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Scars by Lorr05
Chapter 18 : Tired of Pretending
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 14

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The following morning, things were definitely looking up.  After Professor McGonagall’s visit I now didn’t need to worry about seeing Malfoy.  I didn’t need to have the awkward confrontation where I would have to explain what had happened the day before.  Whatever that had been anyway?  Some space from him was definitely going to be a good thing. Things could go back normal.  Normal being where I absolutely hated Malfoy and he hated me. Just the way that they should be.

With that in mind, I was actually feeling quite positive.  I practically bounded down the stairs that morning and when I gave Harry and Ginny a particularly cheerful ‘good morning’ they exchanged a not so subtle glance that I imagined meant ‘what’s got into her’.  Yes I had been a bit of a miserable cow recently, but today was a fresh start. Things were going to get back to how they should be and that meant getting things back to normal with Ron.

When he finally appeared at breakfast I did my best to act completely naturally, like nothing had happened the day before, like my best friend hadn’t just told me that he loved me. I could see the uncertainty pass over his features as I cheerfully greeted him, something that I hadn't managed to do in a while, before he eventually slotted into his seat beside me at the table and carried piling sausages, bacon and eggs onto his plate like he didn’t have a care in the world. Nobody could say that Ron held a grudge. Things felt exactly like they used to and for the first time in ages, I almost felt something like a happy glow inside me, I was back where I belonged and everything was going to be just fine.  I tried hard to believe that.  If only I could ignore that niggling feeling of uncertainty inside me as my lips continued to tingle with the ghostly sensation of his touch.

Breakfast was interrupted by the sound of loud hooting and the flapping of wings which suddenly filled the great hall, making nearly every person in the hall look up in unison.  Those who didn’t usually get mail or weren’t expecting anything returned to their breakfasts while everyone else scanned the area above them, hoping to the see the flutter of a letter or the drop of a parcel in front of them.  I of course was one of the people who had, after a quick glance skywards returned to my breakfast. I hadn’t received any mail since that letter from my parents on my birthday which was why I was particularly surprised when a yellow parchment envelope fluttered gently down in front of me, landing on top of my buttery toast. Wiping my fingers on the napkin and brushing the crumbs and melted butter off of the back of the envelope, I opened the letter as discreetly as I could, angling it away from Ron who had shuffled just a little bit closer to me, his head angled in my direction, peering obviously over my shoulder.

Miss Granger,

                        As per our discussion yesterday, your detention will now take place in my office at the usual time.  Please report to my office tonight to complete last night’s missed detention. I have also taken the liberty of informing Professor Haven of our discussion.  Your new potions partner as of today will be Terry Boot.

 Professor M McGonagall

Headmistress of Hogwarts

 P.S. The password is barley sugar

'What's that,' Ron asked, all pretence at being subtle gone, as his shoulder was pretty much now resting on mine.  I sighed and passed it over to him (he had pretty much seen the whole thing anyway so I really didn’t see the point of hiding it) and continued to eat my breakfast trying to avoid any more awkward questions.   Part of me was feeling incredibly relieved and yet for some strange reason, I was feeling more than just a little disappointed.

 'Why is your detention changing and why are you getting a new potions partner?' Ron asked the second he finished reading my letter, looking at me intently.

 ‘Might as well get straight to the point Ron, don’t beat about the bush now!’ I thought.

'What!' Harry and Ginny both exclaimed, their heads popping up at the exact same moment, as Ginny leaned over and grabbed the letter from Ron's hand.

'Oh please be my guest,' I said sarcastically, although in truth I didn’t really mind. They would find out eventually.

'What's all this about? Why are you changing partners?' Harry asked his brows furrowed in confusion.

'Is this about yesterday?'

'Did Malfoy do something?'

‘Did you do something?’

‘Something else?’

‘Did you kill Malfoy? Or at least seriously injure him?’

‘Don’t be silly Ron, he’s over there and Hermione wouldn’t do that.’

‘Hmm, pity.’

'Is it something to do with why you skipped class?'

'And why you pretended to be ill yesterday?'

'Okay,' I said slowly, taking in the three expectant faces all staring aptly at me.  'One at a time, please. No Malfoy did not do anything and no Ronald, I didn’t do anything to him either,' I said giving a quick glance over my shoulder to see that Draco was sitting at the Slytherin, which made my heart involuntary skip a beat. 'It's no big deal really, it’s just McGonagall wants me to focus on my work and she feels that working with Malfoy was a... distraction,’ I said, putting air quotes around McGonagall’s words.

'A distraction?' Ginny asked sceptically.

'Well it's hardly a secret that we don't get on,' I said, hoping that I was somehow managing to keep the guilt that I was feeling from appearing on my face, 'and I guess that after potions she doesn't want any more mishaps.'

'Oh come on Hermione,' Ron scoffed pointing at me with a piece of bacon skewered on his fork, 'I don't think that anyone could call what happened in potions class a 'mishap'. Disaster, mayhem, carnage, all-out war, might be a more accurate description,'

'Anyway,' I said, cutting across him, ‘it isn’t a big deal and besides speaking of potions class, isn't it time that we actually went there.’  I stood up, slinging my bag over my shoulder. ‘I hear we’re making a Volubilis potion which should be really interesting and Professor Haven even hinted that it’ll come up in the final NEWTS exam.’

  'And she's back ladies and gentlemen,' Ron said as he stood up, grabbing a final piece of toast before he followed me out.  Even though I gave him a scornful over my shoulder, when I turned around I couldn’t help the small smile that had formed on my lips because Ron was right, I did feel like I was getting back to my normal self. Things were finally looking up.

   But as ever things didn't stay up for very long. Stupidly it hadn’t even occurred to me that potions class would be awkward.  I knew that I was feeling glad to be away from Malfoy, so I just assumed that he would be feeling glad to be away from me.  At the very least I was expecting him to be somewhat smug about the fact that he had driven me away, that he had won.  What I wasn’t expecting was for some very frosty glares in my direction, which was what I was faced with pretty much the second that I entered the class with the others.

 We were some of the last in the class to arrive, despite leaving the great hall twenty minutes before and well before half the other people in the class. That was of course because Ron and Ginny decided to have a rather loud argument in the middle of the corridor, which they continued all the way into class.  Everyone in the class turned around as we entered the class due to Ron’s loud yelp as Ginny whacked him across the back of the head before she stalked off to her seat.  I gave Ron a sympathetic pat on the back as I walked past him, even though it had been mostly his fault.  He really should know better by now than to get into arguments with Ginny.  He never won.   As I looked up I instinctively looked towards my old seat and my eyes instantly locked with the pair of steely grey eyes that were boring straight back into mine. All trace of humour instantly vanished and I took a sharp gasp of breath as if all the air had been sucked out of my lungs. I felt frozen to the spot, unable to move until Harry nudged me from behind, pushing me slightly forward so that he could get past me.  Feeling on edge I made my way to my new seat at the opposite side of the classroom, completely aware that a single pair of eyes had followed me the entire way.

  I sat down beside Terry who eyed me warily before giving me a curt nod before he turned his back on me and went back to avidly reading over his potions textbook which was already open at today’s page. I guess he had already been told about the seat change, not that he seemed overly thrilled about it.   Turning around, I saw that Mandy Brocklehurst had got the message too.  She had arrived even later that I had and she made her way to her seat looking like she was on her way to the gallows. It would have been quite funny to watch if she hadn’t looked so utterly terrified. She hesitated at the side of Draco’s seat for a moment, unable to get past him but clearly not wanting to ask him to move. Without even acknowledging her or apologizing for blocking her, he shuffled his seat forward a mere inch before resolutely ignoring her again, his eyes fixed firmly on the board at the front of the classroom. Mandy squeezed past him, determined not to touch him even slightly. She was acting like he was a bomb that was just waiting to go off if she made even the slightest noise or movement.  She continued to take her things out of her bags and every time she made so much as a sound she would still and shoot a fearful glance at Draco. I would say she was being a tad overdramatic and that Draco wasn’t really that bad but even from the other side of the classroom I could feel the frostiness that he was emanating. I could see, even from this distance, the clenching of his jaw, the hard set of his eyes and the tight clenching of the quill in his hand.  If he held onto it any tighter, it was going to snap clean in two.  No wonder Mandy was pulling her seat to the furthest edge of the table, angling herself so that she was as far away from him as was physically possible.  Something that I now realised that I had done myself on the very first day of potions class. Part of me felt bad for her to be stuck with him for the rest of the year, but a very small part of me also felt sorry for him.  He really wasn’t as bad as people thought. Not that he did much to help change people’s opinions of him. He was clearly not a happy camper today.

 Just as I realised that I was staring at them and had been for long enough for it to be called just a little bit creepy, he seemed to sense my gaze and whipped his head around in my direction and once again his eyes instantly locked with mine.  In that one moment, a million different emotions flashed through his eyes, one after the other. Anger, disappointment, betrayal and confusion to name just a few.  As for me my cheeks instantly flushed pink with the embarrassment of being caught and I quickly diverted my gaze to the front of the class where Professor Haven was signalling the start of the lesson.  I really didn’t understand him at all.  Anyone would think that he was actually annoyed with me for moving seats.  I didn’t have time to dwell on it though as I focused on what Professor Haven was saying.

  She began by explaining that we would be making the Volubilis potion, just like I had predicted, so when she asked the class if anyone knew what the potion did, of course I had the correct answer.

‘A Volubilis potion allows the user to alter his or her voice.  It is mostly used by people for trickery or impersonation, but it also has another purpose. It also has the ability to return the voice to a person who has been put under a silencing charm,’ I said, rhyming off the description in the potions textbook.

‘Correct Miss Granger,’ said Professor Haven, giving me a slight nod of approval, ‘Now if you all turn to page 193 to look at the instructions.’

For the next hour Terry seemed to be like a man on a mission.  I’d never really worked with him before so I didn’t know if it was normal behaviour but he worked like a man possessed, not speaking or noticing anything around him.  He didn’t even look up when I was trying to be polite and asked him if he wanted me to fetch him some mint from the store cupboard. In the end I gave up on trying to ease the tension and tried to concentrate on my potion, ignoring Terry beside me who was occasionally muttering to himself and also trying desperately not to look over to my old seat.  I had already been caught staring once.  I was just adding very small amount of Syrup of Hellbore to my potion smiling in satisfaction as it turned from a bright orange to a soft blue, when a loud bang a shriek from the opposite side of the classroom made me along with everyone else in the classroom look to the very place I had been avoiding. Instead of the gentle sparks that the potion was meant to give off when it was finished, Mandy’s potion had erupted in a giant flame that very nearly reached the ceiling with huge sparks flying out the cauldron in all directions. Cool as ever Draco simply glanced at the flames with one arched eyebrow before whipping out his wand and shooting a jet of water into the cauldron. With a look of mild interest he peered into the cauldron before he picked up a handful of ingredients out of his own stock pile and threw them into the cauldron, before returning to his own potion. Mandy simply stood gaping, her gaze moving between him and her cauldron.  Her jaw literally hit the floor when a moment later her potion started giving off soft gold sparks.

 Determined not to be caught staring again and quickly hiding the smile that had appeared on my lips, I turned back to my own potion and I carefully increased the flame, stirring constantly as the colour changed from a bright red to a sunshine yellow colour. The potion said a ‘pleasant yellow’ so I thought mine was looking pretty good.  All I had to do was to wait for the gold sparks.  When they finally shot out of my cauldron, Terry let out a groan of annoyance.  Looking discreetly into his cauldron his was somewhere between the colour of mustards and snot.  Not exactly pleasant. I was going to offer to help him but the look of pure venom that he shot me made me think otherwise.

 When everyone had finished their potions and poured a small amount into a glass vial, Professor Haven came around to examine our potions and asked us to demonstrate the effects. Everyone laughed as one by one people demonstrated the effects of the potions. Harry sounded like an old woman, Ginny like an Australian and Draco sounded like a little girl which everyone, including him laughed at.  Most people’s potions worked, even Mandy Brocklehurst after Draco’s help.  However Ron’s potion was not quite as successful, he simply sounded like a little bit of a sore throat. He flushed red as Professor Haven gave a small shrug and a look of disappointment before she started avidly scribbling notes on her parchment.  Ron was only one whose potion didn’t work too well either, as Terry had only a mild Irish accent that kept on slipping  back into English, something which he seemed to somehow blame on me if the dirty looks he kept throwing me were anything to go by. Of course that could have been because my potion was in Professor Haven’s words ‘the best in the class’ and I even earned ten extra house points for my work and even more surprising she actually gave me a rare smile of approval, which I had to say made a nice change from the looks of displeasure that I usually received.

As soon as class ended I joined the others who were still enjoying the effects of the potion. 

‘Well that was fun. Anyway I’ve got Astronomy so I’ll see you guys later,’ Ginny said still sounding Australian.

‘Sure thing, see you at lunch,’ I said, giving her a wave, still laughing at her accent. 

 Harry, Ron and I, turned together to go to Transfiguration, with me in the middle, just like old times.  I couldn't help but notice the look on Ron's face and it was clear that something was bothering him.  

'So that was kind of fun, wasn't it?' I asked, trying to make some conversation.

'Yeah being made a total fool of and failing in another class, yet again.  Yes Hermione, that was probably about the best fun I've had all week.'  Harry and I exchanged a glance behind his back.  Harry gave a small shake of his head, telling me to drop it, but I couldn’t let it go.  Ron was hurting and I wanted to help him.

'Ron I'm sorry.  I'm sure everything will be fine.  Everyone has had a rough week,' I said leaning over to gently stroke his arm, trying to comfort him.

'Oh yeah and when was the last time that you had a rough week Hermione?' he said, shrugging me off, 'Was it the last time that you didn't get patted on the head for being a good little girl and given extra house points for just being wonderful?'

I felt my face drop as I tried to hide the hurt in my face. 'Hey mate, that's enough,' Harry warned, although he looked at Ron with a concerned look. 

'Is it really? When was the last time that she had anything real to worry about,' he said pointing at me. 'But as long as your fine Hermione, don't let us little people hold you back,' he said before storming off down the corridor, leaving me and Harry speechless as we watched him go.

'What was that all about? Why is he so mad at me?' I asked Harry, stunned by Ron's outburst. What did I have to deal with? He really had no idea how much I had been struggling, what with my parents not wanting to see me and being back in the castle after the war.  He honestly didn't have a clue.  How was it that Draco Malfoy could tell that there was something wrong with me when my best friends didn't even notice? 

'I have no idea, but hey, don't take it personally.’  Harry nudged my arm gently, giving me a small smile, trying to cheer me up when he saw my hurt expression, 'he's just having a hard time and he's taking it out on everyone else.  It's what he always does,' Harry shrugged, as if his behaviour was totally expected. 'I'm sure he'll be fine later.  Come on, let’s get to class.' 

 Harry had been right about Ron as he had been fine later. Almost back to normal, but I felt like I was on my guard around him, scared that I might say the wrong thing again.  Throughout the rest of the day I watched him closely, trying to see if I could work out what had caused his outburst and his anger.  It didn't take long to see that something was troubling him. It was almost like he was there and yet he wasn't.  At times he would be the regular Ron that I used to know and then he would almost slip away with a glazed expression on his face.  In classes he looked utterly lost and the more I watched him the more I noticed how much he was struggling. How could it be that we hadn't noticed that the other one was struggling?  How could we not see that we each needed help? I tried to offer him help in the only way that I knew how, by helping him with his class work.   I tried subtly to offer him some help with his studying and with his homework which before was something that I always said I would never do. How else would he learn? And yet I was worried for him.  Sometimes he would accept my help and other times he would more or less tell me to go away, which I admit hurt more that I would have thought.

The only real positive to have come out of the last few days was that I had managed to avoid seeing Draco.  I was so busy spending time with the others, or at my detentions that I was almost never alone and that meant that I didn't have the time to think about what had happened between us.  I could almost convince myself that the whole thing was some sick thing that I had imagined. Or at least I would have been able to had I not felt like I was being constantly watched.  It was almost like I could sense when he was there. In the great hall, in the corridors and in potions class, I would often feel the weight of his stare only to look up and find that he was looking at something else. 


 That was why when I was walking back from my detention late one night that I knew he was there.  The castle was dark and the corridors were quiet.  Every one of my footsteps echoed loudly in the hallways and the candles made the shadows flicker all around me.  The castle was eerie and even though it was quiet, it reminded me so much of the terrible battle that had taken place.  The atmosphere scared me and I was almost afraid of what was hiding in the shadows.  Sometimes I almost asked Harry to come and meet me and walk me back to the common room, but I was too proud to admit that I was afraid of the castle that I had lived in for eight years. 

My senses were already in edge as I walked down the corridor, when a voice interrupted the sounds of my footsteps. 

‘It’s funny, I never had you down as a coward,’ a voice behind me said.  I knew that voice.  How could I not? It was the voice that I dreaded hearing and yet even as I heard it, it sent a shockwave through my entire body. It was the voice that had been appearing in my dreams for the last few weeks. I whipped around scanning along the corridor and into the dark shadows behind the pillars.  Even though I couldn’t see anyone, I knew I wasn’t alone.  My heart was hammering in my chest and the hairs on the backs of my arm were prickling.  I couldn’t see him but every sense in my body told me that he was here.  

 I continued to scan the dimly lit corridor, waiting for him to appear.  For just a brief second I started to think that I had imagined hearing his voice, when at last I caught a movement out the corner of my eye. Out of the shadows the familiar outline appeared.  He stopped a small distance from me, half in shadow and half in the dim orange glow from the torchlight, bringing the strange image of half an angel and half a demon to my mind.  Even in the darkness, I could tell that both his eyes were gleaming with anger and for the first time in a long time, I felt a little afraid to be near him.

‘Excuse me?’ I asked, trying to regain some of my composure by keeping my voice from shaking.

‘I said I never figured that you were a coward,’ he said, keeping his voice low.

‘Oh really? And how exactly am I a coward?’ I said folding my arms, hoping that I appeared a lot bolder than I felt.

‘I would have thought that was fairly obvious,’ he scoffed, mimicking my gesture by folding his arms and leaning against the large stone pillar, throwing more of his features into the torchlight.  I couldn’t help but stare at the effect.  His usually white blonde hair shimmered like gold and the flickering flames from the torches danced in his eyes, ‘since you are very clearly trying to avoid me.’

‘Oh please, don’t flatter yourself,’ I scoffed trying my best not to stare at him.

‘Am I wrong?’  His eyes challenged me and despite the heat in his glare I found that I couldn’t look away. ‘Are you telling me that you didn’t go to McGonagall and get your potions seat and your detention changed all so that you could avoid me?’

‘As a matter of fact you are wrong. It wasn’t me that asked to be moved, it was McGonagall’s idea,’ I said triumphantly. I couldn’t help but give a quite spectacular smirk of my own as the arrogant expression on his face slipped, his eyes filling with a degree of doubt.

'Apparently you're a bad influence and I need some space from you so I can focus on my grades.'  I said smugly, watching a shadow of doubt appear in his features. 

‘Fine.’ He walked towards me, like a predator rounding on its prey, ’but that doesn’t change the fact that you are avoiding me.’

‘And why would I do that? Why would I want to avoid you?’ I was struggling to breathe.  My chest was rising and falling steadily as the atmosphere around us danced with anticipation.

‘You know why,’ he said not backing down, staring at me intently. ‘After what happened.  After we… after you kissed me.’

His eyes dropped to my lips and I found myself swallowing down the huge lump that at appeared in my throat.  I licked my lips quickly, determined to rid myself of the memory of his lips on mine all the while trying to convince myself that I wasn’t fighting the urge to kiss him again.  Mentally I berated myself, pushing all of the feelings down, deep down, inside of me.  I would figure them out later, but in that moment I just needed him to leave me alone.

‘Yes Draco I kissed you,’ I said, trying my best to sound nonchalant as his eyes widened slightly at my admittance. ‘I was upset and you were there. It’s not a big deal and I am certainly not avoiding you because of it.’

I hadn’t even noticed Draco’s expression throughout my little rant.  If I thought I had stripped him of his arrogance then I was totally wrong, for it had found its way back into each and every one of his features.

‘What?’ I asked annoyed, after he continued to smirk at me, staying silent.

‘Oh nothing, I’m just wondering who you think you’re trying to kid with that little speech, because you’re certainly not fooling me.’

‘Well you can think what you like, but that… kiss meant absolutely nothing.’  If I thought I had persuaded him, I was wrong.  Hell I wasn’t even managing to persuade myself.

‘And you wonder why I’m calling you a coward?’ he asked, with a look of disgust on his face that I was all too familiar with.

All I could do was to furrow my brows in question.

‘You are a coward because you can’t admit to yourself your true feelings. You’re lying to yourself and you’re lying to me.’

‘I’m, I’m not, I…’

‘You know as well as I do that there is something between us,' he said, cutting me off,  'I don’t know what it is, but it’s like there’s some sort of pull, some sort of attraction between us that I can’t explain, but I’m tired of pretending that it doesn’t exist.  I’m tired of being a coward.  Are you?’ he challenged.

‘I don’t know what you mean,’ I said weakly, my voice unsteady.

‘Stop pretending Hermione,’ he said stepping even closer to me, so close I could almost feel the heat radiating off of him. I wanted to step back, but my legs felt like lead, gluing me to the ground, freezing me in place. ‘Stop pretending that you can’t feel it.  Feel this,’ he said, pointing between the two of us.  ‘I know I’m not the only one. I know you feel it too.’

‘I… don’t,’ I struggled to say, taking a small step back, only for him to close the distance again with a small step of his own.

‘Yes you do,’ he said stepping so close to me that there was barely an inch between us.  He leaned in close to me, so close that I could feel his warm breath on my face.  ‘I hear it in your voice,’ he said leaning forward and whispering in my ear, causing my breath to hitch in a loud gasp.

 ‘I see it in the way that you react to me,’ he said running his hand slowly down my arm, causing a line of goose bumps to appear.  I noticed the hint of a smile that appeared on his lips as he noticed my body’s reaction.

‘I can see it in your eyes,’ he said bringing his face up close to mine, resting his forehead against mine giving me no option but to look up into his steely grey eyes.

‘And I can see it in your lips,’ he said, swallowing deeply and moving his lips down to touch mine, ‘that you want to kiss me.’

This should have been the point where I pulled away, where I pushed him away.  Where I set him straight and marched off to the Gryffindor common room, giving him a scathing comment on my way past him about how I couldn’t care less about him and he would be the last guy in the world that I would ever dream of kissing.

That’s what I should have done. Should. But in the case of head verses heart, it seemed that my head had temporarily left the building leaving my heart in charge, free to do whatever the hell it felt like. Before I could even think of why, my eyes fluttered closed and my head tilted backwards, slowly raising my mouth up to meet his. As if he had been assessing my reaction and finally realised that I wasn’t going to push him away and slap him around the head, his arm snaked its way around my back. Feeling emboldened, I brought my hand up to the back of his neck, pulling him down and closing the last remaining space between us.  The second our lips connected he deepened the kiss, pressing me even closer to him.  His lips were soft and firm, but his kisses were unrelenting. I gently lifted my hand up to his hair, running my fingers through his long blonde hair, wondering how on earth it was so soft.  I was dangerously close to losing myself completely when I was brought back to reality by the familiar creaking and grinding of the moving staircases- someone was coming.

Panicking I pulled away from Draco, dragging him into the shadows, hiding behind a pillar. ‘Hermione, what are you…’

‘Shh,’ I said, cutting him off, holding my hand out to stop him. We stood in the darkness, waiting as a two girls walked past, deep in conversation about which boys they liked from their year. As the voices got closer, I felt myself press even closer to Draco desperately trying not to be seen.  Standing this close I could feel the steady rise and fall of his chest and his warm breath on my cheek.  Turning to face him I realised how close we were standing, my body pressed against his.  He could probably hear just how loudly my heart was beating. He began to lift his hand up towards me when the door at the opposite end of the corridor closed and I took a quick step backwards out of his reach.

 I saw his hand quickly drop to his side, trying to hide the movement, although he couldn’t quite hide the small flash of hurt that appeared in his eyes.

That had been too close. Far too close. What if those girls had seen us? What if they had come just one minute earlier? How on earth would I have explained kissing Draco Malfoy in a corridor?

‘I need to go.  It’s getting late,’ I said, unable to meet his eyes.

‘Okay,’ he said uncertainly, ‘well I can walk with you some of the way.’

‘No thanks, I’m fine,’ I replied hurriedly, already beginning to walk away.

‘What about tomorrow? Can we meet?’ he asked, looking so hopeful that I almost caved. I had to be strong.  I had to walk away.

‘I can’t, I’m busy,’ I said deliberately avoiding looking at him.

‘Hermione, what’s the matter?’ he said, trying to reach and out and touch my shoulder before I once again spun out of his reach.  A brief flash of hurt crossed his face as I pulled away from him.  

‘Please talk to me,’ he urged again, when I still didn’t say anything.  ‘What’s wrong?’

‘This,’ I said gesturing between the two of us, ‘we can’t do this.’

‘Why? Why not. Who says we can’t do it?’

‘Everyone will say it,’ I cried, thinking of what people would say if they ever found out. ‘You and me.  We can’t be together. It’s just wrong.’

A look of understanding seemed to cross his face along with a dark look that immediately made me shrink back and further away from him, ‘because I’m a death eater, right?  No matter what I do that’s what you’ll always think of me.’

‘No that’s not it at all,’ I said quickly, trying to reassure him, ‘I know you’re not a death eater.  It’s just that I..’

‘You don’t trust me,’ he hissed back.

‘No, I..’

‘You don’t,’ he stated, matter of factly, not a trace of doubt in his voice.

‘Can you blame me?’  I snapped, finally voicing the truth, ‘ever since I’ve known you, for the last seven years, you have made it your personal mission to make my life a living hell. You think I’m a mudblood and so very far beneath you. You can’t blame me for having doubts that all of a sudden you want to… whatever it is you want.’

As I spoke, the anger disappeared from his eyes and even after I had finished speaking he stayed silent, just watching me. I was beginning to think that he wasn’t going to answer.  He had been silent for so long I was surprised when he finally spoke. ‘No I can’t blame you. I know it’s my fault that you feel that way, but I promise you that I have changed and I don’t think that way about you anymore and I promise you that I will prove myself to you. I will make you trust me.’

His voice so strong, so self- assured like he knew it was inevitable that we would be together.  His confidence was startling and made me think of the possibilities. Was it possible?  Could Draco and I ever stand a chance?

‘I don’t know Draco.  None of this makes any sense.’

‘Not everything in the world has to have a reason Hermione.’  He took a tentative step forward and when I didn’t flinch he closed the rest of the distance in one confident step.  Raising one hand he trailed the back of his hand down my cheek, making me shiver at the sensation. ‘Just take a chance. Take a chance on me. Please. I promise you I won’t let you down. I really like you Hermione.’

‘But why?’ I managed to utter, my voice barely above a whisper.

‘Why do I like you?’ he asked, raising his eyebrows in question.

‘Yes?’ I answered, suddenly feeling very embarrassed and yet I had come this far and I really wanted to know the answer, so I looked him straight in the eye and waited for him to answer.

‘Seriously, you want me explain why I like you,’ he asked looking more than a little annoyed, ‘Fine’, he said, closing his eyes and clenching his jaw, like he was psyching himself up, then with a quick shake of his head he began, looking me directly in the eye the entire time, ‘I like how you stand up to me. You’re not afraid to tell me exactly what you think of me. Nobody else had ever done that. Not one person.  I like how brave you are and how you’ll tackle any situation head on.  I love how passionate you are and how you will stand up for what’s right no matter what.  I love the look that you get when you’re reading, like you are somewhere completely different to the rest of us. Like you’ve blocked everything else out.  You just look so happy. I love the sound of your laugh and how you crinkle your noes when you smile.  And I love how you make me feel. You make me feel like it’s possible to change, to be a better person.  You make me feel like I can be anyone I want to be.  Is that okay? Is that enough?’ he said after a short pause, suddenly looking a little embarrassed.

Despite myself I could feel my eyes watering and I was finding it incredibly difficult to breathe. No one had ever spoken to me like that before. It’s the way a girl always dreams that a man will speak to her. The way that I had always dreamed when I had read countless books and romance stories. Granted in all my dreams I had never imagined that it would be Draco Malfoy who would be speaking those words to me and yet in that moment I couldn’t imagine anyone else in his place. And just like the way I had always dreamed, I pushed myself up onto my tiptoes, wrapped my arms around his neck and kissed him.

‘Is that a yes?’ he asked, leaning back to look into my eyes again, ‘does that mean we can give this a try?’

‘What do you think?’ I said, reaching up behind his neck and pulling him closer to me again. ‘Now shut up and kiss me.’


‘That I can do.’

A/N: Once again I am so sorry that I haven't updated in so long.  Work has been very busy and then my laptop broke so I lost everything I had from this chapter so I've had to start from scratch, plus I was never really happy with the start or middle of a chapter, so I've been editing it for ages, but I’m pretty happy with the result.  They are finally together.  Yay!!!!

  So anyway here it is.  Hope you all enjoy.  Please leave me a wee review so I know what you think of the ending to the chapter.  I haven't given up on this story and I have lots of ideas so let me know what you think might happen or what you want to happen.

Also as it has been ages since I've actually written I was going back and reading over previous chapters and I noticed a few mistakes, so I'm going to be going back and editing some previous chapters, but I have 3000 words of the new chapter written and you know reviews really help to motivate a girl to write.

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