Chapter 3 : An Odd Meeting
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The morning starts out much like the day before as it is raining heavily still.
Hermione opens her eyes and glances at the clock and it reads 10:45. Did she really sleep in this late? She is usually an early morning riser, always waking up at the crack of dawn to read a good book and watch the sunrise.
“Hermione, Ginny has breakfast ready, you hungry?” Harry asks through the door in a booming voice. He doesn’t open it in case she still wants privacy.
It is a Saturday so Harry is off, luckily Ron is not.
“Yes, I’ll be there shortly,” she mumbles groggily. She still feels like she can sleep a few more hours, maybe it is exhaustion from the stress.
Getting out of bed is hard because it is so comfortable, almost as comfortable as her bed was in the dormitory at Hogwarts. It has to be memory foam, something Muggles sell to make their beds very fluffy to where your body practically molds into the bed itself.
After finally making herself get out of bed, she slides on some sweatpants under her night gown and finally walks into the kitchen.
Ginny prepares cinnamon flavored pancakes with maple syrup. Hermione, feeling very hungry from not having an appetite the day before because of all the stress, piles up five pancakes on her plate. She eats almost all of them as Ginny chuckles from across the table as she breastfeeds the baby.
“You hungry there?” jokes Ginny.
“Yes I am actually,” chuckles Hermione, wiping maple syrup off her lips with a napkin.
As she finishes, she ponders in thought of what she is going to do today.
“Ginny, what are you plans for today?” She asks curiously.
“Taking James to the Healer for his four month checkup at St. Mungo's, why?”
“I am thinking of going to Diagon Alley to the Flourish and Blotts bookstore to get some time to read and clear my mind,” explains Hermione.
“That sounds like a good idea. Maybe Harry will go with you?” Ginny wonders, glancing at her husband who is standing in his work attire looking out at the pouring rain from the back French doors.
“Not today Hermione, I have stuff to do. Like go speak to your fiancé or ex-fiancé I should say, and catch up on a few cases, sorry.” Harry tells her, frowning. “If it wasn’t for that I would definitely spend the day with you.”
“What!?” Hermione and Ginny gasp in unison.
“Yeah, I am going to meet him for lunch in Hogsmeade. I want to have a talk with him and see what his side of the story is.”
Hermione grows furious in a second's time. “His story? Harry, do you think I made this up?!”
“No Hermione, not what I am saying at all! I want to talk to him about this because I feel it is wrong what he did and I want to know why he did it!” Harry defends himself haughtily. He grows irritated at how Hermione attacked him the way she did.
Hermione glares at her best friend and then slowly forces herself to calm down as she realizes he is not against her, “Well, thank you. Just keep him away from me.”
Hermione, hiding in her bedroom after the argument, wonders what to wear out of the house as she digs through her dresser and picks out a fall colored plaid button up and skinny jean outfit. Why look too dressed up on a rainy day? Besides fall wear is cute with rain boots.
She brushes her frizzy brown hair and then puts some moose in it to ease it up which makes her hair look wavy but she knows it will frizz anyway because of the rain.
As she glances at herself in the mirror, her thoughts travel to Ron again, what is he doing right now? Does he miss her? Or does he even realize why she left? She then feels disgusted at thinking about even missing him and shakes her head at herself.
She glances at her cell phone for the first time today… sixty missed calls, forty five voicemails, and one hundred text messages. Not wanting to even read them or listen to Ron’s voice, she turns her phone completely off. She needs peace today.
It is already noon when Hermione is finally ready to leave to Diagon Alley. She is looking forward to a day alone just buried in books because books have always been her therapy.
“Have a good day Hermione!” Ginny says to Hermione as she picks up her wand lying on their kitchen counter while preparing to leave.
“Will do Gin, I won’t think of Ron once! Or I'll try not to,” states Hermione weakly.
“Good, don’t, you should be on the lookout for other men! There’s plenty of fish in the sea besides my git of a brother,” instructs Ginny with half a grin.
Hermione smiles at Ginny’s suggestion but doesn’t feel quite right at the thought of looking at other men yet, not one day after a breakup with the man she swore would be her husband.
The rain starts to thankfully let up as Hermione steps on Harry and Ginny’s front porch, she then apparates to Diagon Alley.
The street full of shops that used to be bright and colorful seems dead and dull with barely any visitors when she arrives next to her favorite bookstore. There are just few wizards and witches walking the streets but it doesn’t surprise her as the weather has been horrible and Diagon Alley hasn’t been the same since the war.
She walks into the bookstore, getting a small feeling of excitement that she often gets when she knows she is about to read a good book.
“Hermione dear, what a pleasure, do come on in!” Madam Frances, the new owner of Flourish and Blotts exclaims as she sees her.
Hermione smiles in greeting and says hello a bit shyly because she hoped no one would really talk to her today. She then finds a book and sits in the coziest chair there. Not to anyone's surprise, she is reading Bathilda Bagshot’s History of Magic yet again.
An hour passes of intense reading when Hermione feels someone staring at her from behind. She finally turns around and to her shock; Draco Malfoy is sitting just chairs away from her, eyeing her with curious gray eyes.
He shyly looks back down at his book when he notices her looking back at him and his pale face flushes.
Hermione blushes and looks back to her book as well, not knowing why Malfoy would even step foot in her favorite bookstore but even more shocked that he was looking at her.
This goes on for another hour as Draco continues to glance at Hermione and can’t seem keep his eyes off of her for some unknown reason. He can't believe he is indeed looking at the mudblood from his school days because she looks so different... almost beautiful.
Hermione looks behind her once again and sees him staring and has had enough.
“Hello Malfoy, may I help you?” She asks sharply. She is sure he is just thinking of an insult toward her, but he is probably having trouble since they haven’t seen each other since the war. But he has never looked at her like that before, like he is now, as though he is interested in her.
He clears his throat after a few moments of silence and answers finally. “No, you can’t.”
Hermione huffs in disapproval. “Okay then, keep your beady little eyes off me then, Malfoy,” sneers Hermione, rolling her eyes and returning to her book.
“The same Granger that I remember I see. You haven’t changed one bit!” He replies back, amusement in his voice. He stands up and walks boldly to sit in the chair next to her to her horror, “where happens to be your Weasleby? Stuffing his face somewhere?”
“Actually Malfoy, I don’t know or give a damn where Ronald is right now!” Hermione venomously snaps back, this is the last straw. She has come to not think about Ron today and have some relaxing reading time to herself! Malfoy just violated both of those plans.
“Wow, hostility detected there. How can you talk about your precious red head like that?” Taunts Draco, he can see he is getting under her skin and is enjoying it.
Hermione’s anger is boiling inside her now so much that she loses control over what her mind wants to say (which is that it is none of his damn business) and what her mouth is now going to say. “Malfoy, he cheated on me, okay?! He had been for three months while we have been engaged for a year! Now you know so leave me the bloody hell alone. Please? I came to relax today not to be reminded of the arse he is!”
Draco feels taken aback and immediately embarrassed at bringing up this touchy new subject.
How could Weasley cheat on her? I mean look at those chocolate brown eyes, look at that perfect figured body, he thought, but he refrains himself from thinking this and comes back to reality. “Well, why would you want to be with such a low person like that anyway if he hurt you?”
Hermione looks into Malfoy’s stormy eyes and wonders whether he is seriously being nice to her or trying to offend her somehow like he used to.
He has really grown up, she thinks silently, looking over his muscular figure and blushing a little as she does so.
“I… I don’t know Malfoy maybe because I loved him, or thought I did anyways,” proclaims Hermione distantly, only just realizing he asked her a question.
Draco truly doesn’t know what to say back as an insult because she looks so very sad. So upset that he almost wants to comfort her.
And to his surprise, to make her feel better instead of hurt her further (like he used to want to) he mentions a personal thing going on in his life. “Well, my girlfriend of a year, Astoria Greengrass, left me for another man too, so I somewhat know how you feel and I am sorry you are going through it too.”
Hermione looks at him questionably. “Well at least someone knows how I feel, Ginny and Harry are all happy in their little perfect world and then there’s Ronald and I. No one of my friends really understands because they all are in happy relationships.” She pauses for a moment and says sarcastically, “wow Astoria Greengrass the model? That was probably a hard one to leave.”
Draco shakes his head, denying it. “No, she was a stuck up girl who only cared about money, friends, her looks, but she never cared about me. She left me for a famous Quidditch player, whom has more money than myself I presume. I gave that girl my all and she changed me for the better, but I realized it was because she was so horrible. I realized I was the same as her and that’s part of the reason why I changed.”
"I thought your family had more money than anyone in London put together,” states Hermione snidely with a smirk.
"My parents do, yes. But these days things are different," answers Draco, sadness lacing his voice.
"Well uh, thanks for the talk but I honestly have got to get going. Loads to do today,” lies Hermione, closing her book to put it away and standing up to head toward the door.
But he stands in front of her as if to stop her when she heads for the door, shocking Hermione.
“Granger, how about we have lunch? I am not the same guy I used to be and I want to sort out my differences with you. I am trying to err... change I guess you could say. I'd rather not end up in Azkaban like my father did.”
Hermione looks at Malfoy as though he has two heads.
Malfoy wants lunch with me? What the hell has gotten into him? Didn’t he hear that Ron and I just broke up? Maybe he just really just needs a friend too… She considers all the things that could go wrong if she says yes. Paparazzi snapping pictures of them since they are both two famous wizards, Malfoy trying to trap her so he can harm her in some way, but suddenly she shocks herself by saying, “erm, sure I guess?” She can’t believe this is actually happening.
The rain is cleared up and clouds sit lazily and dark in the sky as Draco and Hermione walk down the street of Diagon Alley in the crisp cool air. Stares follow them as everyone knows who they are and that they are known enemies.
Hermione is still currently in shock at whom she was about to have a meal, resulting in her silence.
“Let’s go to The Galleon Grill, they have the best chicken. Chicken is my favorite.” Draco suggests with a shrug of his shoulders.
“Sure.” squeaks Hermione, noticing for the first time how Draco didn't even have robes on but regular clothes. How odd indeed it was to see him like this, in Muggle clothes and with a good attitude.
When they enter the restaurant which is the newest addition to Diagon Alley, Draco and she pick a small booth that they can face each other in.
Draco notices the light of the lamp hit Hermione’s eyes just perfectly and notices how her eyes have a beautiful golden tint to them. It makes him want to keep staring but he forces himself to look away because he didn’t want to scare her and she is staring back.
But at the same time, Hermione was noticing Draco’s handsome high jawed face, and was looking into his stormy gray eyes as they made contact with her brown ones.
One question is eating at her though and she can’t avoid asking it any longer, “Malfoy why did you bring me here? You hate me.”
Draco looks up at her again and then back down at the menu distantly. “No, I have never hated you but I was literally scared of being nice to you or even Potter or Weasley. I mean look what my family would say, you three aren't the kind of people my family would ever associate with.”
Hermione took this into consideration but it doesn't make sense. “Then why are you talking to me now?”
“Because Hermione the war changed me and I don’t give a damn what my parents think anymore. I don’t have any hate for mudbloods left in me because I felt that day it didn’t care what kind of blood we had, we all fought for the same cause. Also, I just ended my crappy relationship with my horrible girlfriend I want to be a changed man because of her too. I want to show you that I am not someone like my father. I never particularly liked you but today I…feel differently.” Draco explains rather quietly.
“You feel differently how?” Hermione questions at him, this is just rubbish. He can’t change in two years!
“Hermione, when I saw you today. I thought you were beaut-“
Hermione’s eyes got big and she blushes a deep pink.
“I mean,” he continues after a deep breath as he realizes what he almost said, “we have all changed. And I think we should all try and get along now. After all, we are adults.” Draco says seriously.
Hermione is silently in shock for a little while and when their food comes they eat in silence.
Lunch seems to take a shorter time than usual and Hermione is quite ready to leave because she wants to be in her room to process everything that happened between Malfoy and herself today.
“I’ll pay.” Draco says after the waiter drops off the bill.
“No, I will pay for mine,” protests Hermione.
“No I will pay for ours Granger, no questions asked,” demands Draco. Hermione then keeps quiet and lets him take the bill.
“Thank you,” she whispers to him as they leave the restaurant.
“No problem, I should do something nice for you since Weasleby broke your heart I presume,” says Draco with a grin.
Hermione nods in silence and just keeps walking without grinning back, looking at her feet. It is late afternoon by now.
"I would like to owl you. Where are you staying?" Draco asks out of nowhere.
“I am living with Harry and Ginny on 1294 Giddens St. in Wembley, UK, a little ways out of London in the country. Goodbye now, Malfoy,” fare wells Hermione, not believing everything that just took place.
“You don’t want to talk a little more? Maybe go for dessert?” He wonders hopefully.
“No, I need to get home. Like I said, I have loads to do today.”
Hermione then re-thanks him for the late lunch and apparates back to Harry and Ginny’s. She had just shared a civil lunch with an ex-Death Eater and didn't even think to harm him once. The world is definitely different now. What in Merlin’s name is going on?
A/N: Thanks for reading! Something crazy just happened, Draco was nice to Hermione! What is the world coming to? There's so much more than that coming though so please keep reading!
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