Chapter 7 : Apologies
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The next morning Draco awoke soaking wet. The pillow, the sheets, and most successfully, his clothes. He wiped his eyes and sat up in the bed; his eyes opened slowly and saw Astoria standing above him with her wand at the ready. She waved the wand and everything that had gotten wet was suddenly dry.
“What was that for?!” Draco yelled as he snatched the wand from Astoria.
“That was for being rude last night. You were absolutely horrible! Were you even listening to what she said?! Am I the only one with a heart here?”
“Yes, Draco. A heart, the thing that keeps you alive, the thing that should’ve told you to stop bothering Hermione Granger. Can’t you see she’s still upset about how Weasley left her?”
Draco stiffened and looked at his wife. Yes, she was beautiful, just not as beautiful as Granger was. Astoria was a dark and mysterious woman, while Granger had a sort of light at the end of the tunnel that kept her smile shining no matter what came her way. Astoria’s dark, waves hung close to her with no frizz, but Granger had a natural look of hair and no matter how it looked she always looked her best.
While Draco stood, comparing the two women, his wife was still waiting for a reply. He looked at her again and saw that her eyes got darker every second she waited and her hands slowly moved to her hips.
She cocked an eyebrow and glared at her husband. “Well?” She said in a tone Draco never heard before.
Draco used his brain and took a few daring steps towards Astoria. He gave her a tight squeeze, and then kissed her. “I’m sorry; I guess I wasn’t thinking last night. See it from my point of view, I haven’t seen Gr-I mean Hermione in so long. You have to see it was very awkward for me.”
“Awkward because you ruined her life and then show up fifteen years later without an apology?”
Draco started to get a little frustrated. He ran his hands through his thin blonde hair, stressed as ever.
Astoria began to step away from Draco as she backed out of the room and into the hallway. “Well, I’m going upstairs to talk to her. Maybe you can think about what you’ve done to her.”
After Astoria shut the door behind her Draco began cussing loudly and throwing things around the room. He kicked, pulled, yelled, and yelled some more until he finally got everything out of his system. Why did Astoria make him feel like a child? She was just so bossy, sometimes he would think of her as Hermione because of their likeliness for bossiness. The last words Astoria said got him thinking. He thought of how he tortured her and played with her mind over the years. How she had risked her life to save him, out of all people. He never even thanked them did he?
Draco put his head in his hands and thought for a while longer, until he heard tiny and slow footsteps enter his room. “Dad?”
Draco turned his head up to face the tiny voice that had spoken. It was Scorpius, he had just woken up and probably didn’t hear anything, but Draco’s assumption was wrong. “What are you and mum fighting about now?”
Scorpius was right. The married couple did fight a lot these days, some over stupid stuff. “Nothing Scorpius.”
“Yes, dad, you guys are fighting about something! Why did mum leave? Is she coming back?!”
Draco stood up and tried to reassure his son. “Calm down. Your mother went upstairs.”
“Mum! There’s someone here for you!” Hugo yelled, hoping his mother would hear him.
Rose came in the room and said to Scorpius’s mum, “Sorry, but she’s in the shower right now.”
Astoria looked hurt but said, “O, ok. May I come in and wait here until she come out?”
It looked as if Hugo and Rose were talking in their minds because of the facial expressions they made at each other. They seemed to be discussing the fact to whether or not let Mrs. Malfoy in or not. Astoria stood in the doorway waiting patiently and smiling every now and then. Finally the two siblings made up their minds. The door opened more wide and tey welcomed her into their home. The two led her into their living room and Astoria sat comfortably on the couch they presented her to.
“You can wait here.” Hugo said to the woman.
She nodded and quietly thanked them. She looked around the room she sat in. There was nothing special about the room, nothing special at all. But there was a feeling in it that made Astoria wanted to lie down and fall asleep. It was cozy, unlike her rooms where it was dark and cold.
“Can we get you anything while our mum’s in the shower?” The redheaded girl asked.
Astoria shook her head and said, “No I don’t need anything. But thank you anyway.”
Rose and Hugo left Astoria alone for the remainder of time. Astoria sat there ten minutes and began to think. She really did feel bad for poor Hermione, sure the Slytherins tormented her back in the days but they couldn’t help it. It was almost like it was in their nature to torture her. She did make herself vulnerable, though. The bushy hair, bookworm, Gryffindor, know it all, and Mudblood. But now Hermione and everyone else matured and things turned out differently. Some of the Slytherins turned out ok after the battle of Hogwarts like her, but some like Draco stayed the same…icy cold and no feelings. Draco was getting worse as the years went on; he was getting more irritated and stubborn, even worse than when he was that little brat back in Hogwarts.
She guessed he couldn’t help it, right? He was born a Pureblood and was born into one of the worst families every. They thought anything lower than them was scum and the dirt they walked on, so basically everyone was lower than them in their point of view. If only Draco had been born into a different family, maybe then he would have developed passion and most certainly, a heart. But if he were born into another family there would be no Draco, but that was fine in some people’s view.
Astoria heard footsteps coming from the hallway leading her way and muffled voices came from it, too. Hermione popped her head out so Astoria could see her. Her hair was dripping wet from the shower she just took and a little bit of the white towel she had on showed. “I’m sorry Astoria, I’ll be right back. I just need to… you know…” She gestured to her body and Astoria knew exactly what she meant.
“Go ahead, take your time. When you’re all done I’d like to talk to you if that’s alright with you….” Astoria said, still seated on the comfortable couch.
Hermione smiled. “I’d love to.” The women disappeared back down the hallway and a door shut farther away.
Astoria sighed and wished she had the life Hermione had. She had two wonderful kids and now, a beautiful home. She had bad and good memories she could look back on and some she wouldn’t. With Astoria, all her memories were bad, except her wedding of course and the birth of her wonderful son.
But then Astoria realized the big flaw in Hermione Granger’s life. It was the fact she didn’t have a husband, one that cares about you and one that’s always there for you when you need help. For a second, she tried to think of what it would feel like if Draco left her for a little crush and had a baby behind her back. She wouldn’t like it all and that’s exactly how Hermione must’ve felt, or still feels. It must’ve taken a lot of courage to move on… Astoria thought silently in her mind. That’s why she’s a Gryffindor… she’s got guts.
Footsteps reappeared, this time quicker and fuller. Hermione came from the hall and sat next to Astoria on the couch. She was now fully dressed with her hair dried perfectly.
“You wanted to talk?” Hermione said.
Astoria cleared her throat before she began. “Um, yes, I did. I wanted to apologize. For everything I’ve done to you in the past and present. I know it must’ve been hard on you all those years in Hogwarts with us tormenting you 24/7.”
Hermione nodded. “Yeah, it was. Especially first year, when I hadn’t made any friends yet you and everyone else would bother me about being a know it all and having bushy hair. You have to realize that I hadn’t yet made friends so I had no one really to lean on for support.”
“I know that,” Astoria said reassuringly. “And I feel horrible for what we all did.”
“I’m sorry, but nothing is going to change how I felt then so let’s focus on right now. Okay?”
Astoria nodded and watched Hermione’s eyes glaze with tears.
“Can we just be friends? And get over all of this. These rivalries… just...” Hermione said as she wiped a tear falling down her face. “Friends?”
Astoria nodded once more and was surprised when Hermione pulled her in for a bear hug. “Thank you,” She whispered as Astoria hugged her back, slightly squeezing her as they pulled away.
Hermione smiled and asked, “You probably want to know what happened with Ronald don’t you?”
Astoria smirked the famous Slytherin smirk and said, “Well, maybe just a little. Joking, you can tell me only if you feel comfortable.”
So, Hermione ended up telling Astoria the whole story of her and Ronald, from the day they went out on a date to the day she read that horrid newspaper. Astoria would interrupt every time Hermione paused and comment on something. At the end, Hermione was in tears and Astoria was in shock. She heard rumors but hearing the truth from her was surprising. The most shocking thing was that Weasley would do that to her when she was pregnant with little Hugo.
“So that’s really it…” Hermione said as she sobbed quietly.
“I am so sorry Hermione… I didn’t know…”
Hermione reassured her. “It’s fine, really.”
“I’m sorry for last night, I thought the dinner would be a way for us all to conact and forget about the past…it’s just that Draco… hasn’t….”
“Changed much over the years?” Hermione interrupted. “Trust me, I know. I just wish everything was different. That’s all. But no matter what you say under his behalf, isn’t going to change the way he treated me. You have to understand, that that stuff stuck with me. I took those memories wherever I went. It’s like they are permanently glued to me, it isn’t fun.”
Astoria nodded and understood her completely. Of course, Hermione was right in every way, it used to bother her that she was always right but now she took it as a gift that Hermione was born with. There was no way to get rid of it, so she embraced it. “I’m sorry Draco can’t mature like you have. I’ll talk to him, if it helps.”
The two women talked for a while longer, until Astoria declared it was time for her to leave. “I hope you can stop by some other time.” Hermione said as she opened the door to let Astoria out. She walked out the door but stopped in the middle of the doorway.
“You know, you’re not that bad Granger.”
The door shut quietly and Hermione was proud of herself. Maybe this move wasn’t that bad. Astoria was actually very nice, with a few earlier tweaks she could have been a Gryffindor, but her slyness showed most. Astoria was sweet, caring, and passionate; she know knew why Draco had fallen for her. The thing she didn’t know was what Astoria saw in Draco. Yes, Draco was very, very handsome with his blue eyes and blonde almost white hair….and his….
“Mom!” Rose yelled from her room.
Hermione totally forgot about her kids and scurried into Rose’s room to see what the problem was. Rose stood in her room, still in her pajamas, pulling out drawers left and right. “Yes? Mrs. Malfoy just left.”
“Where are the clothes you put in the laundry? Don’t tell me you left them down there.” Rose said, hands on her hips.
Hermione smiled mysteriously. “Maybe they’re a little overdue…”
Rose threw up her hands in frustration and walked out of the room. Her mother questioned her, following her. “Rose? Where do you think you’re going?” Rose stopped and turned to face her mother.
“Where do you think? To get the laundry, duh.” Rose opened the door and walked out.
“HEY!” Hermione yelled after Rose. Rose stopped immediately in her steps. Her mother never yelled. Never… “Rose, I don’t like that tone you’re using at all. I don’t know or even want to know where this attitude is coming from but it needs to go. You better come back from the laundry room like you’ve just woken up with a completely different attitude. Do you understand?”
Rose nodded and kept walking down the stairs and into the basement. She got to the laundry room and started taking out the clothes and putting them into a bin. The clothes were soaking wet but decided her mum could probably dry them in an instant.
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