Chapter 24 : Chapter 24
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The castle was quiet as Hermione and Draco walked through it; dinner was just being served in the Great Hall, though they had decided to eat in their common room away from prying eyes and idle gossip. They stepped through the portrait hole into a deserted common room and sat on the large sofa in front of the blazing fire. Hermione called for Minnie and the tiny elf appeared with a 'pop!'
"Mister Draco!" She squealed excitedly. "Minnie is pleased to see you, and looking so happy too!" She was practically bouncing on the balls of her bare feet.
Draco chuckled, "Thanks Minnie, it's good to see you too. Do you think you could bring some food and drinks here for Hermione and me? We're starving but don't really want to go to the feast."
The elf took a low bow, promising to return quickly with their food and disappeared.
Draco smiled fondly at the spot she had just vacated. "You know, I think you're rubbing off on me, I actually feel a little guilty asking her to bring food here for us when there's tables full in the hall..."
"And so we should feel guilty. She's probably been slaving away for hours in the kitchens. However, I really don't want to face everyone just yet and I'm starving. Maybe I could slip a couple of sickles into her apron without her noticing..." Hermione trailed off and Draco simply shook his head at her.
"You know you're absolutely mad don't you? What would a house elf spend sickles on? She never leaves Hogwarts to be able to buy something anyway. You need to accept that this is what house elves love to do. Although, having been raised in a house full of them and watching Father treat them abysmally, it's actually a nice feeling being nice to them."
This earned him an affectionate smile and a kiss from Hermione, which was unfortunately interrupted by Minnie's return with a tray full of sausages, mashed potatoes and vegetables as well as two large bottles of butterbeer.
"From Professor McGonagall," Minnie said, gesturing towards the bottles, "to celebrate Mister Malfoy's return." She bowed once more and disappeared again.
Both Draco and Hermione began eating almost immediately. Though neither of them cared to admit it, they had barely eaten in the absence of one another and were only now realising how hungry they were. For several minutes, the only words spoken between them was to express their appreciation of the food provided; which thankfully kept magically refilling until they could eat no more. Too full to move, Hermione waved her wand lazily at the plates to clear them and stack them neatly on the table in front of them.
They convinced themselves to move shortly after this, knowing that dinner would be finishing, meaning soon their fellow returning Seventh Years would be entering the common room and would no doubt bombard Draco with questions upon seeing that he had returned.
They reached the top of the stairs and paused.
"So, your place or mine?" Draco asked Hermione playfully.
"Yours." Hermione replied, curious to see what his room looked like. They headed down the right of the corridor and entered the room at the end of it; the one bearing Draco's name on the silver plaque on the door.
Draco's room had the exact same layout and features as Hermione's, the only exception being the silver and green of Slytherin house was the colour theme as opposed to Gryffindor's red and gold in Hermione's. The room was perfectly clean and tidy, though Hermione suspected this was down to Minnie and her anticipation of Draco's return.
Draco's grip on Hermione's hand tightened, distracting her from her scrutiny of his bedroom. She looked at him, concern in her eyes evident as he had turned very pale, which was difficult for him.
"Sorry," he muttered, "it's just, the last time I was here was when she..." Hermione knew the 'she' he was referring to was Pansy. Of course, the last time he had been in his room was when she cursed him.
Hermione let go of his hand and put both of her arms around him, not saying a word, but not needing to; the comfort of her arms was enough for him. He lifted her head and began to place gentle kisses on her forehead, down her nose and eventually on her lips. Hermione lost herself in the kiss, savouring each one; making up for the ones they had missed out on. She felt something hit the back of her knees and realised that Draco had led her to the edge of his bed; his intentions clear. Having no objections, Hermione quickly broke the kiss to pull his t-shirt over his head, and held her own arms up for him to return the favour. They both removed their own jeans and stepped out of them, their clothes now carelessly piled on the floor. Hermione pressed herself against his body, having missed the feel of his skin more than she had known until this moment. Draco kissed her again, deeper this time and a contented sigh escaped Hermione's lips as he moved her so that she was lying down and lay on top of her, without once breaking the kiss. Neither hesitated as they finally reacquainted themselves with the physical aspect of their relationship, both simply wanted to be as close as was possible to the other.
After, Draco held Hermione as she lay her head on his chest, her wild curls covering it. She listened to his breathing and felt his chest gently rising and falling as he was drifting off to sleep.
"Love you Granger." He said quietly, the smile in his voice audible.
She hit him playfully. "I love you, Draco Malfoy. Keep calling me by my surname and I might change my mind though. Now sleep, you have a lot of catching up to do starting tomorrow"
He sighed and tightened his hold on her, it wasn't long before both fell into an entirely dreamless sleep, the first they had had in weeks.
The next morning, as suspected, breakfast was eventful. Hermione and Draco rose much earlier than usual, so they could take a seat at the table without having to walk past most of the students. This would have gone perfectly had it not been for Peeves' shouts as soon as Draco and Hermione entered their common room.
"OOOOOH!" He squealed with delight. "Draco the Delinquent is back! Still a bit loopy are we Draco? UP YOU GET, YOU LOT! COME AND SEE WHO'S HERE!"
This was followed by doors being opened and slammed behind people and footsteps thundering down the stairs.
"You're back mate!"
"Where've you been?"
Several voices spoke at once and it took a long time for Draco to escape from the questioning. Getting fed up, he simply grabbed Hermione by the hand and dragged her through the portrait hole towards the Great Hall.
By this time a few students were already seated and eating breakfast, thankfully they were all preoccupied with spreading jam on their toast or reading, that was, until Ginny looked up and saw the two walk in holding hands.
"YES!" Her shout made everyone else jump and locate the source, and reason, for the disturbance. Once again, all eyes were on Draco.
Hermione sat opposite the redhead and gave her a scolding look, causing Ginny to flush red with embarrassment.
"Sorry guys," she said as Draco took a seat next to Hermione, "I was just excited to see you both, together. I mean, I assumed you would get back together after Draco came to find you yesterday, it's just nice to see. Is that a smile on your face Hermione Granger? I thought I'd never see that again." She grinned and ducked as Hermione crumpled a napkin and threw it at her.
They were soon joined in the hall by all of the other students and many were sitting in their seats pointing at Draco or crowding around him welcoming him back and wanting to know what had happened to him. The crowd did not let up until the Headmistress approached and asked to speak with Draco, alone. When he returned, he looked as though he was going to be sick. He resumed his place at the table and stared into the bottom of the empty cereal bowl in front of him.
"Draco, what's wrong?" Hermione asked, placing her hand in his.
"It's Pansy. They've found her, she was hiding in a muggle families house, whilst they were on holiday."
"And?" Hermione prompted when he didn't continue.
"She's in Azkaban."
Thoughts on this one? Too mean or did Pansy get what she deserved?
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