Chapter 10 : Dodos
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The moment that he had pulled Hermione across the threshold, Hermione came to senses. She pulled her hand from his grasp and stopped where she stood. She watched as he turned around to face her. It was hard to believe who it was behind the mask. For seven years he had tortured her and treated her like dirt. Now, here he was treating her some sort of secret romance. Hermione noticed that his eyes never once left her eyes. He did not speak or interrupt her thoughts. He did not even shift his weight. He just stood there watching her; waiting for her to make the first move. Or rather the second move.
Hermione closed her eyes and took a deep steadying breath.
“You are my partner tonight? You, Draco Malfoy are my partner tonight? And you knew that?”
Having watched her in silence up to this point, he simply nodded his head in response. He watched as her strong mind processed everything. Her chocolate orbs suddenly bobbed up to look him straight in his stormy orbs.
“You are the one who has been sending me the roses and the book?”
Draco only had one response.
“‘We have all a better guide in ourselves, if we would attend to it, than any other person can be.’”
Hermione gave him a surprised look as he quoted one of the lines that she had read over and over.
“But why? You hate me!”
Draco shook his head in contradiction.
“Yes you do! You have always found ways to…”
Before she could finish her sentence, Draco cut in. He wanted to explain his actions and tell her that he did not hate her.
“I don’t hate you. I don’t think I could ever truly hate you! I…”
Hermione watched the storm in his eyes swirl as he desperately searched for a way to explain what he was feeling.
“Why did you kiss me this morning?”
Hermione’s question never got answered though, because at that precise moment, a very angry looking Dodo bird, that sounded oddly like Ron, roared from the door way.
“WHAT DO YOU MEAN HE KISSED YOU?!”
Both Draco and Hermione spun around to see the angry dodo bird Ron strutting across the terrace. When he was a few feet away from Hermione, he reached out to grasp her hand in his own. Without realizing what she was doing, Hermione moved closer to Draco. This minor adjustment of hers caused two very different reactions. Draco inwardly smiled at her decision to move closer to him while he placed his trademark smirk across his lips. Ron, however almost took Draco’s head off.
“What have you done to her?”
Draco scoffed at the red head.
“What do you mean by that? I have not done anything to her you idiot!”
Ron clenched his fists at Draco’s insult.
“I am not an idiot, Malfoy! The real Hermione would not have moved closer to you at the sight of me! I am her boyfriend!”
Draco laughed at this.
“Since when? You didn’t even know where she was! You had to put a missing person’s add in the Prophet remember?”
Shocked by both boys’ words Hermione let out a loud screech causing the arguing men to quickly reach up and cover their ears.
“Would you two kindly refrain from speaking of me as if I was not out here with you?”
Her words came out extremely calm and cool. Draco was not sure if that was a good thing or a bad thing. Judging by the Ron’s sudden step back though, he assumed that the calm voice was a bad sign.
“Ronald, he has not done anything to me and...”
Ron looked at her with an incredulous look on his face.
“But you said that he kissed you and…”
Hermione closed her eyes and began silently counting to ten in her head. Then she took a deep breath.
“RONALD… Let me finish.”
He quickly shut up as he let out a frustrated huff.
“Besides Ron, since when is it your business who I do or do not kiss? You and I are not a couple. We never were.”
Ron’s face fell when she spoke those words.
“But you and I kissed, remember?”
His words came out in a strain and Hermione could feel his heart as well as her own heart breaking. How could she have treated her best friend in such a way?
“I know and I am sorry.”
That was the wrong choice of words.
“You are sorry? YOU ARE SORRY?!”
The expression on Ron’s face once again caused Hermione to take another step in Draco’s direction.
“Ron please! Please just listen to me.”
Shaking his head, Ron scoffed and turned on his heel to go back into the party. Before Draco could even make a move to reach for Hermione, she was gone. His swan had flown away, and it was entirely that stupid dodo’s fault.
Hermione ran deeper into the gardens as she tried to escape from the reality of the situation. She ran farther and farther until the music from the ball could only faintly be heard in the distance. She looked around for a bench before pulling off her mask, plopping down and sobbing. How had everything gotten so out of hand? How had she let everything get so complicated? Nothing in her life made sense and that bothered her greatly. If there was one thing she hated more than anything else in the world, it was lack of understanding and sense. She had neither at the moment.
Sitting there alone in the silence, Hermione could hear soft pitter patters coming toward her. Looking around, Hermione saw a mass of fiery red hair billowing out behind a worried looking phoenix. Ginny. Of course Ginny would be the one to come to her rescue. Ginny had this intuition about her. Like Mrs. Weasley when one of her children was hurt. She just knew, the same way Ginny always knew.
Ginny called from the other side of a hedge.
“Hermione where are you?”
Realizing that she would not be able to hide from her friend forever, Hermione let out a heavy sigh.
“Over here Gin.”
Seconds later, the empty seat next to her was no longer empty.
“Hermione what happened? Harry, Luna and I heard your screech and came out onto the terrace to see what was wrong. We saw you, Ron and some other guy. What happened?”
Hermione raised her tear stained face to her friend, with more tears brimming around the edges of her eyes.
“Ginny, Malfoy kissed me.”
She waited for the other girl’s response but it never came. When she looked up to see why that was so, Hermione saw only a calm looking Ginny.
“You are not mad?”
Ginny shook her head.
“Why would I be mad? I mean I would be mad if he had hurt you in the process, but you look to me like you are unhurt. I will admit that I am a bit surprised. That does not seem like a Malfoy thing.”
Hermione chuckled at the last part of her friend’s comment.
“No it doesn’t, but he did.”
Ginny simply nodded her head, a signal for Hermione to continue her story.
“We were sitting at breakfast this morning arguing like usual when all of a sudden he was pulling me up and kissing me. When I went to ask him why, Ron barged in on the conversation.”
“That is so typical of my brother. Just barge in at the most inopportune moments!”
This made Hermione smile even more, before she let out another heavy sigh.
“Oh Gin what am I going to do?”
Ginny shrugged her shoulders.
“Honestly Hermione, I don’t think you should worry about it too much. I mean on Monday we go back to school and things will completely change. Let it be until then. And in the case of Ron…”
She looked over at Hermione with a knowing look.
“…Just let him be. Yeah you probably should not have left things the way you did, but it is in the past. We all make mistakes and he will get over it. He really does care about you.”
Hermione nodded her head.
“I know and that is why I feel so bad. I thought I liked him, but I have realized these last few months, that I don’t like him. At least not like that. And then he went all crazy and started saying things he should not have said…”
Ginny cut her off.
“Hermione, you don’t have to explain yourself to me. I understand and you have my support!”
Hermione, with a weak smile threw her arms around the red head girl.
Ginny simply laughed.
“Yeah! Yeah! Now can we please go back to the ball? I really want to dance with my fiancé!”
Hermione gasped at the other girl’s news.
“What? Fiancé? Since when?”
Ginny had already taken off toward the house. Quickly, Hermione pulled out her wand, fixed her makeup and put her mask back on before running after her friend. Despite all that had just happened, Hermione felt that the rest of the night would be fun and she was going to make the most of it. Nobody was going to ruin her night. Not Ronald and most definitely not Malfoy!
After the encounter with the idiot weasel, Draco did not get another moment with Hermione. In fact the only times he saw her were the few glimpses he had of her at dinner across the room and as she was spun around the dance floor by other men. Draco thought he was going to explode at those moments. Unfortunately, such moments came more often than not; at least that is what it seemed like to Draco. If he had known what Hermione what thinking, he probably would have laughed. It was one of those moments when Blaise decided to appear again.
“Draco mate, what are you doing staring at the swan?”
Draco ignored him as he continued to watch his swan get twirled around the dance floor by a jellyfish.
“Hello! Earth to Draco!”
Blaise waved his hand in front of Draco’s eyes. Before Blaise could react, Draco reached up and grabbed Blaise by the wrist.
That was all Draco had to say for Blaise to immediately drop his hand. Blaise let out a frustrated sigh.
“Dude, come on! It is not like she is your partner for the night.”
At this Draco turned his head and looked at Blaise pointedly.
“Wait! The swan is your partner?”
Draco smirked as Blaise tried desperately to process all of the information in his tiny little brain.
“That would make you…the black swan!”
Draco burst out with laughter.
“Ding ding ding! Ten points to Slytherin!”
Blaise glared at Draco and his sarcastic comment.
“Then what are you doing over here and not over there with her? The whole point of this evening is to find our counterparts.”
Draco huffed in annoyance before moving toward the refreshments table.
“I am not with her because she does not want me with her.”
Blaise quirked an eyebrow; it was his turn to laugh.
“What do you mean she doesn’t want you with her? You are Draco Malfoy for Merlin’s sake. What girl would not want to be with you?”
Draco growled in annoyance.
“HERMIONE GRANGER that’s who!”
Several people turned to look at the boys as they passed by. Draco had not meant for his last sentence to come out so loudly but Blaise’s question got under his skin. Blaise was right of course. In the past, Draco had had tons of girls practically throw themselves at his feet. Now, the one girl he actually wanted did not want him.
Blaise followed his friend in silence, pondering what he had just been told and what Draco’s reaction had been. It seemed to Blaise that Draco was rather worked up by the whole situation. That could mean only one of two possibilities; either Draco hated the fact that he had lost to a girl, or he liked said girl. If he liked said girl, then Draco was in over his head. How could he have allowed himself to fall for a mudblood?
“So when did you fall for her?”
Draco, not really paying attention to what Blaise had asked, answered before he could stop himself.
“Since our third year…”
Realizing what he had just admitted out loud, Draco spun around on Blaise. Sometimes, Blaise could be really thick but more often than not, he was too smart for his own good.
“I swear if you even repeat that to anyone you will be sorry you ever decided to speak to me!”
Blaise only smirked as he nodded his head and looked back over at the girl in question…the white swan.
“How ironic is it Draco that you and Granger represent the swan?”
Draco looked at Blaise quizzically.
“So? What is your point?”
Blaise’s smirk grew even wider as he brought a champagne glass to his lips. He took a long swig, purposely taking his time, letting Draco wait till he was ready to answer. It took only a split second to get the desired reaction. Draco shifted his weight impatiently.
“Well? What do you mean?”
Blaise brought the glass down and peered over at Draco.
“Swans mate for life dude.”
At those words, Draco found himself drowning. Swans mate for life? Was that true? If so, maybe it was fate that he should be assigned the same creature as Hermione. The more he thought about it the more he realized how preposterous he sounded. Shaking his thoughts out of his mind and giving his swan one last glance, Draco turned into the crowd with Blaise at his heel.
Unbeknownst to both boys a certain red headed phoenix happened to over hear their conversation. Quickly she ran to find a certain white swan and share the news she had overheard. Whether this news would make the swan happy or sad, she did not know, but there was no way that Ginny could keep that information to herself. Moving through the crowd, Ginny felt a strong arm wrap around her waist.
“And where do you think you are going Miss Weasley?”
Smiling, Ginny turned around to face a messy hair and green eyed boy with a lightning bolt scar on his forehead.
“Don’t worry Mr. Potter! I will back soon! I just have to find Hermione and tell her the news I just heard.”
Harry cocked his head to one side.
“Oh really? And what did you just hear?”
Without thinking about who she was talking to, Ginny told Harry what she had heard Malfoy and Zabini talking about.
Harry shook his head in disbelief.
“You must have heard him wrong! There is no way that Draco Malfoy likes Hermione Granger!”
Ginny scowled at her boyfriend’s words.
“And why not? She is a girl after all!”
Harry shifted his weight in uncomfortably.
“Yes I am aware of that. But there is no way that a Malfoy would ever like a ‘mudblood’!”
Harry said the last word while using his hands to form quotation marks in the air. Ginny smacked his arm as she scolded him.
“Harry James Potter! Don’t you dare, use that word again!”
Harry rubbed his arm tenderly.
“Ow! I wasn’t actually calling Hermione that. I was merely making a point!”
Ginny scowled at him again.
“Then make it another way! And don’t be such a baby! I didn’t hit you that hard!”
With that, Ginny turned on her heel and continued her search for Hermione. Harry though, had other plans. He was going to find Malfoy and find out the truth of the matter. Ginny had to have been hearing things.
Ginny found Hermione on the other side of the ballroom, dancing with the rather good looking penguin once again. She slide up beside them and smiled as she wrapped a hand around Hermione’s arm.
“Excuse Mr. Penguin, but I really must steal her away!”
Before Hermione could even react or apologize for her friend’s rude behavior, Ginny had dragged her once more out onto the terrace.
“Ginny what was that all about? I was having a lovely time!”
Moving along the outskirts of the ballroom, Harry searched the faces of those around him. Spotting a tall blonde dressed in all black, Harry marched right over and grabbed the man by the elbow.
The gentleman turned around to reveal a very shocked and very annoyed looking man that was in fact not Draco. Harry quickly let the man go and apologized profusely.
“I am so sorry sir!”
The man shook his head in annoyance before hurrying off. Behind him, Harry could hear someone laughing. Turning around, he saw Draco, who had watched the whole exchange.
“Well that will look great in tomorrow morning’s paper don’t you agree?”
Draco smirked as he sauntered over to Harry.
“I can just see the headlines now; HARRY POTTER CAUGHT ASAULTING INNOCENT MAN AT WESTCOTT MASQUERADE!”
Harry clenched his jaw trying very hard to keep his cool. Seeing this only made Draco laugh even more.
“Oh by the way Potter, were you looking for me?”
Draco asked this while pointing a finger back at himself. Harry rolled his eyes at Draco’s words.
“Yes actually I was. I have a bone to pick with you!”
Draco quirked an eyebrow.
“You do? About what?”
Harry huffed in annoyance.
“Since third year?”
Draco’s eyes went wide at the words spoken. How could he know about that? Had he been standing by them when he and Blaise had that conversation? Blaise! Blaise must have said something? But why would Blaise tell the scar head? What difference does it make now anyway? Quickly regaining his composure, Draco smirked once more.
“Since third year what?”
Harry scoffed and rolled his eyes in annoyance.
“I know you are a thick head Malfoy, but let’s not encourage your stupidity by playing dumb on the matter.”
Draco’s jaw clenched and the storm in his eyes became dangerous.
“I don’t know what you are talking about Potter. But I will tell you what I do know. Third year was a big mistake. That bird should have died and I should have never been punched in the nose. Let’s just leave it at that shall we?”
Turning on his heel, Draco moved into the crowd without another word.
Ginny ignored Hermione’s whining as she continued to pull her along. When she was satisfied that they were far enough away, Ginny turned around to face her friend.
“Oh pish! Besides, what I am about to tell you, will make you forget about penguin man!”
Hermione cocked her head now completely interested in what her friend had to say.
“What do you mean?”
Ginny looked at Hermione excitedly before plunging into the news she had overheard.
“Well I overheard Malfoy talking to Zabini about the ‘white swan’…”
She paused to see Hermione’s expression. When Hermione’s only response was a nod of her head, Ginny continued.
“…And well Zabini asked how long Malfoy had liked the swan and Malfoy answered that he had liked the swan since their third year.”
Hermione stared at Ginny, soaking in everything that had just been said. Malfoy had admitted to liking her. He had told another person. What did that mean? If he liked her, then why had he been so cruel to her during school? And if it was true that he liked her, than how was she supposed to spend an entire year in the same living courters as him? Hermione squeezed her eyes shut and tried to breathe as she counted to ten for the second time that night. Then without warning she grabbed Ginny by the hand and began pulling back into the ball.
“Come on Ginny! We have a ball to attend and an evening of fun to enjoy!”
Once again, Hermione was determined not to let any boy ruin her night.
Hey guys! There you have it, the second half of the ball and chapter 10! I hope you enjoyed it! There was no Pansy drama at the ball, but don't worry, she is not completely gone yet!
Anyway, just wanted to say thank you all for your reviews! They make writing this story that much more worth it!
Don't forget to leave me a little something! I love hearing from you and can't wait to see what you have to say about our dodos!
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