Chapter 8 : Fire and Air
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Chapter Eight: Fire and Water
Hermione woke up before everyone else on Monday morning, and felt a little bubble of happiness inside her. She had spent yesterday afternoon in the Room of Requirements with Theodore, which had been wonderful. They had played Wizard Chess, which Hernione was getting better at, and talked for hours. No one had come looking for them, and it was amazing. She had only left him because they had to go down to dinner. Ginny had seemed a little suspicious last night, but she hadn't said anything, and Hermioe was glad. She didn't think she could handle questions from Ginny.
As Hermione dressed, she heard something from the common room. Crying.
She finished dressing and shoved her books in her bag, then went out. Draco was sitting on the couch, his head in his hands. And it was very clear that he was crying.
Hesitantly, she walked over to him. 'Draco?' She said soflty. 'Draco, are you OK?'
He looked up. His eyes were puffy, and he had tear stains down his cheeks. He looked away from her quickly, and she expected him to move. But he didn't.
'When I was ten, the summer before I came to Hogwarts, my father took me to my first Quidditch game. I was thrilled, of course, and afterwards we went out for ice cream. He taught me how to fly... And I remember thinking that for the first time, my father really did love me. But when we got home, he took my toy broomstick and he.... He snapped it. I remember crying, and then he just... Slapped me. He didn't even flinch. He told me "Draco, you should never care about something too much. There is no happiness without pain." And then he left, and I remember staying in my room for hours, just staring at the wall. When my mother came in, she kissed me on the cheek and told me that no matter what happened, she would always love me. I never cared about anything after that, except my mother.'
His voice quavered as he finished. Hermione felt a new wave of hatred for Lucius, and was quite glad he was in Azkaban. Otherwise Hermione would have gone straight to Malfoy Manor and cursed him into hell.
'God, Draco, I'm so sorry.' She whispered.
He laughed bitterly. 'Why should you feel sorry for me? I'm just a foul, evil little coakroach to you.'
'You were when I said it,' she said soflty. 'But I had no idea.. Why didnt your mother ever tell someone that Lucius physically abused you?'
'Because he… he abused her, too. She was terrified of what he would do to her if she told someone. I never cared that I was hurt. I just didn't want him to hurt her. I remember when I came home for the Easter Holidays in second year, and my mom started telling at my father. She threatened him with divorce and... Oh Merlin it was so awful.' He said, shuddering.
'What did he do?' Hermione asked, half-knowing what the answer would be.
'He used Crucio on her. Multiple times, too. Merlin, I can still remember her screaming.' He said.
She shivered. 'Please tell me that you did something.' She said softly.
'I beat him up. Mind you, I was twelve and it didn't do much. But I broke his nose.' He said proudly.
'Good.' She said, satisfied. 'It's a good thing he's in Azkaban. I feel like hexing him.'
He laughed, and then they were silent for a minute. 'You know, I've always envied Potter, just a little. My father makes those Muggles he lived with look like angels. At least they never tortured him.'
'Yeah,' she said softly. 'Hey, Draco. When was the last time you went flying?'
He looked at her curiously. 'I think last week. Why?' He asked.
'Come flying with me tonight. I haven't been on a broom since before I went to the Burrow, and I think you need to be distracted.' She said.
He stared at her, and Hermione almost kicked herself. She had forgotten that no one knew she could fly except Theodore. 'I thought you didn't fly, Granger.' He said.
'Not in front of my friends.' She said. 'And don't tell anyone. People would never leave me alone if they found out I can fly.'
'Well this I have to see. Alright, Granger. I'll meet you at the pitch tonight at midnight.' He said.
She nodded and smiled. 'Deal. Now go get ready. We have to go patrol.'
He smirked at her, and got up.
At breakfast, people stared as Hermione and Draco came in together, and walked to their separate tables. He chose to ignore them as he ate his breakfast.
'Draco, mate. I thought you hated the Mudblood.' Blaise said.
Theodore looked at him curiously, and he sighed. 'I do hate her. We were just doing patrol.' He said.
'Oh. Right. I forgot.' Blaise said. 'Astoria was looking for you this morning, by the way.' He added with a wicked grin.
'Yeah?' Draco asked, pretending to be interested. Blaise nodded. 'I might talk to her in class then.'
'Good. It looked like she wanted to ask you something.' Blaise said, winking at him. Draco had the sudden urge to hurl. But he didn't.
'Saves me the work.' He said, shrugging. 'Nott, pass the ketchup please.'
Theodore complied, and breakfast went on.
'Oi, Malfoy! Hold up a second!'
Draco turned at the voice, and saw Potter running towards him. He had just got out of class. Astoria had indeed wanted to talk to him. He now had an official date to Hogsmeade.
'Yes, Potter?' Draco asked as he reached him.
'I got your... Er, note.' Potter said. 'Can we talk in private for a second?'
He modded, and followed Potter to an empty classroom.
'So?' Draco asked immediately.
'What exactly is Nott planning?' Potter asked.
He sighed. 'I don't know exactly, but he's supposedly planning to date Hermione behind yours and Weasel's backs, and then he's going to tell you after a month or two, and it'll sound really bad. Bad enough to ruin your friendship with her. And apparently Pansy's part of it too.' Draco said.
'Pansy? Oh you mean Pug-Faced Parkinson.' Potter said. 'So basically you want me to stop Hermione from seeing him?'
'No. I just want you to work against him. Make it really hard for him to succeed.' Draco said. 'By the way, she's apparently going to Hogsmeade with him, so Id distract her if I were you. I'm already meeting her after her "date".'
'You are?' Potter asked, surprised.
Draco nodded. 'Just keep her busy, Potter.'
'Is it so hard for you to call us by our first names?' Potter asked exasperatedly.
'Yes, Potter. Now I have to go.' Draco said.
And he walked out of the classroom before Pottr could say another word.
The day passed quickly with minimal incidents. In Defense, Hermione had ended up fighting Blaise Zabini, whom Ginny and practised her Bat-Bogey Hex on. Zabini ended up with a black eye by the end of class, warning her 'Ten points for being the only girl to successfully scar their partner' (in Quincey's own words). She enjoyed that immensely because everyone looked shocked that Hermione could throw such a punch. She could only imagine the looks on their faces if she told them about punching Malfoy in third year. After this morning, though, she felt quite guilty about it. She made a promise to herself to apologise later.
At dinner, Ginny kept begging her to recount every detail about punching Zabini, and Harry had started laughing so hard pumpkin juice was coming out of his nose. They had all burst into laughter then, earning odd looks from Lavender and Ron. Ginny flipped Lavender the finger, which made Hermione laugh even harder.
That was when she noticed Malfoy and Astoria Greengrass, a pretty Slytherin with black curls, were snogging at the Slytherin table. Ginny followed her gaze and gagged.
'That's just nasty.' She said. 'Now I'm mentally scarred for life. Hermione, can you give Malfoy detention for PDA?'
'No,' sniffed Hermione. 'But I can give Astoria a detention for inappropriate behavior amongst peers.'
Ginny laughed, and Harry snorted. 'Please do.' He said. 'And Lavender, too, please.'
Hermione and Ginny both started laughing again. 'Mm. I'll tell Malfoy later. He better not bring her back to the room, though. Otherwise I will give detention.'
'Awe come on Mione. Just go up to them and give her detention. Please?' Ginny begged.
Hermione was about to say no when she saw Astoria's hand slip up Malfoys shirt. Even some of the Slytherins were looking at her in disgust.
'OK now that is going too far.' She said, and got up from the table. Ginny grinned. She walked up to the Slytherin table, ignoring the stares, and tapped Astoria on the shoulder.
'What do you want, Mudblood?' She stated, pulling her lips off Malfoys. Hermione remained calm.
'Miss Greengrass, if you continue with this behavior I will have to give you detention.'
'For what kissing my boyfriend' Astoria demanded.
Hermione raised an eyebrow. 'For having inappropriate sexual activity while in the presence of your peers. And also, you will receieve detention for talking back to your superior.'
'Inappropriate sexual activity?' Astoria repeated. 'We aren't having sex! We're just kissing!'
'That's two detentions, Miss Greengrass.' Hermione said.
Astorias cheeks were flaming red, and the entire school was staring at them. 'You're just jealous' Astoria shouted.
'And pray tell me, why would I be jealous?' Hermione asked, crossing her arms.
'Hmm... Let's think. BECAUSE YOU'RE NOT GETTING ANY!' Astoria shouted.
'That is enough , Miss Greengrass!'
Everyone turned to see Professor McGongall walking towards Slytherin table.
'Miss Greengrass, along with the detention Miss Granger gave you, which I'm sure she did, you will receive two detentions every week for the rest of the month, and no Hogsmeade visits for the month. Now please follow me.' Professor McGonagall said.
'BUT I DIDNT DO ANYTHING! That Mudblood bitch started it!' Astoria yelled.
'That is two months of detention for inappropriate language and back mouthing your Headmistress and your head girl! Now move, Miss Greeengrass!' Professor McGonagall snapped.
Astoria followed McGonagall out of the Great Hall, shooting a glare at Hermione. The second they were gone, the entire Hall burst into laughter. Even the Slytherins, expert for Malfoy. He just remained smug. Hermione, feeling confident, did a small curtsy and returned to the Gryffindor table, where Ginny and Harry were grinning at her.
'That was AWESOME, Hermione! Her face was priceless!' Ginny exclaimed.
'People are going to talk about that one for weeks.' Harry said. 'Merlin, even the Slytherins were laughing!'
'That was brilliant, Hermione!' Neville said from across the table.
She grinned. 'Thanks, you guys. But it was nothing really. I just didn't think the whole school would like to watch her and Malfoy shag.'
Everyone snorted in agreement and they returned to their dinner.
When midnight finally came, Hermione was excited as she grabbed her broom and snuck down to the Quidditch Pitch. She was a bit nervous about getting caught, but she was excited to fly again. She scanned the air for Malfoy, but he was no where in sight. Perhaps he had decided he didn't want to fly with her.
But she had thought it too soon, because a second later, Malfoy appeared beside her, holding a broomstick. It was a Firebolt, just like Harry's.
'Sorry I'm late. Blaise wanted to talk.' He said, rolling his eyes.
She nodded. 'Thats OK. Come on, then. Let's go.' She said, and mounted her broom. He eyed her suspiciously.
'Where'd you get the Cleansweep?' He asked.
'Ron,' she said. 'But he has no idea I fly. Come on!' She said, and then she took off into the air. She loved flying. It was like she was finall free. Malfoy caught up to her quickly on his Firebolt, and he was grinning.
'Thank for earlier, by the way. In the Great Hall.' He said.
She smiled a little. 'I didn't think you would want everyone to watch you shag.' She said.
'Merlin, no. And now I dont have to go to Hogsmeade with her either!' He said happily. She laughed, and the broomstick sped up a little.
'Come on. Let's race!' She called back to him.
'OK, Granger, if you think you can beat me!' He called back. And the race began.
He had to hand it to Hermione: she was a good flyer. And it was a really good thing she had managed a silencing charm on their brooms, so that when they said something too loud no one would hear them. Not to mention an invisiblity charm on the both of them so that they couldn't be seen. She was brilliant, she was.
'Alright! I give up! You win!' She called finally, stopping midair. He just barely managed not to fly right into her. They landed.
'OK, Granger, I admit it. You're brilliant.' He said.
She grinned at him. 'Thank you. But you can't tell anyone about this, or I'll hex you. Just ask Blaise what I did to his eye in Defense.'
'No need to ask; he already told me. And I won't tell your secret of you don't tell mine.' He said. He was referring to this morning. Telling her that had been difficult, but it had been good to finally tell someone.
'I promise.' She said.
He grinned. 'Good. So no one knows that you can fly, then?' He asked.
'Well, Theodore knows.' She admitted. 'And you. But no one else, no. Ron would never stop bugging me.'
'Theodore?' Draco asked, feeling sick. He had a horrible feeling that Theo would use that against her.
'Yeah.' She said. 'Draco, is something wrong?'
'No,' he said. 'Im just a little tired after chasing you around for an hour. You should play Chaser, you know.'
She blushed. 'No way. Everyone would be staring at me.'
'Granger, you're part of the Golden Trio. Get used to the attention.' He said.
'I don't want people to watch me fly.' She said.
'Why not? You're a bloody brilliant flyer.' He said.
Hermione caught her breath and stared at him. 'What? It's the truth.' He said, shrugging.
'Thats something Ron might have said.' She said slowly. Then she took a deep breath. 'Can you teach me?'
'Teach you what?' He asked. He was shocked that she had compared him to Weasel. He was not like Weasel!
'How to be Chaser.' She said. 'I want to... But I'm scared.'
'Granger, in case you've forgotten, I'm a Seeker not a Chaser.' He said.
She sighed. 'Right. Sorry. I forgot for a second.' She said.
'But... I might be able to teach you a little. My mother played Chaser, and she taught me how before I decided I wanted to be a Seeker.' He said.
'Really? I never knew that.' She said.
He pretended to be surprised. 'Hermione Granger not knowing something? What is the world coming to?'
She smacked him on the shoulder. 'Shut up. So, when do we start? I want to get on the Quidditch team.'
'Granger, tryouts start this week. But I might be able to pull a string and get McGonagall to get you on the team before Potter picks.' He said. She raised an eyebrow.
'Don't do anything stupid, Malfoy.' She said.
He grinned. 'I won't. Now come on. We have to go to bed.' He picked up his broomstick and started walking towards the Castle. Hermione caught up quickly, positively beaming.
And Draco, for the first time in his life, felt glad that he was the one to make her so happy.
Thank you all for reading! I hope you enjoyed that chapter as much as I enjoyed writing it! Please leave a review, they make me very happy!
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