Chapter 5 : See You Tonight
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The way she feels inside
Those thoughts I can’t deny
Those sleeping dogs won’t lie
And now I try to lie
It’s eating me apart
-Dirty Little Secret by All American Rejects
“AUNTY HARMIONY!” James squealed as he rushed towards Hermione, throwing himself against her shin in a sort of hug. Hermione giggled and leaned over to hug the one year old.
“Hey, little guy!” She giggled. “Wow! I swear you’re a whole two inches taller than last time I saw you!” James grinned up at her and then turned to where Ginny was coming down the hall.
“Hermione!” She exclaimed. “Oh, it’s so good to see you!” She hugged Hermione and bent over to pick up James who she carried on her hip. “Did you know this little guy took off down the street in his diaper yesterday? Harry spent half an hour trying to find him.” Ginny shook her head in exhaustion and Hermione could only imagine the sheer panic Ginny would have gone through. “I like to think Baby here is a girl, I don’t know how I’d survive two rambunctious little boys.” Ginny patted her small baby bump. Hermione opened her mouth to speak but James was already on it.
“Guess wot!” James squealed from his position on his mum’s side.
“What?” Hermione asked, widening her eyes in curiosity. James, as all little kids do, loved to feel that the people he talked to took him as seriously as he took them.
James grinned. “Two monts till Hwogats!”
“Wow! Grew ten years in one night?” Hermione asked, feigning surprise. “That explains the growth spurt, little guy!” And James, as all wizarding children do, like to pretend they are older than they are to speed up their trip to Hogwarts.
Ginny clicked her tongue at him and tapped his nose with her index finger. “Don’t tell lies, James. You’re far from your next birthday. And Hogwarts is in three months for older children, not two.”
James frowned and babbled something at his mother which Hermione didn’t understand; James was doing a remarkable job forming words but he was still very young. His voice was high and squeaky and he had dark scruffy hair with the untameable cow-lick in the back just like his father. His brown eyes were like large discs and they matched Ginny’s in all but size.
“I mean,” Ginny began in her motherly voice, apparently she understood James baby babble. “That you are a year and three months, not eleven years and three months. Don’t lie to Aunt Hermione or she might not come over anymore!” James looked absolutely stricken at his mother’s words and looked at his godmother in panic.
“I’m not going anywhere, don’t you worry.” Hermione said, taking James from Ginny and resting him on her own hip, his short, chubby legs curling around her waist but not quite reaching the other side. Hermione looked to Ginny. “Are you ready?” She asked. Ginny and Hermione had been planning to go clothes shopping in Diagon Alley before the reunion. Ginny wasn’t in Hermione’s year but was going as Harry’s date and so James was staying with Luna and her husband, Rolf, during the reunion.
“One sec,” Ginny told Hermione as she rushed into the kitchen and grabbed her wallet off of the kitchen counter. “Okay, ready!” She said with a smile as she returned to Hermione’s side. “Do you want to go first or shall I?” Ginny asked as she led Hermione towards the fireplace. It wasn’t safe to apparate since James was an infant.
Hermione offered to, and then asked where Harry was, she had been expecting to see him here and Ginny told her he was out with Ron. Hermione shuffled uncomfortably on the spot then stepped into the fireplace and grabbed a handful of the green powder. “Diagon Alley!” she shouted. Next thing she knew she was stumbling out of a fireplace connected to a brick wall in Diagon Alley, James clutching her stomach with everything he had. Hermione looked down at the young boy and rubbed the side of his face with her thumb.
“You okay?” She asked him. James nodded with a cough. Hermione gave him a hug and swayed back and forth. “Those fireplaces sure are scary!” She said told him. “I don’t think I could have made it without you!” James giggled and just has he did Ginny stepped out after them. Hermione set James on the ground and he snatched his mum’s hand in his own, waddling over to Honey Dukes.
“No, no, no.” Ginny told him sternly. “Today’s clothes shopping. Daddy bought you two chocolate bars from there only two days ago and you still have a full one sitting at home. You can hold back on the sweets.” James looked sadly up at his mother but she only smiled and kissed him on the forehead and he looked slightly less upset afterwards.
Ginny walked him over to Madam Malkins Robes for All Occasions, with Hermione trailing behind them. She liked to clothes shop as much as the next girl, but she was still wondering about going to the reunion with Malfoy – something she had talked to Ginny about yesterday when she had still been sick from the alcohol she had drunk the night before. Today was only the sixth day since she fell through Malfoy’s office door and already she was publicly engaged to him, going to the Hogwarts reunion with him and she had also already gotten sick on drink because of him.
“Hermione, are you okay?” she could hear Ginnys voice. Hermione looked up at her friend and then nodded weakly.
“Fine. I’m fine.”
Ginny stared at her friend for a minute more before turning into the robes shop they were now in front of, James following at her ankles and Hermione following them both.
James tugged on his mother’s hand several times until she looked down at him. “Mum how long?” He squeaked. Hermione smiled at the little boy who reminded her so much of Harry.
Ginny sighed. “James you must be patient. We won’t be here that long, mummy promises.” James didn’t believe her and stuck his lips out in a pout. He’d been clothes shopping with his mother before.
“Okay so where to start?” Hermione broke in, smiling slightly.
The two girls looked through every rack in the shop, pulling clothes off of hangers and trying them on with a wave of their wands. James either wandered with the two women or, to the boys delight, hovered in the air beside both Hermione and Ginny due to Hermione’s extremely polished Wingardium Leviosa spell. Within a couple of hours they decided to call it a day, both of them having bought several purchases, Ginny more than her friend due to buying for not only herself but Harry on top of that. They tucked their clothes into extendable bags Hermione had brought under the knowledge that Ginny wouldn’t remember. Satisfied with their purchases the girls decided to end their spree, Hermione telling them that she was going to go to the Leaky Cauldron. Ginny said she would love to come but it was past James naptime, so they said their farewells and Hermione began walking to the Leaky Cauldron, the only reason she was going was because she had promised Malfoy yesterday through owl post that she would meet him there.
Once she arrived she sat down at a little table by a window. The window was smudged with dirt and who knows what else, and the chair she was sitting on was rickety and made of wood thrown together quickly with nails and a wand. She wasn’t hungry but needed something to bide her time with and so she bought a Prophet from a vendor just outside. She walked back to her table and unfolded it, shaking her head slightly upon seeing the front cover. Another story on her and Malfoy – when would it end? It was in everything now! The Prophet, Witches Weekly, and even the Quibbler, although the Quibbler had only one story on the couple. Hermione looked down at the article in her hand, this one was called, “Former You-Know-Who follower falls for Golden Trio girl!” She barely glanced at the follow up story; it was just like the others. It went on about what an unlikely but adorable couple the two made and that invitations to their wedding, when they began to be distributed, would be in high demand and witches and wizards everywhere would be trying to get in the couples good graces to ensure their invitation to what would surely be the biggest magical event of the year. Hermione rested her head in her hands as if defeated.
“Everyone will be rather disappointed when no one gets invited.” She heard a cool voice say from behind her, a dry laugh coming afterwards. He took a seat across from her. “Really, though. I don’t know if they’re making me out to be the bad guy or a good guy. They bring up that I was a follower, but also remind everyone that I’m a former follower.”
Hermione shrugged. “I’d try not to get too worked up over it.”
He leaned forward just an inch. “Trust me, Granger.” She could hear the smirk in Malfoy’s voice as he talked. “I’m not.” It was like everything he did was just to psych her out no matter what it was.
Hermione shifted in her seat. He was rather tall when he sat, his shoulders pushed backwards to form an incredible posture, although he looked as snooty as ever. “What do you want, anyway?” She asked tiredly.
“I want you to meet my friends.” He said. Hermione could feel her stomach drop about forty feet through the floor.
“Parkinson?” Was the only name that escaped her lips.
“Yes, Granger. Parkinson. She’s really nothing to be afraid of. All the big, scary Slytherins are in prison now so you don’t have to worry your fuzzy little head about it.” He sounded annoyed.
She didn’t like the idea of it even if they weren’t “scary” or whatever. So she asked, “Who else?”
“Only three of them, Blaise, Theodore and Pansy.”
Hermione paused before speaking next. “Won’t that be awkward since they don’t know that we’re faking?”
“They know.” He answered, throwing her a tight smile.
“Okay, but surely not all of them do, and won’t they be-“ Hermione rambled, interrupted only by Malfoy cutting in.
“Granger, they all know.”
Hermione just stared at him. He told three people but she was only allowed to tell one? She felt fury build up inside of her.
“I don’t understand, if Zabini, Knott and Parkinson know then why can’t my friends?!” She demanded.
Draco smirked. “First off, I told you not to tell anyone but you didn’t have to follow orders, but I am glad you did for it made this whole thing easier. But really it’s because your two friends, Potter and Weasley would make it more publicly known then my friends. If the press asked them a question about us they would retort that you aren’t really engaged to me and would only complicate matters.”
Hermione let out a groan. “And that’s all fine and good! Maybe I’d agree if you would tell me why I have to be engaged to you, Malfoy!”
Draco sighed. “Why can’t you just trust me?” He asked, his usual cocky expression had fallen and now he just looked bored. Hermione widened her eyes, sputtering. Why can’t she just trust him?! Every time he’d ever insulted her was running through her mind when he spoke again. “Never mind, I take that back. I don’t need you to tell me every single reason why you should not trust me.” Hermione stopped herself from saying anything once he spoke, then another thought occurred to her.
“Okay, so my friends can’t know what’s going on, but why can’t I?”
Draco lifted his eyes to the roof in annoyance. “Just stop it. I’m not telling you anything-“
“Then I’ll just go to the press and tell them myself, why don’t I? Tell them we are not engaged.” Hermione lifted her nose in the air and gathered her arms about her.
Draco just looked at her for a moment before waving his hand lazily by his side, as if to wave her stubbornness away. “Go ahead, like they’ll believe you. They think we’re just trying to get out of the publics eye.”
“They might!” She argued. “I do work with them. They could…” Hermione trailed off as she imagined telling everyone they weren’t engaged. He was right. No one would believe her; they’d all think it was hogwash to get out of the paper. She’d seen celebrities do similar things before.
Draco cocked an eyebrow at her.
“Okay so when do I meet your friends?” She asked him. Malfoy didn’t answer but looked behind her head, Hermione turned to see Harry and Ron walking by the Leaky Cauldron, throwing her silent glares. She felt the guilt boring down on her. “Why can’t I tell them?” She asked, whirling back around to face Draco, panic written all over her features and her curls bouncing around her face from the sudden movement. She could still feel their eyes lingering on the back of her head – them seeing her with Malfoy at the Leaky Cauldron would only make matters worse.
“Because…” He seemed to be choosing his words more carefully now. “I don’t know enough yet. The situation is not in my hands.” He looked at her, his eyes like glass. That was the most he had told her but now that she’d seen the way her friends looked at her she couldn’t care less.
“Stay here.” She told him as she rose from her seat and jogged outside until she was right beside them, walking.
“Go back to ferret.” Ron grumbled. Harry looked away from her and Ron and out into the street instead.
Hermione bit her lip. “You guys don’t understand! I don’t have a choice…”
Harry and Ron both stopped walking, forcing her to stop as well.
“What are you talking about? You accepted the git, didn’t you?” Ron asked her. Why did he have to have a temper to match his hair?
Hermione shifted her weight to opposite foot. “I, uh. Well not really. Sort of, I guess.”
“Sort of you guess?” Harry repeated her words and looked at her; he was unimpressed with her attempt at an excuse.
“I-I would tell you more if I knew more myself.” Hermione told them. Now that was true at least.
Harry furrowed his eyebrows and studied her face. “How long has this been going on?” He asked her.
“Six days.” She answered glumly. They both looked at her in shock. “Months- months, I meant months. It’s been going on six months.” The lie felt heavy on her tongue as she delivered it.
“Most people wait at least a couple years before getting married.” Harry told her as if it was something she didn’t know.
“Most people like their fiancé for more than six months before accepting to spend the rest of their bloody life with them! Do you know what you’re getting yourself into, Hermione? Marriage! Matrimony! Tell death do us part, with him!” Ron said loudly. Hermione narrowed her eyes; she hated it when Ron explained things to her as if she was a child.
“Ron I know what engaged means, okay?” She looked between their faces. She breathed out, dropping her angry demeanor at once. “Just trust me on this one, okay?”
“I don’t know if-“ Harry began. They still didn’t trust her and she felt like telling them about the fake engagment but she held herself back. You’d think that after everything they’d been through together they’d at least trust her when she asked it of them. She knew they felt like she wasn’t trusting them but she needed to make them believe in her.
“I’m still me! Hermione!” She cut Harry off, looking at her friends and feeling like she was trapped. Well she was trapped in a way. She was confused and the one person who could enlighten her chose not to. Harry and Ron shared an unsure expression. “The little girl that fixed your glasses,” she said to Harry. “The girl who corrected you in our first Transfiguration class, Ron,” Still their expressions were lifeless and Hermione felt like yelling at them. She was being all deep and cheesy with them - they were supposed to go along with it! “And I’m still the girl that punched Malfoy In the face our third year, befriended Hagrids brother, I’m still- I was…” Words were failing her now. She didn’t know what to say to make them believe her except telling the truth.
“Calm down, Hermione.” Harry told her, resting his hand on her shoulder.
“Then trust me, okay?” She looked at them both hopefully.
Both Harry and Ron paused, not speaking. “Okay.” Harry said finally, smiling weakly at her. They then both looked at Ron who kicked a rock at his feet.
“Fine, but don’t go get engaged to any other Slytherins, you hear?” Harry and Hermione laughed at Ron’s words.
“Thank you, guys. You don’t understand how much this means to me.” She smiled at them both, finally remembering she left Malfoy waiting at the table. “I have to go, I’m sorry.”
“Go, and don’t let Malfoy treat you worse than you deserve or he’ll have me to explain to.” Ron told her as she hurried back to the Leaky Cauldron. No one said anything after that and she was smiling by the time she sat back down across from Malfoy.
“You told them?” He asked, his eyebrows drawn together. Hermione shook her head, her smile slowly fading.
“I didn’t tell them anything.” She said. “Now when do I meet your friends?”
Draco grinned. “Tonight.”
Thank you for reading chapter five of The Reunion! Please leave a review because I love to hear what you think! Alright, well my apologies for any grammar mistakes you found while reading and I thought I might mention this again: I own nothing besides the plot. Everything else belong's to the brilliant J.K. Rowling! Again, thank you for reading.
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