Chapter 9 : Chapter 9
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Also, anything you recognise is JK Rowling's, catwoman is bob Kane and bill finger's.
Hermione froze, not sure what to do. Should she say something? Ask if he was ok? They weren't exactly friends but they weren't enemies any more. They spoke often, and it wasn't like anyone else was there to make sure he was alright...
"Um...Draco?" She said quietly, so as not to startle him. He whipped his head around to see who had spoken and quickly wiped his eyes.
"What do you want Granger?" He asked, glaring at her.
"Oh, er, it's just...you looked upset...I just thought I'd..." She stammered.
"Just thought you'd what? Stick your nose in where it isn't wanted?" He looked seriously angry.
"I was just wondering if you were alright actually!" Hermione said heatedly. Clearly he hasn't changed as much as she had thought. She turned on her heel and stormed off towards the stairs to her bedroom when Malfoy shouted her back.
"Hermione! Wait!" She turned to face him, he continued, "I'm sorry, I shouldn't have spoken to you like that."
She was temporarily stunned by his apology. 'I'm sorry' are not words she ever thought she would hear Draco Malfoy say. He resumed his seat on the large sofa in front of the fire and put his head in his hands. Hermione tentatively walked over and sat down on the other end of the sofa.
"Want to talk about it?" She asked after several moments of silence.
Draco sighed, pushed his hair away from his face and looked at her.
"My father is dead."
Hermione gasped, "oh Draco, I'm so sorry...I don't know what to say."
"Don't be sorry. I'm not." He replied simply. "That man made my life a misery. So wrapped up in gaining power and money. Wanting to be the richest and most successful wizarding family, almost as feared as...well, you know." Hermione knew he was talking about Voldemort. She sensed Draco wasn't finished so she simply nodded for him to continue.
"He never loved me. Made it quite clear for as long as I can remember. I was just another pawn to him. Something he could control. When I came to Hogwarts I had already been told who I had to be friends with, which teachers to kiss up to. As I got older it was even his choice who I went out with." He mimicked his fathers voice, "the Parkinson's are an extremely important PURE BLOOD wizarding family. Don't mess this up child, the Malfoy name will not be tarnished." He laughed humourlessly, "ironic isn't it? That he was the one who dragged our families name through the mud. I don't give a toss that he's dead. He can rot in hell for all I care."
Hermione was confused, "but...you were crying...surely you can't mean that?"
Draco suddenly became very interested in tracing the pattern on the sofa with his finger, "It's my mother. She's the one that wrote to tell me. She's heartbroken of course. Wants me to help her with the funeral and stay in the Manor with her."
"Oh of course! She'll be in the Manor alone now that you moved out, poor thing." Hermione said without thinking.
"Yep...wait...how do you know I moved out? Only me and mother know I don't live at Malfoy Manor any more." He was staring intently at Hermione, who was very red and flustered.
"Er, well, don't be mad but..." she sighed, "when we first got back to Hogwarts and you were, well, nice, I got a bit suspicious and had Harry do some digging, he found your current address and realised you weren't living with your mum anymore." She said this very quickly and waited for Draco's reaction. He gaped at her and then started laughing.
"Granger, you are too nosey for your own good!"
"So, you're not mad?" she asked him, a small smile on her face.
"Mad? Of course! Total invasion of my privacy, not to mention involving Saint Potter! Fortunately, you've managed to cheer me up so I'll forgive you." Then he added, "this time."
"So what are you going to do about your mum then?"
"I don't know. I guess I should at least help her with the funeral stuff. Probably won't go though, she'll spend the day fussing over all those high society prats, I won't get a second thought. I'm definitely not moving back though. I never want to live there again. Too many bad memories..."
Hermione could understand him not wanting to live at the Manor. Last year it had been the meeting place for the Death Eaters, prison for those who had wronged Voldemort and his supporters, including Hermione and her friends. She absentmindedly touched the scar on her neck, made by Draco's aunt. It was a silvery white colour now but still visible. The gesture didn't go unnoticed by Draco.
"I'm sorry that she did that. I'm sorry about the whole thing. I can't even...it was just awful." To Hermione's surprise, tears were forming in his eyes.
"Please don't," she whispered, "let's not talk about it. It's over now."
"I knew, you know. I knew it was Potter. Even if he hadn't been with you and Wealsley. You spend 7 years hating a face, even a swelling hex won't stop you from recognising it." Hermione gaped at him open mouthed at his confession.
"But then...why didn't you say?"
"I didn't realise it at the time but later, after...he died. I knew that's what I wanted. Potter to win. If he had lost then my life would have carried on that way, surrounded by death and torture, living in constant fear. I didn't want a life like that. Not for me, not for my mother, not for anyone."
Tears were now falling silently down Hermione's face. "Thank you." She whispered.
The two of them sat silently for a long time after that, watching the flames dancing in the fireplace. Both were lost in their own thoughts. Eventually Draco broke the silence.
"Well, this has been...interesting."
"Yes, I guess it has been. Not exactly how I thought my night would end." Hermione smiled, she hadn't regretted it.
"How was the feast? I couldn't face it after getting Mother's letter..."
"Oh, you know, the usual. Pumpkins, candles and whatnot. The costumes were a nice addition." She didn't really want to let on how amazing it had been now that Draco was smiling again. He wasn't fooled though.
"Brilliant then? It's probably a good job I didn't go, I had no idea what to go as anyway. I thought about a dementor but didn't think people would have liked that."
"Maybe not. McGonagall did give a months detention to a third year Slytherin who came as the dark mark though. He's been banned from every Halloween feast from now on."
Draco grinned, "yeah, that was Adrian Pucey's younger brother, I heard him talking about it earlier this week at breakfast."
Hermione looked at him disapprovingly. If she had heard him she would have insisted he got a different costume. She yawned involuntarily. Surely it was past 2 in the morning now. She and Draco had been sitting for what felt like forever. Both decided it was time to go to bed. Draco extinguished the fire with a wave of his wand and said goodnight to Hermione. Just as she reached her door she heard his voice from the end of the corridor, where his room was.
"Hermione?" She looked over at him, "I forgot to say...love your costume." Hermione swore she saw him wink before disappearing into his bedroom.
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