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Chapter 18 : Chapter 18
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As we were walking up and down the Great Hall keeping an eye on the new students I fought an internal battle about what I was going to say to my best friend. The silence was deafening and I wasn’t sure I could take anymore when Ron said, “So you and Malfoy?”
I was shocked there was no hatred in his voice, but there was a hint of pain. I answered him, “Yeah I guess that really happened. I’m sorry I lied to you this morning.”
“You knew he was going to do that?” Ron asked.
“Well I knew he was going to let everyone know how he felt, but I didn’t know it was going to happen like that,” I said. “I mean I’m pretty sure putting a full body bind on Pansy wasn’t planned nor was the fact that I fell on my face.”
“Yeah, that must have been embarrassing,” he said snickering. “I’m glad you weren’t hurt.”
“Thank you,” I said. “The falling on my face wasn’t the most embarrassing part of the evening though.”
“That kiss must have been something,” Ron said barely hiding his resentment. “You never reacted that way to one of my kisses.”
“Actually if you remember right I did,” I reminded him. “Our first kiss.”
“Okay,” he conceded. “But you never did that again.”
“I’m sorry,” I apologized. “I guess the two of us weren’t meant to be. It just feels different with Draco.”
“Don’t go getting mushy on me,” he said. I could tell he was trying to joke about it, but it didn’t come out right. “I really don’t want to hear how Malfoy makes you feel.”
“I won’t tell you then,” I said. I could feel my anger rising so I began counting in my head before I started yelling at him. “Just believe me when I say that I’m happy.”
“I believe you,” he said. “Please do me one favor though.”
“What’s that?” I asked.
“Keep the snogging to a minimum when I’m around,” he almost pleaded.
“I think I can do that,” I said. “So are we still friends?”
“Of course we are Hermione,” Ron said. “How can you even ask that?”
“I just wanted to make sure,” I said. “It would be really hard for me if you weren’t in my life.”
“Yeah yeah,” he said. “I’m sure it would be really difficult.”
“Honestly it would,” I said. “We’ve been friends too long to end it now over someone that I’m dating.”
He pulled me toward him and kissed the top of my head. “Don’t worry Hermione,” he said soothingly. “I can’t say that it doesn’t upset me to see you with Malfoy, but I will try for your sake. I will try to be there for you when you need me.”
“Thank you,” I said and turned away from him. This was making me feel very self conscious. He had told me all this before that day in Diagon Alley, but now it felt like he was moving away from me. I knew deep down that I should let Ron go, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it. He had been in my life for the better part of eight years and even though we had had our differences we had always been there for each other. I knew that my decision to be with Draco would come between us and I would have to make a choice sooner or later.
The next morning I awoke thinking that the previous night had been some kind of dream. It wasn’t until I heard Ginny that I knew it wasn’t. I didn’t know what I was going to do about Ron yet, but I knew I had to do something.
“Wake up Hermione,” Ginny said with mock sternness. “Breakfast is almost over and here you are hiding from the world.”
“I’m up,” I said begrudgingly. “I think I’m going to skip breakfast though.”
“It’s the most important meal of the day,” she said sounding like my mother. “Besides you can’t stay up here all day.”
“I can if I want to,” I argued. “I’m old enough to make my own choices.”
“You just don’t want to hear what everyone is saying about you and Malfoy,” she accused. Damn she hit that one right on the head.
I tried to lie, but it didn’t sound very convincing, “I don’t care what everyone is saying.”
“Yes you do,” she said. “Now come on or do I have to drag you out of that bed.”
“Oh fine,” I conceded defeat. I should have known better than to argue with Ginny. That girl had a way of manipulating people to do what she wanted and I didn’t have that much will power to deny her.
As I entered the Great Hall there was a sudden and deafening silence. I knew then that everyone had been talking about me and didn’t want me to hear what they were saying. I kept telling myself that I didn’t care, but it wasn’t working. I felt as though a giant spotlight was shining on me and that people were expecting me to do a song and dance routine.
Once we reached our seats, Ginny turned around and scolded those around us, “Oh honestly. You people need to get a life. You act as though you were cheated out of something. Yes Draco and Hermione are together. Get over it.”
Well, that didn’t have the desired effect. All this little tirade accomplished was now the students were being openly hostile towards me. I could hear little snippets of conversations and let me tell you what the people were saying was not encouraging. Things didn’t get any better when Draco entered the hall. I guess at least when I walked through the doors everyone got quiet, but when he came in it seemed as though they were shouting.
I kept my head down during the meal and only looked up when the post owls came swooping in. I really wasn’t expecting anything, I just liked watching the birds come in with the mail, so I was surprised when an owl landed in front of me. The bird looked familiar, but I couldn’t place where I had seen it. Hesitantly I opened the letter and I’m pretty sure the shock couldn’t have been clearer.
Draco has written to tell me that you and he are now a couple. I must say this is a bit of a shock, but I believe my son when he says he is happy. I write this letter to let you know that even though I don’t think we will ever see eye to eye I am willing to give you a chance. We have been on opposite sides for so long that I’m sure we will never fully trust each other. Also if you break his heart you will pay dearly. I may not be able to get to you, but I still have friends that can take care of any business I might have. Now I’m not threatening you in any way, I just think we should have this understanding. Draco is my only son so I will do all that a father can do to keep him safe. Please don’t disappoint me.
“Who was that from?” Harry asked.
I was sure that if he knew he would come unglued, but I knew that I couldn’t lie to him. I just told him, “I’ll tell you later. First I need to talk to Draco.”
“Oh alright,” and surprisingly Harry let the matter drop.
Hastily I headed over to the Slytherin table where Draco was sitting with his friends. “Draco we need to talk,” I said quietly. “Please this is important.”
“Okay,” was all he said. He led me to an empty classroom just off the Great Hall.
“So what’s going on?” he asked.
“I got a letter,” I said.
“Who from?” he queried.
“Your father,” I said shaking. “You wrote him about us?”
“No, I wrote mother,” he replied. “Why? Did he tell you I wrote him.”
Instead of answering him I handed over the letter. He read it quickly and then said, “Mother must have told him. I don’t know why she would have though. I asked her to keep it to herself.”
“Is there any other way he could have found out?” I asked.
“I don’t know,” he said. Then he looked as though someone had hit him with a stunning spell. “That picture in the Daily Prophet. He must have seen it and then deduced what it meant.”
“Oh this is not good,” I cried. “I love you Draco, but I don’t know if I can handle your father.”
“Don’t worry,” he soothed. “Father is in Azkaban. He can’t hurt you.”
“But what about his ‘friends’?” I wailed. “You saw what he wrote. They can take care of his ‘business’ if he tells them to.”
“He’s lying,” Draco said. “All of his friends are locked up or on the run. There is no way they would risk their necks in peace time.”
“I’m scared,” I admitted.
He pulled me to him and rocked me back and forth as though I was a small child. “There, there,” he said. “I won’t let anything happen to you.”
“You say that, but you can’t always be there,” I choked.
“I guess I will have to rely on your friends,” he said. “Between all of us there is no way my father or his ‘friends’ can get to you. I don’t want you to be afraid.”
“We need to tell Harry,” I said.
“Okay,” he said still rocking me. It was so soothing that I guess I fell asleep for a few minutes. I could have stayed with him like that forever, but I knew I couldn’t.
A/N: Alright there's a little drama going on. I guess Hermione is getting it on all sides. I want to thank everyone that has reviewed so far. I promise that i will answer all reviews. I was actually pretty surprised at the response to my story. Please don't forget to review here as well. Hope everyone enjoys this chapter. I will do my best to update again soon.
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