Chapter 3 : Perseverance
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How are you? Good I hope. Now that I’m awake from my coma I’ve been told that I can tell you that you can come and visit now. Please bring Ron-
Hermione screwed her nose up in disgust at the letter and crumpled it into a ball, throwing it at the wastepaper bin by her bedroom door. It had been a day and a half since she woke up and found out about her curse, and every attempt at a letter she made to her friends resulted in her anger spiking. She was supposed to have written a letter on the day she found out, but she had walked up to her room and been overwhelmed with dizziness and fallen asleep. That had been 30 hours ago. Trying to write it when she woke up, she was at a loss as to what to include about the curse and her condition.
Hermione couldn’t decide what to write. Does she explain the situation? Or does she write a minimal amount and leave all information for when they arrive? Hermione couldn’t decide and so far every attempt had been crumpled up, some more aggressively than others, and thrown across the room aimed at the bin. Most attempts had missed and resulted in a lot of white paper balls littering her bedroom floor.
Hermione sighed in frustration and looked around her makeshift bedroom that she would be residing in for the next month. It was simple yet well designed- a large four poster bed, carved intricately out of a dark wood sporting several pillows and a cream comforter, a soft white carpet underfoot, and a large wardrobe that matched the wood the bed was made out of, bursting with Hermione’s clothes. There was also a small set of shelves which on top held a few of Hermione’s personal belongings: a photo frame with a picture of Hermione and her parents, her own copy of her favourite book Hogwarts: A History, and a small intricate journal that she used as a thought-catching device, a book she held very dear.
She was thankful her friends had asked for it be brought with her clothes. The last thing in her room was the medium-sized oak desk she was currently sitting at, with pieces of parchment strewn over it in an attempt to write. In one last glance around the room, Hermione pulled herself together and began to write another attempt at a letter:
I hope this letter finds you well. I wouldn’t know if it will or not, as I have been cut off from the outside world while I heal. It is a long story, and I will explain next time I see you. I just wanted to send you a letter to let you know that I am safe and well, and have been informed that you can come and visit now that I’m awake. I can’t wait to see you and Ron, please send me an owl back as soon as you can as to when I will be expecting your arrival. Can’t wait to see you both!
With a small smile, Hermione re-read the letter and rolled it up, feeling happy she had finally written a letter she approved of. Remembering that the owls live in a small owlery just outside the cottage, she grabbed the letter and her jacket and descended the stairs and walked out the kitchen door, shivering a bit in the cold. Finding the owl that was assigned to her, a small white owl named Dotty, she attached the letter to its leg and gave it a small owl treat. “Make sure you get this to Harry Potter as fast as possible okay?” she asked Dotty. Nipping her ear affectionately in response, the owl flew from Hermione’s shoulder and within a few minutes was lost within the cloudy white sky.
As Hermione walked into the kitchen, stomping her feet to get the snow off her shoes, she collided with a solid body, knocking them both to the ground.
“Oh crap! Sorry Malfoy, didn’t see you there. Where are you going?” Hermione asked, slowly getting to her feet.
Draco was already standing and offered Hermione a hand up, which she took after a moment’s hesitation. “Owlery,” he said, holding up a roll of parchment. “I just wrote a letter to Blaise and my mother telling them I am alive and awake. I’m guessing you just finished sending one to Potter?” Despite their truce, Draco’s voice carried a touch of his old sneer when he said Harry’s name.
Hermione nodded. “Yes, it took me a while to write it. I ended up falling asleep yesterday, and when I woke up, I didn’t like what I had written and my hand kept tensing up. Made writing painful. Do you know where those medical potions are by any chance?”
“No”, he said frowning. “I had the same problem as well. I found it hard to write, like my hand wasn’t strong enough. I haven’t been too bad with walking around and such since I woke up, but maybe this is worse than I figured. Well, take it easy, Granger, and, uh, if you could let me know if you find those potions, that would be…nice.” he said, awkwardness coming through his tone. He was feeling uncomfortable enough trying to be civil to her, but being vulnerable as well, was a whole other story. With a slight nod, he walked past Hermione and outside the kitchen door.
Hermione looked after Draco as he closed the door and walked outside. This adaption is going to be harder than I thought, especially if this is the only type of conversations we have while we are here, strained and awkward.
Two days had passed since Hermione had sent the letter to Harry. She had received a brisk but elated response from Harry and Ron, informing her that they would come visit in two days. While waiting in anticipation for them to arrive, Hermione had been trying to make more of an effort to create a less awkward atmosphere for herself and Draco. A certain situation of this attempt stuck in Hermione’s head:
Hermione was sitting in the lounge, watching a show on the television, when out of the corner of her eye, Draco walked into the room. “Oi, Granger, did you find- what the hell is that!? Why have you put little people in a box? Get them out mudblood, that’s barbaric!” Draco yelled in shock, running up to the television and rattling it.
Hermione, on the other hand, was laughing her heart out at Draco’s alarmed tone. “Mudblood, stop laughing and get these people out of here or I swear to Merlin, I will find out how you did it and I will put you in there!!” He screamed, anger evident on his face. “WOULD YOU STOP LAUGHING AT ME!”
“God Malfoy, calm down, it’s okay!” Hermione laughed, trying to calm herself from the laughter that was still echoing through her. “This”, she said, gesturing to the television set that Draco was still rattling, “Is a television. It’s a muggle invention that airs television shows and movies. There aren’t any actual people stuck inside, don’t worry!”
“A tele-what? So where are these people then? Are they somewhere else? I swear if you’re lying to me, mudblood, I’ll make you pay,” Draco threatened.
“Television. Those people are actors, in a studio where this show was recorded. This show is about ten years old, so the only thing stuck in the TV right now is lots of electronics and dust. I’m not lying to you Malfoy”.
Draco looked at her incredulously. “Yeah, sure. How do you know so much about this thing? Have you watched a lot of it?”
Hermione’s eyes seemed to darken slightly, and she looked down, actions that did not go unnoticed by him. “Actually”, she began, “No. I read a lot, which means that I can do it in my own room,” she said, shaking her head, trying to clear it. “But it’s such a common muggle contraption, of course I know what it is. Want me to teach you how to use it properly? It’s a good way to pass time, and Merlin knows we have a lot of that up our sleeves,” Hermione said, looking at Draco with a small smile.
Draco shrugged. “That’s true. Yeah okay. Thanks….Hermione,” he said, returning her small smile.
That night saw Draco and herself having more relaxed conversations, explaining movies and talking, almost in a friendly manner.
Hermione couldn’t believe how quickly they had both adapted to a civil situation, considering that the interaction the two had had in the last 7 years was fuelled by hatred and disdain of one another. I guess when you really do have such a near-death experience, it changes your perspective, Hermione thought, staring out of the wide sitting room windows, watching the snow fall, lost in her thoughts
Hermione had been sitting in an oversized armchair in the sitting room since she woke up that morning. She was so lost in her own thoughts that she did not notice Draco walk into the room.
“Sickle for your thoughts?” He asked, collapsing into the adjacent armchair.
Hermione jumped slightly at the surprise, and looked at him. Over the last few days they had both recovered exponentially, and Draco was beginning to look like a normal human being again: his face was no longer sunken, and his skin was the usual fair shade. Hermione, on the other hand, was taking a little longer to recover. Her face was also less sunken and her dark circles had disappeared, but her skin was yet to go back to its slightly olive shade. Both still had protruding bruises, but with each day, they were looking more like themselves and less like corpses.
Realising that she had been staring for a bit too long, pale pink rushed to Hermione’s cheeks and she looked away. “I’m just a bit…concerned”, she began. “I didn’t mention to Harry and Ron that you are here, and I’m not sure how they are going to take the news.”
“Ahh,” Draco said, nodding in understanding. “Well,” he began, picking at a loose thread on the armchair, “I’m not gonna be much help in this case am I? I can’t really make myself scarce, because well, I can’t go anywhere. The weather outside is horrible, as you would well know, you’ve been staring at it for the last three hours,” he said pointedly, flicking away the loose thread and looking up at her.
Hermione seemed to snap out of the reverie that she had drifted back into while he was speaking. It was true, she had been sitting here deliberating the curse. Hermione turned to Draco. “Hmm, I kind of guessed that. I’ll just speak to them, but please Malfoy, I’m asking nicely, don’t be…yourself.” Hermione asked, pleading visible in her eyes as she looked at Draco.
Draco shook his head, and huffed. “Fine, Granger. But if they start something, expect me to finish It.”
“Thank you Malfoy. I appreciate it.”
“Yeah whatever, Granger, you owe me.”
For the next hour and a half, Hermione and Draco sat in comfortable silence in the sitting room; Hermione had begun to read from the extensive collection of books in the study. The study housed three walls of floor-to-ceiling bookcases, filled with volumes dating further back than Hermione has ever read, conserved behind glass door. When Hermione got around to looking through the volumes, she was intrigued by the vastness of the library, and hopefully find in the pages of the old and beautiful books what she was currently looking for. Draco also had found a great interest in the books occupying the study, but he was more interested in the television, which is what he was watching while Hermione read.
A hard short knock on the front door startled them. Hermione jumped up, smile on her face and walked out of the sitting room into the small door, opened the large oak front door and came face to face with her two best friends.
“Harry! Ron!” she greeted happily, hugging them both at the same time.
“Hermione!” Both the boys cried happily, hugging her tightly.
Hermione pulled back, to have a proper look at the boys; they looked exactly the same, their lank frames towering over her, with their hair and shoulders dotted with falling snow. The stress of the war was still visible on their faces, but was overshadowed by their beaming smiles as their eyes fell upon their best friend. She was beyond happy to see them and invited them inside to close the door off from the snow.
“It’s so, so good to see you Mione, and you look like you’re improving! The place looks great! Can we have a look around?” Harry asked, as he and Ron removed their snow-covered coats and placed them onto the coat-holder, taking in the foyer.
“It’s great to see you guys too!” Hermione beamed. “And I am starting to get better,” she said, looking at her hands as she began to wring them uncomfortably. “We can have a look around soon, but before we go any further, I do need to, er, inform you of something,” she said, looking down at her hands.
Ron frowned. “Ah sure, what’s that?”
“Malfoyisstayingheretoo” Hermione jumbled, making her words undiscernible.
“Huh? We didn’t get that,” Harry said furrowing his brow in confusion.
“Umm, well, you see-“
“Welcome to our lovely place of healing, Potter, Weasley,” Draco interrupted, walking into the foyer, book in hand.
The look of shock on both Ron and Harry’s faces resembled that of a hippogriff caught in headlights.
Hermione looked at Draco, a slight frown on her face. “Malfoy, I was getting around to it, you know. Ah, Harry, Ron, as Malfoy was hit with the curse too, and we ended up in the same situation, they decided that it would be suitable to have us in the same healing house. He promised to remain incognito while you are here. But he obviously got bored,” Hermione said, looking between Harry and Ron as they both regained their composure.
“Well, Granger, you were taking too long. Now I will make myself scarce. Or as scarce as possible. Potter, Weasley,” Draco nodded in their direction before taking his book and heading up the stairwell towards his bedroom. It only took a few moments to hear the door click shut.
When it did, all hell broke loose.
“You’re stuck here with Malfoy! Why didn’t you tell us earlier?” Ron began to shout at Hermione. Hermione rolled her eyes, expecting an argument, and motioned to the sitting room, where she closed the door behind her and set up a silencing charm. Malfoy doesn’t need to hear this, for his own sanity.
“This is the reason why I didn’t mention it. I knew the reaction wasn’t going to be a positive, supportive one,” Hermione said calmly as she sat down in the same overstuffed armchair she had been in all morning. “Would you two sit down please? It may calm you down a bit”.
Both boys slumped into chairs, the redhead looking sulky and angry, and the messy-head somewhat calmer than Ron, seeming lost in his own thoughts.
“So, you’re both in the same situation, health-wise? That is why you have been put together?” Harry asked at his ease. Ron was still fuming, sulking in the chair.
“Yes. And because the curse is unknown, and no one else has had the curse inflicted that they know of. We’ve come to a bit of a… truce, insult wise.” Hermione said, waiting for the reactions from her two best friends.
Ron looked like he was going to react, but with a sharp look from Harry, he simply looked straight ahead, still irate.
“I figured as much, considering his small, er, interaction earlier. I can understand why you would want to be civil with him. We have been informed of the stress on your situation,” Harry said with concern evident on his face. “But, honestly Hermione, how long are you expecting this ‘truce’ to last? It’s Malfoy, he’s famous for his insults and bad attitude. It’s not going to last long. I’m worried for your health, Hermione.”
“I second Harry. We are worried for you which is one of the reasons why I’m so upset over this. He’s the only one here with you and if he were to do something to make your condition worse, we would never forgive ourselves!” Ron spoke finally, anger calming to concern.
Hermione looked at her two best friends. The love they held for her was etched on their faces, and she knew she couldn’t have been any luckier in having friends that loved her and cared for her so much. “Boys,” she began, standing up and sitting in between them, grabbing one of each of their hands. “I love you both. More than words can say. But remember who I am, I have been through plenty with you both to be able put up with Malfoy for a few weeks!” She said earnestly to which Harry nodded in agreement. “And so far it hasn’t been too bad. We haven’t had any major confrontations, and the fact that he was so, well, civil, if you can call it that. But the fact that he just left, it’s a big indication that the civility means more to him than what you are thinking. Anyway, even if he does go back to being horrible, it’s three and a half weeks! I’m sure he will just go back to his usual self once we leave this place. So, please,” she said looking at them both, “don’t worry yourself. And besides, you can always come and visit anytime!” Hermione said happily.
“Okay. Well, if you think that it’s going to be fine, then what can we say against the matter,” Harry said after taking a few minutes to think about what Hermione just said.
“Exactly, Mione. You have always made good decisions in the past, if we start doubting you now, who knows what’ll happen!” Ron said, making Hermione giggle slightly at the serious look on his face.
Hermione gave each of her two friends a big hug, happy they were okay with the situation, and offered to make them some lunch.
For the rest of the day, the trio just relaxed enjoying each other’s company, the boys playing a few games of wizard’s chess while Hermione read. Hermione pressed the boys for information from outside of the cottage but, much to her frustration, they wouldn’t reveal a single scrap of news. The only thing they mentioned is that the Order and the Weasley family send their love to her, wishing she would be getting better as fast as possible. In return, Hermione chatted to them about what the curse had done to her and Draco’s body, and the seriousness of the unknown curse. Memories of their experiences at Hogwarts and ambitions for their future were also topics of interest, until it was time for Harry and Ron to get back to reality.
“Make sure you keep in touch. We will be back as soon as we can. We miss you already! And, er, thank Malfoy for giving us space,” Harry said feeling a tad uncomfortable about expressing gratitude toward his former arch-nemesis. “Never thought I’d say that. Wow, talk about a change in the world.”
Hermione chortled as she gave both boys a huge hug. “Will do, and I promise to write as much as possible! Please come back soon!”
Ron grabbed his coat and looked back at her. “Of course, we will see you soon. Bye!”
“Bye guys!” Hermione waved to the boys as they walked through the front door. Hermione closed the door, feeling happy with her day.
“They’ve gone?” came Draco’s voice. Hermione looked up to seeing Draco sitting on the top stair.
“Yes, they’ve gone. They wanted me to say, er thank you, from them. For giving us time to catch up without being in the way,” Hermione said, giving him a small smile.
Draco shrugged. “Don’t mention it. Besides, you are going to have to do something similar in a few days’ time when Blaise and Pansy visit,” He said, as he climbed down the stairs and into the sitting room.
Hermione frowned. She had never got along with Pansy and Blaise and she was worried about how that encounter was going to go. I’m not looking forward to this. Perseverance Hermione! If Malfoy can do it, so can you! With that in mind, she followed in Draco’s footsteps into the sitting room, to continue reading her book.
Authors Note: Hope you enjoyed chapter three. It was a bit of a filler but all information is relevant in time. Thanks again to toomanycurls for being the beta of this chapter, I couldn’t do this without you!
All comments welcome.
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