"And he-here I thought my home life sucked," she quaked, knowing that she could never truly understand what it has been like for him. "Is that part of the reason you sabotaged the supply cabinet?"
Draco laughed heartily at the memory of that day in Potions, "That was one of my finest moments. It took me a long time to organize all those ingredients, if I made it too obvious that I switched things around, everyone would have noticed. I am glad that Finnegan is alright, that was quite the explosion. He even got Pans with it! Snape was pissed though."
Hermione laughed and sniffed as she released Draco from the hug, he really did some crazy things. It was probably a really good thing that he wasn't in Gryffindor with the twins, or the castle would probably be destroyed. As Draco's laughter calmed down, Hermione thought more about her own life, at home. Sure, it wasn't anything like Draco's, but it still weighed heavily on her heart.
"Now's the time to let it all out Hermione," Luna soothed, sensing that the older teen wanted to talk about things as well.
Tears started to stream down her face as she took a shaky breath, "I feel so ridiculous now, after hearing everything you all have gone through.
"But if it's bothering you, you have every right to be unhappy about it," Draco stated, rubbing her back.
"I'm sure a lot of people can relate, especially Harry, but Ron has never really understood, so I stopped talking about it. My parents, well they haven't abandoned me, but I guess they make me feel like I've abandoned them. I hate this feeling! It is bad enough, not fitting in at the Muggle schools; but then I come here and I still get made fun of. I'm too smart, I'm such a Know-it-All. In fact, that's why I'm stuck here! I got tired of Snape always calling me names, he's a professor, he's supposed to be, well, professional! But he's always looking down his nose at me, and I'd had enough! So when he called me in after class, we got into a nasty fight. I'm kind of surprised I only have one Saturday detention really.
"And what makes it worse with my parents is that they can't understand what it's like for me. At first they were so excited to learn about the Wizarding world, but over the years I think they've come to resent it a little. I'm always so far away during the year, they can't come see me, even though I do always write them. Then, when they try and ask about my classes, they have no clue what I'm telling them about, so they don't even know what to ask me about anymore. And of course, I spend a lot of time with the Weasleys over breaks. The first part of my breaks I do always spend with my parents, but when it's time to go back to school or get supplies, I figure it would just be easier if I went without them. And Mrs. Weasley has been so nice to me, welcoming me into her home, taking me to get school supplies and books. I feel like a horrible daughter," she finished, wiping her cheeks with her sleeves.
Everyone else paused at Hermione's words, they had never given thought to how it must be for those with Muggle parents; they were literally separated from their children, never really able to become a part of this world. What would happen when Hermione finally got a job? She'd either be working in the Wizarding world or living in the Muggle world and forgoing all the schooling she went through. And to make it worse, it sounds like her parents can't talk to her about it, because then they'd feel like they are forcing her to choose; no wonder they were starting to resent this world. Was it like this for other Muggleborns?
"Hermione, it's not your fault, or your parents. It really seems like you need to have a sit down with them and discuss everything. You still love them right? Make sure they always know that. Reassure then that maybe right now, you are spending holidays away, but you just want to be with friends as much as you can. I'm sure that when you are older and out on your own, you'll be visiting them all the time, especially on holidays. They are your parents, they have to understand that," Luna insisted.
As Hermione listened to Luna's kind words, she smiled gratefully, glad that no one here was telling her that it wasn't that bad and to get over it. She began to realize that all of them had probably felt that way, so afraid to speak out only to get told that no one cares. All of them had things to confess. Then she realized, that through all of this, Luna had been the one with kind words for everyone, she had some encouragement for everyone. Luna could see their struggles and recognize that they needed to share with each other.
"Luna, what did you do to get detention with all of us?" Hermione asked.
"I interrupted Professor Snape's potions class yesterday. I was telling everyone about Cornelius Fudge's Umgubular Slashkilter, it's very important information," Luna giggled.
"You knew that all of us were going to be here today, didn't you?" Cho accused, eyeing the blonde girl with shock.
"I had an idea, besides, I had nothing else to do today, I'm glad I came," Luna shrugged, still grinning at the others, eyes lit up.
Cedric laughed from his desk, leave it to Lovegood to get detention just because she had nothing else to do. But he also realized that she came today because she wanted to help them all out, by coming together and realizing that they weren't that different. She was pretty amazing, and it seems like he wasn't the only one who was realizing that.
"What would have happened if Snape had come back, or if none of us spoke to each other?" Draco asked, not quite believing in Luna's plan.
"Things always have a way of working out in the end, even in ways you might not expect," Luna smiled.
Everyone nodded their heads in agreement, today definitely supported that statement, despite the rough start, they had all come together.
"But, what will this mean for all of us, you know, next Monday?" Cho asked, looking back at Cedric.
"It won't really change much for me, I mean, I always say hi to anyone who says hi to me. So if you guys want to talk, I'm cool with that," Cedric told them all.
"I'm the same way, I'll talk with anyone, it doesn't matter what House you're in," Luna affirmed.
Cho and Hermione bit their lips, would it really be that easy for them to become a kind of group? Would Hermione really just be able to walk up to Cedric or Cho and just start a conversation with them? And what would her friends say about all of this? Let alone what had happened with her and Draco! They could never find out about that. She looked over at Draco, wanting to know how he felt about all of this. His response surprised her.
"I'm down with whatever, I'm tired of being the person my parents want me to be. I'm already known as a prankster, I give the twins a run for their money some times. I don't care if we stir up rumors by saying hi to each other in the halls. Especially if it bothers Potter and Weasley," he smirked, already picturing the horrified looks on their faces if Hermione waved to him.
"Do you really think it would be that easy?" Cho asked, still very uncertain.
"You can do what you want, if you don't want to talk with us, I understand. And if you do, I'll wait for you to initiate it, that way I know it's okay," Hermione told her, knowing that it wasn't going to be easy to just step outside of their personal cliques.
Cho tilted her head, "I'll have to think about it, no offense to you guys at all, just… you know…"
"So, are you down for being friends Hermione? Like I said, I'm all for stirring the pot," Draco asked, wiggling his eyebrows at her.
Hermione blushed again and Luna laughed, happy to see them both relaxed finally. Before she could say anything, Cho tapped her on the shoulder, asking if they could have a private moment. Luna nodded her head and let the taller girl lead her to a different table. As soon as Cho was certain that the others weren't listening in, she spoke.
"I want to apologize to you Luna; I know you think that the Nargals are taking your things, but really it's my friends," she admitted, looking down at the floor. "I didn't know that they took things like your shoes, or any of your school things. I'll make sure they give everything back."
Luna looked perplexed, "It isn't the Nargals? Are you sure?"
Cho nodded her head solemnly, "They take things from you because you are… different. And they know that you think it's one of those creatures from… your Dad's tabloid. So they feel they can get away with it. But that's not right. I swear if I knew it was this bad, I would have told them off a long time ago."
"Oh," was all Luna said, wiggling her sock clad toes. "I guess that explains why some of the stuff from my truck is missing too; Nargals don't know how to open locks you know."
"But you know, after talking with you, I realize that you aren't as, weird as others make you seem. You have a lot of insight and great ideas to help out your peers, you are a wonderful person. I, want to be friends, is that okay?"
"I'd love that!" Luna smiled, pulling Cho into a hug.
Cho returned the hug, blushing fiercely, wondering if maybe she liked this girl a little more than as a friend. But one thing at a time, she didn't want to scare Luna away. The girls giggled as they sat down, the older witch giving the younger one some study tips and Luna gave Cho her cork necklace.
When Chang and Lovegood wandered off, Draco steered Hermione towards the last desk in the row, he might as well have a private conversation with her while he had the chance. Hermione didn't give him any resistance, sitting down on top of the table, legs swinging.
"You know, I think I do like Firewhiskey, although, only in moderation; and I should probably drink more water before Snape lets us out of here," Hermione laughed, covering her mouth with her hand.
Draco smiled as he shook his head, even when she'd been drinking, she was still always trying to be responsible. He patted her hand and pushed away from the table; he found her goblet and filled it up with water before heading back to her.
"You are the best!" she exclaimed, sipping from the goblet.
"Can I get that in writing?" he kidded, knowing that she'd never admit that if she was sober.
But she looked up at him with somber eyes, "I think if we really want to try, we could be friends Draco."
His breathed hitched unexpectedly, she looked stunning and completely unguarded; he felt like this was the first time he was seeing her just as she was. All the other times, in class, at the library, on the pitch, she had a focused look on her face, like she couldn't stand to forget a single thing that was going on around her. But now, she was looking at him, only him, and she had an earnestness in her eyes that rocked him to his core. He leaned in closer, looking at the freckles spattered around her nose, how had he never noticed those before?
Hermione looked up at the Slytherin, trying to discern his thoughts, he looked so focused, almost like he was on the pitch and searching for the Snitch. When he leaned in closer, she held her breath, hands tightening on her cup; his steel grey eyes were pulling her in, she couldn't look away. She felt his hands wrap around hers, sparking the memories from earlier; he took the cup from her hands and set it on the table. Hermione opened her mouth to finally break the silence and Draco crashed his lips against hers, hands instantly curled in her hair.
Draco couldn't stop himself, when she looked up at him, he knew that he wanted things to go further between them, more than just a fun time during a Saturday detention. He slowed down when he felt her tense up, unsure if she was okay wit this, but within moments, her arms were wrapped around his neck, pulling him close again. As her fingers ran through his hair, he grinned, happy that she wasn't shying away from him, which he half expected.
Draco could tell by her hesitant movements that she wasn't an experienced kisser, but he saw that as more of an opportunity to teach her. He gently nibbled on her lower lip, ran his hands down her sides, and slowly leaned down, letting her relax slightly. When he pulled away, she whimpered slightly, looking up at him with a pout.
"So, I take it you wouldn't be against continuing this?" Draco smirked, loving the sound of her whimpering. "Because I'm totally for it if you are."
"I think that would be fun," Hermione admitted, trying not to blush.
Draco was about to respond when there was movement at the door; all of them instantly freezing, eyes wide. A spectral bird flew into the classroom, Hermione instantly recognizing it as a Patronus, it looked an awful lot like Fawkes. It surprised them all when it landed on Snape's desk and spoke to them.
"Attention, the Faculty meeting ran long, it's all my fault I'm afraid. But fear not, Professor Snape will be coming back soon to dismiss you, sorry for the tardiness. And thank you all for being responsible and remaining in the room until you are officially dismissed," Dumbledore's voice announced from the Patronus.
The phoenix then disappeared and they all collectively looked at the time, realizing that they should have been excused 10 minutes ago. Where had the time gone? Then the panic set in, none of them had done their essays, and Draco needed to get back into Snape's office! Hermione jumped off the table and quickly unrolled the parchment, the other gathering around.
"What should we write?" Cedric asked, panicking slightly, he really didn't want to come back.
"I know, I'll write it, you all work on getting the room back in order," Hermione whispered, shooing them all away.
The four of them scrambled, setting the desks back, Draco tucking the now empty bottle into his robes, while Hermione scribbled furiously. She hoped that none of them would have to come back because of this, but she gave it her best shot.
Dear Professor Snape,
We spent countless hours trying to come up with something to write, something that would satisfy your ridiculous requirements. But in that time, we came to realize that all of us, are more alike than we thought. It doesn't matter how you see us, because to us, each one of us is: an athlete, a know-it-all, a rule breaker, popular, and a little bit weird. No matter what you think we are, we KNOW who we are, and we aren't here to change your mind.
The Dungeon Club
Hermione reread the whole thing, quickly checking for errors before reading it aloud to the group. When all of them approved, they quickly signed their names, rolled it back up, and placed it on the desk. Satisfied with her work, Hermione grabbed Draco's hand and ran out into the hallway, into Snape's office and looked around.
"Where are you supposed to be?" she asked, not wanting him to get into any further trouble."
Draco pointed to the closet, the one he had to break out of earlier, "In there, I managed to climb out through that tiny window up top. And promptly fell to the floor, which is what caused the big crash earlier."
"Right… how are we supposed to get you back in there if it's locked?"
"Give me a boost and I'll shimmy back through, easy! And then you go back to your desk and look innocent. You're really good at that," he winked.
Hermione smacked him on the arm, "Now's not the time for that, you idiot! Come on!"
She pushed him over to the closet and folded her hands together, ready to boost him up, but he leaned down, giving her a quick kiss.
"How will I know that you really mean to see me again?" Draco asked, really pushing his luck.
"I'll come find you, I guess, hurry!" she shot back, exasperated.
But Draco shook his head, quickly reaching down and loosening his tie; he pulled it over his head and then loosened hers. Just as quickly, he replaced her red and gold tie with his green and silver one, throwing hers on over his head. "There, now we have to meet again, to switch back ties."
Hermione tried to glare at him, but she was too infatuated with him to really be angry, instead she waved her hands, getting his attention. Now that he was guaranteed another meeting, he scaled the wall with her help and slid back through the window. As soon as his feet disappeared, she said a quick goodbye and sprinted back to the dungeon, absentmindedly tightening the fabric around her nexk. Leaping into her seat, she fanned her face and tried to calm her breathing, not wanting to catch Snape's attention yet again.
As she pulled her breathing under control, they heard footsteps coming closer; in a moment, Snape passed by, barely glancing into the room, fully expecting them to still be there. They waited in tense silence, hoping he wouldn't make too big of a deal out of their essays. Luckily he seemed to be in a bad mood, he strode into the room, dragging Draco behind him, and tossed their wands onto the table.
"You're all dismissed, get your wand and leave," he barked at them, not even asking for their essays, or noticing the rolled up parchment on his desk.
Not wanting to spend any more time there, they all scooped up their things and ran by his desk to pick up their wands, Cho holding Luna's hand as they ran out the door. Snape sat down heavily as they all scurried by, the meeting had been completely useless, he had no idea why it had dragged on for so long. He could have been writing up lesson plans during that time, but the Headmaster just insisted on keeping them all. Snape glanced up as Granger went by, taking a moment to register her appearance.
"Oh, Miss Granger," he called, ignoring the terrified look on her face as she turned around. "Don't forget to stop by the Hospital Wing, for some medicine, like we discussed earlier."
Hermione offered a curt nod before sprinting out the door; he shrugged off her nervousness as he looked back down at the desk. Belatedly he realized that none of them handed him their essays, but he didn't care at this point. Instead he unrolled the parchment he saw and scanned it, jaw dropping in surprise as he read it. Did they really have the gall to leave him a note like this? He folded it up and put it away in his robes, he'd deal with it later. Instead he tried to clear his mind, but the image of Granger facing him was stuck in his mind, something was off… Snape paled as he realized what was wrong, she had been wearing a Slytherin necktie.
A/N: TA DA! It's complete! That was so exciting to write! I struggled at times, unsure of where to take things, but I think the end product is pretty good =D Hope you all enjoyed reading it! I'm thinking of maybe making a sequel of sorts in the future, like candid moments between the Club members in the following days. Please comment or message me if you'd be interested in reading something like that and I'll see what I can come up with =)