Chapter 8 : Chapter 8
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“Well, come on,” Mrs. Weasley said to the four of us. “We need to get back home for dinner.”
I let everyone else go first hoping that they would all be doing their own thing when I got back to the Burrow. My hopes were dashed the instant I stepped out of the emerald flames. As soon as I stopped spinning and looked up I saw the tender eyes of Mrs. Weasley looking at me.
“Hermione, dear,” she said in a matronly voice. “What’s the matter?”
“Nothing Mrs. Weasley,’’ I said trying to assure her.
“Nonsense,” she said. “Why were you crying when we left?”
I couldn’t lie to her. Taking a deep breath I prepared to tell the woman that I know considered a mother my story and hoped against hope that she would understand.
“Maybe we should sit down,” I began. “It’s a long story and I’m sure by the end of it you might want me to get out of your house.”
“Now what would make you think that,” she asked. I could tell she was baffled by this statement, but it was the truth. There was just too much animosity between the Malfoys and the Weasleys.
“I made a new friend this summer,” I started my explanation. “And my friend isn’t who anyone would think it is.”
I paused there to see if she had anything to say. When she did nothing but nod at me I continued.
“I never actually set out to be friends with him. In fact I pretty much despised him for the past six years. But we met in Diagon Alley a few weeks back and started talking. That night he sent me a letter asking me if he could write to me. I didn’t answer him right away, but the next morning I wrote him and told him that we could try to be friends,” I paused again. Looking down at my feet I finished. “My new friend is Draco Malfoy.”
Mrs. Weasley gasped as I said his name just as I knew she would. I braced myself for the yelling that I knew was going to begin, but it never did.
“Hermione,” she began. “You are telling me that you made friends with Draco?”
When I nodded, she finished, “Dear, that’s fine. I will not tell you who you can and cannot be friends with. I don’t know how everyone else will handle it, but I won’t throw you out of the house for it.”
I breathed a sigh of relief with that statement. She didn’t hate me. As I stood up to leave though she stopped me, “You still haven’t answered my question about why you were crying.”
Oh, yeah I did forget about that. I had hoped she would’ve forgotten when I told her my big secret, but she didn’t. “I was crying because I feel awful for George. I couldn’t stay in the joke shop because seeing him breaks my heart. I feel like it partly my fault that Fred is gone.”
Mrs. Weasley pulled my into a hug when I said that and once more that day I was crying. “Shh,” she cooed at me. “There, there. It’s going to be alright. It wasn’t your fault. It wasn’t anyone’s fault other than Rookwood. And maybe Voldemort.”
“I know,” I sobbed into her chest. “I just feel so guilty. And now I made friends with someone on the other side.”
“Draco Malfoy may have been on the other side,” she said quietly, still holding me close. “But I don’t believe he is or was as evil as the rest. His aunt was a right piece of work. Please don’t cry anymore, Hermione.”
Sniffling, I broke her embrace. “I’ll try not to Mrs. Weasley,” I said thickly.
“Alright,” she said. “I’m going to get started on dinner. Why don’t you go upstairs and rest until it’s ready?”
“Thank you,” I said and turned to head up to Ginny’s room.
As I walked out of the living room I was confronted by Harry. Apparently he had heard everything that had been said in front of the fireplace.
“Hermione,” he said. “I didn’t know you felt that way.”
“I wasn’t going to tell anyone about,” I replied. “I had planned to keep it all bottled up inside until I forgot about it.”
“Bottling it up wouldn’t have helped,” he said. “Trust me. I bottled too much and now I lost the people that could have helped me the most.”
“Harry,” I said. “There are still people here to help you. And what have you bottled up? You wear your emotions on your face. I always know what you are feeling.”
“Really you think so?” he asked. “I’ll tell you what I’ve bottled. I bottled every good feeling I have ever felt so that I couldn’t be hurt by them and now when I want to open the bottle I can’t.”
I looked at him in puzzled shock. Then it hit me, he didn’t know how to love someone else. This realization seemed to lift the fog from my mind and looked at my best friend closer than I ever had before. The war had taken its toll on him. His emerald colored eyes were dull, but not nearly lifeless. His skin was pale almost sickly and he just looked sad all over.
“Harry,” I said hugging him. “Open your bottle. Let Ginny know how you feel. She can help you.”
He hugged me back and said, “Thank you. You always know what to say.”
His last statement hit me hard. I didn’t always know what to say. Sure I had the answers when we were in class, but for real life situations I had no idea what to say or think or feel. I wasn’t ready for real life, but it was coming at me like a Blast-Ended Skrewt.
Finally, I made to Ginny’s room and before I could relax there was Draco’s eagle owl at the window with a letter. Groaning I got up and let the bird in so it could deliver its package.
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