A/N: Romeo and Juliet belongs to Shakespeare and anything you recognize belongs to JK Rowling. xx
Before my eyes sat a toddler with white-blond hair and brown eyes, in what used to be my nursery in the Manor. All around the pale walls were pictures of me as a baby and a young child, and more of this curious child. Soft music was playing in the background. Music? I turned around and saw a muggle device sitting on the dresser; I realized this was the source of the music. Satisfied I had solved that puzzle, I turned back towards the child only to see he had fallen asleep in the small bed, cuddling a stuffed—no, it couldn’t be! He was cuddling my silver-backed thorntail dragon plush I had had as a young child.
What is going on here? Where am I? Whose child is this? Is he mine? Who’s my wife? Am I seeing the future? All of these questions began racing through my mind and then my heart stopped when I heard a distinct female voice I would know anywhere.
“Draco, dear, let’s let him sleep. We’ll be lucky if he doesn’t wake up early. Besides, I’ve got something to keep you occupied that's more important than watching your son sleep,” the voice said from outside the room. My insides on fire, I clenched my hands and rotated towards the door. My jaw dropped at what I saw standing there.
Hermione leaned against the doorframe, her hair in soft silky waves down her back, wearing a gorgeous emerald and silver evening gown. Looking down at my own body, I realized I was wearing a crisp, black tuxedo. “Draco, leave him be, he’s fine. Starry will come tell me if something happens. We have guests to entertain, Draco.”
“Draco. Draco, wake up!” Hermione said, shaking me gently. Groggily, I opened my eyes to see her face a few inches away from mine. Then I realized it was morning and now was not a very good time to be speaking with Hermione.
“Bloody hell, Granger!” I exclaimed, pulling the blanket further up my body so it covered most of my torso as well as my lower body.
“Sorry, but it’s eight o’clock and we need to be out of here by nine thirty and we have to change your dressings so your wounds don’t get infected,” she explained, holding her beaded bag up.
I rubbed my hand across my eyes, pulling away the last dregs of sleep. “Er…could you just give me a moment to, you know, wake up a little? Please, I don’t want to be bombarded with pain right after I wake up, it just makes me want to fall back asleep. Come back in a few minutes, all right?” I tried hinting at my problem, hoping she got it.
She wrinkled her brows and then made a small “O” with her mouth, figuring out what I was trying to explain without outright telling her. “Oh, right, yes…um, well I’ll just go wake up the other boys then. Yell when you’re, um, good to go.” I nodded slightly, trying not to burst out laughing at her awkwardness.
If my day started out this good, who knows how it’ll end.
“…Yell when you’re, um, good to go,” I said awkwardly, feeling the heat rush to my face as I fled the room. Nice work Hermione, you’ve just completely mortified yourself in front of the boy who has tortured you for the past six years of your life. He’s really going to find you attractive now.
I sighed, reducing myself to the turmoil inside my head about this situation, ambiguous feelings about Draco, curiosity about the Merlin ring, worry about classes, and worry in general for everything going on right now. Trudging up the stairs to my room, I clutched the bag in my hand, cursing myself for being so stupid.
Shutting the door quietly, I sat at the desk and laid my head down on my arms. This was going to ruin any chance of repairing the feeble friendship we had formed in the past few weeks. We had been getting on well ever since we, Dean, and Luna began teaching War and Peace together. The bickering and constant remarks were suddenly gone, but I didn’t know if that was a good thing.
Picking up my beaded bag from where I had thrown it on the floor, I rummaged around until I managed to find all the necessary clean clothes I needed and headed over to the bathroom across the hall. Closing the door behind me, I stripped down and got in the shower quickly, humming quietly to myself. Washing my hair with my special shampoo to reduce frizz and curls, I heard the door creak. I paused; upon hearing no further noise, I continued rinsing my hair when I heard another creak.
“Who’s there?” I called out. No response. Wrapping one arm around my chest, I poked my head out from behind the shower curtain to see—no one. I returned to my shower, thinking it was just an old house making noise, nothing more. Another creak sounded, this time closer to the shower. What the—I shrieked as I saw Ron walk in, rubbing his eyes and yawning. “Ron! Can’t you see I’m in the shower? Do you not know how to knock?” I yelled at him, waking him up right away.
“Bloody hell, Hermione, why didn’t you say something earlier! You know how I am in the morning!” Ron said defensively.
“GET OUT RIGHT NOW RONALD WEASLEY!” I shouted, thrusting the shower curtain back into place. I heard the door shut loudly behind him. I swear, these boys are going to make me never want to marry one. Finally, after the many interruptions, I finished showering and dried my body with a towel—still in the shower, mind you—then put my hair up in another and stepped out, being careful not to slip.
I dressed for the day in comfortable jeans, a burgundy shirt, and a navy jacket. Taking my hair out of the towel, I used a spell to dry and style it quickly and put on minimal makeup to cover up the bags under my eyes and red splotches on my cheeks from stress. Once this was done, I tossed my towels in the laundry bin and went back to my room to put away my dirty clothes. I knocked on both Harry and Blaise’s rooms to wake them, as it was already nearly nine. Realizing this, I rushed downstairs to find Draco and Ron chatting amiably about Quidditch in the kitchen eating their hearts out. They trailed off as I burst into the room.
“Oh, sorry, was I interrupting something? It’s just that your dressings need to be changed, Draco, and we leave in forty-five minutes. Ron,” I greeted him awkwardly, avoiding eye contact with both of them as Draco stood up and followed me out of the room.
“So what was that all about?” Draco asked a few minutes later, while I was re-healing his chest wound.
My hands chilled as I tried to think of a good response. “Oh, it was nothing. Ron may have walked in on me while I was in the shower and gotten defensive about it even though it was his fault he scared me half to death and nearly saw me naked,” I said in one long breath.
“That’s it? That’s all he did? Bloody hell, Granger gain some self-confidence would you? You’re much too attractive to be worried about stupid things like that,” Draco smirked. My face reddened when I realized what he had just said. He seemed to comprehend what he said as well and a slight tint darkened his pale cheeks.
He cleared his throat awkwardly and motioned for me to continue redressing his wound. Rather than completely reset his arm, I checked to see it was still setting properly and helped him pull his shirt on. I rolled up his pant legs and tended to the fading burns and ugly bruises littering his pale limbs. Once I was done, I replaced everything in my beaded bag and threw the dirty bandages in the rubbish bin.
Making sure Draco was following me, I went into the kitchen, sat down in the closest chair, pulled out Romeo and Juliet, and began reading where I had left off that time long ago.
After the awkward encounter with Hermione in the bathroom this morning, I steered clear of the sitting room and went to the kitchen instead, hoping to weasel some extra food out of Kreacher. Having no luck, I plopped down in a chair and began eating the food I already had slowly, extending the time I could reasonably wait for everyone else to get up. A few minutes later Malfoy staggered in, looking somewhat flustered.
“Morning,” I grunted, still not convinced of his complete one-eighty attitude change. He grunted back, grabbing a plate and taking a fair amount of breakfast himself. Although, I did feel a bit bad for the bloke, what with his broken arm and having to do everything one-handed. I still couldn’t trust him though—especially not around Hermione.
After the kiss in the Chamber of Secrets during the Battle of Hogwarts, I realized I was missing that electric spark. I still felt a lot of strong emotions for her, don’t get me wrong, but I think it was mostly adrenaline that caused us to do it. But I know she doesn’t regret it and neither do I. What happened, happened, and it’s in the past now and we both moved on.
“Oi, Weasley. Could you pass me the salt, please?” Malfoy asked. I looked at him, looked at the salt, then back at him. Wordlessly, I pushed it down the table and continued eating my eggs. “Thanks.”
“You’re welcome,” I replied. “I was wondering, how is teaching going? Hermione hasn’t said much about it but I see her grading essays at mealtimes a lot. Oh, and speaking of meals, has she been eating normally lately? I feel like she’s gotten a little thinner in these past couple weeks, and to be honest, I’m kind of worried about her.
“To answer your first question, the teaching is interesting to say the least. It’s much different than I expected but the four of us get along extremely well and can decide on curriculum relatively quickly. I have noticed she has been eating a little less at mealtimes, but that’s only because I was watching. I was worried as well because she passed out that one day a while back. But when we’re in the dorm, she usually has a snack near her, so it might just be that she’s snacking too much so she eats less at designated mealtimes. I don’t think we should be too concerned about it but I’ll keep an eye on it for you,” Malfoy said thoughtfully.
"Thanks, mate,” I replied, awed at his offer. “Anyway, what’s your favorite Quidditch team?”
“Puddlemere United is the one I follow and donate to the most, but the Ballycastle Bats are very good as well. Aren’t you a staunch supporter of those awful Chudley Cannons?” Malfoy teased.
“You listen here, mate—” I stopped talking abruptly when I saw Hermione walk in.
“Oh, sorry, was I interrupting something? It’s just that your dressings need to be changed, Draco, and we leave in forty-five minutes. Ron,” Hermione said, greeting me briskly and avoiding my gaze. Great, now I’ve gone and made her mad.
Malfoy stood and followed Hermione out of the room slowly, his legs still not fully healed. I felt bad for the bloke, but still, I didn’t want him getting too close to Hermione. I didn’t trust him yet not to charm her with his money and his words only to have her get her heart broken. I couldn’t bear to see that when I had done it to her myself in sixth year. Now that I think about it, she did adamantly defend him every time when Harry accused him of being a Death Eater, even when Harry ended up being right.
Hermione’s too good of a person to fall for someone in so deep like him. Not even Merlin with all of his powerful magic could ever make them fall for each other.
~*~*~*~*~1 hour later~*~*~*~*~
“Do you all have everything you need with you or in my bag? Good. Now remember, we have to sneak back into Hogwarts within the time limit Professor McGonagall gave us, and we will go straight to her office when we get inside the castle. We’ll go back the same way we came out. However, we’ll have to apparate with disillusionment charms on because we don’t know what we’ll be arriving into when we get to the apparition point. Once we get to Hogsmeade, we must get to the tunnel as quickly and silently as possible. Let’s get back to Hogwarts, okay? I don’t want any of you getting hurt again,” Hermione instructed, casting the charms as she spoke.
Finally, as she cast the charm on herself, she said, “All of you are far too important to me to allow something like this to happen again.”
With that, she grabbed Draco’s hand, who in turn touched Blaise’s wrist, and so on until Harry took Hermione’s other hand in his and spun on the spot.
Once my feet touched solid ground again I let out the breath I was holding and relaxed my grip on Hermione’s hand. Almost immediately after I did this, she squeezed my hand so hard it felt like the blood stopped flowing. Looking in the direction I thought she was, I realized why.
Across the street where the tunnel entrance was hidden, stood two burly blokes who looked bad for business and, more specifically, for us. We moved away from the apparition point into a dark alley to talk without being overheard or bumped into.
“What the bloody hell are we supposed to do about that!” I whispered, worried about the window of time shrinking minute by minute.
“We’ll have to get rid of them somehow without attracting attention to us or them. Hermione could you cast an Imperius charm on both of them and get them to move out of the way?” Ron strategized.
“Ronald Weasley, are you suggesting I use an Unforgiveable Curse on them? No, absolutely not! But I do know what I can do,” Hermione said, a hint of a smirk in her voice. “Get behind me. Draco, hold onto my left hand. Everyone else, grab onto each other. When I say ‘go,’ you go. Got it?”
Shakily, Hermione raised her wand and sent a wordless spell towards the two unsuspecting blokes. After a minute, they began sniffing and mumbled a few words to each other before covering their noses with their shirts and apparating away. “Go!” Hermione whispered loudly.
We all sprinted to the entrance and slipped through the door single-file, not speaking a word until we reached the bottom of the stairs. Hermione took off the disillusionment charms and gave each of us our school robes. Clasping her own in place, she briskly walked down the tunnel, her lighted wand leading the way. Hermione turned the corner and halted, dead in her tracks.
The wand fell to the floor, plunging us all into darkness more complete than we had ever known.
A/N: So how’s that for a suspenseful cliffhanger? What do you think of the darker turn of events from the jokey beginnings? Any character development you want more of? Any scenes you want to see in the future? What caused Hermione to drop her wand? You can try answering these questions in a review! Speaking of those, I have currently hit 100 as an author! :D For this story you lovely readers have graced me with 86 reviews, 45 favorites, and 17,000+ reads! You guys truly are amazing! Chapter 2 of TEQ to be in the queue soon. xx
Edit 3/12/13: POV fix and grammar