After Harry’s dramatic and abrupt departure, Draco walks down to the bottom of the stairs to pick his abandoned wand up off the floor, ignoring the wide-eyed stares of the fight’s observers. As he leans down to do so, I notice that Harry’s wand is still lying on the floor a short distance away. For some reason, seeing Harry’s wand lying there on the floor makes me feel horrible; I realize that Harry’s leaving his wand is a sure sign that he was quite upset when he left a few moments ago.
Walking down the stairs behind Draco, I stoop down and pick up Harry’s wand, pocketing it and telling myself that I’ll give it back to him when I reach the common room later. Draco eyes me curiously at first as I recover Harry’s wand, but a moment later he walks over to me with a tender look in his eyes. “Here, love, let me dry you off,” he says, lifting his wand. I nod my head in response, and he immediately uses a drying charm to dry my clothes from the indoor rainstorm I caused. When that’s finished, he pockets his wand and looks into my eyes with concern as the spectators, who have assumed at this point that the fight is over, continue up the stairs accompanied by the grumble of footsteps and excited chatter.
“Are you sure you’re all right?” Draco asks, ignoring the passersby. I start to answer, but he feels the need to explain himself. “I mean, really,” he says with intensity, casting a quick glance down at my mid-section before returning his gaze to my eyes, “are you all right?”
“Yes, I’m fine,” I reply with a nod of my head.
“Okay, good,” he says, placing his left hand against my cheek gently.
Feeling slightly confused at how quickly Draco has made the switch from angry warrior to loving, caring boyfriend, I stare up at his face in puzzlement. That puzzlement is quickly replaced by a pang of guilt, however, as I once again notice the cut on his lower lip. “We should get something to clean your lip with,” I say quietly. “Maybe Professor Snape has a potion or something…” I continue, but I’m unable to finish my sentence, and my voice fades to nothing as Draco interrupts.
“I’m fine,” he says meaningfully, wiping the blood from his lip with the back of his hand.
“I’m sure you are,” I reply, standing my ground, “but I still think you should go see Professor Snape.”
“How about a compromise?” he asks. “Let me walk you up to Gryffindor Tower; it’s getting late, and you need your rest. After that, I’ll go straight to Professor Snape’s office. Deal?”
I raise my right eyebrow and eye Draco with suspicion, wondering if he’ll really keep his end of the bargain. After a few seconds I decide to go along with it and nod my head in response. “Deal,” I say quietly.
With this, he reaches forward and takes my right hand into his own, setting a flock of butterflies loose in my stomach as we turn and begin the long ascent to Gryffindor Tower. Several students who are on their way back from dinner are walking behind us; I can hear them whispering about us, but I try my best to ignore them. Draco and I walk in silence for a few moments and I feel my cheeks flushing with excitement and nervousness, which I try to conceal by not looking at him. Seeming to mistake my nervousness for something else, Draco questions me once we’ve reached the third floor.
“Are you angry with me?” he asks, causing me to whip my head to the right quickly and gaze into his eyes with a questioning look. “For fighting with Potter, I mean,” he explains a moment later when I still haven’t answered him.
Instead of answering, I look forward in silent contemplation as we continue to climb the stairs, feeling as though my attention has just been called to something that should’ve already been settled. Am I mad at him? I ask myself, feeling his eyes on the right side of my face.
No, not really… not nearly as mad as you should be, or as mad as you’d have been if that fight had happened yesterday, my inner voice replies.
These thoughts cause my eyebrows to furrow in confusion, and I wonder what could have changed so much in the past twenty-four hours, besides the fact that Draco and I are now a couple. Then I realize why I’m not mad at Draco, despite his recent behavior: It’s because I wasted so much time being mad at him before we were dating. We’ve already had so many ups and downs in our short relationship, and I’ve spent so much time being mad at him... now that we’re finally together, I don’t want to fuss and fight anymore; I just want to be with him and be happy. I realize, though, that I need to say something to Draco that will let him know I don’t approve of him fighting with Harry. Taking another moment to gather my thoughts, I finally respond.
“Well, I’m certainly not happy about you and Harry fighting… but I’m not angry with you either,” I state calmly, looking over at him to judge his reaction to my statement. Seeming much more at ease and breathing a sigh of relief, Draco nods his head in response.
“Right… I understand, and I’m sorry,” he says pointedly. “I promise… I’ll try not to fight with Potter anymore… but for your sake only. If he insults you like that again, though, I’ll have no choice.”
Though I’m not exactly pleased with this statement, it does make me feel somewhat better, and I muster the biggest smile I can manage under the current circumstances. A few moments of expectant silence pass between us after this, but Draco finally speaks again as we near the fifth floor, asking me questions about myself, such as my middle name and favorite color, and about my life before Hogwarts.
I’m surprised by the rapid and random subject change, but I answer his questions and ask for his answers to the same ones. Somehow, this question-and-answer session lasts all the way up to the seventh floor, and I’m actually quite a bit sad when it’s over. “Wait here,” I say when we reach the Fat Lady’s portrait. “I’ll go get your cloak.”
“No," he says. “You keep it for now.”
“Are - are you sure?” I ask, feeling a bit puzzled.
“Yes, you hold on to it for me until I need it again, okay?” he asks in response.
“Okay,” I reply, shrugging off my puzzlement.
After this, we stand there by the portrait silently and awkwardly for a moment as my fellow Gryffindors file into the common room, neither of us wanting to or knowing how to part for the night. Finally, Draco calls my name, causing me to stop examining the cracks in the floor and look up at him in curiosity. As soon as I do, he leans forward and places his right pointer finger under my chin, leaning forward and pulling me in for a tender good-night kiss. I close my eyes and lean forward into the kiss, but our lips meet only a few times before I feel the murderous, staring eyes of my fellow Gryffindors upon us and pull away, my cheeks red with embarrassment.
Sensing my uneasiness, Draco doesn't press the matter or try to kiss me again. Instead, he flashes a handsome smile at me and says "Good night, love," quietly.
"Good night," I reply, returning his smile and feeling as though my heart is currently running a marathon in my chest.
"I'll see you in the morning," Draco replies sweetly, and with that he releases my hand and turns to begin his descent to the dungeons, grinning from ear to ear the whole while. I stand rooted to my spot and watch him descend the stairs until he's no longer in sight before turning, giving the Fat Lady the password, and entering the common room.
Once inside, I ignore the accusatory looks I receive from several fourth years who are seated near the fireplace and head straight up the stairs and into my dorm room, thinking I'll work on homework for a while and then have some time to reflect on the day's many activities before turning in for the night. When I reach my room, however, I find Hermione and Ginny sitting on my bed, evidently waiting for me. Though I feel a sense of foreboding at the sight, I try my best to mask my uneasiness and disappointment at having my planned seclusion interrupted.
"We heard about the fight," Ginny explains as I take a seat between her and Hermione. "Are you okay?" I am not at all surprised that Hermione and Ginny have already learned about the fight, knowing how fast information spreads through Hogwarts. I am, however, surprised to find that my friends were waiting to ask if I'm okay rather than blame me for the fight, and I nod my head and smile weakly in response.
"We feel horrible, Jayde," Hermione says sympathetically from my left side. "We should have gone with you... we knew Harry wouldn't take the news very well."
"No, no, you've got nothing to apologize for," I assure her as I turn to look at her sincerely. " I'm the one who's dating Draco... it wasn't your responsibility to tell Harry. It was mine."
"Still," Ginny interjects, "even though we don't have the slightest idea why you're dating Malfoy and we definitely don't approve, we should have at least been there for moral support... that's what friends are for."
Hearing Ginny's apology sounds strange to me; it's like I'm listening to a completely different person than the one I was talking to this afternoon. It seems that Hermione and Ginny's opinions have changed somewhat over the past few hours, and though I'm grateful, I'm completely taken off guard by it. I don't respond to Ginny's statement; instead, I stare across the room in silent contemplation, wondering what could have caused their sudden change in attitude. One part of me wonders if they were simply upset earlier and have had time to clear their heads, while a second part of me wonders if they've heard about my indoor rainstorm and feel sorry for me, and a third part of me wonders if they're just glad I kept my promise to tell Harry about Draco and me before he found out the hard way. Whatever the case, I'm glad that my friends aren't as angry at me anymore, but I still feel the need for some time alone to clear my head.
Suddenly remembering that I need to return Harry's wand to him, I decide to use that as an excuse to leave the room and buy myself some alone time. "That reminds me - I need to go give Harry his wand. He forgot it downstairs," I state in a matter-of-fact tone, trying to make the rapid subject change seem as inconspicuous as possible. I quickly get to my feet and reach into my pocket, recovering the wand and preparing to make a beeline for the dorm room door.
Before I can take two steps, however, Hermione jumps to her feet and races around me, standing in the doorway and blocking my path with a wild look in her eyes. "Wait, Jayde," she says frantically. "You can give Harry's wand to me; I'll take it to him." Startled and more than a bit confused, I furrow my eyebrows and look at Hermione in bewilderment.
"Well, that's nice of you," I reply a moment later, "but I can do it myself. Besides, I'd really like to talk to Harry... I don't want anything to be different or awkward between us now just because I'm dating Draco."
"I'm sorry, Jayde, but I really don't think that's a good idea right now," Hermione replies.
Then, as if speaking on cue, Ginny gets to her feet and comes to Hermione's aid. "She's right, Jayde," she says quietly. "Harry needs some time to calm down; it's probably best if you don't try to talk to him right now."
"What are you two on about?" I ask, staring from one girl to the next. "Harry told me that we could still be friends... why should I avoid talking to him?"
"He only said that because you were so upset!" Ginny retorts. "Your eyes had gone white - he was saying and doing anything he could to keep you from hurting yourself!"
My face falls at this statement because I know for a fact that Harry must have said something similar to it; nobody else but Draco was around when I first lost control of my powers, and Harry is therefore the only possible way Ginny could know about it. Sensing my sadness at this realization, Ginny lowers her voice and tries to comfort me.
"Look, Jayde, I know you care about Harry and you still want to be his friend, but you've got to realize... he likes you, and he's just found out you're dating his worst enemy. He's crushed; it's going to take him a while to get over this." Looking down at the floor and feeling like someone's just popped my happiness balloon with a pin, I remain silent but nod my head in response, before extending Harry's wand in my left hand, allowing Hermione to take it.
"You're right," I reply. "I should give him some time. Maybe we can talk tomorrow."
"You can try to talk to him tomorrow," Hermione says apologetically, "but don't be surprised if he doesn't answer." With that, she turns and walks from the room, and Ginny casts me a pitying glance before doing the same.
Now that I've finally got the peace and quiet I've so eagerly awaited, I don't really want it anymore. I walk over to my four-poster and flop down on my back, trying to make sense of all the day's activities and drama. This has certainly been a long day, and a very emotional one as well. I've gone from crying to laughing and back again several times throughout the day, and it's been such an emotional roller coaster ride that I'm not sure whether today counts as a good day or bad day. At this very moment it's certainly bad, I think to myself. Things are awkward now between my best friends and me, all because I've finally started dating my baby's father.
They just don't understand, a voice from somewhere deep inside tells me. If they only knew about the baby... if they only knew how truly happy Draco makes me and how we've wanted to be together for so long, they wouldn't be so upset.
This thought cheers me up a little, although I still feel ridiculous for having to defend my own decision to myself. I realize, though, that rationalizing like this is the only way I can make myself feel better about the day's many ups and downs... the only way I can convince myself that I haven't done anything wrong to deserve my friends' anger and disappointment.
Intertwining all ten of my fingers and laying them beneath my head, I stare up towards the ceiling without seeing anything, completely lost in silent contemplation. Somewhere between the happy, excited thoughts of Draco, our relationship, and the baby, and the sad, worried thoughts about Harry and the rest of my friends, I fall in to a deep, peaceful, and much-needed sleep.