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Chapter 13 : Standing up
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Saturday morning was completely missed by Draco and Hermione. They finally woke up around eleven when Severus woke them up with the smell of bacon. He felt like they had slept enough so called down to the kitchens for some breakfast to be brought to his rooms. No one said a word during the meal.
After they were finished Severus let them know that he would be back after his meeting with the Order. He informed them that they were to be by the gates at 5 to let Lucius take them to the Governors meeting. Also that Dumbledore should be sending someone to put in rooms for Hermione today. With that he let them start working on their makeup work and went to do his errands before the meeting was to start.
“Is there anything that you wanted to do today besides homework?” Draco asked Hermione around two.
“Besides hide from the rest of the school you mean?”
“Hermione hiding from them will only make everything harder. You know what they were saying was and is a lie so why let it get to you?”
“Well my blood was never made of mud yet every time you called me a mudblood it hurt Draco” Draco looked away from her at this, but she kept going. “I don’t want to disappoint any of them. I don’t want to be angry with them, or hurt by what they are saying. I am still just a girl who gets hurt by the way people look at me. It’s why I try so hard. I don’t want to upset any of them.”
“Wait. What? They say all this stupid crap about you and you are worried about letting them down? Or being upset with them? Hermione you need to grow some backbone.”
“I have a backbone Draco, but I also have people that I love and care about. Like Harry. The thing that I am most scared of is letting him down. He shouldn’t have to deal with this. I don’t want to go out there and get into it with Ginny again, because I think the next time I just might hex her.”
“Still not seeing a problem with that idea.”
“The problem would be that I love Harry, and he loves her. I can’t just go around and hurt her, because it would hurt him.”
“Fine. Then how about we go out and you just don’t bring your wand?”
“Never. Plus I’m not sure if we should go out together.”
“Hermione it is not a date.”
“That’s not what I meant. I just. Well… I want to wait until this whole thing calms down before we go out there and let everyone know that we are. Well we aren’t quite friends yet are we?”
“No. We aren’t. What are we?”
“Do you still hate me?”
“I should be asking you that. I mean I am the one who called you most of the names.”
“Yes, but I am the one who tried to hex you the moment that I got to your house.”
“Then let’s call it even. No I don’t think that we hate each other anymore.”
“Yes, but I don’t know if I even like you yet. We can be around each other, and not kill each other.”
“But that is about as far as it goes right?”
“Yes. So then it’s agreed. We will not go out in public together. Why are you laughing?”
“Because we are in school. Most people don’t count school as ‘public’.”
“I guess you are right. In some muggle American school the girls wear their night clothes, and the boys wear these shirt that are cut on the sides.”
“See the Dark Lord is right! Muggles are horrible!”
“No just Americans.” The room then fell silent. They had both been in on the joke, but since Draco had mentioned the Dark Lord Hermione felt uneasy. The fact that she had met him and still lived and breathed wasn’t very assuring. She knew what he was capable of and that was enough to make her want to run screaming to Dumbledore and beg him to let her take Minerva as her guardian.
“Sorry about that Granger. I am just used to being around the Slytherins, and well most of us aren’t afraid of him.”
“It’s ok. I just. Well I’m not ready to bring him up in everyday conversations. I think that I am going to go for a walk. I need to go and find Harry anyway.”
“Don’t forget that we need to be at the gates by 5.”
With that Hermione left. She had almost forgotten just how different she and Draco were. It wasn’t like he was trying to make her uncomfortable, but any mention of the ‘Dark Lord’ and she felt her skin crawl. She knew that she would have to face him again in the long run, but she really didn’t want to think about that until she had to.
When she made it to Gryffindor tower she sent her Patronus in to let Harry know she was outside the door. It didn’t take him long to come and get her. They decided to go and take a walk out near the lake.
“Hermione I am really sorry about what happened yesterday. I was rather surprised when Brown said that you had left in the middle of the night. Is everything okay?”
“No Harry it isn’t, but it will be. Snape called Lucius and he came to the castle last night to have a talk with Dumbledore. I don’t have a detention tonight anymore, but I do have to go to a Governors meeting to let them know what happened to me. They are going to see if they can find out who messed with my stuff.”
“It was Brown.”
“How do you know?”
“I heard her and Ginny talk about it.”
“Thanks Harry. Maybe now I won’t have to stay at the meeting for too long. Does Ginny still hate me?”
“She never hated you Mione. She was upset that you had hurt Ron.”
“How did I hurt Ron?”
“Well he was just very upset that you had chosen to be with a Slytherin rather than a Gryffindor or even a Ravenclaw. “
“I didn’t choose to be with anyone Harry. I wasn’t with anyone!”
“I know Mione. Ron knows that too. Ginny is sorry about what she said though. She wants to talk to you about it whenever you are ready to forgive her.”
“I will talk to her when I get back, or well in the morning might be better. I don’t know if I am coming back here or going to Malfoy Manor after the meeting. Cissa wants to talk to me.”
“How can you feel comfortable there? What if Bella shows up Hermione?”
“Oh Harry I had forgotten to tell you about that!”
“Tell me what?”
Hermione led them behind some rocks so that they were out of eyesight from anyone, and then put up a silencing charm so that no one would be able to her what she was about to say. “Bella is dead Harry.”
Hermione told Harry about what had happened on the night that Bella died. He was able to it through and not interrupt until it was over.
“So Draco can do magic away from school and not get caught? This can’t be good. I’m glad that Bella is dead though, but I can’t believe that you had to meet with Voldemort.”
“Yeah it was kinda weird. I didn’t know who he was right away. And his wife. Harry she is so pretty. Oh and they have a child.”
“Yeah. From what I understand Minnie took the child away as a babe, and no one knew if it was a boy or a girl. Well it turns out that it was a girl. Draco said that she was a lot closer than they could have ever thought.”
“Well. Who is she Hermione?”
“I don’t know. He wouldn’t tell me Harry. He said that I would just go back and tell you, and he wouldn’t betray his Lord like that. What a prick.”
“Glad to see that you can’t stand him still.”
“We aren’t friends Harry. We get along okay, but we can’t be friends. Not right now. I do remember who he is and what he has done to me and you. I won’t forgive him don’t worry. Oh I forgot to tell you. I used magic out of school as well. But Lucius had to pay quite a bit to keep me out of trouble. Seems really strange that the Malfoys have to help me now.”
“What do you mean?”
“Well since I am Snapes ward they have to treat me as equals to Draco. Seems funny really. Me the mudblood being treated like their pureblood equals.”
“I see. That must be why we got a group of Slytherins come up to our table this morning. Something about how we need to stop being selfish pricks and stop attacking people for things that they can’t change.”
“You would think that they would take a look in the mirror. They attack people all the time because of blood, and you can’t change that.”
“I don’t know maybe Snape had something to do with it. They were seventh years. I really don’t know which ones though.”
Who knows. Oh crap Harry I have to go and change for this Governors thing. Oh wait duh.” Hermione transfigured her clothes to be something more suited for the meeting at hand.
“Who showed you that?”
“Cissa. But it only works on clothes that you already have or have access to. This is an outfit that she owns. Well I got to go to the gate. See you later Harry.”
“Why don’t I walk you down there?”
“Well I guess but Draco will be there waiting for me.”
“I can behave.”
When they got to the gates Draco was there waiting for them, but he wasn’t alone. Lucius had already arrived. Hermione instantly got in front of Harry and drew her wand. She didn’t want to fight with the father son duo, but she wasn’t going to let Harry get hurt either.
“Hermione put your wand away. We don’t have time to do this again. Mr. Potter I am sure that you can find your own way back to the castle? Wouldn’t want to stay around here. You never know who could be just around the corner.” With this Lucius gestured toward Draco and Hermione to follow him as he continued to walk away from the castle now. Hermione and Harry said their goodbyes and she hurried up to catch the Malfoys.
It turns out that the Governors meeting was being held in Hogsmead at the local Ministry office. Hermione thought the building seemed quite small to be a ministry building. “It is pretty small I guess. The only reason that it is still being used are the Governors meetings and when the ministry has people checking in on the school. Also there is a holding cell in the basement, but only to hold criminals until the Aurors can get here and take them away. “The meeting room wasn’t very big, but since there were only twelve governors plus Draco and Hermione the room worked.
Draco and Hermione sat in the back of the room for most of the meeting. Towards the end when questions of business within the school came up did Lucius have Hermione come forward and tell the Governors what had happened to her. The Governors seemed very upset about the lack of action that the Staff had taken. Then Hermione told them who Harry had told her did it, and the Governors had let her know that they would look into this. If they found that the situation had been handled as Hermione had described then they would take further action as they saw fit. Hermione then waited again with Draco at the back of the room for the meeting to come to an end.
“You did very well Hermione. Whatever happens now you must know that standing up for yourself was the right thing to do. No matter who was behind this you cannot allow yourself to be bullied.” Lucius was trying to encourage Hermione as they left the meeting.
“Like when the Slytherins bully us? Or like how I was bullied for years because of my blood?”
“Did you let them get away with it?” Lucius looked at Hermione, but continued before she could say anything. “No. Hermione you fought back. I seem to remember getting a floo call a couple of years back about a bratty Gryffindor muggle style hitting Draco. You stood up to him, and the Slytherins. There is no reason that you shouldn’t also stand up against the Gryffindors, or the staff that might also play a part in this bulling.”
Hermione knew that he was right, but it still seemed strange. Your house was supposed to me your family, your head like an aunt or uncle. They were supposed to help build you up, not tear you down. It seemed normal to fight back against the Slytherins, but Gryffindor? It just felt wrong. Yet she didn’t want to let them keep abusing her like this. Hopefully the Governors would do something about Lavendor, and everything would go back to normal.
“Are we going back to the castle?” Draco asked his father to try and ease the tension between him and Hermione, Lucius wasn’t trying to be mean but he did have a point. Though Draco wasn’t sure how Hermione would take it.
“No. Your mother wants to see you two, and Severus will be waiting for us with her. We shall be meeting them at the Three Broomsticks for dinner.” Lucius didn’t say anything else until they got to the restaurant. Once inside they headed towards the back to a little room that Hermione had never seen before. Inside was Cissa and Severus.
Hermione and Draco sat down in the chairs that had butter beer in front of them. Draco beside Serverus and Hermione beside Cissa. Soon Hermione and Cissa were talking about what had happened to her and the men were talking about what Severus had done that day.
“When I talked to Tom he was still pretty ticked off. Minnie had broken the news to him last night, and apparently had to restrain him from going to the school to handle the issue himself.”
“Yes well Severus he is a new father. There have been plenty of times when Cissa has had to stop me from going to the school to harm someone over Draco, and I have been raising him for 16 years.”
“Still the idea of Tom walking into Hogwarts to have a parent teacher chat with Albus is quite a funny one. I’m not sure how well Albus would take it.”
“Well we are going to find out after the new term. I wonder just how much things will change for Sarah?”
“Draco. Things will never be the same. I doubt if ever Longbottom will remain by her side once this is all over with.”
“Once what is all over with Mr. Malfoy?” Hermione had just heard the last a couple of words that Lucius had said.
“Oh nothing of consequence Hermione. Have you and Cissa decided what you would like to eat?”
The rest of the conversation was split between Draco and Hermione talking about how much makeup work they had, and Cissa trying to convince them to both come home over the Thanksgiving weekend. Hermione finally agreed that it might be nice to spend a weekend away, and since thanksgiving wasn’t for another three weeks they should be up to date with their school work. Finally Lucius and Cissa parted ways with Draco Hermione and Severus. The latter group walked back towards Hogwarts and using the Severus’s dungeons entrance made it back to their rooms without having to run into anyone that may have been waiting for them in the main halls. The trio decided to make an early night of it and handle the rest of the school in the morning.
Meanwhile upstairs Harry and Neville were waiting to talk to Hermione as soon as she got back to the castle. But after waiting until ten they went back to their common room. Both were pretty upset and worried about their friend and both knew that Albus wouldn’t help them. Though they understood why Hermione didn’t want to come back to the common dorms right now they really wanted her to know that they were going to stand beside her. For Harry she was like a sister and he had such a small family that he couldn’t think about losing her. Neville fancied himself in love with Hermione. But what do sixth years know anyway?
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