Chapter 5 : Chapter Five: The Secret Admirer
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The rest of the day passed in a bit of a blur. Hermione enjoyed her classes, but after the exciting morning, she found them to be a bit dull. After Herbology, she and Draco met in the Head’s Tower to discuss events.
‘I think we should do something different this year,’ Draco said. ‘You know how we had the Yule Ball in fourth year? What if we did something like that, but as a masquerade ball of sorts?’
‘That’s actually a really good idea,’ Hermione said, and wrote it down on the piece of parchment she had in front of her. ‘We could host a pumpkin carving contest, and maybe we could have the ghosts put on a comedy show of sorts.’
‘That’s a great idea,’ Draco said. ‘I think Hogsmeade should be earlier, too, so you girls can get dresses and such. Let’s say we have our Hogsmeade visit for October the 7th? We can’t do it on the 29th, because that’s when we usually schedule the first Quidditch game. The seventh is good because it gives enough time to get alterations done and dresses shipped.’
‘I wouldn’t have thought about Quidditch,’ Hermione said. ‘I like the idea. So, for the Masquerade Ball, I think we should have it planned so that everyone can go, but there’ll be a sort of after-party for the older students?’
‘First and second years might have a more difficult time getting costumes and stuff, won’t they?’ He said. ‘Especially because they can’t go to Hogsmeade, and I think it’ll be more difficult for the muggleborns whose parents are muggles and might not know how to send a costume by owl?’
‘Hmm, yeah, I didn’t think about that,’ she said. ‘I think if we get all the first years together, get them to fill out the order form for the costume they like, it should work out for them.’
‘What if they can’t afford a costume, though?’ He said. ‘Actually, what if we get permission from McGonagall to take the first years into Hogsmeade on a day by themselves and I’ll pay for the costumes?’
‘We can talk to McGonagall about it, but I can’t ask you to pay for it,’ she said. ‘That wouldn’t be right.’
‘I wouldn’t be paying for the whole thing,’ he said. ‘Whatever they can afford, they can give me and I’ll just pay up the rest. My Mum won’t mind and Dad’s in Azkaban so he’s got no say in it. Shouldn’t be that much money, right?’
‘I still don’t like it,’ she said. ‘You could end up paying for the whole thing. I’ve got some money. I can help you.’
‘I don’t mind, Granger, but if you insist,’ he said. ‘Or, wait. What about the Room of Requirement? Maybe it could supply some extra costumes?’
‘I don’t know if that’ll work, but we can try,’ she said. ‘It’d make it a lot easier. We could just specify what costumes to get and the Room would supply them. We’ll check it out on the weekend.’
‘Okay,’ Draco said. ‘So, we’ve got to see if we can get some of the ghosts on board for the comedy show. Pumpkin contest—Hagrid’s got a bunch of pumpkins we could probably use. The Masquerade Ball, and maybe we could do some kind of a trick-or-treating for the younger ones? You know, have certain areas where they can go and get candy? If we have the Professors help, then the kids could go to each of their classrooms to get the candy?’
‘I didn’t even know you knew about trick or treating,’ Hermione said, impressed with all the ideas he was coming up with. ‘That’s a really great idea.’
‘Thank you,’ he said. ‘There was a muggle village not too far away from the Manor, so one year, when I was about seven, I snuck out of the house on Halloween, dressed in my Mum’s dress robes and a pointy hat. I was supposed to be Merlin. Anyways, Dobby Apparated me to the village, and I went around all the houses for an hour or so. My parent’s didn’t even notice I was missing. I ate as much candy as I could that night, and Dobby disposed of the wrappings, and then I hid it in the back of my closet. It was great fun. And you can’t tell anyone about this, Granger.’
She laughed, imagining a little Draco in too big robes, knocking on people’s doors asking for candy. ‘I won’t tell anyone, I swear,’ she said.
Just then, a screech owl soared through the open window, a letter attached to its claw, and landed in front of Hermione.
‘Must be for you,’ Draco said. ‘I’ve seen that owl before…’
Curious, she untied the letter, and the owl left. She read:
Roses are red,
Violets are blue,
If you wish to know who I am to you,
Please meet me for dinner tonight at the Room of Requirement.
Hermione stared, disbelieving. A secret admirer, for her? It was ridiculous. And who was this mysterious 'N'? And why was Draco looking at the letter like he wanted to set fire to it?
‘You know who it is,’ she said. He avoided her eyes, but she knew. ‘Tell me.’
He scowled. ‘I can’t tell you. But… don’t go tonight,’ he said. ‘Just trust me. You’ll regret it.’
‘How do you know that?’ She asked. ‘Who is it? Someone from Slytherin?’
A shimmer of emotion flashed across his face, and she knew she’d guessed it right. ‘It doesn’t matter. Just don’t go.’
‘You can’t tell me what to do, Malfoy,’ she said. ‘If you won’t tell me who it is, I’ll find out myself.’
He sighed. ‘You’re stubborn, you know that?’ He said. ‘Fine. But wear something nice, and bring your wand.’
‘Fine, fine,’ she said. ‘Are you sure you don’t want to tell me?’
He shook his head. ‘I can’t tell you,’ he said. He stood up, rather abruptly. ‘I’m going for a walk. See you after dinner.’
She frowned, but said nothing, and watched him leave. Clearly, something about the letter, and its sender, had made him angry. She sighed, shaking her head. If he’d just tell her who it was, then she wouldn’t bother going. If he didn’t want her to go so badly, all he had to do was tell her who it was. And he’d said she was stubborn…
Draco was on his way to the Slytherin common room, attempting to track down Nott and tell him to leave Hermione alone, when someone grabbed him and pushed him against the wall. It took him a split second to see it was Weasel.
‘Stay away from Mione,’ Weasel growled, glaring at him. ‘You can pretend you’ve changed all you want, ferret, but I’m not an idiot. You can’t fool her. So stay away from her.’
‘I don’t have to listen to you,’ Draco said, fighting to stay calm. ‘And neither does Hermione. You have no right to tell her what to do. What Granger and I do together is none of your business. You’re the one who cheated on her. You back off.’
‘Hermione would never touch you. She can’t even stand looking at you. You disgust her,’ Weasel hissed.
Draco felt a stab of hurt, though he didn’t know why. It wasn’t like he and Granger were friends or anything. They’d come to terms with each other, was all.
‘You might want to watch your mouth, Weasel,’ Draco said quietly. ‘And actually, all three of your statements are entirely untrue. I don’t recall you being there for her last night when she woke screaming from nightmares.’
That was a lie, but it worked. Weasel’s face went redder than his hair, and he punched him square in the face. Draco bit back a scream. He had a feeling there would be a bruise there tomorrow.
‘Stay away from Hermione, Malfoy. I swear, if I see you anywhere near her, I’ll bloody kill you myself,’ Weasel hissed.
‘Have fun trying,’ Draco said. He tried not to wince in pain. ‘You know, it’s your fault that we were forced to come together like this. If you’d had any sense, you’d have stayed away from Flower.’
‘Her name,’ Weasel said, gritting his teeth, ‘is Lavender .’
Draco shrugged. ‘Whatever,’ he said. ‘I don’t care what her name is. She’s a tramp.’
The Weasel glared at him, and suddenly Draco felt as though he were being attacked by a million little knives. It was worse than paper cuts.
He looked down at his chest, and found that he was bleeding so thickly it seeped through his shirt. It was like that spell Potter had done, Sectumsemptra, only it wasn’t. But Weasel hadn’t had his wand… it had been nonverbal. Draco yanked out his own wand, and pointed it at the Weasel.
‘Finite Incantatum,’ he gasped out.
The paper-cut feeling stopped, and Weasel staggered backwards. ‘Reducto!’ Weasel cried.
‘Protego!’ Draco shrieked, jumping aside before the spell hit him. Weasel pointed his wand a Draco’s neck, dangerously close to a vein.
‘Sectum!’ He cried.
He’d never heard that one before, but Draco knew immediately what it did. He felt a knife-like feeling cut into his neck, and he couldn’t stop from crying out. ‘Protego!’ He shouted.
‘Stupefy!’ Weasley shouted.
Draco dodged the spell. ‘Protego! Immobulus!’ He shouted.
Weasel froze, locked in a binding spell. It didn’t last nearly long enough. A split second later, Weasel was unfrozen.
‘Fine,’ he said. ‘I’ll let you go for now, but next time, your pretty face won’t be so pretty anymore.’
Weasel left, and Draco pressed his hand to his neck. He was still bleeding. His chest had stopped bleeding, though his shirt was soaked through with blood. He ripped his shirt off and wadded it into a ball, pressing it against his neck to stop the bleeding, and staggered back to the Head’s Tower.
He almost passed out a few times, but he made it. The Portrait of Shakespeare looked alarmed, and let him through without making him say the password. He staggered inside. He tripped on the rug and fell to the floor.
‘Draco?’ Hermione’s voice sounded very far away. He heard her footsteps, and then she was there, helping him up. ‘Draco, you’re bleeding. What happened?’
‘N-nothing. I got into a fight, is all.’ He tried to push her away, but almost fell over again. She sat him down on the sofa.
‘Merlin, you’re bleeding so much. Accio purse!’ She said, and he heard a whooshing sound. ‘Who was it? I’ll tell McGonagall and have them put in detention.’
‘It’s… it’s my neck. That’s where the blood’s coming from,’ he got out. ‘It hurts so much.’
She started dabbing something against his neck that was cold and wet and stung, and he grit his teeth against the pain. ‘Sorry. It’s going to sting,’ she said. ‘It’s to clear up the blood. I have to see how deep the cut is before I can heal it. If I can heal it. Was it a spell or a knife?
‘Spell,’ he said through his teeth. ‘Sectum, he said. There was this other spell, made my chest bleed too… but it s-stopped.’
‘Sectum… not Sectumsemptra?’ She said. ‘It was Ron, wasn’t it?’
Damn. He’d given it away by telling her the spell. Of course it made sense that Ron would know it. ‘I made it worse. Taunted him,’ he said, and he hissed loudly. The liquid felt like salt water on his wounds.
‘He shouldn’t have attacked you in the first place,’ she said. ‘There. I’m done. Draco, did he aim his wand at your throat?’
‘Y-yes,’ he stammered. He made himself look at her, and saw the burning rage in her eyes.
‘He could’ve killed you!’ She cried. ‘That close to a vein? What was he thinking? You could’ve died! I could have him expelled for this!’
She’d lost it. ‘I’m not dead though,’ he said. ‘Hermione, please don’t say anything. Don’t tell McGonagall. Please, I’m begging you.’
She looked at him, the fire in her eyes dimming. ‘Fine,’ she said. ‘But if it happens again, I am telling her.’
‘Fine. Can you heal the cut?’ He asked.
She examined it for a moment, and then nodded. ‘I should be able to,’ she said.
She pulled out her wand, and murmured a healing spell. He felt the cut on his neck close up, replaced by skin. ‘I should examine your chest, just in case. You said you stopped the bleeding, but I need to make sure.’
‘Okay,’ he said.
She muttered an Aguamenti charm. Water dripped down his chest, washing away the blood. She reached out to touch his chest, feeling for any wounds. Draco suppressed a shiver at her touch, and noticed that she was avoiding looking at him, and her cheeks were flushed, too.
‘Well, there are no visible wounds, but here. If there’s any internal bleeding or bruising, this should help,’ she said, handing him a small vial. ‘You should take it now.’
Draco uncapped the potion and took a mouthful. It tasted awful, like sour milk. He had to fight to keep it down. When he finished, he recapped the potion and set it on the coffee table. ‘Thanks,’ he said. ‘For healing me.’
‘Anytime, Malfoy,’ she said. ‘You should take a shower. I’ve got to leave now, but if you need anything, there’s a House Elf named Winky who’d be happy to help.’
She stood up, and for the first time, he noticed what she was wearing. A fancy dark purple blouse that was cut lower than anything he’d seen her in, and a pair of dark blue jeans. Her hair was done up, and she’d kept her makeup simple—just light gold eyeshadow and lip-gloss. Still, Draco couldn’t help but staring at her. And he couldn’t help the jealous rage that he felt, knowing who she’d dressed up for.
‘I almost forgot. You have a date,’ he said, hoping he didn’t sound bitter. ‘Have fun, I guess.’
She smiled a little uncertainly. ‘Thanks,’ she said. Then she stepped through the portrait hole, and disappeared.
Draco cursed Nott under his breath as he went to the bathroom. Leave it to Theo to completely ruin the mood, even if he wasn’t there. Stupid Theo. Stupid Granger, blindly trusting his 'secret admirer' trick. She wasn’t the first girl Nott had tricked using pretty words. Theodore Nott was very good with words, and he was very convincing.
You’re the one being stupid, Draco, a voice chided him. Why do you care what Hermione Granger does?
He shouldn’t care. Just because he owed Granger didn’t mean anything. There was no reason for him to care so much about what she was doing. It was ridiculous that he was even thinking about her this much.
He’d never had any warm-and-fuzzy feelings towards Granger before, so why did the thought of her make him feel so… so calm? It was ludicrous. Maybe there was some part of him that felt sorry for her for some unknown reason, or maybe he felt guilty and now he felt the need to make up for the fact that it had been his Aunt who tortured her.
But he didn’t think he felt sorry for her, and whatever guilt he harbored over his torture was minimal. No, the reason Granger made him feel those warm-and-fuzzy feelings was because she seemed to have a calming affect on him, though he had no idea why. It had only been a day, but so far he’d enjoyed being around her.
For her own good, Draco would have to stay away from her. They could act like friends under the pretense of promoting House Unity, and they couldn’t avoid each other when they shared sleeping quarters, but he couldn’t allow himself to be truly friends with Hermione Granger, no matter what calming affect she had on him. He would have to stay far away from her, for her own good and his.
AN: This chapter has been edited as of 10.29.14. Please leave a review if you can! :) I hope you all enjoyed this!
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