Chapter 5 : Chapter 5 ~ Curses and Slaps
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Chapter 5 ~ Curses and Slaps
Once again he was fuming. Why did she have to be so stubborn and snippy? He was trying to be civil to her despite the look she always had on her face. It had been three weeks and they weren’t getting along any better. In fact, it seemed that Granger was just getting more wound up by the day and it was making her unbearable. He had noticed that Potter and his girlfriend were often busy and that Ron was being a complete asshole to her, but their actions didn’t appear to be so bad compared to how Granger was now acting. Professor Mirtac isn’t helping though. The way she treats Granger must be insulting to the bookworm. It was Saturday and he was standing on the walkway out to one of the astronomy towers. The wind bustled him about but he had a stance that held him fairly steady. The apple he’d been eating was sadly now in a smashed mess somewhere down below due to him chucking it in anger as he thought about how things were going.
Many people ignored him mostly but there were also those who would mutter and make comments when he was within earshot about how he should be in Azkaban and what a dirty Death Eater he was. It was very irritating and on top of that he had to be partnered with Granger in two classes and she was such a delight (not). The other class he was partnered with her in was astronomy and it was a little easier to handle. They didn’t have to constantly communicate with each and because both of them knew what they were doing, they rarely talked at all. That seemed to be the only time they got along was when they were both in silence, although he did notice how tense he made her if he got too close.
Grabbing his broom that was leaning against the wall, he jumped on and plummeted downward in a dive. He couldn’t help but let out a yell at the exhilaration of it. He had been numb and afraid for too long, so now he flew whenever he got the chance. But not just normal flying, he had started the routine of diving off the astronomy tower first before zooming out across the lake. He knew it was reckless, but what did he have to lose? As he was flying and starting to relax, his thoughts went to Potter. It was strange to him but Potter was being very civil to him and had even made polite conversation at one point. The guy really wasn’t so bad… besides being famous, a gentleman, respected and everything that made Draco jealous.
The weekend went by too quickly and soon he was sitting next to Granger in Transfiguration again. Today instead of being angry she seemed more teary-eyed and Draco did his best to not talk to her unless necessary. He had noticed this morning that for whatever reason Weasley had flipped her off. The surprising part was how it had made Draco himself feel. No matter what the situation was or what Granger had done, Weasley should never do that to her, much less in public. He had felt like going over and giving Weasley a punch. Of course, Ronald doing that meant that Granger ran off fighting tears and Ginny Weasley rounded on her brother with a thousand curse words. He had to admit, that part of it had been pretty amusing to watch. He now glanced at Granger quickly and saw that she seemed deflated today and was going through the motions of the assignment but not caring about it. That seemed to be a dangerous sign to him.
Two days later, Draco was sitting in his seat waiting for Transfiguration to start when he noticed Weasley come storming in. About two minutes later, Granger came in being escorted by Potter and the Weaslette following behind. Then the girl that had somehow decided to date Ronald Weasley walked in and sat in the back to wait for her partner. She was crying and it only took Draco a second to realize there had been a breakup, but why was Granger crying?
Hermione just walked through her classes in what felt like a robotic motion. She did her homework, went to class and then spent more of her time alone. Harry and Ginny were busy with each other and Quiddich and she had no one else. She had made a couple small attempts to talk to Ron but he just ignored her. Yesterday he had even given her the finger with a sneer as he told her that she shouldn’t talk to him at all after abandoning them. She had left but knew that Ginny had given him a piece of her mind. She needed to find a way to get things off her mind but didn’t know what. Hermione had watched Malfoy dive off the Astronomy tower a few times and then glide over the lake. She thought that maybe flying would help but she had never really practiced and didn’t feel like asking Harry.
The next day at breakfast, she was sitting at the Gryffindor table eating a piece of toast when Ron slammed his way into a seat a few down from hers. He was scarlet in the face and in a very bad mood. A few minutes later she noticed that Parvati had walked into the hall crying and gone to sit with her sister instead of at the Gryffindor table. Not really being sorry about the obvious breakup but still feeling sorry for Ron, she caught up to him on the way to class.
He turned to glare at her.
“Are you ok?” she asked him.
“God Hermione, did you lose your intelligence in the war? Nooo I’m not ok.”
His words stung her but she tried one more time.
“Well I’m sorry things didn’t work out.”
“Don’t be… she was still a thousand times better than you even on a bad day.”
Hermione froze as she watched him stomp off. Why was he so mean? She had tried to talk to him about why she’d left and attempted to make things better but he wouldn’t go for any of it. She felt like she had just been smacked in the face by his actions. Suddenly she felt a hand on her arm and although her instinct was to spin around in a ready stance, she felt too numb to care so she sort of twitched. Her head slowly turned to see who had touched her. It was Harry. He pulled her out of the traffic of students making their way to class and asked her,
“Hermione, what happened? What’s wrong?”
“Ron… I don’t… why?” She stammered, noticing that tears were starting.
“What did he do?” Harry said trying to look her in the eye.
“He hates me… and I don’t even really know why.”
Harry just hugged her and started walking her with him on the way to class while she let tears fall. When they reached the classroom she realized they had Transfiguration. She recoiled within and went through the motions of class but didn’t raise her hand. Luckily Malfoy didn’t say anything to her today.
Another week went by and for some reason Ron had tried to talk to her. But she wanted nothing to do with him now. He had ignored her, sworn at her and insulted her when she tried to talk to him so she was having none of it now that he suddenly wanted to talk. It was the weekend and on Saturday night Ron managed to catch her arm in the common room. First thing she noticed was that his grip was a little too tight for comfort. He asked her if she would meet him the in the Room of Requirement the next evening so they could talk in private. She thought about it and for some reason agreed to meet him. So the next evening she was making her way through the corridors when she came upon Malfoy.
“Oh. Granger, what are you doing?”
“None of your business Malfoy.”
“Can’t we be civil Granger? You’re my partner in two subjects and I’m sick of your attitude.”
“My attitude? I think I have the right to ignore you and be snippy. You have made my life a living hell and I don’t need it now on top of everything else.”
“Well maybe I’ve changed… Have you paid any attention to that?”
And then he walked away. She shook her head but couldn’t stop thinking about his words as she continued on. She was yanked back to reality by walking straight into Ron who was standing outside the Room of Requirement.
“Didn’t think you’d show.” He said gesturing her to go inside.
She stepped into a plain room with a table and couch. Hermione sat herself at the very end of the couch and waited for what Ron had brought her here for. She looked at him but didn’t say a word. Just waited.
“So, maybe I’ve been kind of a prick…”
Maybe? How about you have… She thought to herself.
“I’m just having so many feelings and then you left us all alone with no word of where you were.”
“Ron, I wrote you a couple of times and never got a reply.”
“I’m not good with words Hermione… you know that.”
“Yes but you still could have said something. Letters and responses go both ways.” She said to him feeling a little irritated.
“But you left… Hermione. I wanted to see you and talk.”
As he spoke this time he stepped close so that he was looming over her. She felt uneasy. He grabbed her hand and she tried to pull back but he lifted her to her feet.
He pressed her against the wall and then lay his lips on hers. She pushed him. What the hell did he think he was doing? She tried to pull away but he was still holding her arm tightly. Hermione kept struggling and finally slammed her foot down on this toes. He yelped and then his hand came out of nowhere. SMACK. Hermione felt a stinging sensation before she realized that he had hit her. She ran. She ran as fast as she could away from him and didn’t pay any attention to where she was going. Even when she became out of breath she didn’t stop, she kept running until she ran into something relatively solid.
“Hey! What the hell do you— huh?”
Hermione looked up and saw she was face to face with Malfoy for the second time in a matter of 30 minutes. He stared at her and she saw his eyes shift to look closer at her face. Turning her head away she tried to hide the welt that must be in the rough shape of a hand on her face.
“Who did that to you?”
She stayed silent, but couldn’t help notice the darkness in his voice.
“Granger… Who did that to you?”
“None of your business.” She said.
It was meant to be a strong voice to ward him away and she could escape, but instead her voice betrayed her and came out as a strangled whisper. She tiled her head slightly to look at him but flinched as she saw his hand coming towards her. He immediately stopped.
“Granger, no one deserves this. Who did this to you?”
“I’m nothing… and why do you care?”
But instead of waiting for a reply, she took off running again. This time she paid just enough attention to where she was going so she ended up in the right place. Luckily no one noticed her enough to see her face as she headed straight to bed. Why had Malfoy cared?
He stood there completely stunned as Hermione Granger ran away from him for the second time within an hour. The first time she’d been rude and defensive, but just now… She’d seemed so frail and defeated. She didn’t even yell like he’d expected. However, the bigger emotion he was feeling was rage. Someone had hit her. Draco had no idea why he had begun feeling so protective of her but he did and this just about set him over the edge. He hadn’t been able to save her from his aunt so maybe he could save her this time. He knew that she wasn’t about to open up and let him in her life, so he came up with a plan to be there for her but unknown to her.
The next morning when classes resumed, he set his mini plan in motion. He wrote down You are bright on a piece of paper and made sure it landed in front of her. Once it landed in front of her he wished he had written something better than that but it was too late now. He watched as she read it and looked confused. He dropped his gaze for a second but looked up in time to see her smile slightly and put the paper in her bag. Draco watched as Weasley started to come up to her but she flinched. Could it have been him? He watched as Granger got as far away from him as possible while grabbing some food and then left the hall. Draco’s fists clenched. Thar dirty weasel, he’d pay if he actually laid a hand on her.
Another few days went by and he continued to leave little notes for her with words of encouragement on them or light quotes. Sometimes he’d look in time to see her look confused and/or smile. He also noticed that she would get letters occasionally and they seemed to have two effects on her. Her emotions ranged from a small smile to her having an intense look of sadness on her face and she’d hold the letter close. It was suddenly Friday again and he longed for his all morning broom ride. He arrived and sat in his and Granger’s usual spot for Transfiguration, waiting for her. He waited but Granger hadn’t shown up. Professor Mirtac glanced at his spot noticing the empty chair and then scanned the room. Her eyes narrowed slightly but then she started class. Everyone’s heads turned when the door opened and Ronald Weasley came in looking furious and heartbroken at the same time (if that were possible). A few minutes later, Granger entered. As she drew near her seat she slammed her bag on the ground and practically threw her wand on the desk. It almost hit him and he just looked at her. Apparently that had been the wrong thing to do because she rounded on him,
“Oh I’m sorry… am I disturbing you? Would you like me to abandon our partnership and then come back? Oh but let me guess, your failing grade would be my fault and then you’d hate me some more… because you’re perfect, never do wrong and you have a family.”
“Granger,” Draco said, “Cool it and sit down, will you?”
“Cool it? Oh yes because that’s how everything should be handled. Why don’t you mind your own business Death Eater.”
Now she’d gone too far. He’d had enough with students muttering in the hallways. He had been dealing fine with it, but for her to say that broke him and he lashed out.
“No I won’t you little mudworm. I didn’t ask to be partnered with you but since that’s the case I need you to shut the hell up and be here on time.”
Obviously what he called her was a little too close to the disgusting name he used to call her because next thing he knew there was a pain in his ear and both of them were ringing. She had thrown a hex at him. Before he remembered they were in a whole classroom of people. He shot several hexes at her. They went back and forth for only a minute until Professor Mirtac shouted for silence, but it was enough for them to do considerable damage to each other. He was covered in painful blisters with a purple ooze, his ears were still ringing, half of his face was so swollen he couldn’t see and he could feel his collarbone bleeding. She was also in bad shape; half her face looked burned, one of her hands was scaly and blistering, and she had a black eye. The classroom appeared blown apart, like a huge windstorm had taken place just in this room. Papers and desks were everywhere. Students were emerging from behind chairs and debris with bruises. It didn’t look good.
“Go to the headmistress. Now!” Professor Mirtac yelled at them.
She didn’t even bother to fix them at all, but instead grabbed their shoulders and shooed them out of her classroom full on glaring at the pair of them. They slowly limped and wobbled their way to the stone gargoyle who laughed at them and said he needed no password because he knew they were in trouble. When the door opened, some of the portraits gasped at their appearance. McGonagall just looked up and pursed her lips. Once they had found their seats and sat, she spoke.
“I am very disappointed in both of you, but especially you miss Granger. I expected better from 7th year students and you two have been through worse. Now I know you both have never gotten along but I hoped that after the war you could at least be civil.”
Draco wanted to say he’d tried but knew better than to mess with the headmistress.
“You leave me with no choice but to force you to work on getting along. I am giving you both detentions from now until January or until I deem otherwise. Every Saturday and Thursday evening from 6-10pm.”
She glanced down at her desk and then continued, “Please be in the old classroom on the 3rd floor corridor. It will be the first on your left from the stairs coming from your dormitory. Miss Granger, I’m sure you remember that corridor. Now please, no more fighting. I’m not asking you to be friends, just get along and don’t destroy any more classrooms. You are dismissed.”
He opened his mouth to protest, but she gave him such a look that he closed his mouth again without a peep. As they both stood, the Headmistress waved her wand over them to reduce their duel damages and then sent them to the Hospital Wing. Draco was careful not to say anything or even look at the girl walking next to him. They were alone and he didn’t want to get cursed again. Once they were almost to the location of Madame Pomfrey, he heard sniffling and finally took a chance to look at her. There were tears streaming down her face, which made the burn on her check appear worse. He thought back to what she had shouted at him…his gut began to clench as he analyzed her words.
As she and Malfoy walked to the hospital, she thought over everything that had happened. It wasn’t even lunch time yet and she, Hermione Granger, now had caused a scene and been given detentions with Malfoy.
Hermione woke up feeling like she’d just set her head on the pillow. She had been visited by Bellatrix for most of the night and had to re-experience being tortured and insulted for hours on end. Every time she woke up and went back to sleep, that horrible witch had been waiting for her. Once up, she gradually made her way to the bathroom to wash her face and attempted to avoid the face that looked back at her.
As she got to breakfast, she realized there wasn’t much time until class but just as she was walking into the Hall Ron was coming out and pulled her aside. She tried to pull away but he cornered her again.
“Hermione, the reason I’m so hurt is because… well… I love you.”
Hermione gaped at him. If he loved her how the hell could he treat her the way he had?
“I just feel angry too though,” He continued, “After Fred and then you left and everyone hurting… I didn’t know what to do. Parvati started owling me and there wasn’t as much drama surrounding her and she was there for me. So I forced myself to forget about the kiss with you. She was so good for me… but the reason we broke up was because I wanted to feel that emotion of kissing you again and see if it was as strong as before! Please Hermione I want you…”
She took a moment to assess. Was he for real? He loved her but another girl had been good for him at the time. Oh he wrote to someone else, but couldn’t respond to her at all? Hermione could feel some anger rising up and also the feeling of not being good enough.
“HOW DARE YOU! You can’t tell me you love me when you NEVER replied to any letters I sent. I was there all through the war and up until Fred’s funeral, but only now you reveal how you supposedly feel? No Ron… This isn’t how you treat someone you care about. Especially after the other night.”
“What did you want Hermione? You didn’t lose what I did and YOU were the one who left and abandoned us. I couldn’t tell you then. You left me and my family in our time of need.”
“Ron, you have no idea what I’ve been through and how I feel… I had to get away.”
“Well then maybe you should have stayed away….”
Then he stormed off. She stood there and felt the waves and memories of another person she cared about saying similar word, “maybe it would have been better if you’d died.” A few tears betrayed her and as she noticed no one around her she knew she was late. But she didn’t care. She wasn’t good enough anyways. Why did she even come back?
She made her way to the classroom and then the rest was even more a blur. Malfoy had looked at her and she felt herself snap. She hadn’t slept well, or eaten, then Ron happened and then she was late while Malfoy stared at her. He’d called her a “mudworm” which was far too close to “mudblood” and then curses went flying. And now she was here, walking next to Malfoy to the Hospital Wing.
As they entered the wing, she completely avoided looking at him. Madame Pomfrey came bustling over to them and scowled. She beckoned them and pursed her lips but didn’t say a word about their appearances. Hermione and Draco were put in beds next to each other and had to lie there as Madame Pomfrey waved her wand, muttered spells under her breath and put a salve on Hermione’s burn. Hermione kept her eyes down and looking at her eyes but she could feel Malfoy looking at her. She thought about the consequence of her actions and another string inside her broke. Now she really had no one. She would miss time with Harry and Ginny because of detentions and then when she was free she’d have to catch up on homework. Oh, and the bonus was she had to spend more time with Malfoy. JOY.
Finally Madame Pomphrey told them to lay down for a while and then went into her office. Hermione just stared at the ceiling and tried not to think.
“What happened to you Granger? You used to be strong.”
She just stayed silent. Even if she had decided to respond to him, she didn’t have an answer. Broken. That was the only word that she felt fit her at the moment. Her family was gone, she felt isolated and disconnected from her friends, Ron was… horrible, and the rest was just filled with nightmares or no sleep.
Dinner was served to them in the hospital and they were told they had to stay overnight. Hermione tried to sleep but the nightmares that night had Ron in them too. The third time she woke up she noticed two things. First, that there was a small ball of black fur curled up next to her and second, when she turned onto her side Hermione noticed a piece of paper on her nightstand. She picked it up and felt warm shivers run through her.
You Are Not Alone
She had no idea who kept sending these notes to her, but they meant the world to her. Some people might think them cheesy or stupid, but these mystery notes were sometimes the only bright part of her days. They never came at the same time and they didn’t seem to be timed to how she was feeling either. The notes would just randomly appear. The kitten stretched itself out alongside her and Hermione tried to place where she’d seen this creature before. Being too tired to think, she gripped the little piece of paper and fell into a slightly better sleep.
They had stayed so silent the rest of the day. Even when Draco asked her a question she didn’t answer him at all. He kept himself occupied with doodling in the air with his wand. Seren joined him just after midnight and she insisted on his attention before she gazed at the bed next to his in which Granger was sleeping. Suddenly Seren jumped from his bed to the night stand and then across to the other bed. He had desperately tried to catch her before she jumped but he was too slow. He just watched as his cat padded up to the girl, sniffed her and then curled up next to her. He couldn’t believe it. She was sleeping next to Granger and completely ignoring him now.
There was a curtain up between their beds but a small slit allowed him to peek through. His mind wandered and went back to the shouting from earlier, “you have a family.” Did she mean that she didn’t have one? Was she really all alone or was that supposed to mean something else that he didn’t quite understand, like the rest of what she said about abandonment and such. He summoned some parchment and ink and wrote one of his notes to the girl in the bed next to his. He could tell she was having nightmares and today had obviously been one of the worst days for her at school that she’d had to endure. He was angry at her, but he also felt this strange emotion, called sympathy, for her.
Draco’s thoughts traveled to a darker time that haunted him often. He would often see Granger lying in front of his aunt, in his mind, and the images of her being curses and cut replayed behind his eyes. His gut always clenched at the memories and the feelings that came over him made him desperately want to protect her. She should never have had to go through that, he felt he should have done more but since he had wanted himself and his mother to live he had cowered against standing up to them. He noticed his was gripping the sheets on the hospital bed so hard that he had begun to rip them. Quickly he released them and tried to banish the images from his mind. He hoped that he could someday repay Hermione Granger for what he had NOT done that day, but for the moment she still seemed to hate him. He looked over at the note he’d written her once more and then let his eyes close in the attempts at falling asleep.
The next morning when he woke up, he saw that Seren was gone and so was the note. He sat up and stretched glancing at the still sleeping girl. One of her hands seemed to be gripping something and upon closer inspection he saw it was the note he’d written last night. He sighed, at least she’d gotten some comfort from that. Noticing that he was up, Madame Pomfrey came over and quietly told him he was allowed to change and leave. When he had changed and was about to leave he slid up to the side of Granger’s bed and whispered,
As he was leaving the hospital, Seren came bounding up to him,
“Oh, so you’ve decided to come back to me?”
She seemed to glare at him and gave a little meow as she flicked her tail.
“Ok, ok so maybe she needed you. You’re too smart, you know that. You could give Granger a run for her money.” He said with a smirk.
Then he realized he was having a conversation with his cat in the corridor. He sighed. As he walked back towards the Great Hall he scooped up Seren and let her sit on his shoulder. When they passed the front doors she meowed at him and then jumped off his shoulder to go do her own thing. He wished her could follow her. He slumped down at the end of the Slytherin table but no one bothered to look up and Blaise wasn’t there yet. Draco did notice that a few Gryffindor’s were staring at him and he looked down at the table. He was not in the mood. As he was mutilating his sausage and savagely eating it, he remembered it was Saturday and that meant he could go flying until detention tonight. His mood immediately brightened and he took a large gulp or Pumpkin juice.
The Headmistress hadn’t mentioned what they would be doing for their detentions, but he imagined it was something extensive since they were required to fulfill the punishment until at least January. Oh joy. How would working alone with Granger be? He knew that no teacher was going to be sitting with them the whole time just to watch them, so he and Granger would be alone. He felt a little nervous but there was a part of him that knew those would be the moments when he could/would make the biggest impressions of who is was. That was the hard part.
When she woke up Saturday morning, she noticed that she was now alone. Malfoy was gone and so was the kitten. That cute little furball who had curled up with her last night… Oh! She thought to herself and as she made the connection. That was Malfoy’s cat. I wonder why it came over to me? Did he put the cat with me or did it come over on its own? She lifted her hand to smooth her hair and felt the paper. She read it once again and felt a little tug in her chest. Who was this person who kept sending these to her? She hoped they wouldn’t stop.
She wasn’t really hungry at the moment, so she headed back up to the tower to change and grab everything she needed to catch up on the classes she’d missed yesterday. Then she remembered she had detention later. Great, more time with Malfoy. He was the last person she wanted to be around for hours all alone. Maybe their task would be something where she didn’t have to pay attention to him? But she doubted that since the Headmistress said they needed more time learning to work with each other.
Once she had gathered her books and extra parchment, she went into her window seat cubby in the library. She worked all the way up until dinner time. Hermione then reluctantly went to eat something before she had to go meet up with Malfoy.
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