Chapter 15 : Chapter 15
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“Miss Granger,” was all I could hear after Draco and I broke apart. Inwardly I groaned. Why couldn’t they leave me alone? Why had Draco decided to kiss me in front of everyone? Oh that boy just didn’t think sometimes. Reluctantly I turned around to see the damage we had caused. The moment I did I wished I hadn’t. I could see the red hair of Ron standing behind the crowd. The look on his face was murderous. He hadn’t said anything when I had hugged Draco on the train, but he knew that had been my choice. This kiss had been Draco’s and Ron didn’t want to see me with anyone else. Even though the two of us had broken up and there wasn’t any possibility of us getting back together, Ron always had a jealous streak when it came to me. Looking to his left I saw Harry and my heart fell. Though Harry and I had never had anything romantic between us I could see the disappointment in his eyes. I dropped my gaze and feigned deafness when the reporter’s questions started coming. I knew that nothing I said would make any difference.
Draco was composed enough to answer some the questions. I was glad that he ignored Rita Skeeter, but I knew she would just make up his answers in her story. I also knew that even though tonight had been to remember those who had fallen Draco and I would be front page news. I shuddered when I thought of what lies would be reported. Before the week was up there would be so many different versions of what had just happened that no one would listen to anything I would say to defend myself. And I didn’t want to defend myself. Draco and I weren’t officially a couple, but in the last few days I had hoped that he would ask me to be his girlfriend.
My thoughts were interrupted by a reporter who seemed to want a statement from me. The short, plump woman had positioned herself directly in front of me and looked as though she wouldn’t be moved for anything else. She had a kindly face that reminded me of Mrs. Weasley so I felt compelled to answer her.
“Yes,” I said acknowledging her.
“Miss Granger,” she started. “My name is Lisette Nuntio. I’m a freelance reporter and I’m here to represent The Quibbler.”
“The Quibbler?” I asked. I was shocked that Luna’s father would have reporter here. The only time I had read anything of merit in that magazine was when Harry had given the interview in fifth year. “I didn’t realize they would be here as well.”
“Well, they actually aren’t” Lisette answered. “As I said I’m freelance, but I did realize that Xenophilius Lovegood wasn’t represented here. So I’m going to send my story into him.”
“Okay,” I said. I didn’t figure this story would make it into The Quibbler, but this woman looked trustworthy. “Could we go sit down somewhere? I would rather not have everyone listening in.”
“That would be fine,” Miss Nuntio replied. “My feet are rather sore anyway. I haven’t had a chance to sit down yet. Um, would Mr. Malfoy be willing to answer some questions, too?”
“I don’t see why not,” I said. “Just don’t tell him where your story will be sent.”
“Okay,” she said.
I grabbed Draco by the elbow and led the way through the crowds out to the courtyard. As I passed Ron and Harry I nodded at them inviting them to come along too. I figured that they would need to hear the whole story. We found a little alcove in the courtyard. Lifting my wand I cast a quick silencing charm so we wouldn’t be overheard.
Lisette took out a small notebook and her quill. Once she was ready, she started. “So Miss Granger. How long have you and Mr. Malfoy been together?”
“We aren’t,” I answered. “We’re friends, but not a couple.”
“Mr. Malfoy,” Lisette said looking directly at Draco. “Would you like for Hermione to be your girlfriend?”
“At some point,” Draco admitted. “But we just recently began talking, so I don’t want to push her”
“Hermione,” she said turning to me. “What do you think of this?”
“I agree with Draco,” I replied. “It’s just too soon.”
“What do your best friends have to say about Mr. Malfoy?” she asked.
“You can ask them yourself,” Harry interrupted. “I’m sorry, but Hermione invited us to hear this.” He said when he saw that his presence had startled the reporter. She hadn’t seen them following us and they had stood behind her when we sat down.
“Okay,” she said. “Mr. Potter what do you think about this new found friendship?”
“I have to admit that at first I was against it, but Hermione made me see that we needed to forgive him,” Harry said. I smiled at his response.
Lisette nodded and turned to Ron, “Mr. Weasley, what about you?”
“Hermione’s happiness is all that matters to me,” Ron replied. “I won’t be best friends with Malfoy, but I will stand behind Hermione.”
“Now to the questions that maybe the hardest,” Lisette said. “I hate to pry, but what made you decide to give Mr. Malfoy a chance?”
Just then I saw a beetle with the same markings as Rita Skeeter’s animangus form. Quickly I transfigured a twig into a jar and trapped her. Everyone looked at me questioningly.
“Sorry,” I said. “But someone was trying to eavesdrop on our conversation.” I couldn’t believe my luck. I didn’t have to wait to catch the evil woman who had made my life a living hell. She just couldn’t pass up a story. “Anyway, I’m not sure how to answer your question.”
“Well,” the plump woman said. “There must have been something about Mr. Malfoy that made you decide that he wasn’t evil.”
“Yes there was,” I answered. “It’s hard to explain. It happened last year around the Easter Holiday. We had been captured by Snatchers and taken to Malfoy Manor. I had tried to mask Harry’s appearance, but they had been sure that they had caught Harry Potter. Draco had been brought into the room and asked if he could recognize us, but even though he did he lied to his father and aunt.”
“Draco,” Lisette started. “Perhaps you could shed a little more light on the subject.”
Draco looked nervous for the first time that evening, but he answered his not betraying him, “My aunt Bellatrix and my father had been going on about the rewards that would have showered on us if we brought in Harry Potter and his friends. I decided that I really didn’t want Potter to lose and so when I was asked if I could recognize him I lied and said that I wasn’t sure.”
“Was there anything else that happened?” the reporter asked. I had been afraid of this. No one else knew this story, but it seemed that now the wizarding world would be privy to it.
“After Draco refused to answer his father, Ron and Harry were taken away so I could be questioned,” I began. “You see they didn’t want to summon Voldemort because of something we had been carrying. It was the sword of Gryffindor. Bellatrix had been convinced that we had robbed her vault in Gringott’s-”
At this I was interrupted, “But you did break into Gringott’s.”
“Yes, afterwards,” I replied. “But I want to finish answering your last question. Anyways, Bellatrix decided we needed to be interrogated before they summoned Voldemort. Her version of interrogation was torture. But while I was being tortured I could see Draco standing off to the side. He looked as though he was going to be sick and I could see he was struggling with himself.”
“I wanted to yell at Bella and make her stop,” Draco said taking up the story. “I had never wanted to see Hermione or the others killed. I knew though that once I spoke up my life would be forfeit, no matter how much it would hurt my parents. I only stayed in service to the Dark Lord for the sake of my family, but my heart wasn’t in it. I knew when I saw the torture my aunt was inflicting on Hermione that I definitely wanted Harry to win the war. I had been in mind for a while before that, but that was the final straw.”
“And how do you feel about Draco’s parents?” Lisette asked.
“I don’t know for sure, but if it hadn’t been for Narcissa Malfoy, Harry wouldn’t be standing here now.” I said. “She lied at a crucial moment. She told Voldemort that Harry was dead when he wasn’t. Even though it was for her own selfish reason, she will always been the reason Voldemort had been defeated.”
“Harry is this true?” the woman asked.
“Yes, it is.” Harry said. “Mrs. Malfoy had come to check me when Voldemort tried to use the Killing Curse on me for the second time and I had been knocked out. She knew I was breathing, but she told everyone that I was dead. I will be forever grateful to her for that.”
“So will I,” Ron said. “Narcissa Malfoy is probably the easiest one to forgive. She was there for her husband and her son. My mother would have done the same thing.”
“Now to the kiss,” Lisette said. “What made you decide to kiss Hermione, Draco?”
“I don’t really know,” Draco admitted. “It just seemed the right thing to do at that moment.”
“Do you regret it?”
“No, I do regret that I did it in front of all those reporters”
“Hermione, do you regret it?”
“No, I just wish it wouldn’t be front page news,” I said. “Tonight shouldn’t be about me and Draco, but I know that no one will remember why we were all here tonight. All anyone will be concerned with will be that kiss.”
“I have no doubt that you’re right,” Lisette admitted. “I will try not to dwell on it in my own story. I will make sure that it isn’t the first thing I mention.”
“I thank you for that,” I said. “But it’s getting late and we should all be heading to bed. Good night.”
“Good night,” Lisette said gathering her things. “Keep your eye open for my report. I know everyone will be chomping at the bit for it seeing as I got an exclusive.”
“Yeah I guess you did,” I said laughing.
We all left the courtyard and headed off in separate directions. Draco for the Slytherin common room, Lisette down to Hogsmeade village, and Harry Ron and myself to Gryffindor tower. I felt somewhat better. Someone was actually interested in what we had to say and I had caught Rita Skeeter. The next morning I would send the jar containing the reporter to the Ministry with a letter explaining what she is. I hoped she would be punished.
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