Chapter 20 : Chapter 20
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“Dean, would you please take a walk around and ask everybody to gather here for a few minutes?”
“Certainly Mrs Malfoy, but I don’t need to walk anywhere.” He turned to face the room and with his best East End costermongers voice called out, “Right you lot, haul your arses over here. Professor Mrs Malfoy wants a word.” The heat rose in his cheeks as Professor McGonagall asked,
“Does that include me, Mr Thomas?”
“I suppose everybody knows, do they?” Hermione asked no-one in particular.
“Of course,” Dean replied with a grin, “You didn’t expect to keep it a secret did you? You should know Hogwarts better than that after seven years, Mrs Malfoy.”
“Alright Dean, Hermione or Professor Granger will do. Don’t push your luck. I’ve haven’t given anybody a detention yet,” she addressed the cast, “the only person missing is the Headmaster so I will read the part of chorus. This will be a full run through; we will start in five minutes. If you need to visit the bathroom, now is the time.”
Almost two hours later Horace Slughorn spoke the final line of the play. The members of the cast broke into applause and good natured jeering before Draco called for silence. “Very well done all of you, still one or two small things are going wrong but you all seem to know your lines which I think is half the battle, anything to add Hermione?”
“Not really, just to say well done. Get away now get some refreshments and be back here at 7.30 for a full dress rehearsal at 8. Thanks everyone.”
The hall emptied except for Luna Lovegood who was fussing over racks of costumes. Hermione and Draco approached her “Come on Luna, Take a break and get some food and a drink.”
“No, I’m fine thanks Hermione, I’ve plenty to do here” Hermione took the costume Luna was holding and hung it on the nearest rack. “That doesn’t go there Hermione…..”
“For the next hour Luna, that is exactly where it belongs, now go, before I set Draco on you.” Luna looked at a mock-scowling Draco,
“No thank you, Hermione, I don’t go with married men. Congratulations, by the way. I never got a chance to say it at St. Mungo’s. You really should move that costume, you know, or you will upset the Kumbleflies which will set the Wrackspurts going…”
“Luna, GO!” said Hermione pointing out of the door. Luna gave them both a kiss and headed off as she had been instructed. The newly-weds smiled at each other, Draco tried to kiss his wife but only got a curt reminder about ‘time and place’ followed by a laughing, ‘besides we’re married now and puppy-dog eyes don’t work anymore.’
Having secured the hall they set off for their accommodation. They were halfway up a staircase when it decided to move, taking them away from their destination meaning they would need to turn back and head downwards. Coming off the staircase they found facing themselves facing the tall red-headed figure of Ron Weasley.
In a subdued voice he said simply “Hermione.”
Equally quietly she replied “Ron. I thought you had left the school?”
“Oh I have Hermione, I’m not stopping, I just wondered if I could have a quick word?”
“Of course, Ron. Draco won’t mind will you, love?” Draco never got a chance to reply.
“I hear that you two are married, is that right?” Hermione slipped her hand into Draco’s,
“Yes, Ron, we were married earlier today.”
“Then he can stay, Hermione. I just… I want to apologise for being such a prat over the last few months. It was pure jealousy, nothing else. I still find it hard to believe the two of you together. Don’t get me wrong Malfoy, I still hate your guts and I think, Hermione, that you have made a big mistake, but there’s nothing to be done about it now. Anyway, I’m sorry and I’d like to wish you the best of luck.”
Surprisingly perhaps Hermione felt a tear prickle behind her eyes. She squeezed Draco’s hand, released it and put her hands on Ron’s shoulders. “Thank you Ron, that really means a lot to me.” She hugged his neck briefly before kissing his cheek and stepping back. Ron was blinking back tears too. Draco offered his hand,
“Thanks Weasley. I know how much that means to Hermione and for that reason I appreciate it.” Ron shook the offered hand,
“Take good care of her, Malfoy. She’s very special.” He turned abruptly and walked away.
“Weasley! Ron!” Draco called after him. “For Hermione’s sake, I hope one day we can be friends.”
Ron glanced back over his shoulder, “We’ll see, Malfoy, we’ll see.”
The dress rehearsal went reasonably well with no really major foul-ups. Justin Finch-Fletchley got lost a couple of times during the Queen Mab speech. When Ginny and Dean kissed during the dance Hermione thought she would need to tie a red-faced Harry to his chair. Ginny also continued to bitch about having to wear a ‘sack’ for the bed scene.
Back in their apartment at about 12.30am they had Gabby bring them some coffee. Hermione took a pen from her bag and opened her script.
“What are you doing Hermione?” Draco asked quietly, “There is no need for more notes about the play, love. It’s going to be fine as it is.” He took the pen and script from her. “Now, if you don’t mind, I would like some quality time with my wife.”
“Your wife.” She whispered, savouring the words, “Your wife. I do love the sound of that and I love you Draco, very much…” further speech was prevented by the meeting of two sets of lips.
The next day being Saturday and the first performance scheduled for 1pm, lunch was served early in the respective house common rooms. The cast assembled at 11.30 and made short work of a table laden with a buffet of cold cuts and salad. Ten minutes before 1pm Hermione called for everyone’s attention. “It’s a tradition in the muggle theatre world that they never wish each other luck, instead they tell one another to ‘break a leg’. You should start to think about getting in position for the opening. Trust me you are all ready for this; it’s going to be great. It’s the rest of the student body this afternoon and parents, friends and guests this evening. So good… I mean knock ‘em dead and break a leg everybody. Act one, scene one, positions please! Here we go!”
The house elves cleared away all evidence of lunch and the rest of the school filed in and took seats on either side of the hall. Professor McGonagall took centre stage and explained that a very dim view would be taken of any misbehaviour during the performance. The cast had worked very hard to put the play on and no disrespect would be tolerated. A wave of Minerva’s wand darkened the room and silence reigned.
The doors to the Great Hall swung open to reveal the imposing figure of Albus Dumbledore. Magically lit, he strode imperiously to the centre of the three stages, acknowledging the applause of the audience on either side. “Two households, both alike in dignity…” he declaimed and they were under way.
At 10.35 that evening Professor Slughorn strode off the stage and back to the room where the Triwizard champions had waited all those years before. He had just delivered the closing lines of Romeo and Juliet. The parents and guests giving a standing ovation before he had cleared the stage. In the large room with its trophy cases and period furniture the rest of the cast had broken into applause and were congratulating each other.
Five minutes later the audience applauded enthusiastically as Ginny Weasley and Dean Thomas walked hand-in-hand through the assembled cast to occupy the centre stage alone. They bowed graciously to both sides of the hall. The applause increased again when a small first year girl approached Dean with a bouquet of flowers almost as big as she was. Dean took the flowers and turned to Ginny and presented the bouquet to her, finishing with an exaggerated Elizabethan bow to which Ginny responded with a modest curtsy.
Hermione smiled, “Nice touch, Draco, I should have thought of that. Well done.”
Ginny was happy and smiling even though she knew she was going to get an earful from Hermione, Draco and Harry too. She had been a bad girl.
Moments before the bed scene, Luna had come to where Hermione and Draco were standing, “We have a problem!” Hermione had looked in horror at the garment Luna was holding. Ginny’s now infamous ‘sack’. “I can’t find the original costume, so we have to assume she is wearing it.”
Hermione was too angry to be worried. “The stupid… well she’ll just have to suffer the consequences, I’m not taking any responsibility for this.” Harry, red-faced and blustering, joined them.
“Have you seen…”
“Yes Harry, we just found out.”
“Well what are you doing about it?”
“The scene has already started, Harry, what can we do? The damage is done.”
“Well I’m going to stop it.” he turned away. Hermione pointed her wand,
“Immobilus” Harry stopped dead in his tracks. “Sorry Harry, but too many people have worked hard on this. I won’t let you spoil it for them.”
Up in the audience Molly looked admiringly at her only daughter, she was thinking, ‘That took guts Ginevra, that’s my girl.’ Arthur, George, Bill and Percy suddenly became interested in the architecture of the Great Hall looking at the ceiling and walls as if they had never seen them before.
Ginny approached them, her stage costume covered by her Gryffindor robe. Hermione released Harry who returned her a fierce, dark look which he then switched to Ginny. “Harry I...”
“I don’t think I want to hear this thank you, Ginny.” Harry turned on his heel and walked away at a fast pace. Tears pricking at her eyes she looked at Hermione and found no sympathy in the expression on her face.
“That was a stupid thing to do Ginny and I’m very disappointed in you. I’m not surprised Harry’s unhappy. Now get changed and see Harry at the cast party, I’ll see that he talks to you.”
The cast party had been arranged by Professor McGonagall and was to be held in a marquee in the grounds. The music was quite loud as Hermione and Draco approached. Hermione was curious as to why a crowd of students were gathered outside seemingly examining something that was obscured from her view. When they got closer the crowd parted and Hermione looked in amazement at a car, a dark blue BMW series 6. “How did that get here?” she asked, “Whose is it, Draco, is it yours?” Draco pulled an envelope from an inside pocket and handed it to her.
“No. It’s yours, your wedding present, Hermione; you start your driving lessons after the honeymoon. Until then I’ll be your chauffeur.”
“Oh Draco, I don’t know what to say, I… why is it here?”
“Because tomorrow we set off for Paris, we’re going to drive all the way. Travel muggle style, be a new experience for me. Got a nice hotel booked near Coventry tomorrow night and the next day a ferry from Dover. Your Mum and Dad made all the arrangements for us. They have even programmed the route into something called a satnav, whatever that is.” Hermione sat in the driver’s seat and as Draco ushered the onlookers away, she could not resist the urge to put her hands on the steering wheel and murmur under her breath,
They found a table near the back of the room and watched everybody remotely connected to the play enjoying themselves. All except two. Harry and Ginny looked glum even while dancing. Had they been dancing together it might have been different. Harry was dancing with a sixth year Hufflepuff girl and Ginny was dancing with Dean. Even though Harry had promised to talk to Ginny he obviously had yet to do so. Not good enough, Hermione decided and a plan quickly formed in her mind. She put Draco in the picture and he stood and offered his hand. Just a man asking his wife to dance, nothing unusual in that whatsoever.
They danced their way to Harry and his partner and deftly separated them. Hermione swiftly took Harry in hold and moved away from Draco and his new partner. “Hermione, what are you doing? That was a bit rude.”
“Sorry Harry, but after tonight I don’t know when I’ll see you again. I just wanted to say cheerio with just the two of us.” She looked up at him and kissed him lightly on the cheek, “Friends for life, Harry?” He returned the kiss,
“Friends for life Hermione; never doubt it.”
Meanwhile, Draco had danced the wide-eyed Hufflepuff towards Ginny and Dean. Reaching them, he took a step back brushed his lips over the back of her hand. “Thank you so much.” He smiled. “Dean, this is Sally. You two should dance.” He took Ginny in his arms and quickly put some distance between them and a bemused Dean Thomas. He looked deeply into Ginny’s eyes, “Hello Red, remember me?”
She felt the slight pressure of his hand in the small of her back, easing her closer to him. “Yes, I do, you just married my best friend. So behave yourself.” He turned on the charm she remembered.
“Oh, don’t worry, Red, I’m not hitting on you. If I was you know you’d be just a puddle on the floor by now.”
“Arrogant as always, Malfoy. You’ll never change will you?” she did not notice the way she was being manoeuvred around the floor.
“You wouldn’t want me any other way, admit it.” she laughed lightly as she replied,
“I will admit no such thing. Absolutely not.” As she looked at him, memories flooded her mind. Looking at his lips she wondered if they tasted the same as she remembered. She came back to the present as they collided with another couple. Before she could speak Draco had disappeared and Harry was standing in front of her.
“Right you two, dance!” Draco commanded.
“And bloody well talk.” Hermione added before returning to their table. Five minutes later they both smiled when they saw Harry and Ginny hand-in-hand leave the marquee at a brisk walk.
Draco and Hermione Malfoy left Hogwarts the next morning after an emotional hour of goodbye’s after breakfast. Draco had quickly figured out how the satnav operated and they relaxed into the journey to Coventry. With a couple of stops along the way they reached the hotel at 5.30 that afternoon and had a drink in the bar before showering and dressing casually for dinner. After the meal they went for a stroll in the lightly wooded grounds. They were in bed at 9.45 and asleep by 11.15.
They set off the next morning for the drive to the south coast. Skirting the east side of London on the M1 and M25 they eventually joined the southbound M20 heading for Dover. The CD of ‘Phantom of the Opera’ was in the player and Draco was singing along until a desperate Hermione stopped him,
“Draco, have you missed anything in the last week or so?” Puzzled, he racked his brains.
“No, I don’t think so, have you?”
“Yes, I have actually.”
“What have you missed, then?”
“Umm…” he pondered, unable to think of anything, “nope, no idea. Clue please.”
“Um, okay, er… I’m a girl.”
“You’re a girl and you’re missing something…” seconds passed before he looked at her, eyebrows raised, “You don’t mean…”
A coy smile and then, “Yeah, I think so, now eyes back on the road please. I’m a week late and I threw up this morning.”
“But you said you wanted to wait until you were at least twenty-three.”
“A girl can change her mind, can’t she? I thought you would be happy.”
“Happy? Hermione I’m bloody ecstatic. A baby, oh wow…” his voice trailed off into silence, which, Hermione decided was better than his singing.
It’s a bloody long way from Barcelona to Leeds and Mac McKenzie was tired, even staying within the regulations for hours driven, hauling an eighteen wheeler around Europe was tiring work. He turned his radio a couple of notches louder and opened his window a bit further. Half an hour earlier he had disembarked from the ferry and gone through the seemingly interminable procedures at the port of Dover.
Now on the M20 heading north he was finally relaxing, so much so that he never noticed his eyes slowly closing. The impact of his cab on the central barrier jerked him awake wondering what the hell was going on. His trailer jack-knifed, lifting the cab section into the air and tossing it casually onto the southbound carriageway. The last thing Mac saw on earth was the horrified faces of the driver and passenger of a dark blue BMW. He never heard the impact as his cab crushed the car.
For never was a story of more woe, than this of Hermione and her Draco.
Author note: Please take the time to leave your opinion. Like it or hate it, this chapter or the whole thing, please leave a review. Thanks.