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Chapter 6 : Draco Malfoy
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She felt like she was going to throw up. Draco Malfoy was here! Hermione watched as he looked her straight in the eyes for a few seconds and then turned and left the tent yet still she couldn’t move. People were staring at her but she was staring where he had stood. She wanted to move but she couldn’t.
The next thing she knew there was a pair of strong arms around her as her knees gave way and she threatened to crash to the floor. People were rushing around her but she didn’t know who they were. The arms held her steady and lifted her up gently, carrying her off the stage but she still didn’t know who was carrying her.
She had seen Malfoy. Had he been a ghost or was he really here? Was he really back? How could he be back after all this time? It just didn’t make any sense.
The arms were placing Hermione down in a chair. She heard Ron’s voice.
“What happened?” he asked, Hermione noticed his voice was shaking but her eyes were closed now and she didn’t know where he was.
“Malfoy!” the arms spat. It was Harry, Harry had taken her away from him. “He was at the back of the crowd and she saw him. You and Neville find him, get rid of him.”
Ron must have left because he didn’t say anything else.
“Baby,” Dean’s voice called out and instantly Hermione relaxed and she could focus.
“Dean,” she breathed throwing her arms around him and letting a tear fall down her cheek.
“What happened, what was it? The reporters are going on about stage fright but…”
“She saw Malfoy,” Harry said as Ginny drew up behind Dean.
“Malfoy?” the girl cried, “he’s back? He’s here?”
“Ron and Neville are dealing with it,” Harry said, “He will need to be taken in for questioning about his disappearance.”
Hermione looked up at Ginny who was eyeing her husband suspiciously then over to Harry who seemed to be nervous about something or other. She guessed that if they were going to Italy to go after Draco’s group part of their plan would have to change seeing as Draco was no longer in Italy… but what was he doing here? Why had he come back?
“Hermione, baby, are you okay?”
Hermione let her eyes drift back to Dean and pulled him closer to her. She needed him, she needed him close to remind her who she had and who she wanted, who she truly loved. Dean would never hurt her; Dean would never leave her like Draco had. It had taken her so long to get over it and now things were finally good. Why would he come back?
“I think I’m okay,” she said, “I didn’t give my speech.”
“That’s fine,” Ginny reassured, “we’ll tell them you had a brain haemorrhage or something.”
Hermione glared up at the girl but felt a little better and a little calmer.
“Maybe we should go home,” Dean suggested.
“No,” Hermione shook her head, “I can’t go home, I’m not running away just because I have seen him. I helped defeat Voldemort; I’m not running away from some ferret because he walked out on me three years ago.”
Hermione tried to stand up but her head still span from the shock so she sat back down again. Instead she looked at the people around her. Ginny had disappeared and was now with Mr Weasley talking to the press not far away from them. Harry had pulled out his phone though why Hermione didn’t know. Mrs Weasley was hovering over her as if she had just hit her head and Dean was looking at her, a mix of anger and worry etched on his face.
“I don’t want to go home,” she said in a softer tone, running a hand through Dean’s hair.
“Are you sure?” Dean asked.
“Yes I am completely sure, Ginny would never forgive me for not staying longer in this dress,” Hermione laughed and Dean relaxed.
“There’s my girl,” he said kissing her on the forehead.
“Hey, I’ve ridden a Dragon,” Hermione said standing up slowly and shaking off the last bits of shock that still clung to her like ice, “I can handle a ferret.”
But could she? As Dean drew her into a tight embrace and Hermione rested her head on his shoulder she wondered if seeing Draco again would do her more harm than anything. She had pushed him so far back into the recess of her mind that seeing him again had brought out all the old hurts that she thought Dean had erased. He hadn’t erased them he had just masked them and now after all this time she would have to face those hurts again.
“He scarpered,” Neville said as he and Ron returned to her side.
Harry’s head shot up, “what do you mean he scarpered?”
“We can’t find him anywhere mate,” Ron said, “but the guys at the gate said he hadn’t been past them and you can’t apparate straight out of these gardens.”
“Did you check the other gardens?” Harry snapped.
“Yeah but we can’t find him anywhere, he’s gone Harry,” Neville shrugged.
Harry swore sharply under his breath and stormed off through the tables and out of the tent, dragging Neville and Ron with him. Hermione could hear his shouts from where she was sitting but she hadn’t a clue what he was saying. Not that she had a chance to listen.
“Okay,” Ginny said, “me and dad have sorted it. Told the press someone hit you with a powerful memory charm as a joke but we have managed to reverse it and you will need space. Kingsley sent them all away and they are no doubt writing up the article for tomorrow’s front page.”
“Thank you,” Hermione said to Ginny and her father, “that is a lot easier to explain away than what really happened.”
“I think they are about to start dinner though,” Mr Weasley said as he walked over to his wife who had stayed silent but worried the entire time.
“Are you okay to eat?” Dean asked.
“I think I need to eat,” Hermione said, her stomach rumbling at her in agreement.
“Are you sure…”
“Yes Dean I’m sure,” Hermione snapped at him, “please just stop asking me things and lets just go and sit down.”
Her fiancé didn’t question her again and they went over to their designated table. It was a large round table decorated with a centrepiece of beautiful flowers picked at the garden. Hermione and Dean sat with Harry, Ginny, Neville, Ron, Bill and Fleur.
When talk finally got off the subject of Hermione and Draco (a conversation which annoyed not only Hermione but Dean and Harry though why she didn’t know) she actually started to relax and have a half decent time. There were more speeches and between courses there was entertainment put on that featured everything from the weird sisters to a man demonstrating muggle magic tricks (something Mr Weasley enjoyed greatly).
And then there was the food, the food was exquisite. If anything took her mind of Draco Malfoy that night it was the food. There was a sea food platter which Hermione devoured eagerly, dipping her prawns in a sauce she couldn’t name and swallowing oysters in one go. There was a choice of main; The boys all went with steak, not to Hermione’s surprise, and she had a mince pasta bake which tasted so good she almost felt like asking for seconds.
Then there was pudding. Hermione and Dean shared a chocolate ice-cream sundae with as many toppings they could get from the sundae bar that had appeared to the side of the tent. Ginny ate a whole strawberry one to herself it tasted so good.
But by the time dancing had started again Hermione’s head had started to pound and she had drunk three to many cocktails curtsey of one of the waiters that seemed to pass every five minutes. Dean was watching her worriedly the whole night and Hermione knew that it was because of Draco. He was jealous. Dean knew that the only reason she had ever agreed to go out with him was because Draco was never coming only know he was back.
“Don’t leave me,” he whispered into her ear as they danced together. Hermione looked up at him and kissed him on the lips gently.
“I won’t,” she smiled, “he doesn’t exist in my life anymore Dean, it is you and I who are getting married not me and him.”
“I thought that…” Dean trailed off and turned his head away.
“You thought what?” Hermione asked.
“That you were still in love with him,” Dean admitted, “when we first got together I was glad he had left you because it meant that I got you. Only I have always thought that if he ever came back.”
Hermione pulled Dean’s face towards her.
“He doesn’t exist, I don’t love him, I love you. Please, let’s not talk about this now, you’re leaving soon.”
Dean glanced at his watched and nodded, kissing Hermione gently on the head. Hermione hadn’t wanted him to go in the first place and now she wanted him to go even less. She may have told Dean that she didn’t still love Draco and it was the truth…as far as she knew… he was leaving for a month and Draco Malfoy was back and if she had ever known Draco Malfoy at all then she knew that he would find any excuse to find her, to talk to her; whether to torture her or win her back she didn’t know. She didn’t want to know.
But he had to leave eventually and a couple of hours before the dinner was due to end Ron made her promise to check in with Lexi and Harry told her to look after Ginny and make sure she doesn’t go mad during training. Dean kissed her passionately and promised to return to her safe, a single tear traced its way down her cheek as she watched him walk away from her.
Hermione and Ginny were left without their men. Ginny went straight to some of her friends from her team and Hermione, not feeling in the mood for socialising walked around the party with a large drink of something very blue and very alcoholic. She was glad Kinsley had sent the paparazzi away because she wasn’t sure if it was the tent or her eyes but the floor had all of a sudden started to feel very unstable.
She walked (in the straightest line she could muster) over to a waiter and politely requested that her glass refill itself when it was empty and the waiter complied to her request, all the it with judging eyes and an upturned nose that he thought she wouldn’t see.
She needed to get out of there. Away from all the people who would look at her and feel sorry for her because Dean had left, away from all the people who knew the real reason she was so shook up. She took her blue drink and started to make her way up a path to a garden.
The gates were open but this walk way was empty where the others were swarming with people. People didn’t like going into this garden; they were afraid they would get lost but Hermione knew better than they did, she knew the magic of this garden; she had helped McGonagall create it. What better way to honour Dumbledore than with a garden that took their wanderers places rooted in their desires?
She passed through the iron gates and wandered along the path that was lined with trees on either side. Hermione couldn’t see the sky anymore and as she went further down the path and twisted to the left she was surrounded on all sides by trees. She was alone but she didn’t mind, thousands of jars holding flames hung in the trees and lit her way. She had her blue drink and she had the safety of the trees. She felt relaxed, happy and less all over the place, though that might have had something to do with her level of intoxication rather than being somewhere where only the wind and birds could be heard.
But the path was long, longer than any Hermione had ever walked in this garden and it twisted and turned so many times Hermione realised why people would think they might get lost. Hermione didn’t care about getting lost, not really, she cared about figuring out what the hell was going on in her head and why Dean had been so terrified that she would leave him for Draco. She wouldn’t ever leave strong, safe, protective Dean for Draco Malfoy…would she?
No, no of course she wouldn’t. She was engaged now, she was going to marry him and they would have children who would be brilliant at Quidditch and spells. She would live in a big beautiful house on the outskirts of some muggle village that Ginny would declare was too far away from Wizarding life for any sane witch. Hermione would have a safe, predictable life where her and her husband would sometimes go on trips around the world and if she asked he wouldn’t say no. That was what her and Dean would make of their lives. She could never have that with Draco.
But what could she have with Draco? Passion, danger, fights that lasted hours and were resolved with tears from her side and kisses from his. They had had their fair share of those sorts of fights in their time…but then again so had her and Dean…
What was the chance Draco would even want her anyway? None and he defiantly did not want him. Not now. Draco was nothing but dust, nothing but a memory. In this world of chaos he was her one pure memory and that is what he needed to stay, a memory. She had Dean and she didn’t want him, whether he was back in England or not. She did not need to relive that time in her life. She was making new memories and she did not want them to include a Malfoy.
The trees were starting to thin and the lights grew numerous as the night sky came into view and a spatter of stars illuminated the garden she had searched for the last time she was there.
It was truly just as beautiful as she remembered. The layout was as if someone had stuck three circles slightly overlapping themselves together and each circle was filled with a different set of flowers. In on there were roses, in one there were lilies and in one there was a big pond that was full of the most beautiful floating orchids. There were a few stone benches scattered around and fountains nested in beds of flowers.
Butterflies floated amongst the petals just as she had remembered and in the centre of the garden was a large stone gazebo. It was beautiful with carvings of the flowers on its size sides; it was hung with more jars of fire and flowers from the garden itself. On four of the sides the stone jutted out slightly so that someone could sit down underneath the shelter.
Hermione’s breath caught in her throat. Someone had already taken that liberty and was sitting inside the gazebo, his grey eyes staring straight at her, as though they had pierced through her skin and were boring into her soul.
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