Chapter 19 : Chapter 19
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Hermione was broken hearted. She wanted to curl up in a ball and the world around her to disappear. After her public humiliation and Draco's cruel behaviour, she woke up in her bed, having been hovered there by Professor McGonagall. Hermione was relieved that she had not been sent to the Hospital Wing after collapsing, a note left on her bedside table from McGonagall explained that she didn't think Hermione would have wanted to be sent there so instead she had ordered Minnie to check on her every few hours. A calming potion sat in a goblet next to the note but Hermione ignored it. She didn't want an artificial sensation of serenity. She wanted the blissfully happy feeling that she had experienced last night and that morning. She wanted him.
Hermione sat up in her bed, a quick glance out of the window told her that it was late in the evening, she had slept all day. Oddly, she still felt exhausted, not physically, but mentally. She lay back down and her eyes began to sting as fresh tears began to form, she knew why she felt that way. Draco had left her. Although, can a person really be left if they were never with someone in the first place? Of course not. A small part of Hermione, the logical part, had always doubted hers and Draco's relationship, it didn't make sense from the start. She was muggleborn, not a drop of wizarding blood in her family. He had always hated her because of that, and she felt the same way towards him. He was arrogant, conceited, sexist and downright awful, everything she had always hated. Except...he wasn't, or hadn't been since September. Was it really possible that it had all been an act? He had been so kind, sweet and caring. He had told her that he loved her, had wanted her love in return. But he didn't really love you did he? A voice inside her head told her wickedly. Hermione sobbed, she knew the voice was right. She knew it had never made sense for Draco Malfoy to love her.
Hermione spent the whole weekend in bed, never leaving her room. Minnie brought meals at breakfast, lunch and dinner time, returning an hour later to take Hermione's untouched meals back to the kitchen.
Monday arrived sooner than Hermione wanted and she very reluctantly left her bed. She wanted nothing more than to stay in her bed forever, underneath the protection of her duvet. There, she was hidden away from the world, from staring eyes, gossiping, whispers and him. Draco. Even thinking his name hurt. She would have to face him today for the first time since he broke her heart and left with Pansy. The thought of seeing him smirking at her, knowing that he had completely crushed her, had hurt her in the most awful way imaginable, made Hermione feel physically sick.
She had thought all weekend about today. Being Hermione, she had thought of all of her options. She could stay in her room for as long as she possibly could; not the best idea she had ever had but by far her preferred plan. She could leave Hogwarts and beg Kingsley for the job he had offered her several months previously; again, tempting, but she had been so determined to finish her studies. Or, she could hold her head high from breakfast until the second she returned to her room every day, pretend as though she was completely unaffected by Draco Malfoy, go to her lessons and laugh with her friends and then return to the solace of her bed at the end of the school day and succumb to her feelings. She had decided to go with the latter, she would not let a boy get in the way of what had always been her first love; learning. She would finish her studies, she would sit her NEWTs and she would leave Hogwarts and enter a job that she loved. At the very least, she would get through breakfast.
With a deep breath, Hermione entered the Great Hall to the hustle and bustle that was breakfast. She spotted Ginny's flaming red hair and kept her eyes glued to it, she would not look at the Slytherin table. As expected, the whispers began as soon as the first student spotted her. Hermione tuned them out as best she could, a lump in her throat threatening to reveal her true feelings at that moment; embarrassment and shame.
"Hermione!" Ginny sighed with relief at the sight of her friend. "I've been so worried, I was close to knocking down your door this weekend, I think I would have done it for sure if you had missed your lessons today."
Hermione felt a twinge of guilt at her words, several times over the past forty eight hours Hermione had pretended not to hear Ginny banging on her door demanding entry.
"Sorry Gin, I just..." Hermione began. "It's fine, don't apologise. I get it...how are you? I mean, after..." She glanced over Hermione's shoulder at the Slytherin table and the blonde haired boy that was presumably sitting there wrapped around Pansy Parkinson.
"I'd rather not talk about it, I'm fine. Honest. Onwards and upwards as they say. Double potions to look forward to today!" Hermione replied with an attempt at a cheery smile.
It clearly didn't fool Ginny, who raised her eyebrows and placed her hand on Hermione's. "I'm here if you want to talk, okay?"
Hermione nodded and started picking at a slice of toast, although she didn't feel the least bit hungry.
Too soon, it was time for Hermione to leave for Potions, her first lesson of the day and it was with Draco. As usual, she was the first to arrive and unusually, she took a seat at the back of the classroom. The instructions for today's lesson were already on the board; they would be figuring out the antidote to a given poison and then starting to brew it. Hermione began scribbling the ingredients and method down and had written half a page by the time her classmates and Professor Slughorn entered the dungeon.
Hermione heard Draco before she saw him, he was laughing, just like he used to laugh with her. Now he was probably laughing at her, alone at her desk with her head down. She would not look up, would not give him the satisfaction of seeing the pain in her eyes. Fortunately, Pansy was not in this class, too stupid for potion making Hermione thought bitterly. It at least meant that she didn't have to see or hear them together.
She kept her head down throughout the lesson, never raising her eye line higher than her cauldron. About fifteen minutes before the end of the lesson, Hermione heard Professor Slughorn saying Draco's name and finally she looked up.
"Mr Malfoy? What exactly is...this?" Slughorn was prodding the tip of his wand into Draco's cauldron, eying it with caution. It appeared to be a dark grey colour and had the consistency of wallpaper paste. Hermione looked at her own potion in comparison and wondered if she had done something wrong. Draco was brilliant at potions, should her potion have looked like that as opposed to the pale green watery substance in her own cauldron?
"It's my er, my...er," he stuttered, then glanced at the instructions on the board, "antidote! My antidote Professor."
"I see. Mr Malfoy, did you follow Golpalott's Third Law when you wrote down your method?" Slughorn asked, still poking at the gloopy potion, which was now bubbling.
"Whose Third Law of what?" Draco asked, perplexed.
"The instructions on the board explain that you must use Golpalott's Third Law to find the antidote to your given poison. We have done this before, Draco. I remember you and Miss Granger were particularly brilliant at it."
Hermione's heart stopped at the mention of her name. Draco had looked over his shoulder and their eyes had met. A pained expression flashed across his face before he sneered at her.
"Well you see, Miss Granger and I..." Draco began, but was interrupted by a loud BANG! The potion had bubbled and boiled to the point of explosion. Everyone within a five seat radius of Draco was covered in the grey goo. Chaos ensued and Professor Slughorn quickly instructed everyone who wasn't hit by the potion to bottle and label their antidotes and leave them on his desk for marking after he had cleared up the mess.
Hermione followed his instructions and left the classroom as quickly as she could. Those who had been hit with Draco's concoction were not seen again until dinner that evening, having spent the afternoon in the hospital wing, much to the delight of Madam Pomfrey who had had a relatively quiet year so far in comparison to the previous one (she had insisted this was because of Harry's absence and confessed that she really missed him).
Hermione was relieved by this, her moment with Draco in Potions, albeit brief, had made her want to return to her bed. She spent the rest of the day a little more relaxed in her lessons.
At dinner, for the first time in days, Hermione felt hungry, Ginny smiled as she watched Hermione fill her plate. Her face abruptly dropped however after a loud banging sound came from the entrance to the Great Hall, followed by shouting.
Hermione spun around to see her two best friends marching towards the Slytherin table, their wands held out in front of them. Draco quickly got out of his seat and began to run in the direction of the staff table, leaving his wand by his plate.
"Petrificus totalus!" Ron yelled, causing Draco to freeze.
He and Harry ran towards Malfoy and as they reached him, Harry shot the counter curse at him, unfreezing Draco and then punched him in the face before Malfoy could even react to the release of the jinx.
This all happened very quickly. Draco was on the floor, blood pouring from his nose by the time Hermione had processed the fact that Ron and Harry were here.
"Potter! Weasley! What in the name of Merlin do you think you are doing here?!"McGonagall yelled, heading towards the three boys.
"Teaching. This. Ferret. A. Lesson." Ron said, kicking Malfoy with each word he said.
"Protego!" Hermione yelled, separating Harry and Ron from Draco. "You idiots! What are you doing? Why are you even here?!"
"We warned you Hermione, if he hurt you we would sort him out. He hurt you, we're just keeping our promise. Now take the shield down!"
"Absolutely not!" Hermione glared. "How did you two even..." She trailed off and slowly turned to face Ginny, who had turned very red.
"Sorry Hermione but I had to do something! I just asked Harry for advice that's all, I wanted him to tell me how to get you to come out of your room. I didn't think he would turn up and punch Malfoy did I?" She looked to Harry, "she's right, by the way, you are an idiot. Nice right hook though." Harry grinned.
"Potter. Weasley. Leave." McGonagall was looking angrier than Hermione had ever seen her, her lips pursed, arms folded across her chest and eyes narrowed. "You are lucky you helped to save the wizarding world otherwise I would be sending an owl straight to the Ministry and having you both fired!"
"Sorry Professor." Both boys said in unison.
"Hermione, I'd say we're sorry for punching him but we're not. We are sorry if we've gotten you into trouble though." Harry said quickly as he and Ron passed her, Ron nodded fervently in agreement.
"Professor Slughorn, please take your student to the Hospital Wing, explain to Poppy what happened to him, he seems to be concussed." It was true, Draco was looking a little dazed and glassy-eyed. "If you could all kindly return to your seats," she told the students, with a look that told them not to ignore her, "except you Miss Weasley, you and I have a detention to attend."
"Detention?" Hermione asked Ginny.
"Er, yeah. McGonagall sort of saw me hit Malfoy and Pug-Face Parkinson with a bat bogey hex when they came back from Hogmeade on Saturday..."
Hermione smiled, forgiving her friend for telling Harry and Ron what had happened between her and Draco.
"Thanks Ginny." She mumbled before leaving the Great Hall and heading to her room.
She finally crawled into the comfort of her bed after an extremely long day. The tears she had held in since that morning free to fall down her face and continue until she drifted off to sleep.
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