“You know, your complete disregard for personal space is rather frustrating. It’s something that Harry and Ron do, not you, a gentleman of pure blood. You surprise me, Malfoy, and as of right now that’s not a good thing,” Hermione lectured Draco while they traipsed through the castle to the Great Hall.
The pair joined the flow of students entering the Great Hall, discreetly dropping their linked arms. They sat down next to each other at the seventh years’ table, facing the rest of the student body. Whispers raced through the hall at the Heads’ close proximity.
“Honestly, you’d think there was some big controversy happening with us sitting together,” Draco murmured in Hermione’s ear, causing a faint blush to rise on her cheeks.
“Yes well, it is odd for many of them to see childhood enemies, the Slytherin Prince and Gryffindor Princess sitting together,” Hermione whispered back. “In fact, with your reputation, I bet a few students probably think we’re shagging.”
He smirked at that and said, “Well, we’ll just have to prove them wrong, won’t we?” Before Hermione could reply, Professor McGonagall stood and tapped her spoon on her goblet to get everyone’s attention.
“Before you all tuck in and receive your schedules, I have an announcement to make,” she paused expectantly, waiting for the remaining chatter to die down. “As I said last night, Hogwarts was home to a great and terrible battle for wizard- and mankind alike. It caused much damage, remnants of which you may see before you. So, for those of you fourth year and above, the other professors and I have agreed to host a benefit and silent auction. However, since younger students cannot go, we have decided to allow any student to make a piece for the auction. All proceeds will go towards those families hit hardest by the war and the rebuilding of Hogwarts.”
Excited murmurs broke out across the hall as older students began planning and younger ones complained. “Now, this does not mean you can forget your studies; they come first, no matter how much you may think differently. The benefit ball and auction will be held on December 31st to coincide with New Years. The Heads and prefects will oversee planning and decorating. A donation box will be placed outside the entrance to the Great Hall tomorrow during breakfast,” Professor McGonagall cast a quick glance towards Draco and Hermione. “And, as a further incentive, if donations reach a certain limit by Christmas, your Head Boy and Girl will perform the first dance together, the kind of which to be determined at a later date. Class schedules will be handed out shortly; eat up!”
Many gasps were heard after McGonagall’s announcement concerning the dance incentive, Hermione’s being one of them. This is bloody great; they’ll have the donations within the week to see us dancing together. Although I am a fantastic dancer, I’m sure Granger would much rather face Voldemort again, Malfoy brooded. He glanced at Hermione and wished he hadn’t—she was furiously writing, deliberately focusing on her work rather than her surroundings. Once students began leaving the hall, Hermione jumped up and was gone in a flash.
Oh, fantastic! I don’t want to plan this stupid benefit. Oh well, I suppose if I throw in a few good ideas, it might ease any tensions with Granger. That’s it! I’ll be a good Head Boy and help with planning and also make something for the auction that really represents me; maybe something that represents both Granger and I that can be bid on throughout the night as the biggest item. Yes, it’s perfect…Malfoy’s mind moved frantically as he finished eating and made his way to the common room. Perfect, indeed.
“Dumbledore,” I stated to the founders, nodding slightly in Salazar’s direction. When the portrait didn’t swing open, I said, “Open up please, I need to speak with Hermione. It’s urgent.”
Godric Gryffindor turned to me and replied, “Sorry, boy, she’s charmed it shut. Only she can open it. However, precautions were taken when we made this dorm, and there is a secret entrance. I believe this is your expertise, Salazar?”
I faced my House’s founder. “There is a statue to your left. Go to it, facing down the corridor. Take seventeen steps down the corridor. Turn to the right-hand wall and count seven bricks up from the floor. Tap it twice with your wand.” I followed his instructions precisely. “Ah, there you go, Please tell Miss Granger to remove her charm—it’s making all of us itch.” Dipping my head in respect, I stepped through the doorway that magically appeared into the common room, ending up by the stairs leading to our bedrooms.
Hermione was sitting on the couch with her knees drawn up, sullenly staring into the fire. Cautiously, I approached her. “Gra-Hermione? Is everything all right?” I asked, sitting down next to her, leaving a foot between us. No response. I sighed, “Look, Granger, if you’re worried that I’m going to be an arse and not help you plan the benefit, you’re wrong. I will help you. I was actually going to—” I stopped abruptly as a pair of arms were flung around my neck.
“Oh, thank you! I wouldn’t have been able to do it all without you!” came Hermione’s muffled reply. She disentangled her arms and said, “Sorry, you were saying?”
“Uh, right. Er, well I was going to ask you whether or not you’d like to make a joint piece with me for the auction? It could be the big-ticket item, like something that is bid on continuously throughout the night? Perhaps something that represents both of us, or all of Hogwarts…” Damn, I really need to stop rambling.
“I’ll do it.” “I’m sorry, what?” “I’ll do it, I said. We can make a piece together for the auction. Now, I am going to bed. Don’t you even think about pulling another prank like you did this morning either, you little prat!” Hermione said, shoving me playfully before jumping off the couch and speeding up the stairs.
She has no idea what she’s getting herself into. Oh, Granger, the games are only just beginning.
“Malfoy. Malfoy, wake up!” I shouted at his thrashing form. The nightmare still held him in its clutches and didn’t want to let him go. “Malfoy, WAKE UP!” I bellowed. “Draco Malfoy! Oh my god you’re freaking me out, please just wake up. Come on, the war’s over, he’s not going to hurt you anymore. It’s over, it’s okay, it’s all right. You’re safe; you’re at Hogwarts. Shhh, shhh, that’s it,” I sighed in relief as he relaxed from my touch. I continued brushing his white-blond hair back from his forehead, kneeling next to his bed.
As he fell into a calmer sleep, I sat back on my heels, removing my hand, and exhaled loudly. “What are we going to do with you, Draco?” I sat in silence, taking in his now peaceful features.
My eyes roved over his sharp, chiseled jaw; his pale lips, slightly parted; his defined, handsome cheekbones. I moved to his eyes, only to see they were open and staring at me. I felt a blush rise to my cheeks. Of course I get caught looking at him while he’s sleeping. Typical. About to do some damage control, I opened my mouth, but a husky voice interjected.
“Well, Granger, I never thought I’d see the day you beg me to sleep with you. Times really have changed, haven’t they?” Draco smirked, knowing I was having treacherous thoughts about that sexily husky voice of his.
“Nice try, Malfoy, but I think it’s you who’s always wanted to sleep with me,” I countered. “The only reason I’m here is because you were yelling in your sleep and I heard it in my room, so I came in and saw you thrashing about. I was worried it was a nightmare about the war like I get a lot, so I tried calming you down, and then you woke up,” I said softly.
I brought my eyes up to his stormy grey-blues and waited for him to respond. His mouth was hanging open, so I raised an eyebrow at him. “Oh, um…well, then thanks for waking me up, I guess,” Draco cleared his throat and rubbed the back of his neck nervously. “But, it wasn’t about the war exactly.”
Realizing a wall was about to be torn down that I still had ambiguous feelings about, I took a deep breath and said, “You can trust me. I promise to keep it between us, if you keep something of mine between us.”
Draco looked at me, a shocked expression on his face. “Really? Even with our trust issues from the past, you really want to trust me?” he scoffed lightly. “I’m surprised you think I’ve changed that much, Granger. Pleasantly surprised though, thank you,” his smile faltered. That’s weird; he actually looks uncomfortable for once in his ferrety existence, I thought.
Draco took a shaky breath and began, “I wasn’t having a nightmare about the war, really. It…it was a memory of when I was seven or eight. I don’t even remember what it was that I did to piss my father off. He, he was yelling at me, and then when I started crying, that’s when it began. Father used the Cruciatus on me. I was only a child! Mother wasn’t home then, or any of the subsequent times. But this one, this one was the worst of them all. It was the third time that week I’d upset him in some way, and he was livid. But, rather than torture me as per usual, he sent a curse at me, similar to Sectumsempra, throwing me into a mirror on the wall, shards of glass raining down on my exposed skin; his curse alone giving me lots of gashes, combined with the hundreds of glass shards."
Draco’s hands began shaking at this point, so I grabbed them and held onto them, not even caring about what he might think. Then, he surprised me by pulling me onto the bed with him. I didn’t let the surprise show on my face as I waited for him to continue. “My own father didn’t even take me to St. Mungo’s. He left me there on the floor in the drawing room in a pool of my own blood. Yes, the same where Aunt Bellatrix tortured you,” he confirmed, knowing the question I posed in my head.
“Dobby was the one who found and healed me partially. I didn’t leave my room for days, only allowing Dobby in to change my bandages and bring me meals. I wouldn’t even let mother in, no matter how much I wanted her to. Needless to say, I avoided father as much as possible, and he avoided me. He never tortured me again, until fifth year when he was angry with his fiasco at the Ministry and I was available to him,” he paused, his voice getting huskier with every word. “I was old enough to fight back, though, and I did. Snape had been teaching me Occlumency and Legilimens since the beginning of fourth year when he had learned of the Dark Lord’s plan to return to power.
His voice darkened when he mentioned this. “Father was quite skilled at Legilimens, but so was I, and at Occlumency as well, even though I was only fifteen. He attacked me with both his mind and wand, thinking he could easily overpower me. However, he wasn’t aware of the skills I possessed, and so I was able to block his attack and stun him before he could react. I stopped the tremors in my body from the Cruciatus bout that I couldn’t help but take, and patiently waited for him to wake up. Both of us knew then that I controlled him, but I didn’t know I would lose that control almost immediately with the Dark Lord’s task for me. I was a wreck. That’s partially why I kissed you that night near the Astronomy tower.”
I wrapped my arms around his waist in a light hug and rested my head on his shoulder, attempting to convey my empathy and want to comfort him. He resumed, “I don’t regret kissing you, but I regret the reason that made me do it. Why were you sitting in an abandoned corridor in the middle of the night crying your eyes out anyway?” he asked, trying to lighten the somber mood.
“Er…Well, I suppose I just needed to be alone, get away from Ron and Lavender. Get away from Harry’s sympathy and pitying looks.” I laughed bitterly. “I was so stupid, thinking I would ever end up with Ron. He’s too childish and thick to ever be able to fully understand me like I need. Do you want to hear my secret then?”
Draco nodded, his eyes turning to molten metal, looking expectantly at me. I took a deep breath and quietly began. “It’s about my parentage. I-I didn’t learn until I was 10 years old and had just received my Hogwarts letter. My father, muggle as he is, had a secret of his own. His cousin was a witch that had gone to Beaxubatons as a youth and lived in France until she returned to England after a few years. When my parents found out I was magical, we received an owl from her. My father was the most surprised of us all. However,” I unconsciously gripped my left forearm, the one with ‘Mudbood’ carved into it, “that didn’t mean I wasn’t still a muggleborn through and through. I still deserved this scar from Bellatrix for being a Mudblood. As of today, though, I regret not keeping in touch with his cousin; I don’t know if she even survived the war. I’m just glad that it’s over and we can start anew, and rebuild our lives, with and without our friends and family members.”
A silence ensued until I heard, “Am I your friend, Hermione?”
“Yes. You are my friend.”
A/N: So what do you think? Does this change anything between them, or is it something to be kept hidden? To be revealed next chapter. Please leave a review down below, I love the feedback, it keeps me going! (: