Chapter 16 : Confessions
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If I had thought that the day couldn’t get any weirder, I was most assuredly proved wrong. Harry and Ginny were busy filling me in about what had happened at Hogsmeade and all the local gossip from the landlady at The Three Broomsticks. They had also made a visit to The Hogs Head to see Aberforth Dumbledore, who was apparently reluctantly basking in the glory of his new found fame, with an increasingly busy pub, something that Madame Rosmerta was none too pleased about. To be honest I wasn’t overly interested in hearing about the latest kind of quills to be sold or the new cauldrons available, but today I listened intently. Normally hearing about they had been up to whilst I had been stuck in detention would have brought out my jealous side, but today I listened aptly, asking as many questions as I could possibly think of, just to keep the conversation going.
I was well aware that they were already slightly suspicious that I was hiding something. Every time I thought about Draco leaning in and brushing the side of my mouth, I felt a blush creep across my cheeks, something that Ginny was all too quick to pick up on. Then whenever anyone of them mentioned anything detention, I found myself stiffen and get all paranoid and jumpy that they knew what had been going on. So I was doing my very best to distract not only them, but also myself. At all costs, I had to stop my mind from wandering too far back to earlier in the day. I had to stop thinking about him.
However if I was being unusually chatty, then Ron was being unusually quiet and I couldn’t help but get the feeling that he was still annoyed with me for blowing him off the day before. He sat just about as far away from me as he possibly could and sat staring moodily into the fire. I noticed Harry and Ginny exchange meaningful glances once or twice that I tried to pretend not to notice. I really didn’t even want to think about what the glances meant. For a brief moment, I started to panic that they had seen me with Draco earlier that day, but I quickly dismissed it. Draco had been long gone before they had appeared which meant that either they were completely oblivious to the reason behind Ron’s mood, or even more worrying they knew exactly what was going on, which made the whole thing horribly more awkward. So I did the only thing I could and chose to completely ignore it and try to act like normal, if slightly hyper, which given the frequent awkward silences, was easier said than done.
Once we had exhausted all possible topics of conversation; believe me I had racked my brains trying to think of something to talk about but I was coming up with nothing, we eventually eased into a gentle silence. Ron stayed in his current position of sitting by the fire, whilst Harry and Ginny played a game of exploding snap. I for want of anything else better to do, pulled out my book again, beginning where I was interrupted earlier in the day by Malfoy. Once again I found myself reading over the same words again and again, my mind reeling back to the events of the day. As I stared at the words on the page, I kept replaying the day’s events in my head. He had been so sweet and I had actually enjoyed being with him. He had told me some of his deepest secrets; he had laid himself bare for me. I had a feeling that I had seen a side of him that no one else had, something which I felt slightly weird about and yet a strange happy feeling at the same time.
Although all of that, all of those feelings were soon squashed by a feeling of guilt that dropped like a lead weight in the pit of my stomach as I remembered the disappointed look in his eyes as he realised that I didn’t want to be seen with him, that I was embarrassed by him. It was just an instinct reaction. What would people say if they had seen us together? If they had known that we were becoming friends. I was so confused, I just didn’t know if I had done the right thing, or whether I was just being stupid. I had told him earlier that day that I thought he had changed; but did I truly believe that? Did I honestly think that he was no longer the cruel bully who had so often before taunted not only me but anyone that he had felt to be inferior to him, which let’s be honest was just about everyone. On the one hand he was being incredibly honest and nice to me and I told him things that I hadn’t been able to tell anyone else, even my closest friends and yet clearly deep down I still didn’t trust him. My actions earlier in the day had shown that very clearly.
I continued my debate in my head, going round and round in circles, never really fully reaching an answer, before I asked the question that was running though my head, out loud, before I could stop myself.
‘Has Malfoy change?’ I blurted out, wincing as I glanced nervously over at the three people beside me whose heads had immediately popped up, with confusion displayed in each of their eyes.
‘What? Why are you asking?’ Harry asked slowly, clearly confused as to why we were talking about Malfoy.
‘I don’t know,’ I said immediately regretting the words that had just come out of my mouth. But I figured that a conversation about Draco Malfoy was never going to go overly well anyway and now was really as good a time as any. ‘But do you?’ I urged again, not wanting him to try and change the subject. Now that I had started, I was damn well sure I was going to get an answer.
‘Well I certainly don’t,’ came Ron’s scoffing voice from by the fire, ‘once a slimy git, always a slimy git.’
I looked over at Ron, fighting the urge to roll my eyes at his obvious reaction. Draco and Ron were two people who were designed to always hate each other, regardless of what happened between them. Draco could literally sprout angel wings and Ron would still think he was the devil in disguise.
‘Harry?’ I asked, looking to the one person whose opinion I truly wanted.
‘I don’t know Hermione,’ Harry said awkwardly, clearly not wanting to say anymore, but when I held his gaze, clearly indicating that I wanted an answer, he reluctantly continued. ‘I guess that he doesn’t seem as bad as he used to. I mean he hasn’t called anyone a… well, you know, in a while. And then he seemed to change before the war ended so I don’t know maybe he has changed. Why do you ask?’ he said looking at me with a questioning gaze.
‘Hermione,’ Harry said firmly when it looked like I wouldn’t answer.
‘I don’t know I just wanted to know what you thought,’ I said in a voice that I knew immediately sounded too false and so when Harry raised an eyebrow at me, I knew I had to continue to try and explain myself. ‘Look, remember I’ve had to spend detentions with him and I don’t know, he just doesn’t seem to be as bad as he used to. I just wondered what you thought. Whether you thought he had actually changed,’ I added when Harry’s other eyebrow joined his other one, halfway up his forehead and Ron’s head whipped around in my direction. The first time he had actually looked at me all day.
‘Not as bad as he used to be. Are you actually serious,’ Ron asked in a scathing voice, turning fully round to face me completely, his eyes a mixture of anger and disbelief. ‘Are you forgetting all the things he’s said to you and done to you in the past? Are you forgetting the small fact that just a couple of weeks ago he attacked you in potions class, hence the reason you are even in detention with him in the first place?’
‘He didn’t attack me Ron; I was just as much to blame as he was. In fact I’m probably more to blame,’ I answered, ignoring of the curious looks I was getting. I had never actually told the others what had happened in that potions class. They had just assumed that Draco had started it and I conveniently had never quite gotten around to correcting them.
‘Yeah well,’ Ron continued, clearly determined not to let it go, ‘he still has that look on his face, like he’s looking down his nose at everyone. Like he’s better than everyone else.’
‘Well that is probably because of the way everyone else is looking at him. If people glare at you, then you are going to glare back,’ I retorted once more, wondering why I was still defending Draco Malfoy to Ron Weasley. I would say stranger things had happened and yet I really couldn’t think of an example.
‘I can’t believe that we are actually having this conversation. I can’t believe that you’re taking Malfoy’s side,’ Ron said standing up to stand fully in front me.
‘I’m not taking his side,’ I replied, standing up to join Ron in his elevated state. Ron was tall enough as it was; he already loomed over me enough without me being at a lower elevated state. Standing up to face him helped to make me feel at least a little like I wasn’t a five year old being given into trouble. ‘Look Ron I was just asking the question and besides I think you’re being a little biased don’t you think.’
‘No I don’t and besides I’m not having this conversation anymore. Hearing you singing Draco Malfoy’s praises is hardly how I want to spend the night. I’m off to bed where I don’t need to listen to this crap.’
I stood and watched as Ron stomped up the staircase, waiting until he had gone past the balcony at the top of the stairs before I turned around to face Harry and Ginny, who were both wearing faces that clearly said ‘what the hell was that all about?’
Ignoring their questioning glances, I slumped back onto the large red sofa behind me, pretending that I couldn’t see Harry and Ginny sharing little looks. We sat in silence for at least another five minutes, although there was a definite tension in the air. Ginny eventually stood up, giving Harry a quick kiss and declaring that she was off to bed. She also not so discreetly gave a Harry a meaningful look before nodding at me. Great, just I wanted. The meaningful but ever so awkward chat. Harry stood and watched Ginny walking up the stairs, waiting until she was fully out of view, before turning to me with a look that clearly said I don’t want to do this, before sitting down beside me.
‘Sooo, he began awkwardly, ‘what was that all about?’
‘What?’ I said as innocently as I possibly could.
‘That! With the Draco Malfoy thing! Since when have you ever stuck up for him?’
‘I wasn’t sticking up for him, I just… I just don’t know if he’s the same person anymore. I was just curious about what you thought,’ I said as nonchalantly as I possibly could.
‘Yeah well curiosity killed the cat you know.’
‘You, Mr. Potter are one to talk.’ It was after all a bit rich for him to lecture me on being curious when he was one of the nosiest people that I had ever met.
‘Yeah, yeah,’ Harry said brushing off my comments. ‘Just don’t go trusting Malfoy too much ok. I know you’ve spent time with him and I will admit he does he seem better than before. I mean just think about that night,’ I winced at the memory, not exactly wanting to think about that night, ‘I mean I won’t lie I was surprised that he helped you and the way that he acted, with McLaggen, it was like he cared for you or something.’ My head shot up at that comment and my heart literally stopped. ‘I mean he did what I would have done,’ Harry continued, seemingly unaware of my mild heart attack, ‘but it’s still Malfoy. Just be careful.’
‘Harry I’m not stupid. I know it’s Malfoy and I’m hardly going to go and become his best friend or anything, it’s just that we have to work together this year in potions and detention and he’s at least being civil to me, so I just wanted to know what you thought of it. After all, you’re the one who’s usually on the lookout for strange behaviour from Malfoy.’
‘Yeah not anymore though. I’m a retired interferer,’ he said unable to keep the smile off of his face as he stood up. ‘Look I’m off to bed too. Just remember what I said and be careful. Oh and don’t mind Ron, he’ll be fine tomorrow.’
As it turned out, Harry was right and Ron was back to his usual self the following day. He was back being friendly and actually taking part in the conversation, not to mention he was actually looking at me again. No one brought up the Malfoy conversation again, although I could see Harry’s eyes flicker in my direction as said blonde walked into the great hall. Of course I had seen him come in, but I could also see that Harry was watching me just a little too closely, so I made sure to act as uninterested as I possibly could, beginning up a completely random conversation with Luna Lovegood who was sitting at the opposite side of the table from me, about the latest edition of The Quibbler and her father’s latest wild theories.
Sunday as usual passed all too quickly and it was all too soon Monday morning again. Ron was once again unusually quiet, barely saying a word to anyone during the whole of breakfast. At least I knew it wasn’t me who had done something wrong this time. After spending a little too long chatting at breakfast, we were running slightly late as we made our way down to the dungeons, Ron trailing a few paces behind. Harry, Ginny and I were in the middle of talking about the letter that Ginny had received from George that morning, talking about how his business was going, when we were interrupted by a voice from behind us.
‘Em, Hermione, could I maybe talk to you please?’ Ron said, stopping dead in the corridor.
I turned to look back at him, confused as to why he was asking to talk to me. I had kind of thought that was what we were already doing. I gave him a quick nod of agreement, but with my eyebrows raised, in obvious confusion. We were going to be late for class at this rate and as I turned to face him, I really wished that he would just hurry up and get on with it. However my confusion deepened when I saw Ron give a quick nod to Harry who seemed to take this as some sort of signal. Giving me a look that I couldn’t interpret, Harry and Ginny both walked passed me, heading towards the dungeons.
‘Ron,’ I asked hesitantly, feeling very much like I was missing something, ‘what is going…’
‘Hermione I need to say this and I need to say this now,’ Ron interrupted suddenly, stepping towards me with an intensity in his eyes that I had never seen before. ‘It’s something that I should have said ages ago, but I don’t know I was scared before, but I’m not anymore.’
‘Ron, what is going on?’ I said, feeling very concerned at Ron’s strange behaviour. It was not like him to be so open about his feelings. Usually he tried to make a joke and change the subject, so I knew that whatever it was he was trying to tell me must be important.
‘I think I like you,’ he blurted out. ‘I’ve always liked you. I just didn’t know how to say it before.’
In that moment it seemed as if the world had stopped moving. Ron’s cheeks flushed pink and he seemed unable to look at me. I wanted so much to look anywhere else but in Ron’s eyes, but I seemed unable to tear my gaze away.
‘You like me,’ I repeated slowly after a long silence from both of us, not quite able to believe the words that I was saying.
‘Yes. I… I think I might love you,’ he said awkwardly.
This whole moment just seemed so surreal. How long had I waited to hear those words? Two years, three years, four years even. Hell I would have been happy if I he had uttered those words only two months ago.
‘I think I’ve always loved you, I just didn’t realise it until last year,’ Ron said, finally looking back at me.
‘You’ve loved me since last year?’ I asked, trying to keep my voice steady as I digested his words. In all the times that I had imagined hearing Ron say those words, in all the times that I had fantasized about this moment, and there had been many, I had never once responded in the way that I was about to.
‘So then why were you going out with Lavender until just a couple of weeks ago? If you loved me since last year, then why were you ignoring me all summer?’ I said, failing miserably at keeping the anger and frustration from my voice.
Ron flinched slightly at my outburst, but composed himself quickly. He must have expected me to say that. After all he must have known how I felt about Lavender.
‘Like I said I was scared. I was scared that you wouldn’t feel the same and so I don’t know, I guess I tried to prove to myself that I didn’t need you and then I met up with Lavender again and she was pretty messed up after what happened with Greyback and she needed me and I guess I needed someone too. I needed to forget about the summer and with her it was just easy I guess.’
‘She needed you and you were there. What a hero.’ I said, unable to keep the condescension out of my voice.
Ron looked at me startled, the conversation clearly not going the way he had hoped.
‘What about me?’ I asked, finally letting go of the feelings that I had been harbouring since the summer. ‘I needed you and you ignored me. You didn’t talk to me all summer. You made me feel like I was to blame. You made me think that you didn’t care.’
‘Of course I care Hermione. I love you. I want to be with you,’ he said again earnestly, closing the gap between us once more.
I stepped back from him, not quite knowing what to say. What are so supposed to say when one of your best friends tells you that they love you.
‘Say something. I mean I’m telling you I love you here,’ Ron said sounding exasperated.
‘Look Ron, I love you too, but only as a friend,’ I added quickly after seeing his eyes light up, only for that light to quickly vanish. ‘I did love you once, but a lot has changed since then.’
‘Is there someone else?’ Ron questioned, searching into my eyes as if hoping to find the answer.
‘No of course not,’ I answered quickly, although a certain person did pop into my mind, but I quickly pushed those thoughts away, ‘I just think that we’ve both changed. I think we just missed our chance.’
‘So you don’t love me then. You don’t want to be with me,’ Ron said with a trace of anger infiltrating into his voice. ‘I’ve just put my heart on my sleeve for you and it’s still not good enough for you.’
‘Excuse me,’ I said getting more and more angry with Ron by the second. I could understand that he was hurt, but there was no way he was going to put this on me. ‘Actually Ronald what you’ve actually told me is that you liked me, that you might love me, that you’ve tried not to love me and that you went out with Lavender so you could prove that you didn’t need to be with me, like she was the better option. That you would rather have her help you though things than me.’
Ron looked back at me stunned, clearly not believing quite how the conversation had gone so wrong. ‘So you’re saying you don’t love me. You don’t want to be with me,’ Ron said with an expression on his face that broke my heart. It would be so easy to turn around and say that I loved him too, but I knew that I couldn’t. I knew that I would be lying if I did that.
‘Ron, I do, but as a friend. Ron please don’t make this harder than it needs to be. I just want us to be friends like we used to be. I need you as my friend,’ I pleaded.
Ron stayed silent for a moment, looking deep in thought, hurt etched on each and every one of his features. Eventually he seemed to compose himself, taking a deep breath and standing up straighter to face me.
‘Hermione you will always be my friend. I know I’ve hurt you, but I know that you still love me and some day you will realise that. Some day we will be together,’ he said looking deep into my eyes, before turning and walking away from me down the potions corridor.
As I watched him walk down the corridor, I couldn’t help but wonder if I had made the right choice. If I had made a mistake. How long had I wanted this? How long had I wanted to hear those words? I closed my eyes and tried to imagine being with Ron, loving Ron. It would be comfortable. It was be easy. He would annoy me at times by being immature but then would be sweet and apologise. It would be safe. Was that what I wanted? Quick answer. No. It might be cheesy, but I had spent my life reading books with epic romance stories- yes I enjoyed a cheesy predictable chick flick every now and then and I wanted that. I wanted fireworks, I wanted butterflies in my stomach. I wanted to feel special. Ron was the safe choice and at 19 I was not prepared to resign myself to become Mrs Weasley the second. I knew that I had made the right choice. Realising that I still had class to get to, I picked my bag off the floor and hurried down the corridor, feeling like a weight had been lifted from my shoulders. I had finally let Ron go.
I was the last person to walk into the potions class and Professor Haven was already standing at the front of the class ready to start. Her narrowed eyes followed me the entire way to my seat and stayed on me as I sat down in my stool. She continued to watch with her steely gaze as I pulled my things out of my bag. But of course it was one of those situations where you know you’re being watched and you know you have to hurry and so you end up fumbling about and taking even longer. Even once I had fetched by books, parchment and quill from my bag, she continued to watch me for a moment longer, disapproval and annoyance written on each and every one of her features, before she tore her gaze from me to face the rest of the class, putting a smile on her face as she began the lesson.
‘So now that we are all here,’ she said giving a pointed look in my direction, ‘can anyone tell me the main ingredients in a dreamless sleep potion?’
I of course knew the answer and put my hand immediately into the air, thinking that perhaps answering a question might help to get me back into her good books. However I saw quite clearly that her eyes flicked in my direction, clearly seeing my raised hand, before scanning around the rest of the class, her smile fading as she realised no one else was going to answer. Seemingly reluctant, she turned towards me, all pretence of a smile now gone. The phrase ‘if looks could kill’ sprung to mind and I withered under her stare, my hand dropping a good foot from its place in the air.
‘Well Granger?’ she said clearly irritated.
‘Em,’ I managed to say, my mind going completely blank. Yes I was fractionally late, but then so were other people and you didn’t see her giving them the death stare. Why was everyone against me today?
‘Does somebody who actually knows the answer want to hazard a guess?’ she said looking around the class, as everyone else lowered their eyes and ducked their heads even further.
‘It is very similar to a sleeping draught, containing lavender, flobberworm mucus and valerian sprigs, but it also contains Lethe River Water and crushed mistletoe berries,’ came a voice from directly beside me.
I couldn’t help but to give a quick glance to the side, trying not to look too annoyed that Malfoy had just stolen my answer. I met his eye but he just gave an almost imperceptible shrug before looking back to the front of the class.
‘Excellent Mr Malfoy. 10 house points for Slytherin,’ she said giving him an approving nod and dare I say it, nearly a smile. Apparently her hatred was reserved purely for me.
‘Now I suggest that the rest of you get your books out and read over the potion. You have 45 minutes to make the potion, which you will be doing individually. You may begin.’
The sound of chairs scraping backwards immediately filled the room as people began to get their ingredients. Apparently they weren’t going to read over the instructions as she had asked. No doubt if I did that, then that would be another black mark against my name, so reluctantly I opened my book to the correct page, even though I knew very well what I was meant to be doing.
‘Doesn’t seem like she likes you much, does it?’ a familiar voice to my right said. I reluctantly turned to face him, arching my eyebrows at the amusement written on his features.
‘Doesn’t it,’ I said in my most sarcastic voice, ‘What on earth made you think that?’ Draco simply chuckled as he started on his potion, igniting the fire underneath his cauldron with a flick of his wand.
‘Look don’t take it personally. She really doesn’t like me much either.’
‘Yeah it really looked like she despises you. But then I’m sure those house points she gave you will help to ease your hurt.’ I said as I turned back to reading my textbook, hoping to leave the conversation there, but when he just continued to laugh, I couldn’t help but continue. ‘I just don’t get it. I mean we both blew up her classroom, not just me.’
‘True, although technically you did start it,’ Malfoy said, earning himself, a glare of his own, ‘and I also didn’t turn up late to class,’ he added with a smirk.
‘I was hardly late. Maybe like a minute, but it’s not like I was the only one and you don’t see her scowling at any of them.’
‘Yes Weasley was late too, but then since he looked like he was about to cry when he walked in, she probably decided to go easy on him.’
‘He was crying?’ I asked in concern, turning around to try and find Ron in the classroom, but he was facing away from me, so I couldn’t tell if what Malfoy had said was true.
‘What trouble in paradise?’ he scoffed, as he followed my gaze.
‘Oh shut up,’ I snapped back. Had Ron really been crying? He had seemed okay when he had left me.
‘You know it may just be me, but you’re not really supposed to make your boyfriend cry, although it doesn’t surprise me that he would act like the girl in your relationship.’
‘How many times do I have to tell you that he is not my boyfriend?’ I said, saying the last words slowly, in pure annoyance. Today was so not the day to bring that up again.
‘Well you might want to tell him that,’ he replied, the usual smirk in place.
I slammed my textbook closed in frustration and was about to go and get the ingredients for making my own potion, when Professor Haven came and stood beside me, effectively blocking my way out.
‘Very good Mr Malfoy, that is exactly the perfect shade of lilac. Have another 10 points for Slytherin. You clearly have a knack for potions.’
‘Thank you professor. I’ve had some good teachers.’
It was all I could do to stop myself from rolling in my eyes. Damn suck up.
‘As for you Miss Granger,’ she said addressing me, as I turned around to face her, trying to keep my face as straight as possible. I really hoped she hadn’t seen me rolling my eyes at Draco, ‘are you actually planning on beginning your potion sometime today? You only have 55 minutes left and I must say you have some stiff competition,’ she said looking admiringly back into Draco’s cauldron.
I watched her walk away with a look on my face that could only be described as being thunderous. It was only when I heard a chuckling beside me that was becoming all too familiar that I turned back to my potion, ignoring looking at the blonde wizard beside me. ‘Didn’t have you down as a suck up, especially not to her.’
‘It never hurts to have people on your side Granger and besides, I don’t need to suck up to her. I am the best in the class at potion after all.’
‘Excuse me,’ I spluttered. I didn’t mean to be big headed and I certainly wasn’t one for blowing my own trumpet, well not since first year anyway, but it had been quite evident in the past that I was the best in the class at potions.
‘What? Did you think you were the best?’ Malfoy replied with an amused look on his face.
‘No,’ I said, turning around to face him directly, ‘I know that I’m the best.’
‘Hah, sorry to burst your bubble,’ he smirked as he crossed his arms firmly across his chest, leaning casually back against the table, ‘but I have beat you in every potions exam and assignment that we have ever sat together.’
‘Oh really,’ I said trying to calm. He had beaten me? I tried to think back. ‘Not in first year or sixth year you didn’t’ I said triumphantly.
‘Okay fine, I’ll give you first year and I didn’t actually sit exams in sixth year, but since then I’ve been on top,’ he said smugly.
I tried to think if he really had been any good at potions. How could I not have noticed that he ahd beaten me. All I could think about what Snape praising him for everything. He was the teacher’s pet after all. ‘Well that’s only because you were Snape’s favourite,’ I replied, well aware that I was sounding petty and looking pretty desperate.
‘Yeah, yeah, keep telling yourself that,’ he said laughing. ‘Do you really think that he could have gotten away with boosting my grade for five years straight? Besides someone always cross- examines. Especially for OWL’s and NEWT’s.’
‘You are not better at potions that me, ’I replied crossly, ‘and I will prove it.’
‘Oh yeah, how?’ he asked, leaning forward, curiosity evident in his face.
‘Fine, today, here and now,’ I challenged. ‘We’ll see who makes the best potion,’ I said feeling immensely confident. Today had been a weird day and I just had to do something to take my mind off things. I had to get something to go my way.
‘If you’re sure,’ he said lightly, with his eyebrow raised, clearly enjoying the challenge, ‘just remember, I’ve got a head start. Game on.’
I had to win. I was determined to win. As much as I loved a challenge anyway, this time I had my pride at stake. I would prove that I was the best at potions. Harry may have stolen my crown the year before; something which I still held a slight grudge about (he was cheating after all) but I would be damned if I would let Malfoy take it from me this year. I couldn’t help but eye up the competition, taking a few sneaky glances inside his cauldron. Professor Haven hadn’t been exaggerating when she said that his potion was perfect. It was the absolute perfect colour, like the exact colour of lavender but with a shimmery quality on the surface. The smell that wafted over in my direction was intoxicating and as the soft smell of lavender hit my nostrils, I felt the soothing waves of drowsiness wash over me. Instantly I snapped myself out of, forcing myself to concentrate. Damn that boy was good, but I was going to be better.
I looked back at my own potion, spurred on with a determination to be just as good. My potion was just changing from midnight blue colour to deep purple, when instead of continuing to lighten to the current colour of Malfoy’s, it went in the opposite direction and started to get darker. I continued to stir and stir desperately but all that happened was that the potion kept getting darker and darker. Frantically I checked my textbook again to see if I had made a mistake. Add 3 sprigs of lavender to the cauldron and stir turn three times to the left, check. Add 5 crushed valerian sprigs and turn up the heat. Yep I had done that. Add the crushed mistletoe berries and stir ten and a half time to the right. Yes I had done all that, so what the hell was the problem. As I looked frantically around for inspiration, I stopped mid movement noticing Malfoy working innocently on his potion. Too innocently. In normal circumstances he would have been the first to comment that my potion had gone wrong, but in the current situation it should have been a certainty. The fact that he had said nothing was just too suspicious.
‘What did you do?’ I asked him in warily, barely keeping my anger in check.
‘I have no idea what you’re talking about,’ he said with a completely innocent expression that I would have bought if for one I hadn’t known that it was Malfoy and two he hadn’t given himself away with an almost imperceptible smirk as he turned away from me.
I turned back to my potion and almost groaned in frustration as I noticed that the flame beneath my cauldron had gone out. Or been put out. Fine, if that’s the way he wanted to play it, two could play at that game.
Fixing my potion and finally reaching the place lilac colour I had been aiming for, inspiration struck and I knew what I had to do. Now all I had to do was wait for my opportunity. Thank god I was good at multi- tasking.
As I was stirring my potion, my moment finally came. Trying not to be noticed, I collected a few sprigs of nightshade from my supplies and ground them into a fine dust. Then Draco turned around briefly, for little more than a split second to fetch his knife and so I reached over and added some night shade into the pestle that he was using to crush his remaining lavender sprigs.
I returned to my own potion, trying to look as innocent as possible, but I could barely contain the grin that was forcing its way from my lips as I watched him from the corner of my eye adding the finely ground powder into his cauldron turning the whole mixture jet black.
‘What the…’Malfoy exclaimed as soon as he saw his potion, looking immediately both panic stricken and confused.
‘Oh dear,’ I said leaning over his shoulder to get a better look into the cauldron, trying my hardest to feign concern and not let my delight show too much. ‘It looks like you’re not so great at potions after all.’
‘This was you wasn’t it,’ he asked whipping around, suspicion and fury evident in his face.
‘I’m afraid I don’t know what you’re talking about,’ I said mimicking his tone from earlier, not even bothering to try and mask the smirk that appeared on my lips.
Malfoy however did not waste any time in exacting his revenge, nor did he even try to be subtle about it. Apparently we were passed that.
‘Oops,’ he said, as he accidently, but oh so on purpose, bumped into me at the exact point I was adding the flobberworm mucus. The entire contents of the jar hit the liquid with a giant splash, bobbing about at the top for a moment before sinking slowly to the bottom. I turned to him my face full of fury, as my potion turned a sickly yellow colour and started bubbling. Malfoy just gave me his usual smug expression and shrugged shoulders before turning back to his own potion, that he had somehow managed return to purple.
Quickly fixing my own potion with vast amounts of lavender, so that if not quite the perfect shade of lilac, it was at least an acceptable one, I came up with my plan. Was it childish? Yes. Was it stupid? Yes, and yet I was still going for it. Malfoy would not beat me. Scooping up a handful of crushed lavender, I turned to face Malfoy and called his name. Just as he turned around to face me, I let out an almighty, completely fake sneeze, sending the lavender blowing all over his face.
He just blinked a couple of time, as the dust settled onto his hair and his robes, covering him in a lilac dust. ‘Oh sorry,’ I said, watching as his eyelids started to droop and he struggled to stay focused, shaking his head repeatedly to the side to keep himself awake . Barely even paying attention to me, he turned back to his potion swaying slightly, as he did, grabbing onto the bench for support. I couldn’t help but giggle, when he let out a huge yawn that had over the half class turn and stare in his direction. I don’t think any of them had ever seen a Malfoy behaving in any way that was less than perfect.
We continued to work for the last ten minutes, me trying to fix my flobberworm mess and Draco fighting to stay awake. It was quite funny seeing his head bobbing about as he tried to stay awake. Once or twice he had even stopped mid movement as his head lolled to the side only to jerk back up and continue with what he had been doing.
When Professor Haven eventually called on us to stop and sit in our seats, Draco seemed to have finally woken up somewhat as he sat and stared at me grumpily.
‘Was that really necessary?’ Draco asked me under his breath, through clenched teeth.
‘Was what really necessary?’ I replied, barely even turning around to look at him, watching as Professor Haven walked around the class, checking everybody’s potions individually.
‘Sending me to sleep in the middle of class?’ he hissed in reply.
‘Oh don’t start getting judgemental. You were the one that started to play dirty so you can’t complain when someone does it back to you.’
Draco seemed ready to retort, opening his mouth to reply, but closing it promptly once Professor Haven came to our table, the last one in the class.
‘Well it seems that most of you have managed to make a successful dreamless sleep potion,’ Professor Haven announced, ‘but I must say that one stood out from the rest.
I sat up straighter, eager to hear who it was, aware that Draco was mimicking my actions.
‘Well done…,’ she began, before pausing dramatically as I leaned forward in my chair in anticipation, ‘…Mr Boot. Twenty house points to Ravenclaw.’
I slumped back in my seat and looked to Draco shocked that neither of us had won and saw that his face mirrored mine. At the exact same moment we burst into laughter. I guess after all our sabotage, neither had really had stood a chance.
‘Call it a draw?’ Draco said holding out his hand.
‘A draw,’ I agreed, taking his hand and shaking it. I could live with that. ‘And I am sorry for sending you to sleep in class,’ I said, genuinely meaning my apology.
‘Yeah I’m sorry too, for starting it I mean.’
As I looked at Draco and saw him smiling back at me, not trace of the usual Malfoy pride or attitude I thought back to my conversation with Harry. If Malfoy could make an effort to change then so could I. Maybe I could do what he had asked. Maybe we could be friends. And maybe I was just speaking too soon.
‘Hey Draco, you coming?’ came a voice from behind me. I turned around to find myself face to face with Pansy Parkkinson. ‘Do you mind mudblood, I’m trying to talk to Draco.’
I met Draco’s eyes for the briefest moment and found them as hard as stone, the corners of his mouth turned up into that smirk that I had seen so many times before. He was laughing. He was laughing at what Pansy had said. He was laughing at me. I tried to control my facial features, but I clearly didn’t do a very good job as I’m sure my face showed the hurt I was feeling.
‘Oh did you think he actually liked you? That you were friends?’ she said in her most mocking voice. Her voice then turned as cold as ice as she continued, leaning closer to me so that I could hear every word loud and clear. ‘No pureblood could ever like somebody like you. No Malfoy could ever like a vile, disgusting mudblood like you.’
I stood there rooted to the spot, unable to move, her words ringing throughout my ears. I had vowed to myself a long time ago that I would never let them make me cry. Or at least never let them see it, but today, despite my best intentions, I couldn’t help it, my eyes brimmed with tears. All I could see was Pansy’s smug face as her words rang through my ears, but what surprised me the most, was that it wasn’t Pansy or her words that hurt the most. It was Draco’s smirk. It was the fact that he was laughing at me, that he was agreeing with her, that he still thought I was a disgusting mudblood. After everything he had made me think about him, thinking that he had changed, thinking that he actually liked me, that hurt me the most, piercing through my chest like a cold, hard knife.
I barged past Pansy, ignoring her cries of ‘don’t touch me mudblood’ as I virtually ran out of the classroom, not even caring that it hadn’t officially ended yet. Professor Haven hated me anyway and quite frankly the day really couldn’t get much worse.
AN- Okay once again sorry for the wait once again. This chapter has been ridiculously hard to write. I knew what I wanted to happen, but I just couldn't decide which order things should happen in, but I'm pretty happy with the way it's turned out. It's turned into another long chapter, but I didn't plan for half of it to happen, it just sort of came when I was writing. But the good news is that I actually have part of the next chapter written so hopefully it won't take too long to get that one up.
So once again thanks to all the amazing people who are reviewing. I can't believe how many I have now. So please review this chapter too. What does everyone think of Ron and Draco? Please, please review and thanks so much for still reading. x
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