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In debt with a Malfoy by YellowLava
Chapter 12 : Chapter 12
 
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 10


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 Warm soapy water swirled around her hands as she washed the dishes manually. She might have been washing the dishes manually, but everything else around her seemed to be happening as if by magic. A brush was sweeping the floor by itself, a duster was cleaning all of the sides and clothes were folding themselves.

   Hermione knew she could have very easily used magic to clean the plates but she was bored and wished for something to do. Hermione now resided in a place called Willow Cottage; it was called willow cottage because just behind the cottage resting just next to the back garden was a small river. The river had a beautiful willow tree resting on its opposite bank facing the cottage.

  Willow Cottage resided on the edge of a small village near the sea. Hermione had been living there for just under a year. She had managed to find the cottage a weak after she had departed from Malfoy’s flat.

  The cottage was quaint and suited Hermione perfectly. The interior was homely and had numerous bookcases stacked high with books. The Potters (Harry and Ginny, who were now married) as well as many of the Weasleys (in particular Ron) and the Longbottoms had visited Hermione often in her cottage.

  The wizarding world surprisingly was still rather oblivious to the fact that Hermione had even returned, naturally there was speculation of the sort but never yet had it truly come to light that she was back.

  Hermione liked it this way, it meant she was freer and by her being so free she was finally after a long battle, herself once more. No longer did she fear magic or hate herself and she was once again the strong, clever Hermione that she once was.

  Her acquaintance with Malfoy had ceased to exist once she had departed, neither had tried to contact the other and Hermione had put all thoughts about him out of her mind. However, Hermione had contacted Blaise Zambini and had sent him the money that she felt she owed Malfoy, and Blaise had reluctantly done as she asked and handed it over to Malfoy. That was the only bit of contact she had had with Malfoy and it couldn’t even really be called contact.

  She had also managed to secure herself a well-paid job as a journalist for the Daily Prophet but she wrote under the pet name of Helena Grabstein; and she was beginning to train secretly as an auror. Things were finally looking up for Hermione.

  She was rather lost without something to do, no auror training for a week or writing any articles, most people would have seen this as a wonderful break but Hermione saw it as a pain, she liked to be doing something she couldn’t just sit around doing nothing.

   The plates were washed and put away in a matter of seconds and Hermione was once again bored. She turned out of her small kitchen and walked into her small living room, Hermione didn’t mind all the rooms being small, it made things cosier and less lonely.

 Her eyes scanned amongst her bookshelves looking for a book she had bought that she had not yet read, which was few. Her fingertips gently traced along her bookshelves almost as if they were tasting the books deciding whether they would be a good story.

   Her index finger stopped abruptly on a blue leather spine. Carefully she withdrew it from its sandwich between two other books. She held the book in her left hand and with her right she traced the symbol of the deathly hallows.

  Hermione had yet to read the book. It had been about a year since she had bought it, but not once had she read it. She had tried many times to begin to read it but something each time compelled her not to. It was almost as if the story did not want to be read. It was mostly because it brought back memories of her time spent with Malfoy and she didn’t like reliving them especially that argument. Reluctantly she put the book back on the shelf and pulled out another and began to read it.

There was small tap at Hermione’s window, she lifted her head to see an owl. Quickly she put down her book and walked to the window and opened it to allow the owl in. It rested on her armchair and hooted cheerfully, “Don’t I know you?” Hermione said the owl. She noticed there was a small letter attatched to the owl’s right leg. She walked towards the owl and carefully untied it from around its leg and opened it. In fancy gold handwriting was an invitation:

Dear Miss Hermione Granger,

You are cordially invited to the Malfoy and Greengrass engagement party this Saturday at Malfoy Manor. It starts at 7:00pm and the dress attire is black tie, we hope to see you there.

Draco Malfoy and Astoria Greengrass

p.s. Please RSVP us back with your answer with the owl

Hermione looked down rather shocked at invitation and noticed that inside the envelope with the invitation rested another letter, she took it out and read it:

Granger,

Please come, I understand if you didn’t want to, after all what I’ve said to you but it would really make me happy if you and I could just become friends. I know this is a lot to ask, and you don’t have to be happy for Astoria and I but please just come and hear me out. I want to apologise to you in person.

Yours truly,

Draco Malfoy.

Hermione reread the second letter over a couple of times, “I bet not everyone got a personalised letter along side their invitation,” she said to the owl. That was when she recognised who the owl belonged to; it was Malfoy’s. He had sent this invitation personally to her, it was evident he wanted to make amends. Hermione wasn’t sure she wanted to go, especially after what she had admitted during their argument, but perhaps clearing the air would do them both good. She had felt like there was a weight on her shoulders for a long time, maybe making amends with Malfoy would help lift it. After all Hermione had also been in the wrong during that argument; she knew she wasn’t the only victim.

   She walked up to her study and took a piece of parchment and a quill and wrote:

Draco Malfoy and Astoria Greengrass,

I would be delighted to attend your engagement party and will most definitely be attending to help celebrate this wonderful occasion with you. I wish you both all the happiness in the world and look forward to seeing you this Saturday.

Yours truly,

Hermione Granger.

Hermione read back over her reply to make sure there were no grammatical errors and then sent it off with Malfoy’s owl. Only once it had flown away did Hermione realise how sarcastic her reply had sounded, she only hoped that the couple wouldn’t read it that way.

 






 

The days leading up to Saturday were exceptionally stressful for Hermione and she didn’t like to admit why. She was nervous beyond belief and knew that once she was there she would be having a very awkward conversation with Malfoy and she was praying that it didn’t end in an argument. Especially because it was his engagement party after all.

  When Saturday did arrive Hermione was all a fluster as she put on her dress, (a red one like she wore at Bill and Fleur’s wedding) and tried to tame her crazy hair. Luckily with the aid of a lot of magic she had been able to tame her hair and made it fall down in lovely soft large curls. Her makeup was rushed because by the time her hair was sorted it was nearing half seven and the party had started at seven so she worried about arriving too late, because there was fashionably late and just plain rude late.

   Hermione arrived at Malfoy Manor ten minuets later and had been escorted into the grand foyer by what she presumed to be a waiter hired for the occasion. Hermione was rather surprised to see that it wasn’t a house elf who was guiding her, because she presumed that the Malfoy’s would have thousands of house elves.

   As she walked into the grand foyer she handed a glass of champagne, and then it was when Hermione remembered why she had stayed hidden from the wizarding world for a futher year. All heads were turned and staring at Hermione and soon a lot of whispering followed, Hermione acted nonchalantly; as if she couldn’t see them staring or hear their whispers. There were a lot of “Isn’t that Hermione Granger?” “What’s she doing here?” “Didn’t realise she was friends with the Malfoy’s” “Wonder where she’s been hiding,” “I thought she’d died.”

    Hermione just sauntered past these people, and smiled at them warmly just trying to search through the crowd gather in the grand foyer for a friendly face that she could actually talk to. She noticed that Blaise Zambini was standing by a large doorway and gesturing people in, shouting, “This way to the ballroom, please can you leave the grand foyer.” Slowly she made her way over to him, he hadn’t noticed that she was behind his so she politely tapped him on the shoulder.

  “The toilet is upstairs,” he said as he turned around, then noticing Hermione he changed his tone, “Oh, hi Hermione, didn’t know that you were coming,”

“Well I got an invitation so thought that I ought to come,” Hermione smiled, “So when did this all happen?”

“It was quite a shock for all of us really,” Blaise whispered, “I hadn’t even realised they were dating before the engagement was announced, and I’m him best friend!”

“Bit odd then,” noted Hermione, “Well I guess love makes you do crazy things. Have you seen them?”

“I caught a glimpse of Draco a couple of minuets ago but he seemed a bit frantic running about the place so I just left him to it,”

“Have you seen, Harry or Ron anywhere. I know they were invited too and I hoped to see them,” Hermione asked.

“Last time I saw them, they were walking into the ballroom, so my best bet would be to go in there. Also I think if this crowd sees you moving into there they might move too, they all seem to be interested in you.”

“Wouldn’t you be if you hadn’t seen me since the end of the wizarding war. Not many knew I returned to Hogwarts for a year, so it seems like I’ve been gone for a long time,” Hermione told him, “Best go to the ballroom now then.”

“Yes you best,” Blaise smiled, “You look good, by the way Hermione.”

“Thank you,” Hermione said, “I feel good.” Then she waved goodbye to Blaise and walked into the ballroom, she could hear a slow progression of shoes following her in slowly to the ballroom and laughed silently to herself.

   As soon as she was in the ballroom she noticed Harry and Ron, they were the two people she could notice anywhere; Harry’s messy black hair that always stood up at the back and Ron’s familiar ginger hair were never hard for Hermione to recognise. She slowly walked over to them and hugged them from behind. They both turned around panicked but when they saw it was Hermione hugging them, their faces relaxed. “Hello Hermione,” Harry greeted as he hugged his friend,

“Hi Harry, Ron,” she smiled back at them, “You two doing well?”

“Yeah we’re good,” Ron nodded,

“So where’s Ginny and your date Ron?” Hermione asked,

“They’re off getting drinks,” Ron told her, “And my date has a name. It’s Katie Bell,”

“Just glad that it isn’t Lavender Brown,” Hermione laughed, “I like Katie anyway.”

“Glad to see you approve Hermione,” Ron told her sarcastically.

    Hermione suddenly noticed a head of blonde hair moving around and talking to guests a little way off. Hermione’s heart leapt as she caught sight of his face, he had gotten even more handsome and all the feelings of lust and hate came flooding back to Hermione and she suddenly felt rather lost. Draco noticed that Hermione was looking at him, he gave her a wink and a wave and beckoned her over, she nodded and then excused herself from Harry and Ron and told them she’d see them again later. Then she made her way over to Malfoy.

  “Welcome to my engagement party Granger,” Malfoy greeted,

“What a lovely party it is too, Malfoy. I haven’t seen your fiancé around, I have yet to congratulate her on having the will to put up with you for the rest of her life,” Hermione said,

“Not a very nice thing to say Granger,”

“Sometimes the truth hurts, and I have yet to hear the apology that you promise in your personal letter to me,”

“Give me time Granger,” Malfoy laughed, “It kind of ruins it now if I just say, I’m sorry. But, I am sorry, some of those things that I said to you were horrific and disgusting and I just hate myself for saying those things to you.”

“Thank you, I accept your apology and I forgive you,”

“Thanks, that was easier than I expected,”

“But also can I say something?” Hermione asked, “I just want to apologise because some of what I said was just as hurtful and horrible as what you said, and I’m not going to pretend that I was the only victim in that argument because you too were one. So I’m really sorry and I hope we can just forget it ever happened and we can start up again with a completely fresh plate.”

“Completely fresh?” Malfoy asked,

“Completely fresh,” nodded Hermione, as she stuck out her hand, “Hello there, I’m Hermione Granger, it’s a pleasure to meet you Mr.Malfoy. This party that you are holding is beautiful, I especially like that fancy ice sculpture.”

“Please call me Draco,” he said as he took Hermione’s hand and shook it, “And thank you, my fiancé picked it out.”

“Well, Draco,” Hermione started, it felt weird to say his first name but she knew it was a stepping stone for the two to get along so she said it gladly. “Can I be nosy and ask when you started dating future Mrs. Malfoy?”

“We started dating a couple of months back,” he told her,

“It’s a bit rushed don’t you think?” Hermione said, “I’m not doubting that you two are in love or anything, it just seems very rushed,”

“Love? Well it sometimes makes you do crazy things,” Draco told her, “Stupid and unforgivable things sometimes.”

   An awkward silence fell in between the pair and Hermione had to avert her gaze from his eyes. She then noticed that a tall, slender beautiful woman was advancing over to them, wearing a beautiful long purple dress that just clung to her body, and her black hair just fell down in waves. She wrapped her arms around Draco’s and kissed him tenderly on the lips. “Astoria,” Hermione smiled, “Can I just say congratulations on your engagement,”

“Thank you,” Astoria replied in a beautiful sweet voice, “It’s Hermione isn’t it?”

“Yes,” Hermione nodded,

“I didn’t realise you and Drakey-poo were good friends,” she said. Hermione had to stop herself from laughing at Drakey-poo and just nodded. Then she couldn’t resist and she pinched Draco’s cheek, “Drakey-poo and I have been friends for a long time. We’re really quite good friends now, everything that happened at Hogwarts had been long forgotten.”

  Draco clenched his teeth to stop himself from smiling and tried to look very sincere and grownup and act as if what Hermione had just done wasn’t out of the ordinary. “I guess you still have a lot to learn about your fiancé,” Hermione said spitefully,

“Well, we will have plenty of time to learn about each other once we’re married. We didn’t see why we should wait, because we are so in love,” Astoria told her,

“No need to try and justify your decisions to me,” Hermione grinned, “As long as you are both happy, then I am happy for you.”

“Well we are very happy,” Astoria snapped, “Aren’t we Drakey?”

“Oh yes,” Draco said as he kissed his fiancé on the cheek, but there was something about his answer that didn’t quite ring true and left Hermione feeling as if Draco wasn’t as in love with Astoria as she was with him. “Well I best leave you two to carry on talking to your guests because by the looks of things you have over half the wizarding world here. It was nice seeing you again Draco and nice meeting you Astoria.” Hermione told them.

   She went to walk away but someone had grasped her wrist, it was a familiar grasp that she hadn’t felt in a long time she turned around, “yes?” she asked,

“Hermione,” Draco started, “Just thought you might want to know that I’ve given up alcohol.”

Hermione couldn’t suppress the sudden smile that spread across her face at this, “Really, you managed to do it?”

“Yes I did. It’s really thanks to you that it came to light how bad my addiction was, so thanks for that,” he told her,

“No problem just happy to hear that you managed it,” Hermione said before turned around and walking off to try and find her friends again. 

  For the rest of the party she didn’t get to speak to Malfoy again but she did see him on numerous occasions and each time she smiled at him fondly and gave him a little wave and a nod and in return he gave her wink and a nod and then the two went off in their separate directions. Hermione did however end up speaking to a lot of other people too, all of whom asked the same question, “Miss Granger, where have you been?” and each time Hermione answered, “Just under everybody’s noses,” then she would walk away and wait for the next person to bombard her with the exact same question.

    When Hermione got home, although she was extremely tired she didn’t go straight to bed, still in her dress she went to her study and sat down at her desk and began to write an article for the Daily Prophet:

 

Lucky me was one of over half the wizarding world to get an invitation and help celebrate the joyous occasion that is Draco Malfoy and Astoria Greengrass’s engagement party. It was a very extravagant affair a bit too extravagant for my liking although I did like the ice sculpture that was in fact an ice sculpture of the couple themselves. Mr Malfoy himself told me that his fiancé picked it out, so I think we can all guess as to who the culprit is as to who organised the whole sordid affair. 

I also noticed that the couple were very rarely seen together throughout the party and Miss Greengrass got very defensive when I mentioned that the whole engagement seemed rather rushed, and pointed out she didn’t know that much about her soon-to-be-husband anyway. She said “Well, we will have plenty of time to learn about each other once we’re married. We didn’t see why we should wait, because we are so in love” then she went on to say, “Well, we are very happy. Aren’t we Drakey?” Mr. “Drakey” Malfoy’s reply didn’t sound all too sure though. So is this engagement all that it’s made out to be?

On the outside it would seem like a very happy albeit rushed engagement full of love, but you’ll notice, and if you have a keen eye like mine, that not everything seemed quite as smooth as you would hope. So being the persuasive journalist that I am, I managed to weed out a few seeds of interest amongst the guests. One guest told me, “As a good friend of the Malfoy’s I can’t say too much, but from what I know, I don’t think this engagement really had Draco’s whole heart in it. I’ve noticed him look very down lately, and it definitely looks as if Astoria is in charge in this relationship. I won’t deny and say that I don’t think he likes her because it’s obvious he does. But I think love is perhaps a bit too strong of a word. I heard, don’t take my word for this though, that Astoria pressured him into the engagement.” Interesting isn’t it? Another guest said to me, “I think it’s lovely that they have found each other, but its not very genuine is it? I’ve hardly seen them together but when they are seen together when Draco looks at Astoria I don’t see love and happiness in his eyes. The same with her, but she is a rather good actor. I heard this rumour that she was caught cheating on him but it was too late to cancel the engagement party so they still went on and held it.” A lot of people seemed to be against Astoria and because I am all for making sure everything is fair and went around and asked a few questions to see of I could fins anything they would propose that Draco is the bad guy in this. I didn’t find much but I did find one interesting piece of information: “Astoria is obviously smitten for Draco. He however I don’t think is. I personally know from a friend of mind who is friends with Draco that he has in fact just lead her on to believe that he loves her because he was bored and needed to be settled down as many people wouldn’t invest with him because they didn’t see him as a sensible grown up man. By settling down with Astoria he hopes to achieve this look.”

Some guests however do believe that this engagement is real and there is nothing odd about it at all and that the couple are genuinely in love. This I hope is the case but I can safely say that from what I’ve observed first hand and from what I’ve heard, I don’t think this is all about just love.

So is this real love, or just an infatuation, maybe even a love potion has reared its tiny little head? One thing for certain this couple is most definitely not as in love as they say. But still I congratulate them on their engagement and hope they get to have all the fun they can possibly have before the truth is outed on them.

Reported by Helena Grabstein

 

Hermione looked down at her article proudly, it was an article that even Rita Skeeter would be proud of. Hermione had learnt quickly in the business that no one actually liked reading nice truthful stories but liked read articles that stirred things up and caused problems. This was the angle that Hermione had begun to approach with her writing and she had soon seen a big increase in her readers as well as an increase in her pay.

  She rolled up her article and sent it off with an owl to the Daily Prophet, if all went well it would hopefully be on the front page of the prophet tomorrow morning. Hermione went to bed satisfied, that night and had peaceful dreams.

 

 

Hermione woke up with a big smile on her face, because this was the first morning that she had woken and had actually had good sleep and she hadn’t been plagued with the weight that was once on her shoulders. She went at a leisurely pace and didn’t bother getting dressed out of her pyjamas before having breakfast like she usually did in the morning.

  When she sat at her table with coffee in hand and bowl full of cereal in the other did she then realise that today’s Daily Prophet was lying on her table, she opened it out to see her article on the front page. It always gave Hermione a sense of pride to see her article on the front page, even if it didn’t have her name on it. There was also a photograph alongside her article, it was one of Draco and Astoria in a tight loving embrace, which completely contradicted Hermione’s article but she thought it gave a certain something to it. It was because she knew everyone who was reading her article would be looking as carefully as they could at the photo and they would all be trying to see some of the things that Hermione had written about.

   There was a loud knock on Hermione’s door when she was about half way through her bowl of cereal. She looked down sadly at her bowl knowing that of she left it that the cereal would go soggy. Reluctantly she left her bowl of cereal and headed to the door. Although she was annoyed about the cereal she still opened the door with a large smile on her face, though it quickly disappeared when she saw who await her on the otherside.

  Draco Malfoy was fuming, as Hermione opened the door and her smiled quickly vanished. “Helena Grabstein, what a pleasure it is to meet you,” Draco spat out angrily and he grabbed Hermione’s hand and shook it vigorously, “can I come in?” He didn’t wait for an answer but just barged past Hermione and sat down on her sofa. Hermione took a deep breath and calmly shut the door and sat in the armchair opposite Draco.

“I guess you read an article this morning,” Hermione said slowly,

“Oh yes, I read an article this morning. Front page it was Ms Grabstein,” he snapped,

“I wasn’t very subtle about that it was me who wrote it was I? It was because I wrote about that ice sculpture isn’t it?”

“No, well, yes, but I’ve known it was you for a long time,”

“Really?”

“Yes I recognise your style of writing, although lately you have turned into a bit of a Rita Skeeter! I thought you loathed the way she twisted the truth?” he shouted at her,

“I do, and my article wasn’t twisting the truth but merely putting forward what I along with many others observed,” Hermione told him.

“What you observed,” Draco continued to shout, “Has now got my fiancé in tears and had caused a lot of problems for us, with people sending us letter about the whole matter. I thought you had forgiven me,”

“I have,”

“Then why did you write something so horrible?” he questioned,

“I don’t know,” Hermione admitted, “I just wrote it. I didn’t give it a second thought. Why are you so angry about it? If you two really were in love then none of this would matter just as long as you have each other. If this happened to me, and you and I were engaged I wouldn’t care if someone wrote something like this. I would just laugh, because it doesn’t matter because I love you and no one could take that away from me.”

“I understand now,” Draco grinned angrily, “You’re jealous. You’re jealous because I’m engaged to Astoria and not you,”

“I’m not jealous,” Hermione told him calmly.

“ “I would just laugh, because it doesn’t matter because I love you and no one could take that away from me”” Draco impersonated Hermione,

“I didn’t say that,”

“yes you did,” he smiled, “You said that you loved me,”

“I was speaking hypothetically,” she said defensively,

“Sure you are,”

“I am!” Hermione shouted, “I’m not jealous, I was just writing what I had observed, it made for a good article. I’m sorry if it offended you and your fiancé. If you want I could interview the two of you and we could put all speculating rumours at bay.”

“Is this just a ploy to spend more time with me Helena?” Draco winked,

“Don’t start winking, you know it annoys me!”

“So Hermione,” Draco said now calmly, “How long have you been in love with me?”

“I’m not in love with you! Don’t delude yourself, if you want this article written then come by my house in two hours time, ok?”

“Alright,” Draco winked, “I’ll swing by later with my fiancé, Astoria.” He stood up briskly and left Hermione’s cottage. She let out a long breath that she hadn’t realised she had been holding and then set about putting her house in order so it would look like a home that stuck up journalist Helena Grabstein would live in.

  Hermione completely changed her whole house, using magic, so everything look rich and sleek, and she wiped away all traces that Astoria would link to Hermione Granger and to make herself seem arrogant Hermione had all her articles put in frames and hung up around her house. Then she went out into the village and sneakily plucked out a hair of a young beautiful woman, and returned home and put it into a batch of polyjuice potion that had made encase of an emergency.

  She looked into the mirror at herself, as Helena Grabstein. She had long straight blonde hair, she was just as tall as Astoria but was curvier. She had long red painted nails, and striking green eyes, with long eyelashes. Hermione had put on a light pencil skirt and a blouse from the time that she had worked for Malfoy at his offices and had done herself up to look fancy. Then she had called the Daily Prophet and gotten a photographer to come by to take picture of the couple, and then bought herself a quick-quotes-quill to use for whenever they arrived.

   Punctually two hours after Draco had departed from Hermione’s cottage there was a knock at the door. She strutted her way to the door in her high red heels and opened it with her arms open, “You must be Astoria,” Hermione greeted as she grabbed Astoria’s face and kissed either side of it, she looked over Astoria’s shoulder to see Draco’s gob-smacked face, she gave him a little wink. “Please come in you two,” she beckoned to them. She politely let them sit down on her now black leather sofa and then sat on the black leather armchair opposite them.

  As soon as everyone was sat down Hermione began to speak again, “Now I hear you weren’t too happy about the article that I wrote.” Hermione was beginning to enjoy acting as Helena, because Helena was a lot more sassy, and rude than Hermione would ever dared to be. Draco just looked amused at Hermione, whilst Astoria just looked confused, “Sorry, but I thought you were actually Hermione Granger,” Astoria said,

“That frizzy haired know-it-all!” Hermione laughed, “I can see why you might believe that, after all that is what you said to her. No dear I was just listening near by, but it sounds better if you say they were talking directly to you.”

“Oh,” Astoria said,

“I’m Helena Granstein,” Hermione said as she stuck out your hand, “Sorry for the confusion.”

   Astoria shook Hermione’s hand wearily, then Hermione stood up and opened her arms wide, “Draco come here and give us a hug, you’re looking rather sheepish there. I want you to feel comfortable.” Draco stood up and allowed Hermione to hug him, she whispered quietly in his ear, “Don’t start laughing now Drakey-Poo, and did you really think I would have my identity blown?”

  Hermione finished the hug with Draco and pushed him back down onto the sofa, and addressed them both, “I’m going to use a quick-quotes-quill, it allows me to do things faster. Don’t worry it won’t twist your words like Rita Skeeter’s does. If you have any doubts you can read it as it writes,” Hermione told them, as the note book and pen flew out in front of them all. “I thought we’d do the interview first and then pictures.”

“That’s fine,” Astoria nodded, “I just want the truth to be written down, and not any of these observations and rumours of yours,”

“That’s fine dear,” Hermione winked, “Lets begin. So Astoria and Draco, can you two tell me are you actually in love?”

“Most definitely,” Astoria answered straight away,

“Draco?” Hermione prompted,

“Yes I am too,” he replied,

“Now Draco you don’t sound too sure there, is it just the jitters or is there something you aren’t telling?”

“There’s nothing I’m not telling. I’m just not as forward and open with my feelings in public, I feel I can show Astoria how much I love her when we are at home, alone.”

“Ooo, bit dirty,” Hermione laughed, “So how do you feel about these rumours going on about how this isn’t true love?”

“It’s just jealous people, because they have never felt love like ours so they feel the need to bring us down,” Astoria told Hermione,

“Exactly,” Draco winked,

“What’s with the wink Draco?” Hermione quickly said, “I don’t think you should be hitting on other women when you are engaged do you? It might give people the wrong idea. Perhaps this is why the rumours have started, because you aren’t ready to settle down.”

“I am perfectly ready to settle down, because I have got a wonderful lady right here,” Draco said as he kissed Astoria,

“So there aren’t any feelings for any other girls that are making you hesitant or even make you rush into this relationship so you can forget about them? No other feelings? Are they all gone now? Just disappeared?” Hermione said angrily,

“Excuse me, what are you getting at? Where have you heard this from?” Astoria asked Hermione. Hermione just smiled at her and tapped the side of her nose, “Astoria, I hear things and it is part of my job as a journalist to make sure everything is clear. That’s what we’re all here for, to make this as clear as we possibly can.”

“Ok, well can you go onto the next question please,” Astoria asked,

“Certainly,” Hermione smiled angelically, “ Why does it matter so much to you what others, think of your relationship? If you two were truly in love then surely all of these doubters don’t matter?”

“I just want to have an easy and stress free engagement and wedding and I don’t like people accusing me of things,”

“If they aren’t true then why does it bother you?”

“Wouldn’t it bother you, if someone was saying all these horrible things?”

“It’s not a question as to if it bothers me, but why it bothers you,” Hermione said,

“It bothers me, because I just want everyone to see how in love we are because I want to share this with the world,

“So it’s all just a show for the press?”

“That isn’t what I said,” Astoria snapped,

“It sounded like that was what you were saying…Draco you are awfully quiet don’t you have anything to say in defence of your fiancé?” Hermione asked, “Why do you think people are doubting your love? Do you think its because everything is happening so quickly? As I say, you do crazy things when you are in love, don’t you agree?”

  Draco took a couple of minuets to digest everything what Hermione was asking him and looked back from Astoria, to Hermione disguised as Helena Grabstein. “I don’t know why people are doubting it, because really it isn’t any of their business. But yes I guess they are doing it because everything is happening very quickly and I agree you do, do crazy things when you are in love. Extremely crazy things. So crazy that you don’t realise you are doing it until someone calls you out on it. Crazy things that can hurt so many people. Crazy things you do for love. Crazy things to get over someone you love. Crazy, crazy things.”

“Draco, I’m afraid I don’t completely understand what you are getting at,” Hermione told him, “Care to explain,”

“This engagement, and relationship was formed on love,”

“That’s so sweet,” Hermione smiled, but she could tell that by the expression on Draco’s face that he wasn’t finished, and she dreaded to think about what else he was going to say. “Shall we leave the interview at that? We can take the pictures now.”

  Astoria quickly stood up and she looked at Draco worryingly when he didn’t stand up too. “I haven’t finished speaking,” he told them, “Can you sit back down please.” Both Hermione and Astoria shared a worried look as they both sat back down in their seats. “Ok Draco, just think for a moment what you are about to say, and I really mean think about it and what might happen once you say it.”

“I’ve already thought about it,” he told them, “This relation has been formed on love, and if people can’t see that then they need their eyes testing. Because I am so very in love with Hermione,”

“Hermione?” Astoria squealed,

“Wrong name there Draco,” Hermione said worriedly, “I think you mean Astoria,”

“Yes that’s what I meant,” Draco said quickly as his cheeks turned pink. “Can that be left out of the article please?”

“We’ll see,” said Hermione, “The thing is I won’t write this article telling the everyone that I’m wrong unless I agree that I am wrong and currently you two haven’t done a very good job in persuading me. So kids, tell me when it was that you realised you were in love.”

“That’s easy, Helena” Astoria told Hermione, “We’d been dating for two months, and I just knew that Draco was the man for me. I spent every waking moment thinking about him, and missed him terribly when he wasn’t around and knew that I couldn’t live without him. That was the moment I knew I was in love with him.”

“That’s sweet, Draco when did you realise you were in love with Astoria?” Hermione asked.

  Draco this whole time had been looking at his thumbs but at the point where Hermione was talking he lifted his head up and focused on her and didn’t take his eyes off her. It was weird to see her looking like someone else and act like someone else but he could still tell it was her, from those little things that she did. The raise of her eyebrow when she was being sarcastic and rude, the wrinkle of her nose when she felt awkward or embarrassed. Those tiny little things that he recognised as Hermione.

   Staring into her eyes he answered her question, “The moment I knew that I was in love, I don’t think I’ve ever properly realised it was love. Though I think it might be. I haven’t ever really known what love is, love had always been something that is foreign to me, as I grew up with a lot more hate than love in my life. The nearest I had ever come to love for another person was probably for my friends and my parents but then I never really felt it. I was always so scared to show it, because I thought love showed weakness. I still don’t think I know what it actually feel like to be in love,” Draco told Hermione.

“So you aren’t in love with Astoria?” asked Hermione. Astoria’s head swung to look endearingly at Draco, “Of course he is in love with me. Why else would he propose?” she snapped at Hermione,

“From what your fiancé just said, I don’t think he agrees that he is in love,” Hermione told Astoria. Astoria continued to look at Draco but he just stared down at his hands, Hermione subtly whispered to the photographer, “Get ready to take a picture, because this is soon all about to blow,”

“I think everyone wants to know, is this a real relationship?” Hermione asked,

“Of course it is!” shrilled Astoria,

“I have no doubt in my mind, that it is real for you Astoria. Sitting here with you both, I can see your love is positively bursting for Mr.Malfoy, but I don’t think this love is reciprocal,”

“It most definitely is!” Astroria shrilled, “Draco just isn’t quite himself, we are very much in love, why else would we be getting engaged?”

“Exactly,” Hermione nodded, “Why else would you be getting engaged? Draco can you answer this question, because it is evident to me that you are the one that is sitting on the fence not Astoria.”

“Sitting on the fence?” Astoria questioned, “What does that mean? Is that a muggle saying?

“As a matter of fact it is,” snapped Hermione, “Now Mr. Malfoy can you answer my question?”

“yes I can,” Malfoy nodded, “We are getting engaged for no other reason than love, because that is the only reason why you get married. The problem is, that it’s Astoria who is in love not me. I like Astoria greatly she is an amazing women, but I’m not in love. Everything I’ve done up until now is because I thought she wanted it as well as my parents. But the truth is I don’t want to get married to Astoria. Sorry.”

   Astoria flounced out of her chair and disapparated before you could say quidditch, leaving a very awkward situation behind her. “I think you better go after her and apologise,” Hermione told Draco,

“I already have,”

“You best do it again and give her an explanation. She’ll want a clear one,” Hermione told him, “Do you still want this article published?”

“Yes, I do. Saves me having to make an announcement, and it’ll probably give you a raise for getting such a good story.”

“Thanks,”

“Think nothing of it,” Draco said sadly as he disapparated following Hermione. She turned to the photographer and they shared a look that just said – didn’t expect that. The photographer told Hermione that he had the pictures and they’d just be waiting for her article and then he also disapparated.

  Hermione didn’t rush herself to write the article, she didn’t know if she could and she felt a surge of guilt because Astoria’s heart wouldn’t have been broken had it not been for her. But, also, if Hermione had have not written the article then Malfoy would have fallen into a loveless marriage. Hermione was completely confused as to how she felt, but she just couldn’t help wondering why Draco would have done all this if he didn’t love Astoria.

   She settled down at her desk in her study late that night with a mug of hot chocolate, and began to write the article:

After my previous article written about the newly engaged couple I had an angry husband-to-be at my door. So doing the only thing I could do, I offered them an interview with yours truly so they could magic away all of the rumours speculating around their relationship. However I uncovered a really big hippogriff of a secret by the time the interview was finished.

The interview started off all sunshine and daises but turned into rain and thorns as I delved into their relationship and pressed them for answers. It was clear that Astoria Greengrass was so very much in love with Draco Malfoy, however I actually uncovered that that love was far from reciprocal.

(This is where the interview was placed)

Now that was a catastrophe that has got not only me but also probably all of you shouting “MERLIN’S BEARD!” Looks as if my judgement was right after all. It was rather a shock, even if I had my guesses, because to have them proved before your very own eyes is just devastating. To see a relationship just get avada kedavra’d before your very own eyes, is a spark you don’t want to see. I do hope this couple will be able to continue as friends (But I doubt that very much), at least we can all hope that Astoria will be able to find reciprocal love in the end. As for Draco Malfoy let us hope that he’ll be able to find someone to love, and won’t have to fake love in the future.

Reported by Helena Grabstein.

 

Hermione read over her Article many times but she still wasn’t happy with it. The way she had written just didn’t sound like her, she sounded so false and rude. It was however exactly how Helena Grabstein would have written it. Hermione had been glad that she was able to make this whole new persona for writing articles, because it made them more fun to write as well as read. Now, however, it didn’t seem half as fun because she had fundamentally ruined a relationship, it didn’t matter that it wasn’t full of love it was still a relationship and she had still broken it.

    Hermione tied the letter to an owl and sent it off to the daily prophet and sat down in her living room (which was now returned to it’s original homely state) on her wonderfully soft armchair and tried to loose herself within the pages of a book. Just as all thoughts were being swapped for those of the book there came a knock at the door. It took a couple of moments to register within Hermione’s mind that it was her door knocking and not one from within the book. Once it had registered Hermione got up off her armchair and went to her door.

   She opened her door and Draco Malfoy stood there with a suitcase floating behind him, and a sad tired face plastered on. Hermione wasn’t overly surprised that Malfoy was at her door, she had expected him to come back soon or later. She expected him to be very angry, but when she saw him on her doorstep he didn’t look angry with her at all. “I need a place to stay,” he told her, “Astoria kicked me out,”

“That doesn’t surprise me,” Hermione told him, “You were after all the one who broke up the engagement,”

“Can I stay here please? I don’t think I want to have to explain to anyone what happened, because if I turn up at anyone else’s doorstep they’ll all be asking questions,” he asked. Hermione nodded and allowed him in.

   Draco looked around Hermione’s living room, and a small smirk played on his lips, “Definitely prefer this décor than the one Helena prefers,” he told her. Hermione smiled and gestured for him to sit down and then she sat down opposite him, like she done whenever she had interviewed him as Helena Granbstein. “Do you hate me?” she blurted out before thinking about it.

“Hate you? Why would I hate you?” he asked,

“Because I ruined your engagement to Astoria,” she told him,

“No I am grateful that you did that. I hate you because you were the one that made me begin it in the first place,” he told her,

“Excuse me? How did I make you propose to her, I knew nothing of it until after it had all happened?”

“Where can I sleep?”

“You can either have my bed or the sofa,”

“I’ll have the sofa thank you,” Draco told her. 




OOC: I'd like to apologise for how long this chapter is in compared to the others. Usually i try to keep them all around the same margin but this capter is quite a bit bigger. It's because they didn't work great as seperate chapters but better together as a longer chapter where everything i felt seemed to flow a bit better. Thanks for reading it.

-YellowLava x


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In debt with a Malfoy: Chapter 12

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