Chapter 17 : Chapter 17
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I suppose the events of the night before had left me with a slight glow because Ginny was quick to say something about it at breakfast. “Hermione,” the red head girl said. “What has you looking so happy this morning? Did you get a new book or something?”
“No,” I said blushing. “I’m just happy. Rita Skeeter is going to be punished and I have my friends around me.”
Ginny rolled her eyes at this statement and said, “Fine keep you secrets. I’ll find out later because you’ll eventually realize you need a girl to talk to.”
“Oh Ginny,” I sighed. “I don’t have any secrets. Not anymore. Everyone here knows about my personal private life.”
“No they don’t” Ginny argued. “They think they do, but they aren’t even close.”
She was right on this point, but I didn’t want to admit that to her because she wouldn’t stop bugging me until I told her what was on my mind, and I just wasn’t ready to tell anyone. I wanted to see where this was going with Draco before I told anyone about it. It was bad enough that we had pretty much admitted to a reporter the other night that we would like to be a couple at some point.
“Ginny,” I said. “Just trust me on this. When I’m ready you’ll know everything, but right now I’m just happy.”
“Oh fine,” she said. “I’m always here for you. Just remember that.”
“I could never forget,” I said.
Just then Ron and Harry joined us so the subject was dropped. Ron looked like he hadn’t slept in days and I knew that part of this was because he had taken the second watch the night before in the Great Hall. Ginny had been part of the third watch and Draco and I had taken the first patrol. It was only fair that the night was split so that we could get some rest.
“Good morning,” I said in greeting to the boys. Smiling I started passing the food over to them. I knew that until they had some breakfast in them, conversation would be useless. I would get better results talking to Peeves if I started talking to the boys before they had food in the morning.
As if to strengthen this view all I got in way of response were a couple of grunts and nods as they dove into their meal. I was always shocked at how much food they could put away in a single sitting. I knew that since the previous year when we had little to no food I had been eating more than usual, but Ron and Harry took it to a new level. I was sure that they would be very fat if not for the Quidditch training. Which I then wondered when it would start.
After the first plates were emptied, the two boys joined slowly into the conversations around them. Ron had started talking to Seamus and Dean about Quidditch while Harry seemed much more interested in what Ginny and I were talking about. Actually Ginny and I weren’t really talking, instead I had taken to looking over at the Slytherin table and Ginny was trying to get my attention.
“Hermione,” Harry said startling me slightly. “You really need to quit looking at Malfoy and smiling. I just woke up and it’s too early to see something like that.”
“Oh honestly Harry,” I said. “I don’t know when I’m doing something like that. Must you be so derogatory about it?”
“When it deals with me seeing my meal a second time, yes,” Harry said. “It’s sickening the way you have been staring at him the past couple of days.”
“I’m sorry,” I said sarcastically. “I’ll try to keep my nauseating behavior to a minimum.”
“That’s all I’m asking,” Harry said. “What’s going on between you two anyway?”
“Nothing,” I said quickly. Maybe it was too quick because suddenly Harry had a look on his face that meant trouble.
“Don’t lie to me Hermione,” he said. “I know when something isn’t right and this is one of those times.”
“Please,” Ginny interrupted. “Harry you told Hermione you would support her. So don’t you lie to her.”
“I meant what I said,” Harry said. He was cowering under Ginny’s scowl. When the girl wanted to she could be very much like her mother and this was obviously one of those times. I knew not to cross the younger girl when she was like this, but Harry wasn’t a Potter for nothing. He seemed to enjoy egging Ginny on.
I quit paying attention to the two of them and was once again looking over at Draco. Apparently he was trying to avoid a conversation with Pansy. I found myself wanting to be a fly on the wall so I could hear just what that girl was saying. I knew that she wasn’t happy about the fact Draco had kissed me in front of the Great Hall two nights ago, but she didn’t know about last night and she had refused to read any story that had to do with myself and Draco. I could tell that Pansy Parkinson was going to be a big obstacle in my life where Draco was involved. Just then Draco met my eyes. I felt myself blush at this and I quickly looked away. A few moments later he came by my table. Oh how I wished I had his confidence. He didn’t flinch at approaching me in front of the rest of the students. I looked up at him through my eyelashes as I knew I wouldn’t be able to face him fully.
He didn’t say anything just handed me a piece of parchment and then walked away. Harry and Ginny looked in askance at me, but I had no answers for them. I avoided their eyes and opened the parchment.
After the past two nights I have come to the conclusion that I would like you to be my girlfriend. I realize that you may not be ready for this, but after dinner tonight you might just change your mind. I cannot promise that you won’t be embarrassed, yet I hope you won’t. Please make sure you are in the Great Hall at 7 tonight and keep your eyes open.
Oh what was he planning? I had absolutely no idea, but I found I was curious. I would make sure I was here at 7 tonight. I only hoped that after tonight I would still have my old friends. Even though they had assured me they would never leave me, I had reason to believe that if I began dating Draco they would find it hard to keep their promises. I supposed I would have to start damage control right away.
“What was that all about?” Ron asked.
I found I could not lie to him any longer, but I also didn’t want him to know the truth just yet. All I could do was distract him so as to extend the time before I would have to let him down. “He just wanted to let me know that he was going to take the second watch tonight so you could get more rest,” I said.
“That’s likely,” Ron said.
“Well, you could always take the watch with him if you don’t trust him,” I suggested.
“I think I will,” the red head retorted.
“Fine,” I said. “Honestly Ronald I would have thought he had shown you that you could trust him now.”
“Once a ferret always a ferret,” Ron said. “I can’t trust him any further than I can throw him.”
Okay so it was going to be difficult to get Ron on my side in this matter. I knew that he still loved me, but he had to know that it would have to remain a brotherly love. I only hoped that Harry and Ginny would be a little easier to assuage. I would have to wait until dinner that night though.
The rest of the day seemed to go by quickly. I don’t know if it was because I was both dreading and looking forward to dinner that night, but I just couldn’t make the time to go slower. As I neared the Great Hall that night I found my legs had turned to lead. I just couldn’t make myself enter the Hall by myself. I looked around for one of my friends to have them walk with me. Finally with five minutes left Harry and Ginny approached. I wondered briefly why they were so late, but dismissed it.
“Hermione,” Ginny said. “Why are you just standing there?”
“No reason,” I lied. “I was just waiting for you guys.”
“Is something going on?” Harry asked reaching for his wand. He had automatically thought we were in danger.
“Nothing that would require your wand,” I said. At least I hoped he wouldn’t feel the need to use his wand once whatever Draco was planning happened.
“Oh okay,” Harry said with relief. “Don’t worry me like that.”
“Like what?” I said. “Can’t I wait for my friends before I go into dinner?”
“Yes,” the duo answered together. With that the three of us walked into the Hall. As we approached the Gryffindor table we were stopped short. There where the three of us normally sat with Ronald was Draco.
Ron was there as well looking as though he would quite like to throttle the boy sitting next to him. All I could do was stand there and stare. I knew that I should sit down as I was attracting the attention of the rest of the hall. Even the professors were staring at me. I could see that some of the students were standing up on the benches to see what was going on, but once again I felt as though my legs had turned to lead. Of course when I tried to move to my seat I fell flat on my face. Apparently the feeling in my legs had been a well-aimed Leg Locker Curse. I turned my head to see Pansy Parkinson advancing on me and then Draco rose from his seat and hit her with the full Body Bind. Then he performed the counter curse on me and helped me up.
Holding his wand to his throat he turned to the rest of the student body. “I want everyone here to witness,” he began. “I know that no one here sees me and anything more than the son of a Death Eater, but I want you all to know that is not who I am. I have met the most wonderful person and I have fallen in love with this person. I am now ready to let everyone here know that I want nothing more than for Hermione Granger to accept me and hope that she can love me as I do her. Now if any of you feel that this should not happen please accept that the decision is not yours, but mine and Hermione’s. Hermione Granger will you do me the extreme honor of being my girlfriend? Please know that I would do nothing to harm you and I am ready to accept your friends and will do everything in my power to make sure you will never be unhappy again.”
“Oh Draco,” I cried. “I would love to be yours. I accept you for you.” With this I looked up and kissed him. This kiss differed from the first two. This kiss was like our first should have been. I found I was dazed when he broke it off. I heard a few guffaws from the students who were looking at us and noticed that I was entwined around him in a way that was very inappropriate and quickly unwound myself from him and looked at the floor in embarrassment.
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