Chapter 23 : Crying on the Peer
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Ginny and I were sitting in our usual places at the Gryffindor table, surrounded by our friends and other people that were excited about being near the Great Harry Potter.
I don't like to think of myself as THE Harry Potter. I feel like we're two different people. I can't even remember facing Voldemort all those years ago. I don't want to be "the chosen one". Sometimes it's fun, but sometimes it makes my life hell. Fighting demon monsters, fighting the Prophet, and fighting Voldemort…It's not fun!
"Harry, where's Ron and Hermione?" Dean asked me while I took a drink of pumpkin juice.
"Oh-" I set down the glass and swallowed what was in my mouth. "They're running a little late. But they're coming. I'll let you know when they get here."
I heard a high pitched "WHAT?" come from the entrance of the Great Hall. I was still turned to Dean. "And now they're here!" Then I turned my attention to what was happening up front, as did everyone else.
"I'm sorry, Hermione," I heard Ron say. "It's hard to explain. But I don't want to deal with any of this. Just, get it sorted out and then I'll come back to you."
*What is he doing?*
*Being an asshole*
With that, Ron turned around and started walking toward Ginny and I.
"What was that about?" Ginny asked him as he sat down.
"Nothing," he replied.
Seamus raised his eyebrows at Ron. "Didn't look like nothing...."
Ron shrugged. "Hermione told me to choose between the school and her. She thinks that because of last night, I couldn't hang out with her and the school-"
"Why can't you?" Dean butt in.
"Something about, if I'm around her, I'll be an outcast also? Whatever. She wasn't making any sense," Ron said as he turned to the breakfast display in front of him.
Ginny shook her head. "Actually, it makes perfect sense. If you were with her, the school would think something was going on between the two of you. So you needed to choose to be with her and have gossip be spilled about you two, or be on the school's side and avoid all of it."
Ron looked up at her for a quick second before looking down to avoid her glare.
"You did pick Hermione, didn't you?" Ginny demanded.
Ron didn't look up. He started packing his plate full of sausage. "Ron..." Ginny said in a tone that sounded like she was about to murder him.
He was about to defend himself when Luna Lovegood came up from behind him. "There you are, Ron. I've been looking for you," she said in her dreamy voice.
"Oh, hi Luna. What'd you need?" Ron asked, relieved he didn't have to finish his discussion with his younger sister.
"You weren't in detention last night. Snape was furious. He said that since you weren't there, we'd both have detention for the rest of the week," she said. She didn't seem to have a problem with any of it.
"Oh, Luna I'm so sorry about that!" Ron apologized.
"No, it's ok.... Just make sure you're not late tonight, ok?" Luna said while looking at Seamus. And Seamus looked like he was looking at a man-eating spider.
I had to chuckle to myself. Ginny saw his face too, and I could hear her sniffling her laughter. I turned to her, unfortunately, I was trying to not laugh also. When our eyes met, we both caved in and broke out into fits of silent laughter. Ginny hovered behind me so no one saw her laughing like mad. I had to just turn the other direction.
After breakfast, I had Potions with Ron and Hermione. Ron refused to let me sit next to her. He insisted we sit somewhere else, but I told him she was still my friend and I wasn't going to let her sit by herself. However, she didn't seem too pleased to have Ron sitting with her.
Let's just say, class wasn't as fun as it usually was.
Re-wind: Hermione takes off after Ron choses his side and Draco takes off after her.
"Hermione! Wait!" I was chasing Hermione across the Hogwarts grounds. No matter how fast I ran, she was always quite a ways away. And even though she was far ahead of me, I could tell she was crying...hard.
Hermione ran toward the Black Lake. There was a peer that stretched about half a mile into the lake, and Hermione was headed toward it.
"Hermione! Stop!" I yelled after her.
"Go away, Malfoy!" She yelled back after me without turning around.
"Sorry, that's not gonna happen!" There was nothing she could possibly say to make me leave her.
She continued running, dodging boulders and a few trees. I, on the other hand, didn't dodge them that easily, I tripped over twigs, and rocks and ran into a branch. I didn't stop though.
I saw Hermione reach the peer. She was going to jump; and after seeing Viktor Krum rescue her from this lake last year, I learned Hermione wasn't the best swimmer. With the thought of Hermione drowning, I picked up speed.
I got to the begging of the peer as she stopped at the end. "Hermione!" I yelled as I ran faster than ever.
She looked over her shoulder for a moment then turned back to the dark water. "This should never have happened!" she yelled at the water. She was shaking from crying. "I was supposed to be with Ron! Trelawney told him! I'm to be with Ron! ...Not you!"
I had finally caught up to Hermione. I pulled the weeping girl away from the edge. I turned her around. She was crying harder than I'd ever seen anyone cry before. She slammed her hands on the front of my shoulders.
"Why?" she cried. "What's happened?" She was crying so hard it was a wonder she was able to speak correctly. "Ron! He-he chose them!" She lifted her right hand and hit my shoulder as she emphasized her next word. "Them! ...He-he doesn't want to-to become an" she hit my shoulder again "outcast! He cares more about his," hit, "stupid reputation then he does me!"
I entangled my fingers in her brown curls and pulled her to my chest. I held her in my arms as she cried her eyes out.
I didn't bother trying to comfort her. I didn't want to lie to her and say everything was going to be fine. She had every reason to feel this way. The man she trusted everything with had just left her. And for what? To avoid rumors. I buried my face in her hair and pulled her closer to me, so she knew I was here.
We stood like that for a while. At the end of the peer; Hermione in my arms, crying, and I was holding her to me.
I basically melted into Draco's arms. He was so protective of me right now. I'd never felt so safe, here in my enemies arms. I was now starting to calm down. I think the longer I spent with Draco, the less I worried about Ron.
I exhaled and gently pulled back a little from Draco's chest. He loosened his grip on me and pulled his head back to look me in the eyes.
"You alright?" he asked me. His voice full of concern.
I gave him a small smile and nodded. "Thank you."
"For what?" he asked me almost immediately.
"Being here for me," I answered him while looking down at the tiny space between our feet.
He pulled me back into him. I sank into his chest and wrapped my arms around his back. We just stood there in silence until I couldn't stand it any longer.
"What's happened, Draco?" I asked him.
I could feel him shaking his head. "...I don't know. All I know is that we need to figure it out. I don't know if I can take much more of this."
I raised my head to look at him. "Take what much longer?"
He smiled down at me. "Loving you." I felt a flip in my stomach, as if I had missed a step on my way down a staircase. I knew Draco loved me, but he had never said it to me. I beamed at him, but just then the school bell rang. We both looked up to the school and Draco sighed.
He looked to me and smiled. "Come on," he said as he took my hand. He intertwined his fingers with mine and squeezed my hand.
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