Chapter 13 : Chapter 13 ~ Losing Hope and Discovering Feelings
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JK Rowling is truly my inspiration.
Chapter 13 ~ Losing Hope & Discovering Feelings
When Hermione opened her eyes, she was looking up at the high ceiling arches of the hospital wing. This was also deduced from the distinct smell that only this wing of the castle had, super clean. The next thing she noticed was the person slumped over in the chair next to her bed, Draco. She studied him for a moment and then began wondering how long she’d be in the hospital. As though Madame Pomfrey could hear her mental thoughts, she came bustling over and started waving her wand over Hermione. Hermione waited, but after the third time the witch pursed her thin lips and shook her head, Hermione couldn’t help talking.
“Is something wrong with me?”
“What? No, not exactly. You’re thinner than I remember and could do with a little more meat on your bones and I can tell there are dark mental secrets locked away in that head of yours… but you’re relatively fine.”
“So why am I here?” Hermione questioned.
“Because this young man brought you here after you’d passed out.”
“I’m giving you this potion and once you’ve finished it you can grab your things and go.”
And without so much as another word, she bustled off again. Hermione looked at the little vile of purpleish liquid and crinkled her nose.
“Just drink it already.” Said a familiar voice.
She looked up and saw that Draco was sitting up and attempting to straighten his Quiddich robes. He looked tired and his eyes showed his bad mood. Hermione downed the tasteless potion and then swung her legs over the edge of the bed to stand up. As Draco stood up beside her and they started to make their way out of the hospital wing, Hermione tried to remember how she got to this place. Nothing came to mind.
“Draco, what happened to me?”
“I’ll tell you when we get back to our spot.”
His voice made the statement final and she stayed silent next to him. Hermione figured it was most likely Sunday because there were very few people in the corridors and those who were, appeared to be in no rush. They walked past the Great Hall where only a scattered few sat, meaning it was early and then after a few more minutes they were finally at their house tower. He just nodded to her and then went through the Slytherin door. Something is bothering him… He seems upset by something.
Fortunately for her, the only person in the common room happened to be Ginny who just turned her head. Hermione walked right past and then up the stairs to the community room. She started to head towards their normal spot, but then spotted Seren who was headed up the stairs. He was sitting in her new alone spot. Her gut knotted and she was suddenly nervous,
“Draco, whats wrong.”
“Do you remember yesterday after my Quiddich match?”
“Uh… You won and then we were walking back to the castle when –“
Hermione stopped. Memories of Derek confronting her, insulting her and then saying she would have been better off dying in the war flooded her memory. She sank on to the couch. Obviously, Draco took this as a sign that she had remembered and took her hands.
“Hermione look at me…”
She tried to look at him through her tears.
“He doesn’t matter. Look at me. I am always here for you and will never treat you that way. You deserve someone so much better than him or Weasley.”
No energy was left for her to respond, so she leaned forward and let him hold her in his arms. She breathed in the spicy citrus smell she associated with safety and trust. Hermione felt his breath on the top of her head and then he kissed it. A little feeling in her stomach flared for a second and then was gone. They sat on the couch for a while and Hermione fell asleep and only dreamt of the pictures she’d given Draco for Christmas. Both of them looked happier and that look he gave her…
Suddenly something was shaking her. She leapt up and pulled her wand out, pointing it in front of her. When her vision cleared, a startled looking Draco was sitting in front of her with his hands in the air. Hermione dropped her hand,
“Sorry, I was so disoriented.”
“No apologies. Next time I’ll say your name too or something. I was waking you because I thought you’d like some dinner.”
Hermione glanced out the window and noticed it was mostly dark out already. As though to confirm Draco’s assumptions, her stomach growled and he smirked. They both headed down their designated staircases and agreed to meet out front. Hermione slipped into her dorm and changed her clothes then headed out again. Standing in the way of the exit was Ron. He was leaning against the wall with is arms crossed and an evil grin on his face.
“So… news is that Derek didn’t want you. I knew it wouldn’t last long. You’re nothing and even if you were with me, it’d be the same way.”
He laughed and left. Hermione gained as much composure as she could muster and then walked out the door Ron had just left. She could still see his retreating figure when she stepped out and she also noticed that Draco was fuming. He turned towards her and stepped in,
“What did he do?” Draco said in a voice filled with anger, as his finger pointed in the direction of Ron.
“Just words…” she whispered.
Draco put his arm around her and began pulling her along. He didn’t say anything else the whole way to the hall, but she could feel how tense his body was as they walked. The couple times she looked up at her surroundings, she noticed that Draco would glare down any guy that even tried to look at her. Like always at Hogwarts, news traveled fast and everyone seemed to know what happened between her and Derek. Or at least the various versions of what people thought happened. Hermione knew better than to listen to them. They went wherever Draco led her and to her surprise he guided her towards the end of the Slytherin table where Blaise and Astoria were waiting already. More titters erupted around the hall as she walked past the tables, but she blocked them out.
Blaise stood up and gave her a huge hug that lasted a little longer than usual and Astoria grabbed her hand and squeezed. They must know, but Hermione wondered which version they had heard… Draco’s or one of the school rumors. They sat down and began to eat the outrageous dinner laid out before them. Hermione was aware that Draco was sitting not only next to her, but closer than normal. Deep down that odd feeling flared for an instant, but gratitude was what she felt in an overwhelming way. He was so protective of her and she felt that no one could hurt her if he was with her.
The four of them, reviewed the highlights of the Quiddich match, girls versions in comparison to the guys, which made for an entertaining and distracting conversation. In order to prove their “heroic” game plays, the guys would occasionally partially reenact their movements. This resulted in two pitchers of pumpkin juice being splattered all over the table and a platter of biscuits to go flying across the aisle and onto the Gryffindor’s table. While Hermione and Astoria were scolding the guys, Hermione suddenly noticed Blaise catch Draco’s attention and he jerked his head in the direction towards the doors. Derek was walking in with a fellow Ravenclaw and he looked terrible. One eye was black and blue and a cheek had scrapes on it from hitting the frozen ground.
Hermione’s gut clenched at the sight of him, but she felt no pity for him. Draco’s body moved closer to her again and his arm wrapped around her to rest on the seat next to her other side. He was completely shielding her. Astoria had an almost proud look on her face and Blaise was mostly glaring, but for a flash of a second a smile crossed his lips as he looked in her direction. She wondered what the looks were about and tried to make a mental note to ask Draco. But for now, she was content to finished her meal with Draco beside her.
All through dinner, he had put himself as close to her as possible. His mind thought about how she had fallen asleep in his arms earlier and how it had felt so right. He wanted to be an option to her, but she didn’t feel the same way. However, the urge to protect her was overpowering and he went with it. Even as the conversation lightened the atmosphere, he was watchful. Blaise would occasionally give him a very pointed look, but Draco ignored them. Everything was going well and he saw Hermione had even relaxed slightly, until HE walked into the hall. Derek came through the double doors and the angry beast inside Draco wanted to beat him to a pulp again. Instead, he put his arm around Hermione and glared into the very soul of Derek.Not once did Derek look in his direction as he walked to his table and he sat with his back to them.
Out of the corner of his eyes, Draco saw that Blaise was giving him the “you’ve got it bad” look and Astoria looked proud of him? Because his head was turned away, he rolled his eyes before turning his attention back to the center of the table and his friends. He felt Hermione lean into him for a second and then she reached for a slice of chocolate cake. While she was busy delicately eating her dessert, Draco wrote one of his notes under the table and after a few seconds and throwing a biscuit at Blaise, he made it appear on the edge of her plate. She dropped her fork and nudged him ever so slightly. Turning his head, she opened her hand to secretly reveal her palm. Inside was the note. He raised his eyebrows and leaned in,
“You can let me read it later.” Draco whispered.
She nodded and slipped the paper into her pocket after reading it again. Dinner soon ended, but the four of them waited for most of the crowd to disperse. Luckily, Derek had made the wise decision to leave with everyone else. Draco looked at his best friend and gave him a look telling him to go away. Blaise smirked but nodded and he and Astoria got up to leave. Hermione was standing up but he put his hand on her arm,
“What does it say?” He asked, pretending to not have a clue what it said.
“’You are Lovely, You can find happiness’”
“Whoever this person is, I’m going to have to thank them when I find out.”
“Because these notes that appear, they’re some of the rare times that you actually smile. Or when you’re flying.”
She looked at him and a real smile appeared on her face. He felt that if he didn’t concentrate, he was going to go completely weak and then kiss her. She was so beautiful when she smiled, but it didn’t happen as often as it should. That was one thing he’d noticed even when she was with HIM, he’d seen her eyes looking for him. Draco took comfort in the fact that he obviously meant a lot to her, but just not in the way he wanted it to be. The girl in front of him was standing again and Draco stood up. The two of them walked side by side back to the tower, the whole time planning their next flying session. They climbed into the single portrait and stopped in front of their individual doors,
“Draco,” said the sweetest voice, “Thank you for always being there for me, I don’t know what I’d do without you.”
Hermione gave him the smile reserved just for him and then disappeared through the Gryffindor door. He sighed and leaned backwards against the wall. Her words had filled his heart for a moment, but when she slid behind the door it faded and he felt his hope slipping. Would he ever be more than just her friend? He had secretly made the promise he’d stay with her whether they were friends or more, but each moment was becoming harder. Little did she know that he had given her his heart and he had done this to himself.
Draco pushed his door inwards and trudged through it. Blaise was the only one in the common room and was waiting for him. As he opened his mouth, Draco held up a hand and shook his head. Worry darted across Blaise’s face,
“Is everything ok mate?”
“Sure,” Draco said almost laughing at the absurdity of his response. “I’m great. The girl I’m in love with and will do anything to protect has no idea that I’m am. She sees me as just a friend. I feel both happy and sad around her now. And so help me if you breathe a word of this EVER, I will kill you.”
“I know it’s hard… but do you want to know my honest opinion Draco?”
There was a pause and then Draco huffed,
“I think she feels more about you than even she knows. I see the way she looks at you and even when she was with that other guy, you know who was in most of her stories? You. Oh and that was something that really pissed that Derek guy off.”
Draco didn’t say anything. He took a moment to let Blaise’s words sink in. Was that why one of Derek’s ultimatums he gave Hermione when trying to date again was that she couldn’t be friends with him? That thought and the fact that she talked about him made the little flame in his chest brighten a little.
“However, you can’t push her. Especially not now after that arsehole.”
“I know… I’ll wait.”
Blaise punched his arm lightly and he walked away up the stairs to their room. Draco slumped down in a chair by the fireplace and gazed into it. He replayed Christmas over again in his head; the moment she opened his gift and then the gift she’d given him. That was by far the best day of his life.
When Draco woke up, it was due to the noise of a group of younger girls giggling and hovering over him. He scowled, which scattered them and Draco quickly bounded up the stairs to his room to change. Blaise raised an eyebrow at him. Showering quickly and grabbing the nearest set of school robes he could, he raced in a dignified manner out of the dormitory. As he stepped through door into the landing area, his gaze fell on her. He had made it in time, thank goodness. He straightened the strap to his book bag and greeted her with a small, out of breath smile as she looked around.
“Morning, you look rested.” He said to her.
“Yeah, I actually slept last night. You, however, don’t look so great.”
“Oh he never does in the morning. You know normally he has drool covering everything” A voice said before Draco could answer.
Hermione giggled. Draco glared at Blaise, who, to Draco’s irritation, put his arm through Hermione’s and then began to walk away. She went along with him. After a couple steps, she turned her head back to look at him and he saw her smile and his irritation slipped. If she was happy, then it was fine… as long as Blaise knew what kind of trouble he was in. Draco watched as Blaise attempted to swing his hips from side to side as he walked, making himself look ridiculous and knocking Hermione all over the place. She was laughing and even Draco cracked a smile. Then Astoria caught up and saw what Blaise was doing,
“Morning, every– Blaise, what in the world are you doing?”
“Morning lovely, Hermione and I are just having some girl time and sharing secrets. Care to join?” He said, completely unfazed by how he appeared to everyone.
“No thanks… you go have your ‘girl time’”
Astoria defeatedly looked to Draco, but he just shook his head. Looking back at his best friend and Hermione, he knew that Blaise was trying to take some of suspicion and pressure off him. Eventually, Blaise got tired from his antics and began walking normally. Draco fell into step beside Hermione and Blaise hung back to walk with Astoria. The closer they got to the hall, the more voices they heard and along with that, the many versions of Hermione’s breakup. He put his arm around her and guided her to the end of the Slytherin table again.
Hermione didn’t say a word through breakfast and barely touched anything to eat. Draco sat next to her, but seethed as he overheard the different stories of what the school thought happened. They ranged from Derek begging for her back and her setting Draco on him, to Hermione beating Derek up herself, to the outrageous accusation that of having put Derek under some kind of enchantment to make him fall for her. Draco’s knuckles were white from gripping his fork and he also barely touched the food he’d put on this plate. Finally, the bell for classes to start in 10 minutes chimed and Draco snapped himself back to reality to accompany Hermione to class.
Draco did his best to shield her from everyone as they walked, but he couldn’t really do anything. The whispers sounded as loud as a cannon in his head and no doubt Hermione’s as well. They reached the door to Transfiguration and Draco desperately hoped that professor Mirtac would just leave Hermione alone and be civil. He guided Hermione towards a seat in the back of class and sat down. Professor Mirtac stood up from behind her desk and eyed her class and cleared her throat,
“This week, we’re going to have a challenge. I am setting up ten stations for you and a partner to work together to complete. You must successfully complete all ten in order to be graded properly. Now, I have selected the pairs you will work in and unfortunately a member of this class made some poor choices and they will not be with us for another 2 weeks.”
Draco heard people muttering around class and he wondered what pairings she’d come up with. She started rattling them off and he tuned out the sound until he heard his name,
“Draco Malfoy and Ron Weasley…”
He growled under his breath and he felt Hermione stiffen. After all the names had been called out, Draco realized Hermione’s hadn’t. He just knew this wasn’t a good thing.
“Oh and Miss Granger, you will be working alone. I expect the same quality of work out of you and don’t take too long on the assigned stations, I don’t need other students falling behind. Alright up, pick your first station and get started.”
Draco cursed Mirtac under breath and was about to give Hermione words of encouragement, but when he turned she was already walking towards one of the open stations. Her shoulders were slumped and he wished he could work with her, but no… he got his arch enemy. He glanced at Weasley, who was receiving a lecture from Potter, and noticed he was fuming and red around the ears. As Draco walked in his direction, Weasley folded his arms across his chest and glared. Oh this is going to be just great… When Draco was within earshot, he decided not to say anything and just gestured to the open table nearest them.
“I don’t want to work with you, filth. So this needs to be done quickly.”
“Agreed.” Was all Draco replied with.
They took turns reading and shoving the instructions at each other before taking positions. Somehow they’re hatred for each other made it blatantly obvious what the other person was doing so they didn’t need to communicate much. Draco would occasionally steal a glance around the room to find Hermione and see how she was doing. From the looks of her face and demeanor, she was struggling without a partner. These challenges were meant for two people (or more) and Mirtac knew that. About half way through class, while he was watching Hermione for a second, Weasley spat out,
“How can you even stand to look at her? She’s weak. I thought someone like you would want a strong, power hungry traitor like yourself.”
“She’s not weak.” Draco said through gritted teeth, as his anger began to flare up. “She happens to be one of the strongest people I know.”
“Heh, well there you go. All you know are cowards who seek evil and power as a way out.”
Draco closed his eyes and willed himself to stand still. With his eyes shut, all he heard was the horrible chuckling from Weasley and it made him sick. He was still just standing there when they were all told to stop for the time being or finish up their current station. Only a couple pairs were still working, and Hermione, so most everyone else went back to their seats. Draco was so tempted to go stand with Hermione, but he didn’t want to cause her any trouble, so he turned and walked back to their desks. As he stepped away, he heard Weasley mutter,
“She’ll never love you… She’s beyond damaged.”
Draco wanted to argue, but a part of him actually started to think of the words spoken. Would she ever love him? Would she see how he feels and accept it? Draco hated how Weasley had him thinking this way, he had promised to stay be her side no matter what. A few more minutes after everyone had sat down, Hermione was still finishing up her task. Mirtac just scowled at her. When her challenge was finally complete, Hermione made it back to her seat and sat down just as the bell went off. Draco saw she was exhausted and close to tears. He picked up her bag and walked her to her next class. He made sure she was settled, before racing to his next class and walked in 3 minutes late but he didn’t care.
After Transfiguration, Hermione barely made it through the rest of the day. The energy it had taken to complete the challenges by herself in Mirtac’s class had been tremendous. When her last class ended, she went straight back to her dormitory and crashed on her bed. She slept right through dinner and her normal study session with Draco after his Quiddich practice. When she finally did wake up, it was 5:47am. Hermione knew she wouldn’t sleep for the remaining few minutes, so she went up the staircase to her spot. Before she got very far into the room she noticed a figure laying on the couch in her and Draco’s normal study spot.
It was Draco. He had his Quiddich robes on still and a book was open face-down on his stomach. Hermione noticed how peaceful he looked, troubled by absolutely nothing in this state. She started to admire just how handsome he was and wondered why he didn’t have a girlfriend. For some reason, that knowledge made her feel a little satisfied inside. Hermione realized that he spent most of his time with her. The feeling inside her chest and stomach happened again and this time it remained uninterrupted, so the little flame burned a little brighter before fading. Her hand absentmindedly when to her necklace. Could I have feelings for him? I’ve been so afraid and haven’t felt anything like this in so long… maybe it’s still possible? But then Derek’s and Ron’s words cut through her thoughts and the little flame went out. No, even if she started to feel something, it would only get her hurt.
While she had been lost in thoughts and her own torment, Draco had woken up and was watching her. Hermione snapped to reality when he moved to put his book away and blushed furiously as she looked away. She’d been caught gawking at him.
“Morning” He said, yawning.
“Morning, sorry I didn’t meet you here last night.”
“Yeah, you weren’t at dinner. Everything ok?”
“I fell asleep.”
He laughed and then looked concerned.
“Did you get too exhausted from Transfiguration? Because if she’s making you do something dangerous I will go tell the Headmistress.”
Hermione just shook her head.
“Please don’t do that.”
He frowned at her, but nodded his head. She watched him gather his things and then he left to go change. Hermione sat there and seriously considered playing hooky, but finally decided against it. After grabbing her bookbag, she began heading down to breakfast by herself. Her head was trying to figure out these feelings she was having, but it scared her and that made her put distance between her and people.
The sound of running footsteps made her turn her head slightly and she saw Draco doing his best to catch up with her. She sighed and put up a little mental wall around “those” thoughts.
“You didn’t wait.”
It wasn’t a question, it was a statement and Hermione was certain she heard a little bit of hurt in his voice. She looked down.
He didn’t respond. When they reached the hall, Hermione went to sit at the end of Gryffindor’s table but Draco didn’t follow her. Instead he went towards Blaise, who looked confused, and sat down. Hermione’s heart cracked a little and suddenly she wasn’t hungry anymore. Before even sitting down, she turned around and walked of out the hall, wandering in the general direction of her next class. Once she found the room, she pulled open the door, found a desk at the back and stared at her hands. The more she analyzed how she felt, the more certain she was that she had developed feelings of being more than just friends for Draco, but this terrified her. What if he didn’t return them?
Hermione knew that he cared for her. He was always there for her and was her best friend, but did he feel more than that? Could he love someone he used to dislike? Ron had pushed her away when he liked her, Krum had been overly obvious about his momentary feelings and Derek… well he’d been a disaster. But Draco, she’d never experience this from a guy who was friends with her and also liked her. In her fragile state, she was so scared that if she did open up to him and he didn’t feel the same way that she would not only get hurt but she would lose her best friend along with it. People had begun to file in to the classroom and no one joined her. She saw Harry look in her direction out of the corner of her eye, but nothing more. Hermione didn’t have class with Draco again until later. She wondered what affect her actions had done to him this morning and hoped he would come back.
Hours passed, she remained invisible and thankfully everyone left her alone. To her dismay, that included Draco. He didn’t check in on her in between any of her classes and she didn’t see him at lunch because she didn’t go. Rather than go sit in a room full of people, she went outside and sat in the courtyard. Using a slight heating spell so she wouldn’t freeze, she just sat on a bench and watched the heavy snow fall drop to the ground all around her. A tiny smile formed on her lips when she noticed that her eyelashes glittered with individual snowflakes, making her vision sparkle slightly. Hermione was so entranced by this small happy moment that she wasn’t aware of the blonde watching her from one of the archways.
“I half expected you to be out here making snow angels.” Said a voice behind her.
She jumped and turned to see Draco walking towards her.
“Why are you skipping meals again? You had this wall of energy pushing me away this morning, so I let you be but I can see that wasn’t the best idea. Instead of eating food, you’re out here staring at snow.”
He gave her an intense look and Hermione looked down.
“I just needed to think and sort out my thoughts.”
“Did space help with that?”
“No…” she muttered.
He grabbed her hand and she brought her eyes up to look at his face.
“Are you ok?”
“Nope, but no one can help with this.”
“Do you want me to stop hanging around you? If I’m contributing to your issues in any way –“
“Draco, never. I just have come to realize something and I’m not sure how to say it. Please just be patient.”
There was a pause while he just looked at her.
“Ok.” He said uncertainly. “Whatever you need.”
She smiled at him and leaned into his side, hugging him. Hemione felt him kiss the top of her head and her whole body felt warm.
It was happening. Draco was beginning to melt the shell around her, but she knew that she was scarred both emotionally and physically. How could that change? But he had come to find her and when he did, she felt these emotions. Hopefully he would wait for her to be strong enough to open-up to him. Hemione was still lost in her hopes and nightmares, but then she was being pulled to her feet in the real world. Draco had her bag and walked directly next to her until they reached their classroom. As they sat down, he leaned in close to her and whispered,
“I will wait as long as you need and I am always here for you.”
He had been in a horrible mood since splitting up with Hermione at breakfast. Draco felt that with the way she was acting, maybe a little space would do her some good. However, that ended up being the wrong choice for both of them. She had skipped breakfast and instead of coming to lunch had gone outside in the blizzard. As he had stood in the archway observing her, he couldn’t stop himself from really looking at her. The stark white snow around her, made every little feature stand out; her honey brown hair, rose tinted cheeks and lips, and the tiny snowflakes that had placed themselves on her robes and in her hair. It was such a majestic sight, Draco wished he had a camera to capture it.
When he had spoken to her, he could tell something was bothering her more than just the school rumors and Mirtac. He wanted to know what she’d “realized” but she had asked him to be patient and that was exactly what he’d be. Draco was so in love with her, that he couldn’t refuse a direct request like that. Months ago, he had set his mind on making her smile and being a friend to her but his feelings had taken him so much further than he’d planned. All through Charms, he and Hermione just doodled on her parchment. Dinner finally came around and he made sure that Hermione walked into the hall with him and sat down. He scooped a huge spoonful of mashed potatoes onto her plate, some lovely steamed broccoli and three strips of chicken. When she eyed him, Draco just pointed to the food. They talked through dinner and then headed out to fly around before curfew.
As he watched her zoom around in circles with him, he saw the exhilaration on her face. He could relate. Flying gave him such a sense of freedom. Once they got too cold to keep going, they headed back up to the dormitory to study. Hermione still had a bit of a wall up around her, but things were better and he could be patient. For now.
Months passed as Draco fell into a relatively smooth routine with Hermione. They went to class, studied together, flew one or two times a week and he was there as a support for her whenever she needed. He noticed that she was looking healthier, but not necessarily happier. There would be times he’d catch her looking in his direction while far off in thought and when she snapped out of it, she always blushed and looked away. Over the recent weeks, he had begun to give up hope a little on her ever seeing him as more than a friend, but he always remained right by her side. One evening during their Thursday night detention – which they still had and Draco was under the impression that McGonagall just wanted the paperwork done and they were no longer in trouble – Hermione spoke in the silence,
“Draco, how come you spend almost all your time with me?”
He panicked slightly. How was he supposed to answer this… and why did she want to know?
“Uh, because you’re my friend and I see enough of Blaise in the dormitory and our other classes.”
“I see. But what about… are there any special girls?”
Now Draco really wondered where she was going with this. Could she actually be fishing to see if he liked someone, if he liked her? He decided to be truthful, but vague,
“Yeah, there is a special girl, but its complicated.”
“Well you know my past and the horrible choices I made. I fear that complicates things a bit and the war was tough on everyone, including her. I’m afraid she’ll reject me if I tell her. We’re on good terms, so I don’t want to lose that.”
“But you’re such a different person than you used to be. Look at what you’ve done for me this year. You should tell her how you feel, if she’s that special to you. I’d love to meet her if you finally do say something.”
This surprised him and his heart sank. So maybe she only liked him as a friend. He thought about what she had just said and a part of him wanted to do what she’d suggested and tell her. Maybe not tonight, but soon.
“You ok?” she asked, bringing him back.
“Yeah. You really think I’ve changed enough for someone to love me?”
“Yes, you have changed and a girl would be lucky to have you. And don’t hold yourself back because of me. I’ll be ok. You stood by me with Derek and I’ll stand by you as well.”
Draco almost wanted to laugh. If only she knew that this girl they were talking about was her. He just gazed at her as she continued to work for the remainder of their time in detention. Afterwards, they walked back to their tower and the atmosphere between them was better than it had been in a long time. He wondered when he should tell her. Maybe this Saturday? There was a Hogsmeade weekend and it would be a good time to spend time together.
“Are you going to Hogsmeade?”
“Honestly I hadn’t really thought about it much.”
“Would you like to meet up and hang out with me like we did way back.”
“Yeah, I’d like that. I don’t really feel comfortable going by myself.”
“Sounds good. I’ll wait for you outside the tower as usual then.”
They walked further down the corridor and then Draco heard Hermione ask something rather quietly,
“You should meet her there…”
“I… uh, I guess I could. I’ll let you know if something is going to happen.”
Draco felt as though his head was about to explode. He wasn’t being fully truthful with her, but that was because he wasn’t ready to just jump forward and admit his feelings. In this situation, Draco decided he needed to be careful and hope he could maneuver around this in a positive way so that Hermione wouldn’t be hurt. He would meet his “special” girl and he would be brave enough to tell Hermione how he felt, no matter the outcome, because he couldn’t keep this secret, fake act up. It had finally come to this point.
Friday seemed to fly by and Hermione was excitedly anticipating the Hogsmeade visit. Yes, she spent plenty of time with Draco, but rarely when they could be alone and carefree. She wondered what Draco was deciding to do about this girl. He always seemed a little awkward when answering her questions and hesitant to take any actions. Even though she actively wanted him to be happy and wanted him to remain her friend, the feelings inside her also had become clear over the past couple months. Hermione had buried her feelings, but when she examined herself she could see that she had fallen for Draco. The way he cared about her and had been there to support her through everything. She had originally been blind to it due to the shield she’d put up, but he had melted it. Even after the drama with Derek, she felt that maybe she was ready to open her heart to Draco.
That evening, she and Draco were in their normal spot in the Community room practicing spells. They had decided to justify these actions by calling it practical homework instead taking notes and writing the essay that was due next week. Seren was jumping around and attempting to chase the various results from the spells they were casting, but inevitably failing. She had definitely grown during the school year but was still rather petite for a cat. Hermione just loved the little furball and right now she was a perfect distraction. Draco was acting fairly normal, but Hermione was feeling torn between wanting to know more about the “girl” and hoping that nothing would happen. When the old clock showed 11:00pm, they both gathered their stuff and bid each other good night.
“I’ll meet you out front in the morning. Blaise and Astoria may or may not walk down with us, but they have plans once we get into town.”
“Ok, see you in the morning.” Hermione said while stifling a yawn.
He smirked at her and then disappeared down the stairs under the green snake emblem. Seren rubbed up against Hermione’s leg, mewed softly and then follow her person out of sight. Foggy with tiredness, Hermione somehow got herself into bed and was asleep before she was able to start a thought in her head. A rare occurrence.
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