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Chapter 16 : chapter sixteen
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And I guess, maybe they had been. It was amazing to see and something that made me proud. I looked around at all of the people and realized that they were all staring at me, waiting for me to say something. I took a deep breath before beginning.
"So Harry is gone, and so is Dumbledore. I don't know exactly what they are doing, but I know that it is important and that they will be back. In the meantime though, that means that Hogwarts is defenseless and we need to make sure that it stays standing. Gryffindor's you already know what to do so I will see you in a bit. Ron, Ginny, head up to Dumbledore's office and begin alerting the Order, I will head up there as soon as I get everyone else caught up. Best of luck."
At that, the Gryffindors embarked on their different tasks while the Hufflepuffs and Ravenclaws moved in closer to me. I looked at each one, trying to take in as many details of their faces as I could. There was one thing that I knew, and it was that no one was going to be guaranteed another day. We didn't know for sure that anything was going to happen, and I hoped that nothing would, but generally whenever Harry got a feeling that something bad was going to happen, it did.
"What is it that you want us to do Hermione," asked Cho Chang from towards the back of the circle.
"We are going to alert the staff members that something is going on. We need as many wands ready as possible because we have no idea what is waiting for us. There could honestly be nothing and none of this actually be needed, but if I have learned anything over the past six years, it’s that whenever Harry seems to have a hunch that something bad is going to happen it always finds a way to come about, just maybe not in the ways that we would think."
"So what exactly do we tell the teachers, that Harry had a hunch that something bad is going to happen tonight?"
"Yes and no. Most of the teachers are already on high alert as is, so most won’t need any convincing. If any of them ask you can tell them that Harry and Dumbledore have left and will be back soon but until they come back, we need to be prepared for something to happen. Also, we will want two people to stay back in your common rooms to protect the younger students in case something does go down. Any volunteers?”
They all looked at each other, each person wanting someone else to step up for such a boring task. Finally, Hannah Abbott and Justin Finch-Fletchly stepped up for Hufflepuff and Marietta Edgecomb and Anthony Goldstein stepped up for Ravenclaw.
“Thank you, now, are there any other questions?" After a minute with no response, I continued. "Alright then, head off, it will be best to stay in at least a group of two in case you come across anyone. And remember if you see any students out of bed; send them back to their common rooms. Best of luck."
With that, everyone dispersed heading off in different directions to alert as many professors as possible or back to their common rooms to wait it out. I waited until the last group was out of sight before heading off on my own to join Ron and Ginny. I only hoped that none of this would be too late and that we would all make it through the night. My mind was consumed with thoughts of what was going to happen that I almost didn't notice a person come around the corner. I immediately lifted my wand to protect myself but once I took in the ashen sunk in face of Draco Malfoy my wand fell to my side.
"Draco," I sighed a breath of relief, "it’s just you."
"Yeah, it’s just me" he said, a bit more on guard than he usually was with me.
"What are you doing out tonight?"
“What I have to,” he replied.
“What exactly is that supposed to mean?”
“It means exactly that, I’m doing what I have to do, to protect my family.”
It was at that moment, that I realized that Harry was right, something bad was going to happen tonight, and it was going to be at the hands of Draco Malfoy. That was, unless I could convince him otherwise.
“You know you don’t have to do this, Dumbledore can protect you.”
“No he can’t. No one is safe from the Dark Lord, and after tonight, not even Hogwarts will be safe.”
“What’s that supposed to mean Draco?”
“Stop calling me that, you-you filthy mudblood.”
For years, that word had meant nothing to me. I had built my walls up so well that I wouldn’t even bat my eyelashes at that word. But now, after the span of just a few months, those walls were crumbled down and the pain that had once been there was back. I blinked away a few tears that betrayed me, and squared my shoulders.
“I know you don’t mean that Draco.” I whispered, as I walked closer to him, a plan forming in my mind.
“I do,” he yelled out, which made me think that he was only saying it to convince himself.
I was so close to him now that I could see the worry etched on his face. His eyes were haunted, the grey dimming with each passing second, as if I could watch the hope slowly drain out of him. He stood there staring at me, his eyes darting around my face, as if he were trying to take it all in. I stepped even closer to him, our bodies pressing together lightly. My nerves amplified in my stomach as my body fully realized what I was going to do. I was going to take a huge leap of faith, and I hoped that he was going to catch me.
“I have to do this,” he whispered as I slowly leaned in closer.
“No you don’t Draco,” I told him, and as I said his name, I let my lips lightly touch his.
At first, his body stiffened up and I was afraid he was going to shove me away but then his arms suddenly wrapped around me and held me closer to him. I could feel my mouth curve into a smile as he continued to kiss me. My plan had worked, now I just had to convince him to come with me.
“Draco,” I said, when he finally pulled back, “you don’t have to do this, whatever this is supposed to be. Just come with me, and when Dumbledore comes back, he can protect you. He can bring you someplace safe, where you won’t be found.”
“I’m sorry Hermione, but I have to do this. Nothing that you say or do will stop me. And if you try to stop me, I will curse you, so please don’t make me, and just let me go.”
I could feel the tears roll down my face, as I nodded in defeat. He already had his mind made up, and there was nothing that I could do about it but let him go. I never thought that losing Draco Malfoy would ever hurt worse than it had with Ron, but I was wrong there too. Somehow over the span of just a few months, Draco had managed to worm his way into my heart and mend the pieces that Ron had broken, only to break it even more.
Draco slowly leaned in and kissed me once more before backing away from me. I could see the pain clearly etched on his face, as if he didn’t want to do this, but in the end, it was his choice, and he thought he had none. We stood there for a few moments, neither of us moving, and both unsure of what to do.
“Just go,” I finally whispered to him, my heart breaking even more, as he finally walked by me to get to his destination.
I watched him walk away and turn a corner and then wiped away my tears. There would be time later to think about tonight’s events, but now was not the time. I had people counting on me and I couldn’t let them down because of some boy.
I lifted my head higher, and continued on my way to Dumbledore’s office, pretending that my heart had not just been broken. The hallways were quiet tonight, and even though there were many students out of bed busy trying to protect the school, I never ran into anyone else. By the time I had made it to Dumbledore’s office, many of the Order members were already here, and more were coming. They all had their wands out pointing at me but when they realized that I was not a Death Eater, they lowered them.
“I’ve been watching the map,” Ginny spoke up, “and Draco just disappeared into the room of requirement a few minutes ago. We haven’t seen him reappear yet, so he must still be there. Do you suspect that we should go that way to head him off? Wait, there he is, and he isn’t alone anymore. Bellatrix, Fenrir, and Amycus are there, and that’s just the beginning of it, there are more behind them. But I don’t get it, they aren’t headed towards any of the common rooms, as a matter of fact, they are heading away from them all.”
“It doesn’t matter where they are headed, we need to stop them from getting whatever it is that they want,” Fred Weasley said from by Dumbledore’s desk.
“Ginny,” Molly Weasley began, “please stay here. This isn’t something you should be involved with.”
“You can’t make me stay,” she responded. “I will follow after you if I have to but I’m not staying behind. This is as much my fight as it is yours.”
Molly sighed but did not say another word about Ginny fighting with us. We all headed out of Dumbledore’s office and began to make our way to the upper floors where the Death Eaters were at. We changed our course as Ginny gave directions but none of us were sure of where we would end up, that was until suddenly Dumbledore and Harry reappeared on the map.
“There,” Ginny shouted out. “Dumbledore and Harry are in the Astronomy Tower, and it looks like that’s where the Death Eaters are headed.”
And just like that, we all took off towards the tower, our wands out ready to fight. I felt my heart pumping furiously in my chest in anticipation for the fight to come, the ache left from Draco was reduced to only a mere dull sensation but it was still there prickling at the back of my mind. I tried not to think about him as I ran but my mind was not as willing to let him go. How could I possibly fight against him? Had it been months ago before our friendship had started, it would have been easy. But now, it wasn’t as easy. I had allowed myself to feel things for him that I never thought I would, things that I thought I would only be able to feel for a certain red head boy running just ahead of me. And maybe if things had been different, I would never have felt this way. But the fact of the matter was, that I had somehow fallen for Draco Malfoy.
I felt a burning sensation in my pocket, and quickly grabbed the burning coin. There were only a few words on it, but it made me run even faster.
They’re here. Astronomy Tower.
AN: It has been way too long since I have updated this story, and for that I apologize. I promise you that I have not forgotten about this story. I hope to update more frequently but we will see how life treats me. I would love to hear what you thought of this chapter so go to that little box and tell me what you think! Hopefully I will have a beta look over this chapter soon to fix up all the mistakes! Thanks for reading!
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by Ben Hallport