Chapter 8: Special Attentions
Professor McGonagall gave Harry, Ron, Draco, and Ginny each a week of detention. Hermione only received three days’ worth. This was due to the fact that the other four had testified that Hermione had only been a bystander in the duel. Even Draco had protested at Hermione receiving any detention at all, but Professor McGonagall informed him, that while she may not have used any offensive spells, as the others had, Hermione was still a Prefect, and therefore it was her duty to put a stop to any fights that may break out when there were no teachers around.
Hermione accepted that and was surprised when she did not receive the same sentence as her peers. They would all meet Mr. Filch tomorrow evening after dinner, in the trophy room to serve their first night.
When they were released from McGonagall’s office, they hurriedly split up and rushed to their varied classes. Yet, when it came time for Potions that afternoon, Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Draco found themselves waiting together in the corridor. Since Harry and Ron were already going to be missing one Quidditch Practice and did not want to give Draco the satisfaction of making them miss anymore, they carefully avoided him.
Draco, however, tucked himself into a shadowy niche and beckoned to Hermione. Cautiously, she edged closer, trying to make it appear as if she was just stretching her legs. When she was standing in front of him, she rifled through her book bag, pretending to look for something.
“What do you want, Draco?” she whispered. Hermione was very aware that the corridors were relatively small, and that while they were doing a very good job of not looking in their direction, Ron and Harry could still hear her if she was not careful.
“I wanted to know how you were feeling.” Under the cover of the shadow he was standing in, Hermione couldn’t quite see his face, but she somehow sensed that he was watching her very closely. She brushed a stray hair out of her face and tucked it behind her ear.
“I’m fine, thank you. Madame Pomfrey made sure that nothing was broken, and gave me a potion for the pain.” The door to the Potions classroom opened and Professor Snape scowled out at them in his general dour manner.
Harry and Ron were ushered into the classroom, and their fellow students began to push past Hermione. As she started to move, she heard a whisper of noise and then found herself pulled into the same shadowy outcropping as Draco. The area was not very large, and she was pulled up close against him. In the bad lighting, he looked like a translucent ghost, all paleness and air in comparison to the darkened stone wall behind them. Before she realized what was happening, he had pressed his lips fiercely down on hers in a searing kiss.
Hermione gave a tiny squeak of surprise, then gave in to the sensations he was igniting in her. Fire coursed across her lips where they touched his, and her hand crept up to his hair of its own accord. He had a hand tightly against her hip, and he grabbed her closer still until they were as closely entwined as they had been the night before. He kissed her with a feverish passion as if he couldn’t help himself, and she didn’t mind one bit. She, herself, was having a difficult time gathering enough courage to pull away.
Hermione didn’t want to stop him, yet on some level, she knew that they would be missed in the classroom. Almost as soon as she thought it, Draco seemed to edge back. He carefully disengaged himself from her, and stared down at her, slightly out of breath. He brushed a stray hair away from her face and tucked it behind her ear. Then he smiled at her, as if he’d just been awarded 200 House Points, and walked away, into the classroom.
Frazzled, and beyond confused by his demeanor, Hermione hurried after him and claimed a seat. Too late she realized that the only open chair had been right next to Ron, who watched her suspiciously throughout the entire class.
Hermione did her best not to get distracted by Draco and their kiss and spent the entire lesson muttering the proper way to brew the draught that was supposed to cure many symptoms of a head cold. They both turned out of the lesson without having a single thing explode, which was more than could be said for Goyle, who nearly set his own robes on fire when he turned the flames under his cauldron up too high too quickly. Harry approached their table after the lesson was over to speak to them.
“We’ve got to see if the rest of the Team can do a quick practice tonight instead of the lengthy one we had planned tomorrow. I’d move the time up, but Katie has lines with McGonagall. She said something about a runaway parrot-pot. So, Hermione, would you mind taking mine and Ron’s stuff back up to the Tower? We’ve got to gather the rest of the Team now if there’s any hope of us fitting in time on the Pitch.”
Ron looked excited at the prospect of still getting to fly that weekend, and Hermione nodded, not really paying attention to what Harry had said. She soon found herself staggering under the weight of three book bags, and she was very surprised to see Draco waiting for her in the Entry Hall when she came back down from depositing the school supplies in their respective dormitories.
“I thought you might like to take a walk with me tonight.” He told her. Hermione stared at him. Grabbing him by the hand, she dragged him into the same closet that she and Harry had hidden in their third year. She closed the door on the currently empty hall outside.
“Lumos.” She whispered, lighting her wand and then turned on Draco in the semi-dark.
“Draco, what do you want?” She scream-whispered, exasperated. “I thought you only wanted to torment me and lord this whole secret thing over my head. So, why then are you trying to kiss me at every turn, and not blasting Harry and Ron to pieces, and- and – being nice to me?!?”
Draco chuckled quietly and moved a stray hair out of Hermione’s eyes. She shook her head and three more of her rebellious follicles fell into her face. Frustrated, Hermione pushed her hair back. Draco just laughed again.
“Stop laughing at me and answer the question!” He did her the service of not laughing again while she wrestled with her hair one-handed, the other still holding her wand. The light bounced around the tiny closet and made funny shadows on the walls.
“Would you have preferred me to blast Potter and Weasley to pieces? I didn’t think you were that bloodthirsty, Granger.”
She blushed, though in the half-light it was difficult to see it.
“Of course not! Don’t be ridiculous. I don’t want Harry and Ron hurt any more than I do y-” she stopped herself. The end of the sentence, and what it meant, hit her like no spell ever could. She swayed a little, and Draco put out a hand to steady her.
”As for this secret thing, I had never thought to, how did you put it, ‘lord it over your head’, I was only going to tease you about it.” She gaped at him.
“Then why the hell are you putting me through this misery and frustration?”
He looked a little sheepish, but it was only for a second before he responded.
“I thought it would be a good way for you to spend time with me.” If her eyes popped anything further from her head, he thought, they’d fall on the floor. He pushed on, knowing that the one thing he hadn’t answered yet was the one thing that he both looked forward to and dreaded telling her.
“And I can’t help being nice to you.”
“Why not? I suppose you’re going to tell me next that you fancy me!” She scoffed at him and folded her arms across her chest. He flushed slightly. When she realized what she had said, and that he wasn’t immediately jumping on the defensive, she turned white. Whiter than the bouncing ferret that he had been transfigured in their fourth year. She suddenly felt very light-headed and the stunning thought that Draco Malfoy might actually fancy her struck her like lightning.
Without another word to him, she burst from the closet, much to the surprise of the students milling around in the Entry Hall just before dinner. She bolted up the stairs and tried to escape the cloying ideas that were trapping her mind. She heard him call after her once, but she yelled over her shoulder,
“Just leave me alone Malfoy! I don’t want you anywhere near me!” As she ran on, she heard his footsteps behind her stop, but she didn’t stop to think, she just ran onward.
Careening around the corner, she came face to face with Ginny as she was climbing into the portrait hole. Ginny took one look at Hermione’s stricken face, and she grabbed her by the hand, pulling her into the Common Room along with her. Ginny kept pulling Hermione up the stairs, past the curious looks of the other Gryffindors and up to the room that Ginny shared with the other girls in her year. Once there, she set Hermione down on the bed, and stared expectantly at her. Hermione did not disappoint.
“Oh Gin! Why did I do it? Why did I let him get to me in such a way?” Hermione practically wailed, tears forming in her eyes at the horrible mess she’d gotten herself into. Ginny forced herself to take a deep breath, and then asked,
“’Mione, what happened? Who got to you?”
“I was such a fool to think I could handle being around him! I thought he hated me, and I was safe from my own feelings, but now I come to find out that he actually likes me…and I can’t get away from him fast enough!” She buried her face in her hands and gave a shattering sob. Ginny sat on the bed next to her.
“You know, Ron may be a little thick, but he’s not as stupid as I thought him to be.” Hermione looked up at her friend.
“I’m not talking about Ron, Ginny. Oh no, it’s much worse than that!” Her face went back into her palms.
“Hermione, Ron and I have been talking. He has a theory as to why you’ve been acting so strange, especially these past couple days.” Ginny’s only answer was another pair of sobs. She sighed, then continued.
“He thinks you may be taking a fancy to a certain Slytherin.” Several sobs. “Ron says that you’ve been staring off into space a lot lately, and I can’t deny that I’ve seen you eyeing him from across the room. And then this morning, when you put up the shield. It was a dead giveaway. Even Harry noticed something, though he only mentioned it in passing to me.”
Hermione wouldn’t look up from her hands, and she was still crying, her hysteria now causing her to shake almost violently, as all the years of pent-up emotion came bursting forth.
“Mione, we all think that you are in love with Draco Malfoy.” At the mention of his name, Hermione gave a muffled scream and slumped into the bed, giving way completely to the tears that seemed to have overtaken her. Ginny could see it was no use talking to her when she was this worked up. She patted her shoulder, then excused herself.
“I’ll be back in a bit. Please try to remember to breathe.”
As she left, Hermione curled herself into a fetal position and gave herself the chance to cry.