He sat at the edge of the room, avoiding the crowded tables near the fireplace. The snow was piling up outside, and the wall he leaned on was cold. He flipped pages after pages of The Daily Prophet. There were job offers, here and there.
What could be a suitable job for Hogwarts graduate? If that was his only portfolio, he could apply for a job in the ministry. He was able to do some accounting or a lower level administrative work. He did all that for his family already. He's familiar with counting money and bookkeeping.
But let's not forget the damning fact about being the son of a Death Eater. And then being the Death Eater himself. Who would accept him once they saw his dark mark? Without adding the last employee he had, the You-Know-Who, he could probably work in the pub he was sitting on right now. He just had to avoid telling everyone he was that Draco Malfoy. It wasn't good for The Leaky Cauldron to have an employee who used to be a Death Eater.
Four days out of his friends' mansion, with only one bag of belonging he had, Draco Malfoy was bored and broke. He checked on the job listing every day. He was more than capable managing a store. He was good at writing. He could work at the apothecary. He wasn't that bad at herbs. He was especially good at spells. Dark, unmentionable spells. Was there anyone who had a need for that skill?
Malfoy checked out every job that needed someone with a good reputation. He doubted he'd pass as a bouncer or a prison guard. That left working in a magic hotline. What was this magic hotline thing? Some confusing ideas those wizards took from Muggle world?
Four days, and his coins were running out. He left in the middle of the night, and he was pleased when his friend didn't try to contact him. It'd be worse if his friend tried to find him only to offer him some coins. He worked at his friend's store for coins. He didn't accept charity. Not anymore.
Two more days at this place and he should go somewhere cheaper. Draco had no idea of any other place he could go to that didn't include his family into the equation. He hadn't been here since he graduated Hogwarts. He missed the Butterbeer. The noisy brats from Hogwarts few tables away, not so much.
When someone entered The Leaky Cauldron, Draco didn't look up. He never tried to stick out so much anymore. Newspaper and Butterbeer were enough companions he could take.
Draco glanced at the long olive skirt in front of him. Then he looked up. "Greengrass." He looked around. Nobody accompanied her. "You're a long way from home."
"Nice to meet you here," said Astoria. She motioned to the chair in front of Draco. "May I?"
Draco shrugged and returned to his rag.
Astoria placed her purple floral purse on the desk. "Did you get the flower?"
"You didn't get it? I sent flowers to everyone attending our party. It should already arrive at your home now."
"I don't know why you haven't got it." Astoria opened her purse and searched for something. "I sent them the morning after the party. It was a bouquet of wisteria, lily and poppy." Astoria made a wide circle with her arms. "It was this big. Are you sure you didn't see the bouquet in your home?"
"If by home you mean Malfoy's residence, it's probably there now." Draco folded his newspaper. "If you need to send something to me, just use an owl and send it to this tavern. Second floor, third door."
Astoria turned to the second floor. "Are you running away from home?"
"No." Draco finished his Butterbeer. "I just left. I'm old enough."
"Are you staying here until you buy your own mansion?"
Draco almost choked on the last foam. He placed his mug down and stared at Astoria. "Do I look like I can buy a mansion right now?"
The girl blinked.
"I'll be here until I get a job. After that, if you can find me, send me another bouquet. I sure can use something nice to decorate my shack." Draco stood up and took his newspaper. "Do whatever you wanted to do before you saw me, Greengrass. If you're lonely and can buy me another Butterbeer, just knock on my door. Until then…"
Astoria stood up and held up both of her hands. "Wait! There's something I need to ask!"
Draco frowned and turned his head to the girl flailing her hands. "What? You sure have a flair for the dramatics."
Astoria huffed and flipped her long red hair to her back. "I'm a Greengrass." As if that explained everything.
"What is it?"
"Can I see your hand?"
The girl snatched his left hand and turned the palm up. "…It's not smooth at all."
"I'm not a girl. Of course it's not smooth." Draco pulled his hand back.
"Can you work hard?" Astoria let his hand go.
Draco opened his mouth, but then gave a halfhearted shrug. "I don't know anything about tools and spells for construction, if that's what you mean. But I can do it."
"No, no." Astoria took her purse and pulled a card out. "I have an herb garden. My only employee quit before the party, he couldn't handle taking care of the rare herbs with his hands."
Draco accepted the card adorned with leaves and bright colour swirling on the yellow coloured paper: Greengrass Herbs.
"I couldn't find anyone willing to garden with their hands only," Astoria said. "But it's important to use only your hands because some of these herbs are feeding of human touches and die with too much spells. It's hard work and I couldn't pay much. I'm only getting started."
Draco traced the card with his callused hand, gained from too much picking up heavy crates when plenty of emergencies happened at regular intervals in his friends' storage room.
"I start getting good clients, though. I deal with very rare herbs that most rare potions need. For now, I only have one greenhouse and no employee to take care of it." Astoria tried to pick up anything from Draco's expression. "I couldn't offer you any room, but I have access to my family's storage room. It's spacious and clean. Right now there's nothing in it, it's not harvest season yet…"
Draco gave the card back to Astoria. The girl sighed and took the card. The man threw his newspaper on the table.
"Can I start now?" Draco said. "Please wait, I just have to take my bag down."
She was expecting a mess inside. Patting off the snow hanging to her strands of damp hair, Hermione stopped in her tracks. Her room was clean. There was nothing out of sorts that she expected. A kettle was on the stove, warm flames heating it up. On top of the coffee table, a cup of tea was half-empty. A tea spoon lay next to it on top of a small plate. The room was cool.
Draco was sitting on the floor near the window. A wheelchair sat next to him, not downturned on the floor. The man had Hermione's old scarf around his neck, old bathrobe around his thin frame. His head leaned on the windowsill. Outside the thin glass, snow poured down on anything that couldn't get inside fast enough. Everything was white. People walking by were nothing but a slight movement of white with tiny bits of colour.
Hermione couldn't find anything to say. Saying things like 'I'm back' would've implied Draco was living here. Anything else didn't seem to fit the sombre mood he created while she was away.
She walked in and put the groceries on the sofa. The man was quiet. Hermione took out a small tinfoil package from the groceries and put it on the table. Against the window, Draco looked like an old cat mourning his old days of frolicking under the sun, now that it was too old to be anything but an inside housecat.
"Your hands can move, right?" Hermione said. Draco moved his head a bit, as if surprised she was in the room. "I got something for you to do while I'm away."
Draco's head turned slightly, eyes glancing to the coffee table. Hermione removed her gloves and un-wrapped the package.
"I'll teach you how to do this. It doesn't make a lot of money, but it's better than licking the window out of boredom." Hermione showed a jar of oil, lump of wax and tiny bags of spices and leaves. "You know how to turn on the stoves, so I think you know how to cook candle."
Hermione stared at the thin man, and turned to the items she held. "…Yes."
Draco pushed his frame from the windowsill. "You sell it by the dozens?"
Hermione opened her mouth. "Yes… Wait, you know how to do this?"
Instead of replying, Draco reached up, gripped the arms of his wheelchair and pulled himself up. At the time Hermione put the wax and oil down to the table and moved to help him, Draco was already seated in the wheelchair. He grabbed the wheels and turned it slightly, moving the wheelchair away from the window. Draco stopped next to the coffee table and reached out to take the jar of oil.
"Where's the candle cups?" Draco uncapped the jar and sniffed the oil scent.
Hermione took out the cups from her grocery bag and watched as Draco un-wrapped the boxes of wax out of its plastic. He placed the wax and the jar of oil on his lap and steered the wheelchair to the stove. With one hand, he reached down to open the lower cupboard. He took out a medium sized cooking pot and placed it on the stove next to the kettle. Turning on the stove, Draco measured the fire.
"What are you looking at?" the man said when Hermione watched his movements. "Go ahead, shower or something. I won't burn this place down."
Hermione was so curious. "You know how to turn on the stove? To cook without spell? Wait, how do you know how to cook? You have house elves. How do you know how to turn on the stove like that?"
Draco raised his brow. "Are you mocking me, Mudblood?"
"I—" Hermione gritted her teeth. "You're not supposed to know these things, you stupid ferret! You were raised with magic!"
"Don't be ridiculous. It's a stove. There's a switch. I know how it works. Go do your own thing." The kettle was boiling and Draco switched the flame off. "Were you always doing this after your class ended? Standing there doing nothing? What a waste of time."
Glaring to his previous position on the windowsill, Hermione shook her head and headed to the bathroom. She took one last glance toward the man in front of the stove, scowled and shut the door.
The bell rang. The old woman raised her head from her crossed arms, broke out of her dream. The young woman coming into her bookstore in an old coat and yellow scarf looked familiar.
"Hello, Miss." The young woman smiled. "Do you remember me?"
"…Aah, yes, yes!" the old woman said. "Hermione, correct? My, how you've grown! You used to visit every month when you were studying at Hogwarts!" The manager stood straighter and took her glasses she removed during her nap. "How's your pregnancy? How are you coming along?"
The young woman looked confused. "I'm not pregnant."
"You aren't?" The old manager wore her glasses and stared down to Hermione's stomach. "You were pregnant the last time I saw you." The old woman scrunched her brows and bent closer to study Hermione's head. "I remember your hair was redder than this. It was so red it looked like flames! And much, much straighter. You also have more meat on your bones! What happened?"
Hermione blinked. "…I am Hermione, Miss. I'm not Ginny Potter."
The old woman waved her hand. "Of course you are Hermione! Hermione Potter! I always liked seeing you two. What a sweet couple, together since you were in Hogwarts. Is Ginny the name of your daughter?"
The young woman looked down, and after a while, she gazed up, smiled and said, "Can I get some books on medicinal herbs and potions to cure broken nerve system?"
The old woman pulled open her thick, old tome. Dust flew when she flipped the pages. Hermione coughed. "I think there are some of those herbal cures and rare potion titles." The old woman pointed to the back row of bookshelves in her store. "Longbottom wrote some of them. It was on the section L, along with his wife's books, Lovegood Cure. You'll see them on the third row on the back."
Hermione thanked the old woman and headed to the back.
"L…L… Livingstone, Longbottom." Hermione traced the title on the books stacked neatly on the row. The books were new and some of them looked like they were just taken out of a box. She took out one of the books titled 'Cure for Impossible Sickness' and began reading.
Hermione knew it was probably pointless to look around search for a spinal cord injury in the Wizarding world. If there was any problem in the nerve system, wizards would've taken care of it long before any long time damage occurred on the body. Draco's injury happened in the Muggle world. Nobody from this world had ample time to reverse the effect and help him. At the time Draco woke up from the injury, he had lost his wand and refused to contact anyone who knew him, making the problem worse. If there was anything that could help him regain his mobility back, Hermione would've found it. She spent her holiday reading about potions and cures before she decided to enter the medical major. But probably, with Neville Longbottom and Luna Lovegood as the head of Health and Medicinal Facilities in the ministry, something new had arisen. Something new, that could help Draco and in extent Hermione out of this.
She thought of contacting Malfoy's residence before coming here, but she had promised to Draco she'd keep this a secret. What an unfair promise. She owed nothing to the Malfoy. She had paid for his hospital fee and surgery fee. She took care of Malfoy in her house, and what did she get?
She got a cup of herbal tea and an omelet this morning. When she woke up and opened her door, she thought someone sneaked into her house to cook and fled with the food leaving behind the wonderful aroma. Turned out it was Draco, who sat on the sofa, watching the morning news. The man said nothing. He pointed to the plate of omelet and hot cup of tea on the coffee table. Another plate and cup were already on the sink. To say she was stunned was not an exaggeration. When Hermione asked him how he knew how to cook, the man glared and said that the stove was there, so he cooked. It was an accumulating theory and headache in Hermione's head, to guess how Malfoy who grew up around willing house elves knew his way around the stove.
She left the house with a full, warm stomach, something that lifted her mood unlike her usual morning coffee. If it could be called a coffee; a chunk of black bitter liquid and a gallop of sugar was more like it. Draco didn't ask where she went to despite it being Saturday. Instead, when Hermione left he was busy at the stove, cooking yet another batch of candles. Two dozen small aromatherapy candles were placed on the coffee table, each the same size as another, with leaves and spices. Hermione promised to pack anything Draco finished and delivered it to her friends' shop this afternoon. It seemed like now Draco was on the mission of making as much candle as he possibly could. With shaky but determined hands, Draco placed the dry spices and leaves in the cup while the candle was cooling around it.
Something was different about him. Hermione had to admit, she had no idea what he was doing after he graduated Hogwarts. Draco Malfoy barely graduated. Not because he was a fool, something Hermione knew already, but because the bitterness and harassments from the classmates after the end of Voldemort. After the teasing and yelling got to a different level, Harry and Ron had to sit next to Draco, each on his side, to make people stop throwing anything bigger than a pebble at him during class. They didn't say anything to each other, but something was different in the boys' relationships afterwards. Draco didn't go out on weekends after that, preferring to stay in in the safety of his room at Slytherin. There was a whisper that nobody wanted to sleep next to his bed, that the two beds next to him were empty. Hermione thought Slytherin was where all the shrewd people gathered. They should've followed and cheered for Draco afterwards! Maybe being the Death Eater who lived and returned to Hogwarts without so much as a punishment was too much for them.
It didn't take long for Draco to graduate and disappear from anyone's radar. There were rumours about him starting his own cult, taking over his father's business or marrying someone as rich and old as his family in order to restore the Malfoy's wealth and honour. Now Hermione knew none of them was true.
She did think to ask Draco about his life before the accident. If she was about to house a criminal, she'd like to know beforehand. But Draco was never on the good side of her, so what did it matter? Asking things like how his life had been only made her look like she care. The last thing Hermione wanted was for Draco to use her for his own profit. She was kind but she wasn't a fool. She had set a time limit on how long she would take care of him. If nothing else could be done and he still didn't have the right mind to contact his family, she'd do it for him. Then she'd ask for her money back. For Malfoy, Hermione did no charity.
"Oh, Mrs. Potter? What are you doing in here?" the old woman said. "I thought I told you the books are on the back?"
"What?" Ginny's voice surprised Hermione. "I don't understand."
"Were my eyes playing tricks on me again? I could've sworn I just talked to you a few minutes ago!" the manager said. "Oh, and you're pregnant again!"
"I—yes," Ginny said. "Harry, were you here earlier?"
Hermione crouched. Crawling to the edge of the bookshelves, Hermione glanced toward the front area of the store.
"I'm not?" Harry said. Flapping and patting his thick brown overcoat to get rid of the snow, Harry Potter looked at the new books stacked high on the floor next to the manager's desk. "I don't know, Ginny, I did hear everyone saying you look like someone. Who isn't so heavily pregnant and isn't a woman. Oh, wait, your brother."
Ginny smacked her husband's chest. "Miss, I'm looking for the latest edition of Happy Baby. Is it out yet?"
"It's over there." The manager pointed to the stacks of books near the couple. "But I swear you were just coming in, Ginny! You weren't as big and you were less… fashionable? I loved the scarf and the coat but it wasn't how you usually dressed!" The old woman pointed to where Hermione hid. "And you were just looking for the potion book over there!"
That old madam and her selective memories! Hermione winced when Harry headed toward her. She stood up and plastered the smile on her tired face.
"Hermione!" Harry's face brightened. He pulled her into a hug. "What are you doing here?"
"…As the manager said, looking for medicinal books." Hermione relaxed her body when Harry pulled away. "How are you and Ginny?"
"We're fine," Harry said. "Why are you looking for medicinal books in here? You're studying medicine in the Muggle world. You can't apply anything you learned in here."
"Hermione!" Ginny waved at her. "So nice to meet you again! It's been so long!"
"Hi, Ginny," Hermione said. "Okay, uh. Well, I need to get back to my place now."
"Wait, wait!" Harry held on Hermione's arm. "What are you talking about? We just met and you already want to run off? Come on, Herms."
"Oh, I remember!" the manager said. "You, you… whoever you are, I remember Lovegood's book about reversing the effect of nerve damage! It's that tenth book on your right!"
Wishing everyone didn't see how she silently gritted her teeth, Hermione plucked the book from the shelf.
Harry shook his head. "You know you can't cure Muggles with things from here, right, Herms? No matter who they are, you'll get punished by the ministry."
"Are they one of your patients, Hermione?" Ginny said.
"It's… I'm not really looking to cure anyone." For once Hermione hoped she was good at poker face. "I was researching patients with the damage on their nerve system, and I was wondering if there's something else human… I mean, Muggle, can do but haven't found yet. I'm not going to apply anything I learn from this book," Hermione said showing the book in her hand, "to a Muggle. Don't worry."
"Oh," said Harry.
"So, how's the pregnancy, Ginny?" Hermione glanced to other books on the shelf. She probably could get another two or three more books before leaving this place with the Potter couple not figuring anything out.
"It's so fun!" Ginny placed her right hand on her swollen belly. In a smooth silk blouse and wide flowing skirt, her body wasn't as big as the old woman implied, but her stomach had expanded to what should be a natural size of a pregnant woman. "I get moody and aches every now and then, but I guess you know that being a doctor."
"Not yet a doctor," said Hermione. "How's the appetite?" When Harry sent loving looks toward his wife, Hermione pulled a book titled 'Rare Potions and You: 101 Problems!'
"She ate a lot," said Harry. "Everything goes here." He patted his wife's stomach. "Oh, it's moving!"
Ginny beamed. "The baby likes his father a lot, even though all he does is teasing me. You want to touch him?"
Hermione placed her free hand to the belly and felt a strong kick. She smiled. "Wow."
"The next Quidditch best," said Harry, proud.
Ginny giggled. "Oh, Hermione, I wanted to send you the letter but now that you're here…" She pulled out a small envelope from her pocket. "Would you come to my party next week?"
Hermione accepted the envelope. "Sure. For the baby?"
"Yes. If you don't have any schedule, I'd love for you to come!"
"I will, of course." Hermione placed the envelope on top of her books.
"Ron will be there," said Harry. He studied Hermione's expression and looked disappointed when she showed nothing. "It's been a long time since you two met, wasn't it?"
"No, actually." Hermione bit the inside of her cheeks. "Ron visited me a few days ago."
"Ron?" Ginny's eyes got bigger. "He visited you? He said he's busy! He's busy all the time he barely ever visited our parents anymore! What were you two talking about?"
Hermione didn't want to talk about this, but… "He asked me on a date?"
Harry's mouth formed an 'O' while Ginny screamed and hugged Hermione. "I knew it! I knew he's still in love with you!"
"Well…" Harry scratched the back of his head. "I don't know what to say."
"Say congratulations, you silly!" said Ginny, releasing Hermione.
"Um, congrats," Harry said. "Although for what, I don't know. It hasn't happened yet."
"Oh, it will!" Ginny's voice was several octaves higher than normal. "It'll be wonderful and they'll be together again!"
Hermione looked around. She saw a cooking book titled 'Easy Cooking Even You Can Do When Your house Elves Aren't Around!' and picked it up. Draco would probably like this. If the only food he knew how to cook was an omelet, she'd die from cholesterol before any cure was found.
She needed to make sure Draco Malfoy hid in her bedroom when Ron came by. Otherwise, never mind taking her time researching how to cure the nerve system, it would take weeks to clean the pool of blood from the carpet.
When she returned, Draco glanced up from the diagram he studied.
Her hands full with various sizes of bags, Hermione shut the door with her heel. She saw rows of candles on the coffee table, filling up the space. Hermione placed her bags down next to the table. "How many did you make?"
"A lot." Draco was back to the book on his lap.
Hermione saw the diagram of the human anatomy in the book and frowned. Then she noticed the stack of books on the sofa, next to Draco's wheelchair. "What are you doing with my books?"
He'd been reading it since this morning, the moment Hermione left the house. At first it was out of nothing to do and boredom of making candles. Then he was intrigued. The book of Muggle anatomy and various illnesses, it seemed, was chosen by Hermione precisely because it was outlining Draco's kind of injury. He wasn't the smartest of Hogwarts graduates. He didn't continue his studies into the specialized Wizarding academy out of the danger of his own past, but Draco was patient in finding out what he wanted to know.
There was a lot of Latin that was near to what he'd learned in school, and although he didn't understand part of the explanation, Draco now knew what happened to him, in Muggle terms.
Draco looked up. "So it's incurable?"
Hermione didn't have to ask what he meant. "It's partial injury, so you can still use your arms and move some nerves above your lower back. But to cure it…" She shrugged.
"There is absolutely no cure?" Draco flipped the page, seeing yet another table of explanation for spinal cord injury.
"Rehabilitation can minimize the effect. It'll take years, if at all possible." Hermione took out the books she bought. "At least you can still use your hands. Some people I volunteered for paralysed from the neck down."
He wasn't feeling so fortunate. Draco turned his palm up, studying his rough skin. Today when he was cooking and his hands burnt from hot wax he spilled, he wondered what would happen if he lost the feeling of his hands as well. For years, after being independent and leaving anything Malfoy but his name, Draco used his hands more than he used his wands. He didn't rely so much on magic anymore, knowing how spells he used would be traced by the ministry. Even one slight mistake may cost him his freedom. He wouldn't make the same mistake of relying too much on magic. What was left of his life, the small fortune he had, if there was still any now, was built with every callous he made in the palm of his hands.
Draco closed the book. "How long have you been researching?"
"Since I met you the first time at the hospital." Hermione went to him and gave him the book she bought. "I was thinking that maybe something will come up if I look somewhere else. So I went to Flourish and Blotts."
Draco accepted the book. He read the title and raised his brow. "'Cook Like a House Elf!'are you serious?"
"Why not? Since you seem to know your way around the kitchen." Hermione put the groceries into the fridge. "I bought ingredients so if you need anything else, just tell me."
Draco opened the cooking book but he didn't seem to have any wish on reading it. Looking at the stack of other books Hermione bought, Draco said, "What's that? 'Longbottom Healing?'"
"Oh, that." Hermione closed the fridge. "Neville wrote that. He specializes in herbs and medicinal cure nowadays. He's also the head of the Medicinal facility in the ministry."
Draco said nothing. When Hermione turned to watch him, he was reading from the book Neville wrote.
"Some of these herbs are very rare," said Draco. "He claims it heals, but you can't heal with something that only grows every 300 years."
"He's always good with herbs. I think I'll believe him if he said the potion will heal something."
Draco huffed and closed the book. "Then what's the point of reading books about rare stuff that you can't get anyway?" He threw the book to the empty spot on the sofa.
"And what do you know about herbs?"
Draco didn't reply. He steered his wheelchair to the television and turned it on. He took the remote from the top of the television and changed the channel.
"You know, you seem very familiar with the Muggle stuff." Hermione leaned against the counter. The counter that, now she noticed, was cleaner than it was yesterday. Draco cleaned the counter? Why did it seem so out of his character?
When Draco said nothing, Hermione said, "You have to be in the bedroom all morning tomorrow. Do you want me to put anything in there to make it comfortable?"
Draco stared at her. "Why?"
"To make you more comfortable."
"No. Why do I have to be in your bedroom all morning?" Draco said. "Don't you lock it so I don't get to see the non-Muggle items?"
Hermione snorted. "You really think I have anything close to Wizarding equipment in there? I barely have any room to put the bed."
"So why do I have to…" Draco stopped. "You invite someone here? Someone who knows who I am?"
Well. Nobody said Draco was not quick on the uptake. "Ron."
"Weasley." Draco looked away, to the screen. "When you said you were studying to be a Muggle doctor, I thought you broke up with him for good."
"I did break up with him." Hermione frowned. "Wait, how did you know I broke up with him? We're still together at Hogwarts."
"Oh, come on. Everybody knows the Weasley story. He's the closest thing to Harry Potter." Draco sighed. "Right after you. After you left, everyone was focusing on Weasley."
So Ron was famous right now. "I see."
"Wasn't he broke up with you because he wanted to live with that blonde? Who's her name…"
Hermione blinked. "I don't think it was your business to comment on our past. Yours wasn't so pure either, Malfoy."
"Oh, really? Then tell me, what did I do after Hogwarts?"
Hermione thought about it. She settled on a glower.
"Could you? Find anything about me on the Daily Prophet?" Draco turned towards her. "Or in anything else written by Rita Skewer?"
"It still didn't give you the right to comment on my past."
"Was it really only a past?" Draco murmured.
"What was that?"
"I assumed you left because he broke your heart. That was… what," Draco said, "three or four years ago? Now he's back, begging at your feet because the blonde wasn't enough, and you agreed." He tilted his head a bit then cringed from the pain. "It seemed too planned for me."
"What are you talking about?" Hermione pushed herself off the counter. "Don't talk as if you know him!"
"I don't. I was never his friend." Draco was calm. "Perhaps that's why I can see it differently than you and Potter saw him. I didn't exactly picture him as this little redheaded boy I grew up with all those years ago, my ex-boyfriend or my brother in law."
"I don't understand you. He helped you on your last year at Hogwarts! You must have forgotten what he did to make sure you graduated with all of us, despite what you did!"
Draco froze. A slight anger flickered in his eyes. Then he was back to being expressionless. "I remember. It doesn't mean I don't remember the blonde he was sleeping with behind you, and all the lies he said to you in front of everyone."
Hermione shook her head. "You're a liar. Even though that's true, that was years ago. People change. He is different now. I, for one, believe that people can change. You, for example."
Draco stared at her.
"You are not Death Eater anymore. Although I'm not sure you still have a heart after all the things you've done to us, I believe you have nothing to do with those people anymore. That's why I want to help you. That's why you're here. If I didn't listen to Ron when he said whatever you do, you're still one of us, you wouldn't be here."
Draco turned his eyes and stared at the blank wall. Clenching his teeth, the thin man swiveled his wheelchair and moved passing Hermione into the bathroom, then closed the door.