Chapter 9 : Chapter 9 ~ Flying
| ||Rating: Mature||Chapter Reviews: 1|
Background: Font color:
JKR is the best :)
Chapter 9 ~ Flying
Hermione was all sorts of nervous as she grabbed her cloak from the hook on her bedposts and a hair tie to pull her curls back away from her face. The last time she had flown was a few months ago in the Room of Requirement. Not exactly the best memory. Every time she had flown she had been thrown into the situation, but had never officially learned. Quiddich wasn’t something she was interested in, Hermione only wanted to fly, for herself.
When there was about 30 minutes until she was meeting Malfoy, she grabbed her stuff and started to make her way down to the proposed meeting spot. Being almost December, there was a nip in the air which made her glad that she’d grabbed one of her scarves. As she passed the lake’s edge, she threw in a piece of toast and watched as a single tentacle slipped out of the water, waved in her direction and then took the bread down into the depths. Hermione reached the slope and walked until she was on the part where it leveled out for at least 100 yards or so. It was a good spot and pretty much hidden from prying eyes in the castle.
She settled herself on a large rock nearby and waited for Malfoy to show up. Hermione really hoped he meant it and this wasn’t a trick. He had been so civil and nice to her this year and they had been friends officially for almost a month now. Harry didn’t say much to her and Ginny had taken to avoiding her completely. The only good part about it was that since Harry and Ginny avoided her, so did Ron. She cried herself to sleep often and her nightmares now sometimes involved them. Feeling herself beginning to brood, she was grateful when a blonde head appeared over the slope and it made its way towards her.
“It’s a little nippy out, you up for this?” he asked as he approached her.
She nodded her head and then took the broom he held out for her. Examining it, Hermione saw that it was a Nimbus 2001. The very same that Malfoy had been given in 2nd year from his father. She remembered that day vividly. It was the first time he had called her a mudblood and then Ron’s curse meant for Malfoy backfired, ending up with Ron spitting up slugs for hours. He must have seen her look and the fact that she paused because his voice pulled her from her thoughts,
“Uh, is everything ok?”
“Yeah, I just remember the first time I saw this broom.”
She saw him think for a moment and then he paled a little as he frowned.
“Oh, I forgot about that. Hermione, I’m sorry.”
“It’s fine, I just wasn’t expecting to use this broom.”
“I’ll ride it then, you ride the Firebolt.”
She rolled her eyes. She was glad he felt remorse because it meant all this “friendship” talk was real, but he needed to stop apologizing so much. Deciding to make her point, she gripped the Nimbus a little tighter and took a slight step away from him. He sighed. He must have gotten the point because he didn’t say another word about it to her. Instead, he took a step forward and then faced her.
“Alright, so how much do you remember from flying lessons in 1st year? Or, any other time you’ve flown.”
“Well, once I’m on it I know that you leaned forward to go faster, use your body and hands to turn and change directions and pull up and straighten to stop. Harry also talks as though your intentions have an influence on the broom, especially your own.”
“Good. Have you ever actually mounted your broom properly?”
She stared at him. He laughed,
“I take that as a no. Okay, so you can have it randomly laying on the ground and say ‘Up’ but I find that impractical and almost never is the situation. Easiest way is to just hold it like this,”
He put his hands towards the front end of the broom and held it as he swung his leg over to straddle it. From there he pushed off the ground a little with his toes and the broom seemed to engage to hold him in the air, hovering about 3 inches off the ground.
“See? Not too hard, but you have to be confident otherwise when you try to push off your broom won’t engage and hold you. Now you try”
Hermione felt herself pale and desperately tried to think back to what she’d done the last time. It was no use, she had been in fear for her life and did everything out of instinct. This time she had to think about it and concentrate. First she swung her leg over the broom. Malfoy gave her a thumbs up and she glared at him for a second. Next Hermione attempted to push off. Nothing happened. She then looked at the broom and thought about how it felt beneath her and how smooth the wood and varnish were under her hands. She wanted to fly.
This time when she pushed upwards, she felt the broom come to life and she rose about 4 inches. A smile broke her concentrated face and she beamed at Malfoy. He was nodding.
“Ok, now just like you said, lean forward more to go, pull back to stop and it you want to get higher off the ground you lean forward and pull up at the same time. Makes sense? Just try fly a bit back and forth here and don’t go too high.”
Hermione gripped the broom and felt it shudder. Tentatively she leaned forward and the broom jolted forward. She slid off and hit the ground with a thud. Ow. Malfoy offered his hand and encouraged her to try again. After 4 more times, she managed to fly about 5 feet. It was her overthinking that was getting her all jumbled. She needed to relax. He suggested they stopped for the day and promised that they would work on it next week.
As they walked back up to the castle, she shrunk the brooms so they could be carried in their pockets. Dinner had just started and as they entered the hall Blaise waved at them and came to join them,
“End of the table with the lions?”
Hermione just shrugged as Malfoy nodded and they all walked over to the Gryffindor table. Many people at the table glared, but otherwise did their best to ignore them. As they sat down, Malfoy took the seat next to her and Blaise sat across the table. Astoria was off with her friends. The three of them had a lively conversation talking about ways to finish off Mirtac and unfortunately for Hermione, some of them involved her as bait. As they talked Hermione was also thinking about flying. She knew she could do it, but her thoughts had gotten the better of her today. Her mind was made, she was going to do this and practice on her own. Hermione’s attention was brought back into focus due to a piece of biscuit being thrown at her. She turned to glare at the culprit and saw that both Blaise and Malfoy were pointing at the other.
“If you two are going to act like children than I guess I will go be with more civilized creatures. Seren will probably be happy to see me.”
Malfoy frowned slightly and pouted and Blaise laughed.
For the first time in a long time, Hermione was actually beginning to feel better. Yes, she felt extremely sad that she was growing apart from Harry and Ginny and Ron hated her, but Malfoy was the best friend she’d had since before she attended Hogwarts. Harry and Ron had been good, but there was always so much drama surrounding them and trouble. Plus, they had all had spats with each other over the years and put stress on their friendships. When she hung out with Malfoy and Blaise, it was easy and relaxed. All of them had pushed aside the past and prejudice to allow themselves to have a bond.
As Hermione finished eating, she bid them goodnight and headed away. Malfoy said he was going to stay and hang with Blaise for a bit. Both boys waved at her and then she made her way from the Hall. About halfway to the 6th and 7th year tower, she heard footsteps. Thinking it was Malfoy catching up with her, she turned with a smile but it quickly left her face. Ron was walking towards her and looked furious. She turned away from her only to be slammed into the wall next to her. Hermione could smell alcohol on his breath. This was not good.
“What are you? You a Slytherin now? We fought them Hermione, they were on the wrong side! I mean… geez Malfoy helped kill people or have you forgotten that? Have you forgotten that he was horrible to you and called you a mudblood?”
Hermione just stared at him, thinking of how to get away. He shoved her into the wall again. She felt pain shoot up her arm.
“He’s just going to use you… maybe he already is. I should tell Harry. Hermione, is he shagging you?”
“No. We’re just friends.”
“That’s not possible. Stop talking, you’re a traitor and the worst kind. You’re a muggleborn and you’re hanging out with someone who he against everything you are. You beyond a traitor, you’re just scum trying to be famous.”
He roughly let go or her arms, which were now bruised, and walked away. Hermione slid down the wall and curled herself up tight. She was in the shadows, so no one would notice her and let herself cry. How did this keep happening? Why couldn’t he just leave her alone? She had no idea how much time had passed or how many people had walked right on by without noticing her, but when it was late and silent, she her voices talking and laughing.
“You’re teaching her how to fly?”
“Yeah, I can see she’s going to be really good, but her head gets in the way.”
“Like Ginny Weasley good or just good?”
“Not sure just how good, but I think she’ll be able to keep up with me.”
“Draco… is there -“
But Hermione heard Malfoy shush Blaise. They sounded much closer, but she kept her head resting on her knees.
She looked up and then quickly looked away.
“Hey, what’s going on?”
There was a pause and she heard footsteps walking away. She looked up but Malfoy was still in front of her. He was looking at her and suddenly frowning.
“Hermione what happened to your arms?”
Her tears slipped out again.
“What did he do?” His voice was very low.
She just shook her head. It didn’t matter. Malfoy was a friend but this wasn’t his problem.
“I’m going to tell McGonagall tomorrow –“
“He can’t keep doing this. I won’t let it happen.”
“Draco please don’t.”
His eyes met hers. She saw an emotion there, but didn’t know what it was. He scooped her up and carried her the rest of the way to the tower. As he set her down, he kissed the top of her head. It was strange to her because that’s what Harry did, but now Malfoy was doing it. She stepped through the Gryffindor door and noted that Ginny and Harry were sitting at the fireplace. She averted her eyes and walked past everyone without a word. No one spoke to her anyways.
She warded herself in bed and tried to sleep. There were fingermarks on her arms and her face was red from crying. The only person in the whole world who seemed to care was her old enemy. For the hundredth time, Hermione barely slept. Instead of going to class, she pulled on some comfy clothes and when to the upper area in the community room. There was a couch in a secluded corner and she laid down on it. Somehow she fell into a deep sleep. No one found her, besides Seren, and the cat kept her secret. She had heard Draco come up to the community room looking for her, but he hadn’t looked hard enough. After lunch time, she snuck out of the castle carrying the Nimbus 2001 that Malfoy had given to her. She decided upon a spot near the Forbidden Forest that no one could see from the castle.
She took a breath and thought about just being free. It only took her 3 attempts and then she was soaring around the clearing. She let out a yell of triumph and zoomed in and out of the trees. It felt great. Maybe she should just pack a bag and fly away, forever and never stop. The idea seemed like a great one at the moment. But then her thoughts traveled to The Three Broomsticks and how happy both of them had been. She remembered the pictures she’d taken and that were tucked away ready to be given as the present they were taken for. Hermione thought of the picture she was keeping for herself. In it, she was standing next to Malfoy and he had looked down at her as she’d snapped the picture. The reason she loved it was because he looked down at her with so much caring and he was so relaxed and genuine in that moment. A slight smile played on his lips and at the last second in the picture, he would look up at the camera and smile a bit bigger.
Finally, as the sun went down and she started to get overly chilled in the November air, she trudged her way back to the castle. She stopped by the kitchens to pick up some food before heading up to the tower. Her plan was to head straight to the community room, but she had not foreseen that Harry would stop her when she entered the room.
“Where were you all day? Are you ok?”
She just stared at him. It had been such a long time since he’d actually talked to her besides on Saturday when they had walked around Hogsmeade and then he had addressed her about Malfoy. She just looked at him.
“I didn’t see you all day. Mirtac was furious and Malfoy even tried to ask me where you were.”
“I was out.”
“Out? You missed an entire day of classes Hermione.”
She felt irritated.
“Why do you care? You haven’t paid attention for weeks. Like when I would get up and leave the table or when I wouldn’t show up for meals… why is now such a big deal. You’re mad at me about Malfoy and have your own life to live.”
“Why? Because like I said the other night, I still care about you. No I’m not happy about Malfoy but I’m not going to completely abandon you.”
“You mean like she did to us? Just leave her be Harry, she’s not like us anymore.” A voice said.
Ron had entered.
“Ron, that’s a little harsh.”
“No, she betrayed us. If she wants our support she never should have left.”
Luckily he just stomped away after that. Harry looked after him a bit and then turned back to her.
“He still cares about you and you being friends with Malfoy just irritates him more than anything. Why don’t you come back to us?”
“You all are so set on the fact that I’ve ‘left’ and won’t come back, but I spent the first month here trying to be back and was ignored.”
With that Hermione left him standing there. She felt sad and angry at the same time. They were thinking she was still abandoning them but they hadn’t noticed her come back. No she was not happy and strong, but that was because the war had broken her and no one had supported her. Harry had his moments of being broken and so had Ron… Who had been there to support them? She had, but when she was broken and needed support no one was there. The first and only person to really notice and do anything about her state of being was Malfoy. She was fully and painfully aware of how he used to be, but he wasn’t anymore. She was still wary of him at times but Hermione had really begun to trust him.
She wanted to stomp her way all the way up the stairs, but decided that in order to not draw any more attention or followers, she must be silent. Angry tears slid down her face. She was hurt and confused. Part of her wished that she never became friends with Malfoy, however, that would mean she’d probably be alone somewhere or sitting with Harry and Ginny while being ignored. She knew Harry still cared, but it was different and she didn’t feel like they quite accepted her. They didn’t know her anymore and none of them had any idea about her parents.
So far off in thought and confusion, Hermione walked right past Malfoy who was sitting in their usual spot watching her. She walked up the stairs to her hidden couch and plopped down. As she nibbled at the food she brought, she heard footsteps. Looking up, the grey eyes of Malfoy looked at her and he smirked a little.
“So this is where you sit?”
She dropped her eyes.
“Is this where you were all day? I didn’t see you at all.”
“What’s wrong? You never miss class, so don’t even try to tell me it’s nothing.”
He did it again. She felt herself slip and the door with her feelings burst open.
“It’s everything. Ron and how he treats me. He talks to me like you used to; insulting me and hurting me. Then there’s the underlying feeling that my so called friends don’t accept me. They keep saying they want me back, but they haven’t even noticed that I’ve tried. Harry still cares but he doesn’t understand me right now. I’ve always been so strong and I don’t think he knows how to handle broken me and he doesn’t like that I’m friends with you. Ron keeps calling me a traitor and scum and thinks that you’re only using me or shagging me. Ginny hasn’t spoken a word to me since she found out we’re friends. None of them know what’s happened with me since they war and they don’t know about my parents. I’m going back to my flat for the Holidays and probably won’t leave my place at all. I feel so alone and left to deal with my nightmares.”
He just watched her as she ranted. He didn’t frown or say a word, just listened. Then, instead of saying anything he pulled her into a hug and kissed the top of her head.
“Hermione, I’m here for you ok? I’m sorry about your friends, but I hope you can be content with my friendship. If you would like, maybe we can meet over the break?”
Her heart felt a little warmth at his words. She nodded into his chest and then realized this was the closest she had conscious been to him. Hermione took a step back and a huge breath. His smell of citrus was a little overwhelming. He nudged her slightly and pointed at the couch.
“Are we meeting here now?”
“Sure, it has better light from the window, but is more hidden from below.”
“So what did you do here all day?”
“Actually I only took a nap here, then I went outside.”
“Oh? What for?”
Hermione thought about whether she wanted to tell him that she went flying or not. Well he’d find out soon enough anyways.
“I went flying.”
“Oh yeah? How’d it go?”
He laughed and smiled one of his rare genuine smiles.
Draco was actually surprised that she’d gone out flying without him. She must have been feeling really upset if she’d missed class and went flying instead. The tiniest of smiles lifted the sides of her mouth and suddenly he found himself staring at them. Something stirred inside him but he didn’t know what it was. He shrugged it off and walked over to sit on the couch. Patting the spot next to him, he looked back at her to see her staring out the window. She thought she was weak, but he would argue she was quite the opposite. Instead of curling up and never facing the world again or the friends she’d left behind, she had decided to reconnect with them and the wizarding world by coming back to school. She wasn’t a complete and catatonic mess after the way her parents had dismissed her, so Draco thought she was extremely brave. He just wished she could see it.
Besides those facts, but he knew that she had terrible nightmares about what his aunt had done to her. So not only did she have to endure that torture, now she had to relive it endlessly. He had come to admire how strong she was and cared for her a lot. Part of him wanted to invite her to stay with him over the holidays but he knew it wasn’t the right time for that. There was just over 2 weeks until they went home for the holidays and he sincerely hoped she’d be okay.
The two of them spent the next hour together and then left for bed. Draco couldn’t help but notice that she seemed to be feeling a little better after her venting session earlier. She looked so exhausted but better. The next couple weeks just flew by, he had more quiddich practices because they’re final match before the holidays was coming up and that meant he didn’t have as much time to meet with Hermione. He felt horrible about it, but she assured him that it was okay. She even brought a book and came to a couple of his practices. He and Blaise continued to sit at the Gryffidor table and they had noticed that some of the first year Slytherin’s had made friends with Lions as well. Potter and everyone in their 6th and 7th year were still wary of him but just ignored him.
No longer being the hottest gossip, people didn’t really bother Hermione about it either. Luna would occasionally come sit with them. She and Astoria were complete opposites mentally and it was amusing to see them trying to communicated with each other, especially since Luna didn’t care if someone agreed with her or not. Mirtac was still just as callous as ever and not many students liked her. It was finally the last before they left and their Thursday detention was upon them. Draco had been thinking about what do get Hermione but was at a loss. The clenching in his stomach had increased in occurrences and he had realized during his last flying session around the lake with Hermione that he not only cared for her, but was attracted to her. He was afraid that he was falling for her.
While they were sitting next to each other and each rewriting a record, he spoke,
“Hermione, what’s something you really like that no one really knows? I know you like books and kittens, but I don’t really know what other kind of things you like.”
She looked at him and cocked her head while biting her lip. Draco tried not to stare. He loved and hated it when she did that.
“I don’t really know. I haven’t had anything valuable in the last few years except for books.”
“Ok, so what about classes. Is there something you are especially good at?”
“Flames. I’ve always loved flames and been good at creating the various kinds.”
He smiled. He had the perfect idea for her gift.
“I just like figuring out new spells and charms.”
“I’ve noticed.” He said to her as he smirked.
He could always tell when she was intrigued. She loved a challenging spell or incantation. He smirked at her and then changed tactics.
“What do you want for Christmas?”
“You’re not getting me anything…”
“Oh come on! Something small?”
She stayed silent and left him hanging. He already knew what he was going to give her, but he was hoping to get more options out of her anyways. No such luck. A smile played across her face and then she blushed. He wanted to know what she had just thought.
It drove him nuts and she knew it because she was smiling a little bigger. He dramatically threw his hands up and then pouted as he went back to his work. He heard her giggle. He rolled his eyes and threw a quill at her and she retaliated by crumpling old parchment and throwing it at his head. They both laughed hard. Draco was quickly sobered though when the cat chime went off and he realized that they didn’t have detention on Saturday, instead they were leaving to go home for the holidays.
“Can we get together over the break? If you want.”
“Yes,“ She said quietly, “I’d like that.”
He beamed and his heart lifted. He knew she probably didn’t have the same feeling building that he did, but as long they he could be with her it would be a good holiday.
Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Other Similar Stories