Now before everyone jumps me for updating this so late, I have actually been re-editing several of the beginning chapters of this story because...let's just say I thought that they were INCREDIBLY weak and quite embarrassing on my part. So far I have managed to do four new modifications and I hope they add to the beginning quality of this story.
Other than that, yes, I know I need to update this story more often and I literally go to bed hating myself because of my lack of writing. I have also been enrolled in a four week university coarse so that's been taking some of my summer time (aka writing time) away and I apologize for that.
I'm going to try and update my other stories as well so be on the look out :)
He had been up before the sun had risen in order to avoid Harry. It was a childish move, he would admit, but he wasn't ready to push everything aside. He didn't want to make it look like he was reverting back to Harry's side especially after Tom had given him his options. There was no way he was going to potentially risk his…'arrangement' with the Grangers just for Harry's sake and really, if his scar was hurting that much, it would be wiser to take the matter straight to Dumbledore. There was still that nagging feeling that he just needed to be there for Harry, but Draco had to keep reminding himself that it was what he wanted. Sometimes life was simply about making choices and not getting one thing over the other. He knew that.
But by the time noon had come around, Harry and finally tracked him down.
He had been with Hermione and Blaise out in the courtyard discussing the day's Prophet articles when Blaise had made a sound of disgust. "Looks like your friends couldn't resist after all," he said with a sneer before jerking his chin over Draco's shoulder.
He didn't have to turn around to know who it was. One glance at Hermione's face told him everything.
Hesitantly, he turned around on the stone bench and met Harry's gaze. "Yes?" he asked. He didn't bother looking at Ron but he could feel the redhead's glare burning into the side of his face.
After a short pause, Harry cleared his throat uncomfortably. "Uh, you said...I need to talk to you, remember? About..." his voice trailed off as his emerald gaze drifted to glance at Hermione. Draco bit the inside of his cheek as the awkwardness reached a new height. Was he actually supposed to chose Harry in front of Hermione?
"Now?" he questioned stupidly, knowing full well that Harry meant now but he couldn't find the urge to pull away from the two Slytherin's. "We have class in a bit," he said as he turned back around. "I'll talk to you after that."
He heard Harry's exasperated sigh from behind him. "Draco, I told you this is urgent. You said we could-"
"For Merlin's sake, Potter," Hermione rolled her eyes. "If it's that important just have a seat," she used her hand to point at the last empty chair of their table as if they were all friends having a chat but he could see the hardness in her eyes; the challenge for what it was. "I promise we don't bite," she said with a grin but there was no friendliness to it. Draco watched Harry closely as he glared at Hermione. "You'll have to ditch the pauper though, I'm afraid we don't have any room for it."
Draco's eyes closed in defeat. Here we go.
"Stuff it, Granger!" Ron yelled, grabbing the attention from the other students in the courtyard. They all turned to watch the altercation with wide, anticipating eyes. "You have no idea what Harry's scar signifies when it starts to hurt! This is bigger than you and your enormous ego!"
Hermione laughed, and Draco could visibly watch as Ron turned scarlet. "Potter, you're throwing a fit because your scar hurts? Sweet Salazar, you're such a baby! How about you run to Dumbledore so he can kiss it better? Or wait," she scoffed in amusement, "is that what you need Draco to do? Apparently you can't deal with not having everyone's attention on you at every second of the day," she mocked him. From her side, Blaise started sniggering.
"At least he doesn't run to daddy dearest everytime someone so much as looks at you funny," Ron snarled. "Does he actually even give a damn about you? I doubt it since he's a fucking Death Eater and would rather terrorize innocent people than be at home with his parasite children."
Hermione gasped softly in outrage. There was a flush of embarrassment on her face and from beside her, Blaise was glaring at the redhead as he stood up from the table. "How dare you-"
Ron shook his head and violently pulled his arm out of Harry's grasp. A crowd had already started to form around them. "How dare I?" Ron repeated incredulously. "How dare her father and the others march around in costumes and terrorize innocent people. He's fucking scum! The whole damn family is!"
In a swift move, Hermione reached inside of her robes and pulled out her wand. Ron had done the same but she had her wand already swooping over her head and aimed straight at the redhead before anyone could blink.
A bright orange stream struck Ron in his shoulder causing him to grunt in pain at the impact but it didn't stop him from flinging a hex of his own at the witch. It hadn't been anything strong considering Hermione blocked it with a simple flick of her wrist but Ron was angry, and it was as if his emotions were pushing him forward as he threw another spell, then another in consecutive order.
Draco had already gotten up and shot down one of the spells that Ron had thrown, seconds before it had the chance to graze Hermione but neither one seemed to notice. In the short second that Ron seised his firing, Hermione sent a swiping spell that swung Ron's legs right out from under him and made him fall hard on his back with a loud groan. He had landed rather awkward on one of his wrists - which Draco was sure had to be broken in two separate places - and Hermione didn't hesitate to march towards him, her wand pointed straight at Ron's pained face.
Draco watched her carefully as she stared down at the redhead, her eyes blazing in fury yet her fist was clenched at her side. He could see her mentally going through her options; if defending her family's reputation should come first and foremost or if she should simply turn a blind eye at the matter.
He would have be lying if he said he had been shocked at her choice, breathing heavily through his nose as she set her jaw and flickered her eyes away from Ron in disgust. Because he had known what she was going to do the second she had drawn her wand. If she had had any intention of putting an end to Ron's words, she would have never given him the chance to fire back. If Hermione had wanted Ron to eat his words, the redhead would have never had the option of throwing a curse to begin with. Although he had never seen her in action, like he had seen Cygnus and Tom when they had decided to practice just for the hell of it, he knew she was capable. More than capable. The two older boys taught her everything they knew, after all, and this...this was Hermione's mercy. Even if every fiber in her being had wanted to tear Ron to shreds, he knew she had more common sense than to do it in such a public area. There were too many wandering eyes that were all trained on their commotion. Many were wide simply in shock at seeing a Gryffindor defend a Slytherin as he stayed an arm's length away from Hermione's shoulder, especially since it was him. It made him wonder if many of the students had forgotten about their split at the end of the year or if some of them hadn't even noticed - hadn't even batted a curious eyelash when the trio became a duo.
His thoughts, however, were jolted as a booming voice suddenly filled the hallway and Hermione's head of brown curls snapped back up.
"Oh no! Not you too, Missy!" His eyes widened on their own accord as he watched the professor, Moody, limp wildly down the corridor. The man's wand was out and trained, shooting a vivid blue spell directly at Hermione that sent her tumbling to the floor. Blue electric bolts sizzled around and through her body like waves, sending her spazzing as her muscles fought against the electricity.
"What are you doing!?" Draco shouted at the scarred man. "You can't do this! Release her immediately!"
"I think not," the man's abnormally large eye was practically rolling around as it took in the crowd of onlookers. "Should've seen what I did to her brat of a cousin. Think they can do whatever the hell they please. Attacking another student in the hall, not on my watch lassie," Moody's tongue darted out the corner of his mouth, licking at the uneven skin.
When a moan of pain escaped Hermione's lips, his feet were already closing the small distance between them. He knew the rules of electricity, and knew that it traveled through bodies when they touched but lessening the strength of the volts. Whatever Moody had bestowed upon Hermione couldn't have anything but lethal but he could help her. He could take away some of her pain at least. That, and it the chance that Moody would drop it the second he interfered. It would be easy for a man like Moody to hate Slytherins just like so many before him.
His fingers curled around her shoulder and immediately, the blue bolts danced up his arm. He knew it would be softer now but it was uncomfortable to feel - like the feeling of limbs falling asleep with thousands of tiny needles poking into the flesh, not wounding or unbearable, just bothersome to feel.
Moody pulled the spell off the second the bolts danced past his elbows. The man didn't look particularly happy about it and when Hermione reached up to pull herself off of the ground with the assistance of his awaiting hand, Moody's eyes zeroed in at the contact.
She was livid. He could feel the slight tremble in her bones and he knew that it wasn't just from the spell. He could practically see the magic quake around her skin in its own outrage. Her chest was heaving as she glared. "Just wait until my father-"
Moody jumped forward, limping as his wooden leg clanked against the floor. "Is that right? Well guess what, Miss Granger, your father happens to be a good old friend of mine and I'm sure he'd be more than pleased to see my face! In fact, you tell your father that he and I have unfinished business!"
The harsh beams from Hermione's eyes lessened and her face paled as Moody stared her down. Her mouth opened slightly when Moody continued to march forward, stopping a mere foot in front of her. "Since some," his good eye shot to Draco, "prefer to stand by school policy, I either give you detention or take you down to your Head of House. And since I have no want to have you in my office," he growled out with a sneer of distaste, "or anywhere near me, that leaves only one other option."
Hermione didn't blink as Moody continued to stare her down. The man left a dark shadow that washed over her body like an eclipse. It was instinct that had Draco leaning into her shoulder and the movement had Moody's eyes twitching over to him. His good eye narrowed, the other wide and calculating as it locked on him. The Professor leaned forward.
"You're a snake in lion's clothing, Mr. Maddox," Moody's voice was low in his ears for only the two of them to hear. The professor was looking down at him as if he were a rare insect underneath a magnifying glass with pins spreading him apart on display for the entire world. All Draco could think of was the sudden overwhelming need to put another scar on the man's face, this time by his doing. He didn't know how vehemently he had been staring at the man until the professor was nodding his head, almost as if sizing him up, before he reached down for Hermione's elbow.
"Now, I reckon Snape would be the Head of Slytherin, no?"
Hermione kept her mouth shut and followed as Moody dragged her along. It appeared the professor hadn't needed an answer after all as he turned down the only corridor that would lead toward the dungeons.
The silence that washed upon the remaining four of them was deafening and it was in slow motion that Draco watched the crowd disperse. From his side, Blaise shuffled his feet unsurely but his head was turned toward the direction Moody and Hermione had disappeared, as was Draco's.
It was Ron's horrid laughter that made Draco's attention tear away from the empty hall and zero onto the freckled redhead. He was still on the floor, clutching at his stomach, and continuing to fill the silence with his boisterous laughs. Loud, big, and obnoxious. Zabini rounded on him, ready to strike, but surprisingly (even to him) Draco reached out to halt his movements. Hermione had already done enough and there was no need for any other Slytherin to get themselves into trouble. And even more shocking, Zabini stopped in his tracks. The Slytherin sneered at Harry as he reached down to help Ron up, a goofy, amused grin plastered across both of their faces. The second Ron's feet touched the ground upright, however, they were both chuckling at the scene that had just transpired. Draco felt a deep form of anger start to brew within him.
He did nothing but stare as the two of his housemates tipped their heads back and laughed. Beside him, Zabini did the same. It was infuriating that Hermione had been the only one to get in trouble and not Ron. They had both been guilty, had both thrown spells and hexes at each other. Hermione had just been the one left standing.
Somehow, as if Harry felt his accusing stare, his head snapped forward and the laughter died on the tip of his tongue. All humor washed away from his face like a curtain and his green eyes widened as they held onto Draco's silver ones. He at least had the decency to look ashamed but Draco could see straight through it. The damage had already been done anyhow, or worsened, in their case. And he was sure that Harry knew that too.
Draco dragged his eyes away from Harry as Zabini nudged him in the arm. Wordlessly, the Slytherin nodded his head towards the corridor and the two of them turned away.
"You know, for them claiming that Slytherins are the evil ones and Gryffindors are all high and mighty, those two are a real piece of work. One day they'll choke on their own words, you know that right?" Zabini had turned to eye him seriously.
Perhaps it was because his body was running on the adrenalin from standing up to Moody, or maybe it was because the words were coming from Zabini, of all people, that had caused a glitch in his steps. He recovered from it without getting a raised brow from the Slytherin but Zabini's words had done enough. Draco didn't know when, but somehow he had always viewed the world in either black or white, that there was no in between because there could simply be no such thing. He had always read in books, or seen in movies, that there was always the good versus evil. Black versus white. Always two sides that were separated by something greater than them all. He wouldn't be drastic enough to consider any of what happened today a battle between good and evil forces but that's how they had always seen it. Zabini was right with what he had said. Gryffindors viewed Slytherins as evil and everyone else was considered the good. Slytherins were the black stain cast upon Hogwarts and everyone else was the light. Moody was one of them, hadn't even hesitated in hearing what had truly happened, only went straight for Hermione because of who she was and the robes she wore. He was one of them. Or had been, at least. He couldn't even count on both of his hands the amount of times he had ever heard anyone call the Grangers evil. Yet, it had been Ron that started it all. It was infuriating to see the sides so twisted, to see everyone's views so obscured. It - they was all so hypocritical that it made him want to throw up.
But he supposed it would never change if it hadn't by now. The Wizarding World hadn't changed since the very first generations. The world was nothing but a big pile of hypocritical shite. And the sad truth was that that was the world they all lived in.
"He's going to be a fucking problem, Severus. I'm telling you that the man is out for our blood." Tom was pacing back and forth as she and Cygnus sat on the stools in front of Severus' desk. He was disheveled, hair sticking out at odd angles due and his robes were wrinkled from his mad pacing. There wasn't many times that she had ever seen Tom in such a state but his panic was starting to seep into her own bloodstream. Her nails were digging into her palm as she kept her wide gaze glued to her Godfather, soaking up every word of his advice that he demanded of them. As long as Severus kept talking, all would be good. Right?
"I hadn't done anything-" Cygnus lifted his head to meet the skeptical gaze of the Head of their House. At Severus' look, Cygnus growled. "I'm serious! That fucking Hufflepuff turned his head towards me, that was it, I swear. I hadn't done a fucking thing! If I wanted to do something, then I would've and we all know I do whatever the hell I want. Moody threw that spell at me for no reason! He has no right-"
"That's the problem," Tom muttered. "He thinks that he can do anything he wants because of his...past occupation. He's bound to have a personal vendetta towards us and the others."
"And what are we supposed to do in the meantime?" Cygnus shot back at Tom. "Walk around with our thumbs shoved up our asses while Moody does whatever he pleases to us? What's going to stop him from doing it again?"
Tom turned his questioning gaze up to Severus, waiting. Always waiting.
Severus diverted his attention onto the stack of papers on his desk. "I'll have a word with Dumbledore this afternoon. He'll be the only one to have any influence over Alastar."
She silently watched as her brother shook his head in disbelief, a harsh laugh escaping his lips. "You think Dumbledore is going to do anything about this? It's probably because of him that Moody targeted us. Two members of the same family in one day?" Tom narrowed his eyes. "Seems too coincidental, Sev. He was watching us. He was waiting for an excuse to attack them and that's exactly what he did!" he kicked his foot into a nearby desk. She flinched at the sound, Cygnus bowing his head down at Tom's outburst.
She was starting to feel the threat; like tiny insects crawling across her skin just for fun, telling her that they were there and would bite if she tried to shake them off. She didn't like it. At. All. She willed herself to calm down, that all of this would blow over by tomorrow morning, but she couldn't as Tom wildly paced around the room. If Tom was this affected by the man's arrival, then what would that mean for her? She could still feel Moody's arm wrapped tightly around her elbow when he had practically dragged her from the hall and if dwelled on it long enough, she swore she could feel her blood rushing to the site as it began to bruise. She had never been a tender skinned child, and could take a hit or two at a time if need be, but she hadn't expected Moody's force. She was probably just still in shock...that had to be it. She was just too overwhelmed still. Moody had just been another professor, that was it. That...that was it.
"Dumbledore cares about the protection of the students within Hogwarts, even you three -" Tom snorted. "-and if he is aware of Moody's alternative punishments, then he will put a stop to them. In the meantime, I would expect for the three of you to at least attempt to stay out of trouble and not willingly put yourselves into it."
Tom straightened up, a tilt forming at the corner of his mouth. "Wait until we tell Father. He'll take the issues to Fudge and the man will be sacked by the end of the week."
"It won't work," she said, finally breaking her silence but still keeping her attention glued to the floor.
Tom's pacing stopped and from her line of sight, she could see his shiny shoes beside the stool she was sitting on. "What do you mean it won't work?" Tom's cold voice scratched out. "If Father gets the Ministry involved-"
"Moody wants Father to get involved, Tom," she bit out. "He said...he said they were old friends. You and I both know what he was pertaining to. It would be best if Father didn't know."
Tom's brows skyrocketed into his hairline as he looked at her. "You wish for us to lie to our father? Is that what you want us to do? Stay here and be silent while Moody parades around as if he has some kind of power over us? Is that what you want!?"
"Of course it's not what I want," she snapped. "But it's the only option we have at the moment. The two of you are supposed to be finishing your year, the last thing either of you should do is bring attention to yourself. The same goes for myself." She turned her pleading eyes towards her Godfather hoping that he would save the day, and as always, he jumped to her rescue.
Severus stood before Tom could get another word. "If Moody continues to be a problem then we can bring Lucius into the picture. Your sister is right," he darted a glance at Tom's sulking figure. "If the first thing you three do is go crying to your father, Moody will think of it as a victory. He wants to ruffle the three of you up, and it's exactly what you're letting him do."
Tom sneered. "And what? You'd rather us take all of the man's bullshite like a bunch of pus-"
"Tom." Cygnus warned, his eyes darting pointedly towards her before flickering up to their Head of House.
Cygnus held Tom's stare, the two seemingly having a wordless conversation that she wasn't part of. When she was younger she had always marveled at their ability to converse without actually speaking, but now...she despised it. They were keeping things from her again. Did they not trust her enough? She always, always, put their family first.
Her brother sighed heavily but she refused to look his way, instead, focusing solely on her Godfather as he eyed them all carefully.
Tom reached up to adjust his tie and cleared his throat, slowly continuing as if nothing had happened. "We give it a week. One week and if Moody doesn't back down, then I'll take the matter straight to Dumbledore myself."
Cygnus quietly scoffed, rolling his eyes at Tom but her brother purposefully ignored him.
"Now, are we done here?" Tom diverted his question towards Severus. "I think it'd be for the best if the three of us got to the common room in due time. The others are just as exposed as us. Crabbe and Goyle are going to be on Moody's list, as will Theo. It'll only be a matter of time before Moody drags them in here by the elbow too," his silver gaze went straight towards her but snapped back to Severus as he awaited his answer.
The Potions master nodded his head. "Go talk to the others." Hermione brought up her head as she heard Tom's footsteps recede towards the door. From the firm set of his shoulders she could tell he was set on getting to the common room as fast as possible, and that in itself was a red flag. She knew her brother well enough to know that he had ulterior motives behind his actions and to confirm her suspicion, she glanced at Cygnus to find him pursing his lips at her.
But her brother wasn't as concealed as he thought, much to her relief. Severus wasn't blind nor was he an idiot. He knew them better than their own father did.
"Tom," Severus' voice called out once more, his face emotionless as his eyes stared at the older Slytherin's retreating form. "I would find it unwise to rile them up, especially at such an early start in the year. Tell them to be precautious around Moody and only that. Do you understand?"
Tom had turned his head to acknowledge that he had heard Severus speak but didn't turn fully around, only abruptly jerked his head in response. "Yes sir." When he reached the door, he pulled it open and looked at the two of them impatiently. "Let's go."
Cygnus had jumped up at the command, eagerly crossing the room, but she hesitated. She didn't want to go with Tom. She didn't want to sit in the common room and listen to him throw his orders to the rest of their friends. She just wanted to sit there, talk to her Godfather and simply do nothing. She wanted to breath, in and out, listening as the sounds of her breaths reached her ears. She wanted sheer bliss and she wanted nothing more than to forget all about Moody. Tom would only drag the matter onward, stretching it into eternity and she didn't want to deal with it. She wanted to be over it, to put it in the past.
However, when she heard Tom huff, she knew where her place was. Hermione gently stood up from her seat and bid Severus a silent farewell with a smile. She made sure to avoid his all-too-knowing eyes and made her way towards Tom and Cygnus before she could further drive his impatience. The second she crossed the threshold, the door was being pulled shut behind her and a firm hand clamped its way around her shoulder, dragging her further and further from the place she wished to be and towards her cage.
"You're a real shite friend," Ron spat the very second Draco stepped foot inside the common room. He had expected the onslaught but the wording Ron had chosen was all wrong and he was more than ready to fight back.
"Me?" Draco laughed harshly in Ron's face. "That's rich coming from you! You are the most airheaded-"
"Can we not do this right now!" Harry jumped in, arms up and ready as the two started to inch closer and closer. "We just all need to calm down and-"
Draco rounded on Harry, staring incredulously at the Boy-Who-Lived. "Don't even think for a second that you aren't on the same par as Ron, Harry! You're just as guilty as he is. Both of you have no clue-"
"You're right, Draco! I have no bloody clue what the hell is happening between us!" Harry yelled out. "All of this is...it's all wrong and you aren't giving me the time of day to understand!"
Draco brushed past the pair of them and threw his bag onto a nearby table, seething. "It's because neither of you deserve it. Every time you have a bad dream am I supposed to just jump up? Every time one of you starts something with the Slytherins, am I supposed to automatically pick our side even when I think you're in the wrong?!"
Harry's face scrunched in confusion. "Is all of this about Granger? Did she - they - say something to you? Are they threatening you?"
"No," Draco shook his head. "No, none of-"
"Then what!? What happened between us that it's ruining our friendship? What the hell happened when we were left with Lupin and Sirius?!"
"You already know what happened, Harry," Draco said with a tired sigh. "We had told Dumbledore exactly what had happened." He had force himself not to look away from Harry, knowing that he would see straight through the lie if he did.
Harry backed away as if Draco had physically pushed him and frantically ran his fingers through his hair. "I...I don't know Draco...they…" he exhaled heavily, dropping his arms to his sides. "They had checked me for memory altercations and there was nothing. Maybe…" Harry glanced uneasily at him, "Maybe they did it to you instead."
Draco rolled his eyes. "Oh, yes, because a Professor is going to lie to Dumbledore. Sirius Black is nothing but a criminal who escaped from Azkaban and Lupin is just as much at fault as he it. They're on the run, Harry. Their actions speak louder than words." He was ready to turn away from them but paused when he caught the two share a brief look, a look that he had been included in in the past. Draco knew that look. "What else aren't you telling me?" he questioned uneasily, not fully knowing if he wanted to know the answer but knew that it was important enough that Harry needed to confide in him otherwise the two wouldn't have pursued him as adamantly as they had. It was like an endless game of tug of war, with Hermione pulling on one end and his former best friends on the other. And what was worse was that it seemed like it would never end until he was torn in half.
"I…" Harry glanced unsurely towards Ron, the later nodding his head in encouragement but it was hesitant and forced. "...I've been in contact with Sirius."
If there was anything Draco had been expecting, the words that left Harry's mouth hadn't been it. On their own accord, his mercury eyes widened and he felt the trepidation settle deep into his stomach. How in the hell had Harry been able to stay into contact with that man despite the constant supervision he was under?! Everything Harry said or did was known by Dumbledore yet he had been able to keep contact with Black? It was unbelievable. His mouth was already open, getting ready to perfuse his outrage when Harry frantically nodded his head, throwing his hands out to silence him.
"I know, I know," Harry's fingers roughly shoved through his hair. "It's insane, trust me I've been told that several times," his eyes flickered quickly over to Ron before refocusing on him. "But...but he reached out to me and I...I didn't see anything wrong with it. You hadn't talked to me so I didn't know what to expect. I thought...I thought he was genuine. The things he writes in his letters make me feel like I have somewhere to belong. He's my family, Draco. The only one I have left."
He was stunned into silence at Harry's admission, knowing the neglect he had endured throughout his childhood and the sheer, unfortunate pile of hippogriff shite that seemed to always come his way yet the way he spoke of Black sent mixed emotions coursing through his body. Even if their relationship was tethering on thin strands, he would always wish Harry happiness, in any form presented to him. He knew Black was innocent, knew that Lupin was too, but what was he supposed to do? The moment to tell the truth had passed long ago and there wasn't any possibility that he would turn back. He had to protect himself now.
"He promised that Pettigrew was the one who sold out my parents, Draco," Harry continued. "And I believe him."
He huffed, "Of course you would. He'd tell you anything for you to trust him. He's demen-"
"But that's the thing," Harry's eyes widened; either in excitement or shock, Draco couldn't tell. "I've seen the truth. Pettigrew is the servant, not Sirius."
Draco stared at him, slowly narrowing his eyes. "Is?" He didn't want to waste his time with meaningless skepticism about the past. It was all worthless information now. As heartless as it sounded, he understood that Harry deserved to know the truth but it simply had no importance now. It didn't matter who had betrayed the Potters because they weren't ever going to come back. That was the hard truth.
Harry nodded his head. "That's what I've been trying to tell you, Draco. These dreams aren't like the rest." He could feel his pulse start to quicken, the blood in his veins pounding at the look on Harry's and Ron's faces.
He took a deep breath. "What-"
"I've seen him, Draco. Voldemort. He's back."
And just like that, the air from his lungs stilled.
Ending Note: A large part of Draco wants to be naive to the existence of the Death Eaters and the possibility of the Dark Lord returning because he knows what that would mean for him and Hermione's relationship. It's reasonable to understand why he would feel that way and as this year progresses I'll be emphasizing this turmoil he has.
Until next time!