Chapter 4 : Repercussions
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The large grounds that surrounded the Hogwarts castle were laid at Draco’s feet. He could see for miles, but he rather wished he couldn’t. The sight he saw was one that would be forever burned into his mind. Bodies, some dead, some severely wounded, others just unconscious, were sprawled over the usually green and beautiful grounds. The bodies belonged to that of both sides; light and dark, equalized in one aspect; death.
Draco was alone. He was the last one standing, staring down at the bodies as the lone survivor of what seems to be the final battle. As he wandered through the bodies, recognizing some, unable to decipher others, he found one that stood out to him like a rose from weeds.
Hermione was lying on the blood-stained grass, her eyes closed peacefully, skin pale and bruises evident. Draco sank to his knees, looking over her body with great sadness. Worried that it was a result of the battle, Draco tried to heal her cuts and bruises, but to no avail. It was after a few moments of examining that he realised that he recognised her wounds.
The sickness. Draco had healed.
Hermione had not.
With a start, Draco awoke from a restless sleep. Grabbing for his mussed sheets and shuddering at the cold temperature of his bedroom, he stared out his window, watching the morning sun begin to filter its way through his curtains. Groaning, he realised that yet another night of dreamless sleep, that of which he so longed for, had not occurred. He had experienced a familiar dream the night before, which ended in him discovering Hermione’s dead body, dying from the sickness that had hit both of him. He was worried that this was a clue. Thinking it may be to do with before they got struck with Bellatrix’s curse, or to do with the future of the life they were to return to in three weeks’ time.
Not knowing anything was driving Draco mad. One aspect in particular was really driving him batty -would be punished once he returned to the ‘real world’ for turning his back on the Dark Lord. The thought that had begun to plague his mind more then he wished.
His mind was also plagued by a certain sickly brunette. These dreams showed him grieving for her with a sadness he could not comprehend. He didn’t feel or care for her that much for him to grieve over her so greatly, did he?
Admittedly, he had begun to somewhat enjoy her company. Her wit was entertaining to Draco, and the conversations that they had were no longer forced or shallow. He found her company to be enlightening, keeping his thoughts of what would happen to him once he was released back into the ‘real world’ at the back of his mind.
They would usually converse about the curse that Bellatrix used, trying to decipher what it was and what it did to them. Both had taken a liking to researching what they could from the books in the study. They both had had no luck as yet, but Hermione was persistent and pushed Draco and herself to read as much as possible. She wanted answers, Draco knew this and he was happy to contribute, wanting to figure out their situation for his own knowledge in the future.
The last few nights had been spent in silence, with himself and Hermione reading separately in the living room with quiet jazz music in the background. But Draco found that his concentration in reading was not par with Hermione’s. Instead, he had found himself subconsciously looking up and staring at her. With each furtive glance he studied her features instead of the words on the pages of Uncommon Curses and Magical Maladies.
This had happened so many times over the last few nights that when Draco closed his eyes Hermione’s features were mapped out perfectly for him. Deep pools of brown, moving swiftly over the lines in the books she was reading. Brow furrowed slightly, and lip bit softly, indicating her concentration and curiosity of the information in which she was absorbed. Draco knew that this staring and remembrance of Hermione’s features was not anything to do with him being attracted to her. He was observant by nature, always had been. Draco sighed, staring at the ceiling. Observing someone once or twice is fine. When you’re doing so six times a night, two nights in a row…Perhaps you have to convince yourself better, Draco.
Staring at the ceiling lost in his thoughts. It was only when the rising sun began to reflect in his eyes the he was shaken out of his reverie and he decided it was time to begin the day. It was with subtle excitement that he remembered Blaise and Pansy were going to visit. Climbing out of bed, he decided that a shower would be the best way to wash away his insistent thoughts.
Little did Draco know that as he closed the bathroom door, the certain brunette about whom he was thinking was also staring at the ceiling of her bedroom, lost in thought.
Hermione was concerned about what the coming day would bring. She did not know much, if anything about Draco’s friends, Blaise and Pansy. But she was sure that their dislike for her ran deep. And that Blaise, if not Pansy as well, was a Death Eater.
What would this mean for her? Should she feel threatened? And what about Draco and her’s… friendship? Hermione sighed. Friendship? Are we friends? No. We’re…acquaintances. Hermione had to admit that the time they had spent together was nice, she was in fact, thoroughly enjoying his company. The research that Draco and she had begun to do, trying to figure out the curse and its symptoms had put them in a good place.
Hermione wasn’t sure, but she thought that Draco, just perhaps, felt something for her. Unbeknownst to Draco, she had watched him stare at her several times over the last few days, drinking in her features. She had uncommonly good peripheral vision; too many hours Hermione had caught Harry and Ron goofing off when she knew they should have been studying. Once she caught them trying to sneak out right underneath her nose, which resulted in disgruntled Harry and a sulking Ron having to do their own potions essays with no help that week.
Every time she caught Draco looking, however, Hermione subconsciously smiled. She frowned at her delight at his attention.
It wasn’t from him looking at her that made her smile, it was the fact that he couldn’t stop. It made Hermione want to laugh. She had found Draco tolerable and great company, but not attractive. Well, as he heals Hermione, you can’’t doubt that his looks are returning. Hermione frowned deeper. Attractiveness and attractiveness are two different things. So what? She found him an attractive man, but she knew that in regards to feelings, acquaintances was as far as it went.
Hermione had decided that having civility would be the best way to live out the next three weeks. She wasn’t expecting friendship, or anything else from him. Like Harry had said, he would just go back to his old ways the minute he left the cottage, and her.
Thinking about leaving, Hermione’s thoughts began to drift elsewhere. What happens once she leaves? What is she missing now, the aftermath of the battle, the result? She had missed so much, and it was silently tearing her apart. She could see the stress of Harry and Ron’s faces when they visited, and knowing that she couldn’t share in their pain was hurting her. She wanted desperately to help them, and not be cooped up in a cottage, knowing nothing. It was downright infuriating!
Sitting up as she heard the bathroom door open and Draco head downstairs, Hermione looked out the window at the rising sun and began to wonder, What if Draco would be able to get any information from Blaise and Pansy? They never seemed ones to follow the rules and it may just give her that bit of extra sanity to continue living here without knowing the full situation waiting out in the real world that would be unleashed in three weeks’ time. Was she ready for this?
Keeping that in mind, Hermione climbed out of bed and got herself ready for the day, sporting a pair of grey jeans and a blue long-sleeved top. Her stomach growling in anticipation of breakfast, she slowly made her way downstairs as she smelt food wafting up to her.
The sight that she saw nearly made Hermione fall over sideways. Draco was standing at the stove, donned in black pants and a green short-sleeved top, tossing, from what Hermione could see in her slightly obscured vision, bacon and eggs. Hermione made her presence known by a small cough, and Draco turned to her, with a shy smile on his face.
“Ah, good morning,” Hermione said, returning the small smile.
“Good morning. I thought I’d change things up a bit and make breakfast, as it is usually you who does,” Draco said, before turning back to the stove, and placing two eggs and several strips of bacon on two white plates.
“Oh, well, thank you. That’s very…kind,” Hermione stammered, feeling slightly embarrassed that her surprise was written so visibly on her face.
As Draco placed the two plates on the table, they both took a seat and began to eat in silence. After a few minutes, Draco looked up and swallowed.
“Er, there was something I actually had to speak with you about, as well.”
Hermione looked up, chewing slowly and nodded for him to continue.
“Well, just like you didn’t tell Potter and Weasley that I was here, I haven’t exactly told Blaise and Pansy of your… presence,” Draco said, watching Hermione carefully for her reaction.
Hermione stared at him for a moment, before speaking. “Well, I kind of expected that. But, no, uh, offence, but I can see them taking it harder than Harry and Ron did.”
“That would be a correct assumption, Granger, yes. So I’m thinking it may be best that you keep a low profile while they are here.”
“Oh, yes, like you did,” Hermione spat, with a bit more anger than expected. She instantly regretted it.
“Granger, you took too long to tell them,” Draco retorted, trying to keep a calm conversation.
“Whatever. Fine. But if they start something, I’ll finish it,” Hermione said, mocking Draco’s previous words.
Draco snorted. “You’re such a child.”
“You’re such a child.” Hermione mocked back, in a childish manner.
Draco smirked at her immaturity. “Just eat your breakfast Granger, Blaise and Pansy will be here soon.”
Hermione frowned at Draco, but did not retort, and completed her breakfast in silence, her thoughts on what the coming day would bring.
Author's Note: Hello! Now I know that I said that we would meet Blaise and Pansy in this chapter, but I felt that it would be a bit too close to having Harry and Ron visit. I wanted a bit of space. The very first part of the next chapter will have us meeting them. I promise it is worth the wait!
All comments are welcome, as always :)
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