Hermione and Draco walked slowly together towards Hermione’s flat. It was a little chilly out and Draco took off his jacket and hung it around Hermione’s shoulders. She snuggled into the jacket, noticing that it smelled like him. Feeling herself blush again, she quickly looked away from Draco. Seriously Hermione!! She thought, Get a grip girl!! Calming herself down, she turned back to Draco. Feeling eyes on him, Draco looked down at Hermione and grinned. She grinned back.
‘Thanks for tonight Draco’ she said, looking up at his face, noticing for the first time, all the little details. Like the dimples that appeared when he smiled, or his perfectly white teeth.
‘It’s ok Hermione. I enjoyed myself. Surprisingly’ he laughed. Hermione playfully punched him in the arm. The rest of the journey passed in blur of laughing, playful insults, and comfortable silence that neither of them thought they could endure with each other. Too soon, they reached the building of Hermione’s flat and her smile faded. Draco, noticing this, took Hermione’s hand, shocking her, and squeezed it tight. Looking down into her eyes, he tried to pour everything he was feeling into that one look. She eventually nodded and Draco knew she had understood. He pulled her into a hug and they just stood there, Draco stroking her hair and Hermione breathing in his smell. Reluctantly, he let go and Hermione walked to the entrance. She briefly turned and waved at him before hurrying into the building. Draco stood there for a full minute, deliberating on what he should do, before following her.
Hermione hurried up the stairs to her home. Please, she thought. Please don’t be awake. She opened the door silently and tiptoed to the kitchen. On her way she looked into the front room and stopped in her tracks. Michael wasn’t wear she had left him. The bedroom door slammed shut behind her and Hermione let out a sob. Footsteps slowly walked their way across the carpet and stopped directly behind her.
‘And where have you been’ said a quiet, menacing voice.
Draco raced up the stairs, the closer he got the more he could feel something was wrong. He got to Hermione’s floor and the banging and screaming coming from one apartment gave it away instantly. He bolted to the door and tried the handle. Locked. He stepped away, and blasted the door open. Glancing around the room he saw bits of broken glass, broken furniture, and, in the corner, covered in cuts and nearly unconscious, was Hermione. White rage instantly filled him up and he advanced on the brute standing over her.
‘Leave her alone you son of a bitch!!’ screamed Draco, wand outstretched. Michael whipped round and his face broke into a grin.
‘Well, if it isn’t baby Malfoy’ he spat, sauntering towards him. Noticing Draco’s wand, he added, ‘I don’t need my wand to beat the shit out of you, little boy.’
Without warning, Michael launched himself across the room towards Draco.
‘STUPEFY!!’ shouted Draco and Michael was blasted backwards. Hearing a satisfying crunch, Draco bolted towards Hermione.
‘Hermione!! Oh shit!’
It was worse than he thought. New bruises were forming on her face, an ugly gash on her forearm from a shard of glass. She was clearly having trouble breathing and Draco imagined a few ribs were broken, at least. Glass littered her hair where something was thrown at her. He bent down and lifted her into his arms and she gasped loudly in pain.
‘Shit, Hermione I’m sorry!’ he said. ‘I need somewhere safe to take you Hermione, where can we go??’
An almost inaudible voice whispered ‘The Burrow’ before he felt he go limp in his arms. Focusing with all he had on the Burrow, Draco turned on the spot and apparated away.
His feet hit solid ground and the outline of a tall cottage loomed in front of him. Draco hurried through the gate, towards the house and kicked the front door. The sound of laughter came from inside and a woman’s laughter became louder as she got closer. The door squealed open.
‘Hello?’ Oh my goodness!!’ exclaimed Mrs. Weasley as she saw the sight in front of her. Without another word she stepped aside and allowed Draco into the house. He hurried forward into the kitchen, noticing that nearly the entire Weasley clan and extended family were there. The room went silent as he entered. He turned once more towards Mrs. Weasley.
‘Upstairs’ she answered, knowing his question. ‘Arthur, show him where to go’
Arthur Weasley immediately stood up and headed towards the staircase, Draco following. They climbed two sets of stairs before Arthur opened a door on the left and stood aside allowing Draco to enter. He went forward and placed Hermione on the bed under the window and knelt down beside her.
‘Can you get me a bowl of warm water and a towel?’ he asked. ‘Please. I need to clean her wounds’. Arthur merely nodded and headed back downstairs. Two minutes later he returned and set the bowl down beside Draco. He wet the cloth and tentatively picked up the arm with the gash. She didn’t move so he guessed that meant she was still unconscious. Carefully, he began to wipe away the blood. Twenty minutes later, he found himself walking towards the worried voices in the kitchen. As he opened the door, all talking stopped and he found himself faced with 15 questioning expressions.
Noticing an empty chair, Draco headed towards it, feeling the eyes on his back as he did so. No sooner than he sat down, the questions started. All the voices became one annoying buzz to Draco until one voice, he suspected Potter, said loudly,
‘One at a time guys! He’s had enough to deal with tonight without all your questioning’
That was odd. Potter wouldn’t say something like that. Looking up, he noticed everyone looking towards Mr Weasley. Ah, that explains it. He sighed.
‘Look, it’s not up to me to tell you, it’s up to Hermione’ he began and was immediately bombarded with protests.
‘I can tell you where I came in but that’s it!’ he shouted above the noise. Everyone quieted. Taking a deep breath, he began.
‘I was at the Leaky Cauldron yesterday and I ran into her. She was.... upset. We spent some time talking and went our separate ways. Then this morning I.... I went to her café. Again, something happened to make her upset. So I asked her to have dinner with me. Just as friends, nothing more. So that’s what we did. Everything was going fine. Then she went home, and, I felt like something wasn’t right so I followed her up. That’s when I walked in and found her slumped in the corner, some dick head standing over her. I stunned him and brought her here.’ He finished.
Silence. Silence until Ginny asked.
‘Well who was it? Did you get a good look?!’
‘I can’t tell you’ he started, ‘It’s not my-‘
‘Michael’ came a small voice from the door, causing everyone to swivel around. There stood Hermione, white as a sheet, shivering from head to toe.
‘It was Michael’.