Chapter 13 : Chapter 13
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The bowl she was holding in her hand slipped out of her grasp as she went to put in on the table. It smashed into an array of pieces and cereal went everywhere as well as milk. She peered over at Malfoy on the sofa and he was still sleeping. She sighed relieved them quickly ran upstairs to fetch her wand. As she walked back down the stairs now with wand in hand, her eyes rested on the sleeping Draco. He looked too sweet and content, and he was smiling in his sleep.
She walked over to him and just looked down and watched him for a moment, just watching him sleep peacefully, it was a very different sight than what she had experienced over a year ago. She had thrilled to see that he was finally getting peaceful sleeps; that was all she had ever hope for, for him. Hermione crept back to the kitchen and using her wand cleared up the mess and repaired her bowl, and then prepared another bowl of cereal for herself.
Placing her bowl of cereal and mug parallel on the table she crept back over to the sleeping Draco, with another mug of tea in her hand and crouched down next to his face. Without really realising it, she had moved a piece of hair out of his face. She actually shocked herself by doing this, what was she doing? Hermione had felt a sudden wave of affection for Malfoy and she could feel her little feelings for him rearing their heads again. “Malf-Draco,” she corrected herself, as she shook him gently, “I made you a cup of tea, it’s half ten.” His sleepy eyes opened a fraction, and saw Hermione looking at him and he couldn’t help but grin at seeing her face. “Almost called me Malfoy,” he yawned as he sat up on the sofa and took the cup of tea gratefully. Hermione just shrugged and sat down at the kitchen table and began to eat her cereal whilst reading the Daily Prophet at the same time.
Draco looked at Hermione curiously as he sipped at his tea, he just couldn’t work Hermione out; one minuet she was all angry with him, then she was all sly and conniving, then she was as sweet as anything to him. She was like a very confusing book that had so many different angles you couldn’t keep up.
He stepped out of the blanket that Hermione had given him and walked over to her sink and began to wash his now empty mug. He walked over to Hermione and lifted up her empty cereal bowl and brought it to the sink. “You don’t have to do that,” she told him, Draco just shrugged and proceeded to wash her bowl and spoon.
“Is the article in there?” he asked, Hermione nodded and stood up from the table and showed it to him,
“Do you want to read it?” she asked,
“No, I don’t want to have to relive it,” he told her, “I still feel really guilty, Astoria hates me. I just broke her heart.”
“Except it’s my fault not yours,” Hermione said as she patted Draco’s shoulder, when she moved her hand away she began to laugh, which received her strange looks from Malfoy. “Who would have thought you and I would end up here. I am apologising to you for making your life difficult, and you are staying in my home. Just like friends.” Hermione explained between laughter.
There was a light knock at the door, “Wow, I’m really popular,” Hermione laughed as she walked to the door leaving Malfoy at the sink. She pulled open her heavy wooden door to come face-to-face with Astoria Greengrass. “Astoria!” Hermione exclaimed loudly, in hope that Draco would hear and quickly hide. “What brings you here?”
“I thought Helena Grabstein was here,” Astoria asked confused, “I wanted her to write an article for me, showing Draco Malfoy as the bastard that he is. Unless you’ve been her the whole time?”
“No, that’s absurd,” Hermione laughed, “Helena’s my roommate. That’s why she found out that information from your party, sorry. She is really good at getting the information that she wants.”
“Yes…I noticed that,” Astoria nodded, “Is she in? As I said I want to do an interview with her. She showed me in a good light in that article, and I am grateful for that so I trust that she will do a good job in unmasking Draco.”
“She’s actually out at the moment, I think she went to Diagon Alley. You might find her there, but don’t highlight who she is, she still wants her identity to be a secret,” Hermione lied,
“Oh ok, thanks Hermione. I’ll go looking for her now,” said Astoria, and without a goodbye she apparated off Hermione’s doorstep. Hermione quickly closed the door and sighed relieved, Astoria had just taken all of Hermione’s lies and hadn’t questioned any of them, she must be more convincing than she thought.
She made her way back to the kitchen, “Astoria’s on the war path, she’s planning on bringing you down,” Hermione told Draco,
“I know. I was listening,” he replied, “Don’t you think she’ll turn up here again looking for Helena?”
“Not if I make it impossible for her to apparate here, again,” Hermione told him with a sly wink, as she picked up her wand off the table and muttered a few incantations that would make it impossible for Astoria to apparate to Hermione’s cottage. “Done!” exclaimed Hermione triumphantly. “I was wondering, Mal-Draco, when it is that you’ll be returning to your flat. Not that I have any problem with you being here. I’m just curious.”
“My flat? I was living with Astoria, I have no flat to go back to,”
“Not even your secret second one?”
“Nope, I sold that to be able to afford things, which Astoria wanted,” he admitted,
“Oh…sorry. You can stay here as long as you need to then,” Hermione told him kindly, before walking upstairs.
She went into her bathroom and had a long cold shower and then got changed into just some comfy clothes, for lying about the house. She pulled her hair back into a bun and just left her face clear of any makeup and then returned downstairs. Draco was sitting on the sofa with one of Hermione’s books in his hand and was wearing some different clothes too. “Is that one of my books?” Hermione said,
“yes sorry,” Draco blushed, “I just thought I’d have a little look.”
“It’s fine,” Hermione told him as she took her usual seat in her armchair and picked up a book off the pile that lay stacked on her small table next to the armchair.
“Hermione?” Draco said,
“yes, Ma-Draco,” Hermione quietly cursed herself under her breath for almost calling him Malfoy again, “What is it?”
“So what have you been up to since you apparated from my flat, all those many months ago?”
“It isn’t really much of a story,” Hermione told him, “I’ve been here the most of it,”
“Ok so where did you go once you left my flat?”
“First I thought about going to the Leaky Cauldron but that wouldn’t have been suitable, too many people prying. Then I thought, the burrow, but I couldn’t face them, I couldn’t sponge off them that would be rude. It’s not like at Hogwarts how I could go there whenever, things are different. I wasn’t quite sure where I could go, in the end I apparated to Hogsmeade. Beautiful Hogsmeade. I saw students whilst I was there, it was obviously a visit, so many of them in their robes. I saw some of the teachers too. I didn’t go and speak to anyone, I just watched them for a bit and reminisced. Life surprisingly was easier and happier back then. Strange to think that really,” Hermione paused as if she was reminiscing everything again. Her eyes glazed over as the fond picture of Hogsmeade encircled her mind.
She sighed sadly at the thought that she wouldn’t get to go back there as a Hogwarts student with her friends anymore, “I stayed in a room at the Hogs Head. Aberforth Dumbledore was very welcoming to me and didn’t ask any questions. No one in the Hogs Head ever does, do they? So I stayed there with the constant view of Hogwarts shadowing over me, I stayed until I found this place and moved in. I was glad as well as sad to leave, glad because it brought back all those memories but sad because of the fact that it did,” Hermione finished. “That’s pretty much it, I moved here and have been here ever since.”
“I missed you,” Draco said quietly. Hermione could feel her cheeks go red at this small declaration; she smiled a small smile and tried to hide it by looking down and having her hair fall over her face. “I really did,” Draco told her, “It felt weird being in my flat without you. I just expected to wake up and you would be there with some smart condescending comment, and then we’d carry on as we were. You didn’t though. The only connection I had from you was that money that you gave Blaise to give to me. It was weird not seeing you.”
“I missed you too. I had only just gotten used to not being on my own anymore and then suddenly I was back to being on my own. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so alone in my life. It was all right whilst I was at the Hogs Head because I spoke to Aberforth and I could see everyone going about their business at Hogsmeade. Then I came here. I felt so alone, I still do. Harry and Ron have got their own lives now, we see each other now and again, but it isn’t the same.”
“You miss Hogwarts don’t you?” he said,
“Always,” Hermione replied.
Draco ruffled his blonde hair and walked up to Hermione in her armchair and put an arm comfortingly around her shoulders and sat down on the arm of it. Hermione’s head rested on his chest and her eyes closed. “I just wasn’t ready to leave. I didn’t expect that life outside of Hogwarts would be so hard and hurt so much.”
“I don’t think anyone does. Hogwarts just gets into your skin,” Draco said, as he stroked Hermione’s soft brown hair. Neither spoke but just stayed in these positions, neither wanted to move they were comfortable where they were, and Hermione felt comforted by Draco’s presence and didn’t want him to leave.
“Draco,” Hermione whispered, “Please don’t leave me. I don’t think I can bare to be alone again.”
“I wouldn’t dream of it,” he whispered back as he kissed the top of her head, then he tilted her head up so she was facing him. Her big beautiful brown eyes looked up at him and he noticed that they were glazed over with tears. Draco bent down his head and kissed Hermione tenderly on the lips.
Hermione couldn’t help but smile when Draco had pulled away and she looked up at him, “I guess we still feel the same then,”
“Yes, I guess we do Granger,” Draco laughed.
“We can’t though,” she said quickly, “You have only just broken up with Astoria. You can’t like me, and we can’t do this,”
“I don’t care,”
“Well, you should. This would not look good for either of us,”
“I don’t care what it looks like, because I am happy,” he told her as he kissed her again,
“What about Astoria!”
“I don’t care,” he repeated, “I don’t want her, I want you Hermione Granger.”
“Well, you can’t want me!”
“You, told me never to leave you. You obviously want me,” he smirked,
“I didn’t mean it like that!” Hermione protested,
“Yes you did,” Draco winked as he caressed Hermione’s cheek and kissed her tenderly again. “You like me, you’ve admitted it.”
“That was before all of this came about. I’ve changed, I know I can’t have those feelings,” Hermione told him as she took his arm off from around her and got up from her armchair. “We aren’t like this Draco. We’re just friends, that is all we can ever be,”
“Now, I don’t believe that, because if that was the case then why do you keep on kissing me back?”
“You keep on catching me off guard,” she replied,
“Well what if I didn’t?” he stood and walked towards her and put his arms around her waist and pulled Hermione closer to him, “I’m going to kiss you now,” and he did. Hermione couldn’t stop herself from reciprocating the kiss, and let his soft supple lips caress hers. Suddenly snapping back to her senses she pushed his away, “We can’t do this. I’m not right in the head. This is wrong. You are just doing this because you are sad about your break-up with Astoria and I am doing this because I’ve been very much alone for a very long time. It’s only because you’re the first person to make me not feel alone, this doesn’t mean anything. We shouldn’t be doing this,” she babbled.
Draco wrapped one arm around her waist again and pulled her in, “If this doesn’t mean anything, then I’m sure it’s fine if we do, do it.”
“It isn’t” she shouted, “This isn’t real. This should be real, it isn’t.”
“Hermione, the way I feel about you is as real as anything,” he told her,
“You’re just saying that,” she told him, “It’s because I’m here and I was being nice to you. You don’t feel anything for me and I don’t feel anything for you. Let’s just be friends.”
“But I do feel things for you,” Draco said lovingly, “I feel so much for you,”
“I don’t feel anything for you!” Hermione shouted as she backed away. Hermione didn’t know why she was saying that because she did feel things for him, but she was panicking and she continued to repeat herself, almost trying to persuade herself that she didn’t feel anything for Draco Malfoy.
Each time she said it, it felt like a curse was being shot at Draco, he had admitted he felt things for her and she said she didn’t, but she had kissed him. He kept on trying to reason with her, kept on trying to hold her but each time she pulled away, just backing further and further away from him. “Hermione, please, don’t say things like that,” he pleaded with her.
“Leave me alone!” she shouted, “I don’t feel those kind of things for you Malfoy. I just don’t, I can’t.”
“You can,” Draco told her,
“I can’t! You and I are not meant to feel like this for each other, and I don’t see you in that way,”
“Please, Hermione,” he said as he tried to take her hand, but Hermione quickly pulled it out of his grasp, “No!” she shouted, “I won’t ever feel like that towards you, never!” Tears were streaming down Hermione’s face. Nothing made any sense to her, because everything was so strange. She had buried all feelings she had for Malfoy a long time ago, they didn’t even exist anymore, and here he was telling her that he liked her. She knew he was just saying this because she was being nice and he was in a time of need. None of it was real.
“Hermione, please, just calm down,” he said to her, “Don’t lie,”
“I’m not lying! I don’t like you, I don’t feel anything for you. You are nothing to me!” she continued to shout, “We are complete opposites. I am a third of the golden trio and you are just a…a…a…a DEATHEATER!” as soon as she labelled him as that she wanted to take it back. He looked so wounded and blown; Draco just collapsed on the sofa, and looked at her tears prickling his eyes. “I don’t believe you believe that,” he told her, “Please, Hermione, just listen to me. Don’t be afraid of what you are feeling. I love you.”
Hermione’s eyes widened panicked, alarm bells were ringing in her head I love you did Draco Malfoy just say that to her? He was lying he couldn’t love her. Love. What a horrible word, it stung Hermione, love caused problems, love caused people to get hurt. She swore when her parents died and when her and Ron were officially over that she could never love again because all it did was cause pain. It was her fault, because she was the one who loved and people always got hurt because of it. Draco couldn’t fall to that fate too, she had to stop it. She just had to.
Tears continued to flow down her face and she shook her head, “No you don’t” she told him,
“Yes I do Hermione. Whatever you say won’t hurt me, because I love you. I know this now. That’s why whatever I had with Astoria wasn’t real, because I love you!”
“No you don’t!” she screamed, “You don’t and the sooner you realise that the better. I hate you, I despise you, you are a foul loathsome deatheater and always will be. I will never like you. Never. You’re deluding yourself, why would I ever like you? Just a deatheater. Give up on me, because I will never love you back!”
She quickly picked up her wand back up off her dinning table and held it tightly in her hands, “I hate you,” she told him, “and I will never love you. Just give it up.” Draco’s face looked so hurt and beaten and Hermione had to use all her strength not to run to him and hug him and take away him pain. This is what love does. It makes people hurt. She didn’t want that pain, she had already felt that pain towards Draco. She had felt it when she had fallen in love with him and then he had just called her a mudblood. That’s what she had to do to him. It had taken her over a year to get rid of these feelings of love towards him and he needed the exact same thing.
Hermione wiped the tears from her face, “You mean nothing to me,” she lied through gritted teeth and then apparated, leaving Draco Malfoy crying on her sofa. Tears of pain. Tears that love brought. Love, what a horrible thing. A terrible weapon, used by the enemy to make you hurt. Hermione couldn’t let her love for Draco Malfoy be known. He would just get hurt. She would get hurt.
The first place Hermione had thought of was Hogsmeade, so there she was again walking down its street with tears just falling down her face. She hated herself, but she knew she did the right thing. It could have been very easy to just let herself be with Draco and let him know that she loved him too, but she would have just been hurt in the end. Loving someone opened your heart and made it vulnerable. Hermione couldn’t allow herself to be vulnerable and didn’t want to be hurt again
She walked into the Hogs Head, Aberforth saw her but didn’t ask her any questions and just said, “Do you want a firewhisky?”
“Yes,” Hermione sobbed, as she sat down on one of the tall chairs at the bar and avoided looking at any of the others sitting in there. Aberforth handed her a glass and Hermione began to sip at the firewhisky and allowed it to burn her throat and hung her head and cried silently.
The door opened and Hermione heard laughter and voices, “Come on Harry,” a girl laughed, “I don’t know why you are being so funny about coming in here,”
“We’ve been warned about the strange people that come in here,” a girl, who Hermione presumed to be Harry, spoke.
“There’s nothing wrong to be strange, anyway, I know for a fact that Harry Potter, Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley and have come in here. Imagine that! They supposedly started this organisation called Dumbledore’s Army in here. They did it and fought you-know-who. That’s just amazing,” the girl enthused to her friend. Hermione tilted her head slightly to get a view of the two people that had walked through the door.
Hermione noticed that they were actually a group of three, all in about their third year. Two girls and a boy. “Voldemort,” Hermione told the girl, “Don’t say You-Know-Who there’s nothing to fear.” The girl with the black curly hair looked shocked at Hermione and just nodded, “Oh, right, sorry.” Hermione turned back to her drink and continued to listen to the school children’s conversation as they sat down at a table.
“I don’t get why you wanted to bring us here, Nellie,” said Harry, who Hermione presumed was actually called Harriet.
“I thought it’d be interesting,” Nellie told them, “Something new to do, you and Lance are always telling saying that you are bored and want something exciting. Talking about how you can’t wait to leave Hogwarts, but think how much they did when they were here. Hogwarts isn’t boring.”
Hermione smiled into her drink and pushed away and walked over to the trio of children. “Can I be rude for a moment?” Hermione asked, “Just to interrupt you. Believe me when I say Hogwarts will be the best years of your life, don’t be in a hurry to leave it yet.”
“Ok…” Harry said.
“Believe me, I’ve been where you have been,” Hermione smiled, “You’re sitting where I sat by the way. When I came in here with my friend Harry and Ron.” She gave them a small wink before leaving the Hogs head.
As Hermione walked out into the seat, she could see the corregation of Hogwarts students. She head the patter of running feet behind her and she turned around to see the three teenagers; Nellie, Harry and Lance running towards her. “Wait, are you Hermione Granger?” Nellie asked,
“That would be me,” nodded Hermione,
“You are amazing, extremely amazing. You don’t know how much of a role model you are to me,”
“Don’t look at me to be a role model, Nellie, look at yourself to be a role model. The best person you can be is yourself, not any one else.” Hermione told her. “Are there any teachers down here?”
“I saw Hagrid in the three broomsticks,” Lance told her,
“Perfect,” smiled Hermione as she made her way down to the three broomsticks. Hermione made sure her face was completely tear free and hoped that it wouldn’t look like she had been crying. Then she gently pushed opened the door the tree broomsticks, nothing had changed it there, nothing at all. It wasn’t hard for Hermione to miss Hagrid but he hadn’t noticed her. She walked over to the half-giant, sitting at a table by himself and pulled up a chair and sat opposite him. His eyes widened at the sight of Hermione, and he let out a large bellow, “Hermione!”
“Hello Hagrid,” she smiled.
“What brings yeh here?” he asked her as he dabbed around his eyes with his large hanky as tears had begun to roll down his face.
“I needed to get away. This was the first place I thought of,”
“Yeh’ve be crying, you have,” Hagrid told her, “What’s up?”
“Come on, Hermione. I’ve known yeh for a long time, I think I can tell when something has upset yeh. Yeh haven’t fallen out with Harry or Ron have you?”
“No, I haven’t,”
“What is it then?”
“Hagrid I am so confused,” she told him. Being back in a place where Hermione had always felt so happy and having Hagrid there, she couldn’t stop herself from telling Hagrid everything. Hagrid listened intently to Hermione, and nodded in the applicable moments.
Once Hermione, finished Hagrid just nodded and didn’t say anything for a while. “Got yourself in quite a pumpkin,” he told her, “Have you thought about talking to Harry, Ron or Ginny about this?”
“I can’t Hagrid. They are all moving on in their lives and I don’t want to trouble them. Things aren’t the same as they used to be. Not since I left anyway, I just ruined things,” Hermione began to cry again. Hagrid leant forward and patted Hermione on the back, “I think, Hermione, that you are finding it hard to let go of the past. You aren’t in danger anymore. Your safe, it’s ok to fall in love. Stop following your head for once and follow your heart.”
“I don’t know how,”
“Tell yeh what Hermione. Stay here for a couple of days, jus allow your head to clear, and then you go back to Malfoy and you tell him everything you’ve told me,” hagrid told her, “I promise yeh’ll feel better. Just open up yeh heart Hermione. Allow yehself to be happy, because by merlin you deserve it more than anyone.”
Hermione stayed with Hagrid in the three broomsticks until be had to leave to go back up to Hogwarts. “It’s weird you three not being up there,” Hagrid sobbed as he said goodbye to Hermione,
“It’s even weirder not being up there. Say hello to Professor McGonagall for me,” Hermione smiled, and hugged her large friend. The two departed and Hermione set off back to the Hogs Head.
OOC: So it happened "THE" kiss happened. I know you are probably annoyed that they aren't together yet, especially after 13 chapters, but things between Hermione and Draco have never been simple have they? Love, is a tricky business too, but i promise you when i say, that they will most definately should be together soon. Thanks for reading this far, and thank you for your reviews.
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