, but good.” Hermione smiled at them, Harry seemed to want to believe her, but wasn’t quite there yet.
“Then where is the book you bought?” Hermione didn’t even hesitate.
“Well I finished it of course! I’ve been gone six hours. So I left it on a park bench downtown, I hope someone finds it and it makes them happy. It was a good book, as you can see it lifted my spirits.” Harry seemed glad to hear this. Ron looked confused.
“You bought a book and then just left it on a park bench?” Hermione rolled her eyes.
“Yes Ronald. It’s so that someone can have their day made by finding a book waiting for them somewhere. I do it all the time. I leave them in airplanes all the time.” Harry laughed at this.
“Air-whats?” Harry and Hermione laughed at this and Harry began to explain.
Was it bad that it was so easy to lie to them?
So it continued like that for the rest of the summer. Hermione had fun, silly conversations in her letters with Damien, asking and answering random questions. She had heated and angry spats with Malfoy about twice a week, always coming up with an excuse for her absence to the boys. And she had pleasant, calm conversations and days with Ron and Harry. The combination was ideal and she was blissfully happy for that second half of summer.
Harry and Ron still seemed a bit suspicious as to why she was always out for so long, but they just thought she was seeing someone, which she was, just not in the way they seemed to think she was. One night, after she had been out particularly long, Ron approached her.
“You know that if you ever want to just talk, you can, right?” Hermione just looked at him, unsure what he was talking about.
“Huh?” Ron blushed.
“I mean, if there is ever anything you wanted to tell us, or me or whatever, you can. We would never judge you or stop being friends with you or anything.” Hermione got a bit worried.
“What exactly do you think I’m doing when I’m out?” Bluntness seemed to work with Malfoy, why not try it with Ron? And it worked.
“If you are out seeing some guy, we just would like to get to meet him. If you are worried won’t accept who he is, or whatever, we don’t care, we just want you to be happy.” Hermione didn’t say anything and Ron’s mouth started to get carried away. “Even if, you know, you spend the night with him, you can still always come back, we will never turn you away.” Still silence. “Or, even if it isn’t a guy, if it’s, um…a, um, a girl, we won’t care. You are still our Hermione, no matter what.” Hermione started to giggle. Ron turned scarlet.
“Relax. I’m not dating some guy, nor am I dating some girl, nor likely to ever date a girl. I have no problem with people who do, but I like guys. I just go on walks and think and people-watch and what not. I’m sorry if it’s been worrying you, but I swear, I’m not hiding some secret boyfriend from you guys.” Ron seemed to relax at that.
“But if you were…” Hermione cut him off.
“I know that I can always tell you, I trust you guys, I swear. Now, I’m totally exhausted, I’m going to bed. Night Ron.” Ron seemed happy with that and they both went their separate ways to bed.
Eventually it was time to return to Hogwarts. Hermione packed up her trunk, helped the boys pack theirs, and rushed downstairs to pile into the car the Weasley’s had rented, as they do every year. They reached the station with just ten minutes to go before the train would leave. They hugged their goodbye’s and piled on the train. They found a free compartment and in piled Harry, Ron, Hermione, Ginny, Neville and Luna. It was the gang, together again.
“How was everyone’s summer?” Hermione looked at Neville and Luna, since they were the only two she hadn’t spent the summer with.
“It was alright. I had hoped to see some Nargles, but I missed them every time, so that was a bit disappointing.” Everyone smiled, Luna never changed. Hermione turned her attention towards Neville. He smiled.
“It was good. I hung around with Seamus and Dean a lot, got me away from my Gran for a bit. Although she’s much easier to be around now that she thinks of me as a war hero.” Everyone laughed.
Harry, Ron, Ginny and Hermione explained the gist of their joint summer. Soon it was time for Hermione to meet with the prefects in the Head’s compartment. Ron and Ginny stood up just as Hermione was about to get up. Harry turned towards them.
“Where are you two heading?” Ron grinned.
“Prefect duties. We have to go meet with the Head Girl and Boy.” Harry looked confused.
“Ginny, you are a prefect?” She smiled.
“Yep, I guess I forgot to mention it this summer, but I got the badge in my letter. I’m so excited for my first prefect meeting, Ron we should go, we don’t want to get in trouble with the Heads for being late to our first meeting.” She started tugging on Ron’s sleeve. Hermione stood up smiling.
“I don’t think you will have to worry about that.” Harry turned his attention to her.
“You are a prefect too?” Hermione shook her head.
“No, I am Head Girl. But Ginny is right, we should leave. I don’t want to start off on the wrong foot with the Head Boy for being late.” They left and went to the Head’s compartment, it was already mostly full. Hermione went to the front as Ron and Ginny took their seats. It seemed that the Head Boy wasn’t even there yet.
“Well, hello everyone! Welcome to a new year at Hogwarts. I’m so glad to see you all here, except the Head Boy that is. Does anyone know who the Head Boy is this year?” Everyone shook their heads and Hermione continued with their first meeting. Halfway through the meeting the compartment door opened and in walked Draco Malfoy.
“Malfoy, how kind of you to finally join us.” Her tone was icy as she glared at him. She looked at the table. Blaise was sitting there. “Wait, you and Blaise can’t both be seventh year Slytherin boy prefects, one of you needs to leave.” Draco smirked.
“No Granger, I’m not a prefect.” Hermione smiled triumphantly and turned back to the group. “I’m Head Boy.” She whipped back around.
“What!?!” He just nodded and took his seat at the head of the table. Hermione was dumbstruck. She just nodded numbly and continued with the meeting. Once it was over all the prefects left. Ron and Ginny hung back, waiting for Hermione. She walked over to them.
“Hey guys, I need to talk to Malfoy, if we are going to be Heads we need to at least be civil, go on back. I’ll come back once I’m done. Thanks.” They nodded, though Ron looked weary. They went back to their compartment at the end of the train. Hermione turned to see Malfoy sitting lazily in his chair, not having moved, with his feet propped up on the table. Hermione sat down.
“So…” Draco looked at her. “You made Head Boy.” He smirked.
“Very observant of you Granger, it’s no wonder they say you are the brightest.” She laughed a bit at that. “Why did you never mention being Head Girl? I thought you would have been bursting to tell the whole world your latest accomplishment.” Hermione frowned at that.
“No, I knew that people would know once we got to school, so why break the news any sooner than necessary? It’s just added responsibility, expectations, attention, etc. I’m not really the type that craves that kind of stuff, no matter what you might think.” Draco seemed to actually think about that. “Why didn’t you mention being Head Boy? It’s a great accomplishment, coming off of your rocking last year or so, and entire past come to think of it.” She smiled.
“It’s not really important to me. I think the old woman is crazy to think that this is a good idea, but I’m not going to turn down the extra privileges.” Hermione laughed at that.
“I like that to me it is responsibility and expectations while to you it’s privileges. Typical.” Draco grinned.
“What would I be if I weren’t me?” She laughed again.
“You are such a ferret.”
“Smarty-farty? Really, you couldn’t come up with anything better than that? You are such a loser.” With that she gave him a quick smile before leaving the compartment and heading back to her own. Draco smiled too, he would have to work on his insults if he was going to properly vent his frustrations without repeating himself.
When Hermione returned to her compartment everyone looked up at her.
“So what did you and Malfoy talk about?”
“Oh, um, just trying to get along this year, at least when other people are around, since we are supposed to set a good example. I also asked him to try to set a better example next time by not showing up late.” She smiled, they had sort of talked about the first part, kind of. Harry spoke up.
“Well that makes sense in theory, but this is Malfoy we are talking about, I’m not so sure he’s capable of following even such simple instructions.” Everyone in the compartment laughed and the rest of the ride to the castle was completely normal.
AN: Hey, hope you like where this is going so far. Please leave any ideas or comments in a review, I really do take them into consideration, and always respond to reviews! Thanks!
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