Chapter 16 : Liquorice Wands and Leopards
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We even froze most of the Ashwinder eggs to give to Professor Slughorn to use in Potions class. Some were destroyed before we got to them though and Blaise had to throw out a pair of his shoes. He stepped on a whole nest and the sole melted right off. He had to ice his foot for a couple of hours, it was pretty funny actually.
Tuesday morning came along and Draco and I headed down to breakfast together while holding hands.
“Ok people. It’s been a whole week, isn’t there anything more interesting to gossip about yet?” I sort of shouted in a happy voice as we were walking toward the Great Hall doors. People still weren’t used to see Draco and me together. I received many smiles and laughs. Life was good once again.
We sat at our separate tables to hang with our friends we hadn’t seen in a while. Halfway through McGonagall called me up to the front along with Draco to make some announcements.
“Good morning everyone. We have a few announcements for you today. I have asked Headmistress McGonagall to allow us to use the revamped Room of Requirement to extend our Muggle Studies classes into the lunch time hour. If you are all in agreement we can start this today. We can use the full hour and have the house elves send half the food from the Great Hall to the ROR instead of here. All 5th through “8th” years opposed to this idea say NAY.” The room was silent. I smiled, they liked my class!
“Fabulous! All 1st through 4th years opposed, say NAY.” Again the room was silent. “Wonderful. During your scheduled days please meet me at 11:45 am in the 7th floor corridor housing the tapestry of Barnabas the Barmy. Draco?” I turned the reigns over to him.
“We have scheduled the first Hogsmeade visit for this Saturday the 14th for all 3rd years and above. Please have your permission slips signed and handed in no later than Friday. Also, the quidditch team lists have been posted in each common room. Congratulations to all who made the teams. Thank you and have a good day.” Draco ended our announcements and we walked back to our tables.
Blaise was ecstatic all the way to class; Draco told him that he had been made one of Slytherin’s chasers. Again, thank Merlin. Now I had a happy boyfriend, brother and best friend.
I sat with Draco during History of Magic and Ginny sat behind us with Blaise. This week it was my turn to try and keep Draco awake. Not that Binns would even notice, but it was fun to annoy him. DADA was another story. Professor Wilkins heard about the Dueling Club we had during second year and wanted to revive it. He chose Draco to help him show the class a few examples.
I grabbed his arm before he took his stance in front of the Professor.
“Draco, be careful and whatever you do, just don’t seriously injure or use any Unforgivables please. I don’t need my boyfriend to end up in Azkaban.” I gave him a kiss for good luck. He smirked and took his place in front of Wilkins.
Wands up, down, steps away from each other, turn, take a duelers stance and let the games begin.
“Incendio!” Wilkins shouted at Draco. I gasped, what was he doing? I could see the anger in Draco’s eyes. He almost died in a fire; I couldn’t imagine what was going through his head as the flames flew toward him.
“Protego! Expelliarmus! Incarcerous! Silencio! ” Draco managed to block the flames, disarm Wilkins, tie him up and shut him up before the Professor had another chance to do anything. The class was staring wide eyed at what just happened.
Draco slowly walked over to Professor Wilkins, who was now lying on the ground. With a wand in each hand Draco kneeled down next to his head and looked him in the eye.
“What are you playing at? That’s not a spell you should be using against students. Something a little less dangerous next time… Professor.” Draco seethed and got up while throwing Wilkins’ wand to the floor a few feet away from him. He walked over to me, kissed me on the cheek, grabbed his books and strode out the door.
Everyone was still in shock at what happened. Wilkins was struggling on the ground and I eventually walked over to him, pulled out my wand and uttered “Finite Incantatem.” Then I told everyone to grab there things.
“Class is over for the day.” I followed everyone out of the room and didn’t look back. I’m his “assistant” right? If I say class is over, it’s over. Who cares what he wants.
“Well that was interesting.” Pansy said while walking up next to me.
“You can say that again.” I mumbled.
When we arrived to the 7th floor everyone was already waiting for me. I ran to Draco and jumped in his arms.
“Are you alright love?” I whispered.
He held me tighter and murmured a yes then gave me a kiss on the cheek and told me to do my magic. I walked in front of the wall 3 times. On my third time past the wall the door appeared.
Now this is what I’m talking about! The room was large as always but it was clean now. One side definitely resembled a movie theater. All the seats were plush and looked comfortable. They had swivel table tops to be used for eating or writing. The screen on the wall in front of the seats was large to say the least. It took up most of the wall. The other side looked like a miniature version of the Great Hall with 4 house tables lined up. I smiled at my work. ‘Thank you ROR! I’m so glad you’re up and running again!’ I screamed in my head.
“Ok, WINKY!” I called into the air and a second later Winky was there.
“Yes, Misses. Are you ready for the food now?” The little house elf asked.
“Yes, thank you Winky.” I said and she was gone. A couple minutes later house elves had laid out a full lunch on the 4 tables and then they disappeared with a POP.
“Ok everyone dig in!” I addressed the crowd and motioned to the tables.
“I thought we were going to watch the movie while we ate? Can’t we fill our plates and go sit in those chairs?” A boy named Alex asked. Hmm, he has a good point.
“If that’s what everyone wants then what are you waiting for, let’s get the show on the road!” I smiled as everyone rushed to the tables, piled their plates with food, grabbed their cups and took a seat in front of the big screen.
“This was a great idea Mi.” Blaise said as he hugged me.
“Thanks. I hope we finish the movie with time to spare today, I want to have a group discussion.”
“Alright. I’m guna go get food then grab a seat next to Gin, want me to save you one?”
“No thanks, I’m sitting at the top. I had the room reserve a seat for me so I could watch over the class.” I told him.
“Ok, I’ll see you during the group thing.”
“Ok.” I walked over to the VCR and popped the video in. It started and the class was captivated by the amazing 80’s clothing and music. I walked back over to the food and started to load up my plate with a salad and some eggplant parm.
“So, did you ask the room to reserve me a seat too?” Draco’s voice came from behind me. I turned to look at him after grabbing my pumpkin juice. He already had his arms full of food.
“Of course.” I told him with a smile and we headed for the stairs that would take us to the very top of the seats.
We ended up having 20 minutes of class left when the movie was over.
“Alright, unfortunately we don’t have a lot of time to discuss the movie and the project I am presenting you with today so we will save the movie discussion till next week.” There were a lot of groans and whines when I said this.
“I’m going to ask the “8th” year student of each house that is sitting closest to the front and to the right; your right not mine, to come to me.” They did and I handed them each a digital camera.
“These are called digital cameras. They take still Muggle photos. The photos are held on a small little card. It holds data. At the end of the year I am going to take all of the data and make a slide show. You will be taking pictures throughout the year of yourself, friends, Hogwarts, whatever memories you would like to keep. Each year, 4th through “8th”, will get the camera for one week. Everyone in that year must share it. You each will limit yourselves to 1 picture. You can delete your picture if you do not like how it came out or would rather trade it for another.
“Next Tuesday at the beginning of class you will hand over the cameras to me. I will remove the data and hand the cameras over to the 7th years on Wednesday morning at breakfast. You will also have a week to share the camera and take 1 picture each. The cycle will go on down to the 6th years then 5th years. We will continue this one month out of every term. Make sure everyone in your year gets to take a picture. Make sure the pictures are appropriate. The teachers will be joining us for the slideshow so please nothing of a sexual or disturbing nature. Let them see your memories of Hogwarts. Have someone take a picture of you and your friends in front of the black lake while the Giant Squid’s tentacles are in the air or a picture of your quidditch team all in uniform.
“I’m sure Professor Slughorn would be honored if you wanted to include him in a picture of him by a potions cauldron. Just have fun. Mind the rules and please don’t break the cameras, they were very expensive and the school was extremely generous for providing them for us and future generations. I ask that you do not start taking pictures until tomorrow morning at breakfast, this way every year will get exactly one week to do the project. Ok, that’s it for today everyone. Pick up a copy of camera directions on your way out by the door. Thank you and have fun!” Oh my Merlin I’m out of breath.
The students filed out of the ROR ready to start their project. I can’t wait to see what they come up with! I’m a little nervous, but they’re all mature adults now right? Wrong Hermione…
While cleaning up the trash I felt Draco’s arms around my waist.
“You know, that movie had two characters that were similar to a couple of people I know.” He said.
“That’s one of the reasons I picked that movie. You are devilishly more handsome than John Bender though love. And you’re not poor.”
Draco laughed and hugged me closer to him. “You’re more beautiful than Claire. And just as rich as me.” I swatted him on the arm but tilted my head to give him a quick kiss.
“Now go or you’ll be late for Potions again.” I reprimanded him and he gave me one last kiss and was out the door.
With a wave of my wand and some help from my Gryffindor friends the room was clean once again.
The next day Draco, Ginny, Blaise, Neville, Pansy and I walked in a group to our DADA class. We took our seats towards the back of the room and waited to see if Wilkins had anything up his sleeve. Thank Merlin he didn’t. Draco and I were basically ignored though, all class. He wouldn’t call on us when we had our hands raised, which I suppose isn’t the end of the world, but it was rather annoying.
It reminded me first year when Snape was asking Harry a bunch of questions that I knew the answer to but he just ignored me. May that poor man rest in peace.
“Did you guys know that McGonagall had Snape’s portrait hung in the Headmaster’s office this summer?” I whispered to my friends. They all murmured ‘no’ and Draco had a sparkle in his eye.
“Do… do you think I could see him? Talk to him… thank him.” He looked anxious. I brushed his hair out of his face with my fingers and laid my palm against his cheek.
“I’m sure he would love that.” I smiled sweetly at him and he leaned in to brush his lips against mine.
All rest of the week was spent on homework… boring. As well as Head duties aka patrolling the halls and a prefect meeting.
“Oomph!” I had jumped onto Draco’s bed or more like Draco himself on Saturday morning.
“Hogsmeade day! Come on get your ass outa bed Malfoy we have to be at the doors in 20 minutes!” I yelled as I tried pushing him off his bed.
Geez… for someone as fit as him, he sure weighs a lot. “Ahh!” I screeched as Draco pulled me into him and threw the covers over our heads. I was struggling against him but he just held me tighter.
“Five more minutes love.” He mumbled into my hair and curled his body around mine. This highly reminds me of that first night at the manor. Except this time, I actually want to be in his arms.
“Draco wake up!!!!!” That worked well. I smiled to myself when his head snapped up. He then started kissing me every where that my skin was bare. I was squirming and laughing while trying to get off the bed.
“Ok, ok ok. Seriously you need to get ready. Don’t forget, we have a date today after we get everyone into Hogsmeade.” He finally released me and went to the bathroom to shower grumbling something about ‘bloody woman, get no sleep’.
I laughed at him then curled up in his blankets and held his pillow tightly, breathing in his scent. I was already dressed and ready to go so I could afford to laze around a bit.
Mmmmm… Maybe I should just stay here and he can take care of the students. Or I should steal his bed and make him sleep on the couch in the common room. My eyes opened when I felt the bed sink behind me.
“Nooo way! Up, up get up!” I quickly realized he was just going to lie down and fall asleep so I hopped off the bed and pulled him up before he got settled in. He growled then reluctantly followed me out the room and down towards the entrance hall.
“Alright. Everyone please be respectful to everyone in the village, don’t cause any trouble, and mind the teachers, prefects and us. Have fun, and be back to the carriages by 3.” After I addressed the students Draco and I along with Ginny and Blaise filed into the Head’s carriage.
“Hey, can we squeeze in here?” Neville asked popping his end in the carriage. We all nodded. Neville ad Luan climbed in, followed by Pansy and Ernie.
“Oh boy.” Draco laughed and lifted me off the seat, placing me on his lap. All the girls had to sit on their boyfriend’s laps the entire ride.
Thankfully the trip to Hogsmeade was rather quick; Ernie’s legs were starting to get cramped up. I think Draco’s were too, he just didn’t want to admit it. We finally arrived and poured out of the carriage.
“OK, WEASLEY’S WIZARD WHEEZES EVERYONE! LET’S GO!” Ginny shouted her directions into the air while everyone was getting out of the carriages.
Damn she’s loud! And scary. Everyone followed her to George’s semi-new shop. I’m sure now that school’s in session he’ll be taking baths in a tub full of galleons every night of the week.
“Bloody hell Gin, what did you do; Imperio everyone and have them come here first?” George asked his sister when we tore our way through the crowd to see him.
“Well, she was a tad bossy. But hey, it worked didn’t it? How are ya Weasley? Who’s running the shop in Diagon Alley when you’re here? ” Draco reached out a hand to George. Over the summer all the Weasley’s, except Ron, gave Draco a chance. I couldn’t be more thankful.
“Good Malfoy, thanks and you?” George asked while returning the hand shake.
“I couldn’t be happier.” Draco smiled as he put an arm around my waist. Oh this boy, this boy. I love it when he smiles. George gave Ginny, Luna and me hugs while shaking the other guys’ hands. He still didn’t know what to think of Pansy so he just shook her hand as well.
“Verity’s taking care of the shop in the Alley when I’m here, as well as Ron. He helps out when he can. Lee also steps in time to time when I’m desperate. Well, look around and if you see anything you like I’ll knock 50% off.” George said then went to help a customer looking at love potions.
We looked around the shop for a bit. I found a new self-inking quill I wanted and Draco got some Edible Dark Marks for his father. I wonder how that one will go over… True to his word George gave us half off our items. Draco insisted on paying which I wasn’t keen on but I didn’t want to hurt his pride so I accepted his offer.
After saying our goodbyes to everyone and leaving the shop, Draco and I decided to stop in Honeydukes before going on our ‘date’ at the Three Broomsticks. I clasped his hand in mine while walking towards the shop and he pulled me in front of him wrapping his arms around me and making us waddle down the street.
“It’s going to be Christmas by the time we get there if we keep walking like this.” I said while laughing.
“I don’t mind.” He said and gave me a kiss on the head. He’s such a mush.
“Ya know if someone told me a year ago, hell even a few months ago, that you were this sweet I probably would have given them a one way ticket to St. Mungo’s.” I told him in a light hearted tone. He just laughed at me and kept walking like a penguin.
Finally! We made it to the shop and I headed straight for the Liquorice Wands. Draco picked up some Chocolate Frogs, Pink Coconut Ice and Blood Flavored Lollypops.
“Again with the coconut?” I laughed and he shrugged his shoulders.
“And what’s with the lollies; you a vampire now or something?” Yuck! Who wants to eat something blood flavored? Announcement everyone, my boyfriend is kind of disgusting!
“Wouldn’t you like to know. I am rather pale don’t you think? But then again… so are you. I would say you look more like a vampire than I do with your hair and complexion.” He winked at me and ran to the counter as I tried to punch his arm. Once again he insisted on paying for my items.
Hand in hand, Draco carrying our bags, we headed into The Three Broomsticks and sat at a table towards the back.
“Ok, my turn to pay for something. What do you want?” I asked him as I stood up.
“Uh uh, no way. It’s not a date if I don’t pay.” Draco said while also standing up. “I have tons of money; let me spend it on my amazing girlfriend.” He gave me a puppy dog face.
Ha, maybe if you didn’t basically say that you have more money than me, then I would have let you.
“Sit down Mr. Bigshot. You forget. I’m a Zabini now. Mother gave me a key to our vault in Gringotts this summer. I’m sure I probably have as much money as you, or close to it.” I smiled in triumph as he huffed and sat back down.
“Butterbeer and fish and chips please.” Draco grumbled and crossed his arms over his chest. I leaned over to peck him on his pouty lips then went to order.
I took a seat at the bar while I waited for Madame Rosmerta to return with my order. Service was always quick so I knew Draco wouldn’t miss me for long.
“Well hello Hermione.” I heard a familiar voice say behind me and I groaned inside.
I didn’t look back as I replied. “Hello Lavender.”
She and Pavarti took the stools on either side of me. Lovely, the gossip queens of Hogwarts, here they come to wreck the day!
“So, I see you’re here with Draco.” Lavender purred Draco’s name and I felt my jaw clench.
“Yes, considering he is my boyfriend.” What’s with this bitch?
“Ya know, Pavarti and I were just discussing that. Don’t you find it a bit strange that all of a sudden he declared his love for you? I mean, he has hated you for 7 years. But then all of a sudden you transform into a pretty pureblood. It just gets me thinking that all he really likes about you is the way you look, because let’s face it. Little Miss Bookworm never caught his eye in the past, especially not with your personality. And then there’s the fact that he was the Slytherin Sex God. He had any girl he wanted. A leopard never changes its spots you know. Just something to think about. Enjoy your meal.”
Everything sunk in as Lavender and Pavarti left. I hadn’t even noticed my order had been placed in front of me. That’s not why he likes me is it? I mean, it’s not like I’ve never thought about the things she just said, I just never figured other people would think about it like that. And no he never spared me one glance back in the day, but… and he did get around according to rumors. But he was different now right? A leopard never changes its spots…
I could feel tears stinging the back of my eyes as my mind ran over and over the insults and insinuations Lavender put in my head. I levitated our food over to the table and sat down. Staring at my shepherds pie I could feel Draco’s eyes on me.
Oh Merlin, a few tears leaked out of my eyes. Draco was kneeling on the floor next to me in an instant and turned me in my seat to face him.
“Hey, hey what’s wrong love?” He asked in a concerned voice.
God pull yourself together Hermione. “I… it’s nothing. I’m sorry. Let’s just eat ok?” I turned back around in my seat and wiped away my tears. I could feel Draco gazing at me every few seconds while we ate. We didn’t talk much, he knew something was wrong but just let me be for now.
When we were almost done with our meal Blaise and Ginny joined us at our table. I barely looked up to acknowledge them.
“What’s all that?” I heard Draco ask. I looked over to see Blaise had a semi large box filled with all kinds of party supplies. Decorations, plates, cups and what not.
“This is for our annual ‘It’s Blaise’s Birthday so Get Drunk Bitches!’ party which will be taking place next Saturday night. Oh, I guess this year it will be ‘It’s Blaise and Mia’s Birthday so Get Drunk Bitches’ party.” Blaise laughed along with the other three. I tried to smile as best I could so they wouldn’t notice something was wrong.
Ginny didn’t buy it. That’s why she’s my best friend I guess. She mouthed to me “what’s wrong?”, I mouthed back “later.” She gave me a nod and asked Blaise about the party.
“So if this is an annual thing how come we’ve never heard of it?”
“Duh, you were in Gryffindor, we were in Slytherin. Didn’t mix too well back then. But this year basically anyone is invited. Well, I think it will mostly just be 7th years. I don’t need to deal with drunk underage witches and wizards on my 19th b-day.” He said.
“Damn that’s right Hermione, you’re a year older than me. Forgot about that. Older woman, nice.” Draco smiled and Ginny and Blaise laughed. I just rolled my eyes trying to look like I was part of the conversation. I tuned out most of the rest until I heard “it’s time to go” from Ginny.
We all gathered our belongings. I transferred mine and Draco’s purchases to separate bags and carried mine in the Weasley’s bag while Draco carried his in the Honeydukes. He looked confused. I didn’t mean to take this out on him but I couldn’t get that bitch’s words out of my head.
‘He hated you for 7 years. He had any girl he wanted. He didn’t like your personality. A leopard never changes its spots, a leopard never changes its spots, A LEOPARD NEVER CHANGES ITS SPOTS!’
I pulled my hand away when Draco reached for it as we exited the Inn. He looked extremely hurt. Oh dear… I hurried away from my friends and heard them calling from behind me. I rushed up to a carriage in the front of the line that had started moving and hopped in.
“Um, hi… sorry, I- I just really need to get back to the castle ASAP.” I said as I looked at the questioning gazes from what I assumed were 4th years. They made room for me and I looked out the window to see a puzzled and devastated Draco watching me leave.
How the bloody hell do I explain this… why did you run from him, he didn’t even do anything wrong. I need my dragon…
When we arrived at the front of the castle I was the first one out of the carriage. Shit, we’re supposed to help Filch make sure everyone on the list came back from the village. I suppose Draco can take care of it…
I rushed into the castle and up to the 5th floor. By the time I arrived at the portrait of the queen fairy I had tears streaming down my face.
“Coconut.” Thinking about the reasoning for Draco’s choice of password made me cry even more. Stupid Hermione, why would he pick something like that if he didn’t love you…?
“My dear, what is ailing thee?” The fairy asked.
I didn’t want to talk to a portrait right now so I repeated the password through sniffles and she let me in. I rushed up to my bedroom and fell on my bed. Then I curled up in a tight ball while clutching my dragon to my chest. The tears were still coming when I heard my door open and felt the bed sink down a little behind me.
“Hermione…” I heard Draco whisper. He sounded like he was in pain. Pain caused by me… No, it was caused by that stupid bitch… and me. Why does she feel the need to go around ruining my relationships?
“Why do you love me Draco?” I whispered into the air. I felt him put more of his weight onto the bed and assumed he was fully sitting on it now.
“Hermione you’re scaring me.” He said in a nervous voice.
I got up and walked to the window, still holding my stuffed animal. I traced the window panes and looked out to the view of the black lake.
“Why do you love me…? Is it because I’m pretty now… Because I’m a pureblood… Because I’m rich… It can’t be because of my personality right… you never liked it before…” I trailed off to a whisper. I could feel Draco’s hot breath on my shoulder and knew he had come to stand behind me. He took a few deep breaths before he spoke.
“I love you because you’re smart, you’re kind and caring and you make me laugh. I love you because you stick by your friends, family and what you believe in. I love you because you fought long and hard to make this world a better place. I love you because you know how to slap someone when they’re being a complete ass. I love you because you smell like a tropical island. I love you because you love 80’s music. I love you because you beat me in every subject we have ever taken. I love you because you yelled at my father. I love you because you are beautiful, you always were. I was just blinded by my father’s beliefs to take the time to see you for who you truly were inside and out. I love you because you brought me new friends and included mine in your life.
“I love you for many other things, but most of all because you gave me a second chance. That’s not an easy thing to do when it comes to me, especially with the kind of past we have. But you let me in; you helped me become the person I have always wanted to be. You forgave all the things I did to you; you let me get to know the real you and I am so grateful for that. I love you because you accepted me, the real me. I love you because you believed there was good in me. You made me a man Hermione.”
I was sobbing by the time he finished. Draco spun me around to capture me in his arms. He kept repeating “I love you”, “I love you so much Hermione” while my tears soaked into his shirt. He eventually lifted me off the ground bridal style and carried me to the bed. He laid me down and climbed on the bed next to me and held me against his chest. I held him tightly, forgetting all about my stuffed dragon. I had my real dragon in my arms; the man who just proved that bitch wrong. The man who truly did love me, for me.
“I’m sorry… I’m sorry Draco…I love you so much…” I kept whispering that I loved him over and over again and he told me that he knows. He pulled me tighter against him and kissed the top of my head. Eventually my tears ran out and I tilted my head back to see Draco’s brilliant eyes looking back at me. He brought his hand up to my face and tried to wipe away the salty tears. I smiled sadly at him.
What must he think of me… ugh, I’m such an idiot for listening to that tramp.
“Now would you like to tell me what this was all about?” He asked while grazing his thumb over my cheek.
I bit my bottom lip and his eyes caught the movement and lingered on my mouth.
“Well, I ran into Pavarti and Lavender in the Three Broomsticks today…” I proceeded to tell him word for word what Lavender said to me. By the end of my story his jaw was clenched and his eyes hard, but he spoke softly to me.
“Don’t you know better than to listen to Bitch 1 and Bitch 2? Don’t you dare believe a word she says Hermione. I am irrevocably in love with you. That’s it, I’m done. It’s not going to change in a million life times. I can NOT be without you. You are without a doubt the best thing I have ever had in my entire life.” I kissed his soft lips and whispered “I love you” against them before I pulled back.
“I’m so sorry Draco… lot’s of old insecurities came to the surface when she said those things to me.”
“It’s alright love. We’re here now, it’s all been resolved. Just promise me you won’t go around listening to those twits anymore and we can rest a little before dinner.” I nodded in agreement. He gave me one last kiss before I curled up against him and shut my tired eyes.
A/N: I do NOT own Harry Potter nor do I own or have anything to do with the movie 'The Breakfast Club'. It's awesome, if you haven't seen it then go get it.
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