Chapter 5 : Chapter Five
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Can you tell me it’s going to be ok, can you mean it?
Haven’t we earned redemption? Haven’t we endured enough?
- Tyler Knott Gregson
“You were serious about tonight’s party?” Hermione huffed loudly at Harry’s question, tossing her hair as she flounced down the stairs in front of him. Harry bit back a laugh; it wasn’t like she should be surprised at his inquiry. But obviously she was. “Hey, Mione,” he jogged up a few steps, stopping in front of her. “Don’t be mad at me – I just want to help.”
Students passed them, staring at the pair of them while she regarded him silently. Shrugging she pushed past him, headed down to their potions class. Shrugging, he fell into step with her, patiently waiting for her to respond. She never did, and they walked to the dungeon in silence. Harry was frustrated to note that there was a new seating chart on the chalkboard. Sharing an annoyed glance with Hermione, he took his place next to Zabini in the third row.
“Great job, class! I see you have all found your new seats! You will receive a new partner each potion – delightful, no?”
Harry shared an irritated look with his new partner. Obviously from the murmurs of disgust from the rest of the class, Professor Adriatico was the only one who thought it was delightful. Carefully dicing up the ingredients Zabini had already gathered, Harry tried to ignore the Slytherin – and the fact that he had been spending so much time with Draco lately.
“Did you tell Granger?”
Harry pretended not to know what he was talking about; he just kept dicing in silence.
“Fine,” Zabini said, not even bothering to hide the anger in his voice. “Don’t talk to me. How about you just listen? He’s doing it again. Did you know that? Do you care? You don’t seem to care.”
Harry kept his face still, pushing down the shot of pain in his chest. He couldn’t show Zabini any emotion or the Slytherin would run with it. The rest of the class passed in silence as the two worked efficiently, producing an adequate potion with correct color and consistency. Zabini stoppered it while Harry cleaned their work station up. He was almost done wiping down their table when something made him look up. Draco was standing at the end of his table, watching him intently.
“Hey, Drace,” Harry whispered it softly, not wanting anybody else to hear.
The blonde lifted an eyebrow, a hint of a smile playing on his lips. He didn’t have a chance to respond before Hermione joined them, Zabini not far behind. We must look like such a strange group to everybody else. But Harry found he didn’t care too much what people were thinking as they all walked out together, Hermione reminding Draco of something they needed to do for the headmistress.
“See you tonight, Malfoy,” Hermione said as she and Harry turned left when the Slytherins continued straight down the hallway.
“When did you invite him?”
“I,” Hermione sighed, “invited him and any of his housemates he decides to extend the invitation to.”
They continued to their DADA class in silence until Harry broke it, pulling her over to the side of the hallway, “I didn’t mean anything by it this morning, ‘Mione. I’m sorry.”
“I know” She leaned against the wall in front of him, looking up at him through her lashes. “I just – I’m tired of being only seen as the know-it-all. I could be – I am! – so much more than that. I’m fun!”
“I know,” Harry couldn’t resist smiling down at her.
“Seriously? Whispering in hallways?”
Ginny’s voice immediately made Harry tense and Hermione shifted away from him subtly.
“Gin,” Harry began, moving to place his hands on her shoulders, “you know nothing is happening here.”
She sighed, eyes shifting between the two of them, “Fine. Whatever. Anyway, Hermione I was looking for you to see if you wanted to get ready for the party together tonight?”
“Yes!” Hermione beamed, wrapping Ginny in a hug. “That’d be brilliant!”
Ginny laughed and the two linked arms, discussing colors and shoes. Harry sighed softly, maybe this whole misunderstanding would work itself out. After all, she seemed to only be upset with him interacting with Hermione and not with Hermione, so maybe it wasn’t about this at all. Who knows? Girls are so difficult to understand.
“But, blue?” Hermione knew she shouldn’t sound so skeptical, but the dress Ginny was holding up was this horrid shade of teal.
“You can charm it a different color…”
Hermione thought about it as the other girl trailed off, collecting some jewelry from the pile on Hermione’s bed. Both of them were only clad in their underwear, but they’d managed to finish their makeup and hair.
“Gin, I’d rather wear something a little simpler.”
Ginny shrugged and with a flick of her wand charmed the dress to a deep olive green before shimming into it. She looked fantastic. Thanks to all of the drill she ran for Quidditch, Gin had a killer figure and the dress showed every curve perfectly. With her hair in thick waves and her makeup expertly done with natural shades, Ginny looked like she could stop traffic.
“But, Merlin, you look brilliant, Ginny!”
The redhead beamed at her before tossing her a pair of black pants, “How about these? More coverage but still pretty sexy!”
Ginny winked at her before digging in a pile of shirts she had thrown on the floor when she first arrived. Hermione shimmied into the tight pants, marveling at the gold zippers on the back pockets. Pulling on the shirt she was handed, Hermione surveyed the outfit in the mirror. The dark purple tank top was loose fitting, but revealed her stomach when she lifted her arms. Slipping her feet into the heels Gin had set out for her, she smiled happily. I look good!
“Damn, Hermione!” Ginny looked impressed, “Malfoy’s going to like that!”
Hermione sputtered, turning a tad pink under her makeup.
“Oh, don’t give me that! I saw how he was checking you out the other day!”
Hermione shrugged it off with an awkward laugh, “I’ve got to get down to the room.”
The girls headed downstairs, running into Harry outside Hermione’s dorm.
“Ginny, you look – wow,” Harry kissed her softly, “I adore that color on you.”
Ginny laughed, delighted, “I know!” She slipped her hand into his back pocket as they walked down the hall.
“You look nice, ‘Mione.” Harry said, winking at her above Gin’s head.
Hermione rolled her eyes, “Gin picked it all out – said Malfoy would like it.”
Harry paled a bit, but Hermione didn’t understand why. Right, probably doesn’t think Malfoy is a good idea. They continued down to the room where Hermione was throwing the party. She’d charmed a wall panel to take coins like a slot machine and she’d handed out hundreds of coins that she’d made sure couldn’t be duplicated and charmed them to allow entry to the party for students only. Techers would reach a dark broom closet. She paced in front of the slot three times and then slid in a coin for their entry.
She couldn’t help but grin at the surprised gasps from her friends.
Draco was shocked at the loud, overpowering music that assaulted him when he entered Hermione’s party, although he wasn’t sure why. Obviously there would be loud music at a party. Rolling his eyes at himself, he pushed deeper into the crowd, looking for Blaise or Harry or Hermione or anybody really. Noticing what appeared to be a bar at the back of the room; Draco shoved his way there and was elated to see rows and rows of liquor bottles. Taking a few shots, Draco headed back into the crowd, looking for the hostess.
“Hey! There you are,” He sat down next to Hermione on a small sofa in the middle of a clump of seats. Harry and Ginny were across from her, squeezed into a chair, Ginny mostly on Harry’s lap. Draco didn’t meet Harry’s eyes, but focused instead on Hermione and not the absolute last thing he wanted to see.
“You made it!” Hermione practically bounced, curls swaying slightly.
He couldn’t help but smile at her excitement, “Wouldn’t miss it, Granger.”
Just then Pansy plopped down on his lap, “Hey, stranger.”
Draco pulled her in, hugging her tightly, “Stranger danger is a thing you know.”
“Hush it!” She laughed, tossing her hair back, “Oh, honey, the only thing you’re a danger to is a little –um, what’s the phrase? – wrapped up right now…”
At first Draco thought she was taking about Harry, she’d always been too perceptive for her own good, but then he realized that Pansy was looking across the room to where Theo had wrapped himself around Blaise. Draco rolled his eyes; all of Slytherin knew about Blaise and their, um, habit. Understanding slowly dawned on Hermione’s face, eyes wide as she looked between Draco and the two men making out and he knew it wouldn’t be long before the rest of the school knew, too. He found he didn’t care too much. He stopped hiding who he was a long time ago.
“Anyways, I just came to tell you not to wait so long to say hi next time,” Pansy brushed her lips across his before winking at the Gryffindors and disappearing into the throng of dancing students.
“So,” Hermione leaned back into the couch, “You and…?”
Draco looked over at Harry, finally meeting his eyes. The other guy looked obviously uncomfortable. Well, he was always the one wanting to keep us a secret. Ginny tugged Harry up, saying something about wanting to dance as she shot him and Hermione a look. Say what you might about the girl, but she knew when to make herself scarce, something Draco could appreciate.
Draco shrugged, “Look, I’m not hiding it; I’m just not advertising it. I like people based on their personalities and their quirks, I don’t rule out certain people based on what’s in their pants.”
Hermione nodded, biting her lip in thought, “So Zabini?”
“My best friend before anything, sometimes a little more, it isn’t like we label it.”
They sat there not talking for a ridiculously long amount of time. Draco finally bumped her knee with his, “Want to dance?”
Nodding hesitantly, Hermione stood and accepted his hand. The moved into the crowd, drawing odd looks from a few people and a blatant stare from Harry over Ginny’s shoulder. The ginger wasn’t as clueless as Harry thought, because she noticed him staring and glowered at the two of them. Draco knew she thought Harry had a thing for Hermione, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Draco wrapped his hands around Hermione hips and they moved in time to the music. After the first song, Draco pulled her flush to him, burrowing his head in her curls. She smelt like cinnamon and – well, almost like Blaise first thing in the morning. He breathed deeply losing himself in her and the music.
“Hey,” she turned in his arms, looking up at him through her lashes, “this was fun, but…”
He smiled at her, brushing a curl behind her ear, “If you change your mind, Hermione just let me know.”
She tiptoed up and pressed her lips to his, “I will.”
She back away and began dancing by alone. Draco couldn’t help but grin at her. Full of surprises. Shaking his head, he turned away from Hermione and started back to their dorm. Blaise was going to be occupied tonight, so he grabbed his blanket and headed out to the pitch. The castle was so quite at this late – or early – hour. The Bloody Baron passed by, nodding respectfully to Draco before drifting through the stairs and into a wall. Draco never understood it, but The Baron had always left him alone to do as he pleased. Come to think of it, he’s probably why Peeves leaves me alone.
Shutting the giant front door softly behind him, Draco almost tripped over Harry who was sitting on the front steps.
“Mind if I join?”
Draco shrugged, suddenly awkward, and they walked to the pitch in silence. Harry took the blanket from him and spread it out on the damp grass. He transfigured two matchbooks from his pockets into two, large pillows. Dropping down, Harry patted the ground beside him expectantly and Draco joined him, lying down on his back.
“Drace,” Harry’s voice was so soft, “what can I do?”
Draco squeezed his eyes shut as Harry gently traced his fingers over Draco’s chest. Don’t crack, don’t show any weakness. Don’t… Draco focused on breathing in and out, slowly, until the tears welling behind his eyes dissipated, but he still didn’t answer.
“Draco,” Harry’s voice was so strained. “Zabini told me.” Harry rolled over, propping himself up on his left elbow to peer down at Draco. Draco could feel him studying him, trying to glean any information he could, but Draco kept his eyes shut, knowing that if he looked at the other boy it would all be over, his resolve would crack, and everything would hurt tenfold.
“I can’t do this tonight, Harry,” Draco tried – and failed – to keep his voice steady. “I wish- I know that – I just can’t-”
“Shhh,” Harry shushed him softly, “we don’t have to do anything. We don’t even have to talk.”
Harry dropped back down and smushed himself to Draco’s side. As the silence stretched, Draco felt the first of many tears slip down his face.
“Where were you?”
I was stopping somebody from doing something stupid.
But Harry couldn’t tell Ginny that, no matter how loud she got. Students from other tables were beginning to turn and stare at the scene she was making, standing, waving her arms about and shouting about him staying out to all hours with Merlin only knows who. He hadn’t made it to breakfast that morning, having stayed on the pitch with a sleeping Draco until well after sunrise, but it seemed Ginny was more upset about him slipping away from the party while she was dancing with Luna.
“I know it wasn’t Hermione! She stayed the whole night! Who the hell was it, Potter?” Ginny was losing it completely now, waving her wand around, threatening to curse him into next week.
Harry saw Draco walk in with Parkinson and Zabini, but he couldn’t focus on that now, “Ginny, I was merely out on the grounds and fell asleep. I just needed some air. There is absolutely noth-”
“Miss Weasley,” McGonagall had come up beside her, unnoticed, while Harry was speaking, “Perhaps we can have a word in my office?” The headmistress led Ginny out of the hall with a firm had on her shoulder.
“Mate,” Neville spoke up from beside Harry, “she’s lost it.”
Harry silently agreed, but aloud he said, “She’s had a rough few years.”
The guys nodded, understandingly. After all, they all had had a rough few years. Hermione bounced into the hall just then, smiling softly to herself, a letter clutched in her hand.
“Harry!” She beamed at him, dropping into Ginny’s vacated seat across from him. “Ron finally wrote! How many letters have I sent him?” She laughed, “Silly boy. He and Heaven are getting along great – apparently Molly just adores her.”
Harry continued to listen to her, marveling at the complete lack of jealously in her voice. She truly didn’t hold any hard feelings against Ron. It shouldn’t surprise him, she was the one who decided to end things between them, but it always managed to amaze him how well adjusted Hermione was. She took everything in stride – Voldemort, the war, her parents, Ron, Ginny’s anger – and still managed to excel at whatever she put her mind to. He smiled at her fondly, remembering how in the weeks after the Hogwart’s Battle that she had moved all of the Weasleys, even Molly and Arthur, into Number 12 and spent her free time taking care of them while secretly strengthening the Burrow. Of course she’d had her own demons to battle and that kept her up at night, but she was the glue that held them all together and built them back up in the wake of everything.
Hermione seemed to finally notice that he had checked out of the conversation, “What, Harry?”
“Ginny just ripped him a new one in front of everybody before McGonagall took her upstairs,” Seamus chimed in, grabbing another sandwich from the pile in the middle of the table.
Hermione rolled her eyes, “Just break up with her, Harry.” Hermione didn’t seem to realize she said anything out of the ordinary until she noticed that Harry, Neville, Dean, Seamus, and even a few Gryffindors from the years below them were staring at her in shock. She just kept munching on her meat pie, rereading Ron’s letter, until she noticed the silence. Looking up their awestruck faces, she shrugged, “Look I love Ginny – she’s my sister, practically, and you know I only want the best for her. But Harry, you’re my best friend and my brother, and she isn’t treating you like you deserve. End of story.”
Harry nodded slowly as their friends went back to talking and she went back to reading. It was true, Ginny’s jealous streak was getting old – and out of control.
Hey loves! I've got the next couple of chapters for this baby written and ready to go....that's cool, right?
But anyways, I would adore it if you would whisper sweet nothings (or not-so-sweet somethings) into my review box?
Thanks, babes :)
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