Chapter 10 : My Same
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Draco led them deep into a maze that took up almost a third of their backyard, away from everyone and with each step the music seemed to grow quieter. Hermione's feet were beginning to ache from the heels and she fretted that the dirt would stain her dress, so with her free hand she scooped it up and continued. They were nearing the middle when Draco finally stopped, breathing hard.
"I need to talk to you, and you can't tell me to leave, nor will you leave here until I'm done. You will listen to everything I have to say and then you can leave. Not a moment earlier." His steel eyes glowered down at her and she nodded her head silently. "Hermione, I do not want to marry Astoria. She is a snobby little princess, a better looking version of Pansy, and is only marrying me for my last name and money. We don't get along as well as we portray it to the media. Father has this whole idea about arranged marriages and my mother is for them. It's something old wizarding families do; it's one of the things I hate most. I fell in love with you because you are different to my family and their friends. You are so full of life and not afraid of anything. You stood up to Voldemort because he was threatening our lives whereas I cowed under his rule. You're stunning every time I look at you, your blood status is nothing to me anymore and all I want is for us to be together. We could run away, move to a foreign country and start anew. We could leave everything we have here and start fresh, no worries whatsoever. I could buy you a ring, a prettier ring and it would dazzle everyone who looked at it. When you didn't come back to me, it hurt so bad and I never understood why. That's why I bugged you for dates, to try and figure out what it was that turned you off me and then when you told me what it was yesterday, I almost died. There is no competition between you and Astoria, she means nothing to me." His grey eyes grew soft and sad and Hermione looked away, holding back tears.
"Draco, if you don't marry Astoria, your family will disinherit you and you'll have nothing. I don't want you to have nothing." She finally looked at him, her throat growing tighter.
"Hermione, I don't care if I get disinherited. I don't need money, I need you." He pleaded and a silver tear rolled down Hermione's cheek.
"Draco, I have a job here, I have a life here. I can't just uproot myself and run away. I have responsibilites here now." She was grasping at straws and he knew that. He knew that she could leave the job to someone else because she had discussed travelling around the world on one of their dates.
"Hermione," he stepped closer to her, his spidery hands grasping at her waist and pulling her close. "Hermione" he breathed, his cool breath washing over her face and she looked up at him.
"Draco, I need to go back and so do you. It's rude to leave our dates at a party, especially your engagement party" but she didn't move away. They stood there, staring at each other in silence before footsteps snapped them both back to attention.
"Hermione?" She heard Harry's voice call our and she cleared her throat before replying. "Back here, Harry" she called out and straightened herself up. Harry quickly came around the corner and eyed the pair curiously.
"Hermione, George is looking for you, and Astoria is looking for you Draco." Hermione knew what was coming and she grimaced, she wasn't used to Harry scolding her.
"Thanks Potter" Draco said kindly and quickly left the awkward setting.
"Harry, I know what you're going to say, but it was completely innocent. He just wanted to explain a few things to me" Hermione smiled awkwardly but Harry stared at her.
"Hermione, he is engaged to Astoria in there. They are going to be married very soon and he can't be seen walking off alone with you. Tonight is his engagement party, 'Mione." Harry's voice was warm, but it was hard and Hermione swallowed stiffly.
"I know that, Harry. I know there is no future for Draco and me but do you know how hard this is for me? I mean, there was that brief thing with Cho but effectively Ginny is your first, Lavender is Ron's first. You're both with your dream girls and my first is in that house dancing with a woman he's not interested in. That hurts me so much" they started walking back, and Harry draped his arm around Hermione's shoulders, hugging her slightly. The Manor came back into view, the windows sparkling brilliantly from unseen lights, like golden stars. The night was quite cool and damp and Hermione began to worry that it would rain before they left that night.
Draco whirled Astoria around, her dark hair flowing elegantly and her eyes sparkled brightly in the shimmering lights. She had a very proud nose and a small rounded chin that sat below full, dark pink lips. Her wide eyes were a dazzling grey-blue and were framed by long, dark eyelashes. She was very gorgeous, Draco admitted, but he was more accustomed to Hermione's hidden beauty. You only really noticed how gorgeous she was when you were up close to her, in her company completely. She shone brightly inside and out with her natural beauty.
"Draco, darling, are you okay?" Astoria said softly, noticing his current distraction.
"Hmm? Yes, I'm perfectly fine" he replied and looked down at her, smiling slightly.
"It's that Granger girl, isn't it?" Draco suddenly experienced déjà vu s she said this and the smile dropped from his face.
"This has nothing to do with Hermione" he snapped and she rolled her eyes silently. He watched as Hermione quickly slid into the room, Harry separating from her to find Ginny, and she made her way towards him. But she wasn't looking at him, she was looking straight through him and he clenched his teeth. This constant sparring between them was starting to annoy him, but he didn't stop her as she walked right past him. He caught a whiff of her perfume and inhaled deeply. She was walking to George, to apologize for kissing him, he hoped and he watched out of the corner of his eye as George bent down to whisper in her ear. Draco had terrible jealousy issues, and Hermione wasn't even his to be jealous of anymore.
George and Hermione soon moved away from him, walking towards Ron and Lavender. He dipped Astoria down and she leant up and planted her lips on his, kissing him affectionately. He was shocked, she had no intimate feelings for him, and she was doing this merely to piss Hermione off and Draco suppressed a laugh, respect for the woman in his arm growing tremendously. But when they stood up and he looked over at Hermione she wasn't even facing him. She had her back to him and George's large pale hand stretched protectively against her hip. He kissed Astoria for nothing; Hermione didn't even know they had done it. Draco spotted his mother ushering people out into the backyard, and slowly the room was emptying so Draco softly pulled Astoria outside too, so they could take their place. There was a long white table at the front of a canopy where Draco, Astoria and their parents were to sit. They would be the centre of attention, exactly how Narcissa had planned it. Hermione and her friends hung towards the back, as far from the table as possible. George had handed her his coat which she slipped on gratefully. Draco glowered at the towering red-head before being seated down beside Astoria and his parents.
Hermione looked up at their table; Astoria's bony hand was clasped on top of Draco's spidery hand. Their hands were the same pale shade of ivory, Hermione noted amused. George's coat was so warm and smelt lovely as she wore it. George was sad, every night he was sad. Fred had died in the Battle and George had become just one half of a whole. He was never going to be complete again. She felt bad for George; no one could ever fill that gaping hole. Not a girl, nor kids. Nothing.
"Penny for your thoughts?" He asked as he smiled lazily down at her.
"Nothing exciting or dramatic" Hermione replied and smiled back at him.
"Yeah, you're probably thinking about how much school you've missed so far and who's teaching at Hogwarts. You nerd" his smile broadened into a grin and Hermione rolled her eyes.
*Everything recognizable belongs to J.K. Rowling. Lyrics to My Same belong to Adele.
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