Chapter 7: How do you define alliance?
Thanks to the 28 people who have me on alert for this Fic, hope you all enjoy the chapter. A bit of DraMione was needed. Please review!
Hermione lie spread out on the couch in the common room and contemplated a friendship with Draco. Her practical side told her it was a necessary alliance for the war and a friendship she needed to pursue for Draco's behalf, but her other more conscious side told her that Ron wouldn't ever speak to her again.
Of course, the war was more important and she knew that Ginny and Harry would accept the alliance, but Ronald?
Harry and Ron trundled in after a long Quidditch practice and after a quick shower joined Hermione on the sofas.
'What's up Hermione?' Harry asked casually, avoiding eye contact.
Just come out and say it Hermione, she urged herself. She breathed and said slowly, 'I want to be friends with Draco.'
Harry looked up and smiled at her, 'How long have you been thinking about trying to break the news to us?'
'All day,' she admitted sheepishly, turning to Ron, whose cheeks were fast inflaming
'Well, what can I say 'Mione? Has the ferret charmed you, offered you money? Is it blackmail? Or…do you fancy him? The 'Mione I know wouldn't do this to me; she wouldn't try and betray Harry,' Ron huffed arrogantly.
'I'm not betraying Harry, I'm creating an alliance!'
'An alliance, sure?' he scoffed, 'Just so he can turn on you when his master calls. He's a Slytherin and a Death Eater, why would he want to change. I refuse to try and befriend that foul git and I refuse to let you get yourself hurt.'
Enraged, Hermione cried. 'Ronald, I'm not asking you to befriend Draco, all I'm asking you is to accept the fact that I want to be friends with Draco.'
'But I don't accept it! I care about you not getting hurt and Malfoy will hurt you 'Mione.'
'Ronald! I ask for your acceptance and understanding but if I don't get it then I will still go ahead with being friends with Draco. Draco is trying to change and you aren't helping anyone by remaining like this…and I can't be friends with someone who will judge him and others like that.'
'He judged and treated us like that too!'
'And he has apologised remorselessly whereas you consistently try and pick a fight!'
Harry, sensing danger intervened. 'Erm, guys lets take this elsewhere, shall we? People are staring.'
'Let them watch,' said Ron coldly, 'if 'Mione can't accept that I'm trying to help her then I don't want to be her friend anymore.'
Hermione glared at him, he was being so immature and holding onto grudges. Draco had saved her and chosen to be good, but Ron couldn't accept that and therefore his friendship was lost.
'Well then I'm sorry Ronald,' she replied sincerely, 'but I can't change the way I feel. I can't help that someone has turned good and I want to help them. I can't help that I want to help Draco, and that I'm trying to help bring him from the dark. What I'm trying to do is create another vital alliance with someone whose beliefs and influence would be greatly valued in the war, Ron! Besides,' she added meaningfully, 'It's the right thing to do.'
'Well then,' Ron snarled hatefully, 'Maybe the ferret will take you back as a gift for his master. We have no use for traitors here, Mudblood.'
Hermione had stood frozen at the insult, and then started forward with a finger raised in anger at Ron, but Harry had got there first and punched Ron straight on the nose.
'Keep your dirty mouth to yourself Ronald Weasley. Hermione is trying to help; you are interfering and slowing down the process of alliance for the war.'
Harry led Hermione away, leaving Ron helpless on the floor with a bloody nose. 'Let's go to the room of requirement,' he urged softly. 'We can meet Mal-Draco there and tell him.'
Ten minutes later, Hermione sat in a lounge form of the room of requirement, which was draped in all four Hogwarts houses colours and contained four sofas, a desk and chair, and strangely enough a large double bed draped in Gryffindor red.
Harry left to fetch Draco and Ginny sat with Hermione while they waited.
Hermione made a beeline for the bed and snuggled up inside it sobbing while Ginny muttered soothing words and cursing Ron.
Harry and Draco returned, along with Pansy and Dean, (Blaise was in detention) and while Harry started to tell Draco of what had happened Hermione wailed.
'It's okay Hermione,' Ginny consoled her as Hermione sat in bed, knees to her chest with the covers pulled tight and was sobbing into the duvet.
'Why can't he accept that Draco has changed and that I want to be his friend? Ronald knows that his opinion means the world to me, he is my best friend and yet Draco, who has bravely deserted his own friends to do the right thing is not worthy in Ron's opinion.'
'Ron's just being a prat Hermione. It's alright he'll come round.'
'You weren't there Ginny; you didn't see his face, and the things he said out of spite.'
A deep voice interrupted, 'What did he say?'
Hermione blubbered, startled, 'Oh, he said I was a traitor and he called me some names and then….'
But Draco cut her off, 'What names Hermione?'
'Well traitor and a…a…mudblood,' She whispered looking up to meet his fierce gaze.
Draco swore heavily and Pansy asked, 'What did you do when he called you that?'
Sighing, Hermione looked straight at Harry and said, 'I did nothing.'
'Nothing?' whispered Pansy aghast.
'But, I did,' Harry interrupted.
'Harry punched Ronald on the nose,' Hermione said regretfully.
Trying hard not to grin, Harry said, 'It felt so good after all these years just to give him a WHAM. It's hard to listen with the nonsense he comes out with sometimes.'
Ginny looked thoughtful and returned, 'But he's been brought up to hate anything Malfoy so it's like Draco hating Muggle-borns…Ron and Malfoy's.'
'But you don't hate me?' asked Draco carefully.
'No,' she conceded, 'I don't, but I'm a girl and slightly more level minded than Ron, he can be a bit hot-headed at times.'
Everyone murmured in assent and Hermione sighed, 'I didn't want to loose Ronald, he is my best friend and he knows I value what he says, but I also want to be friends with Draco….and Pansy, Blaise too. If anyone needs help or wants to change sides it is our duty to help them and Draco you need our help.'
Draco frowned, 'I'm not some kind of charity case Hermione.'
'Oh I know, but what I mean is that without the support of Harry or someone heavily influential then it will be hard for people to accept that you've changed. We're not sympathetic towards you but merely want to help the cause, and if that means bridging new friendships….'
'Then so be it,' Harry said quietly. 'If Ron can't see the need for alliances and friendships in a time of war and crisis then he is of no help to us.'
Pansy gripped Dean's hand tightly as Dean looked questionably from Ginny to Harry. He spoke up, 'But Harry, Ginny is Ron's brother and she can't just ignore him can she?'
Ginny smiled thankfully at Dean, he never did kick the habit of looking out for her. Harry's eyes widened and he shook his head, 'I'm not asking Ginny to give up her brother, or even to take sides on this. Ginny of course you can talk to Ron, you can be his friend and his sister, and still choose to be friends with us if that's what you want. I'd never ask you to give up your brother. I'd never ask anyone to give up Ron, but I have and Hermione?'
'Yes, Ronald is no friend of mine.'
Dean looked at them strangely and gave Harry a pained glance, 'In the dormitries we can't exactly ignore him can we?'
'Ronald no longer sleeps in the Gryffindor dormitries if you've not already noticed,' Harry supplied ruefully.
Pansy scrunched up her nose and said, 'He visits Millicent in our dorms, disgusting really, a troll and a Weasel.'
The group laughed uncomfortably and lapsed into an awkward silence, Harry, Hermione and Dean were not so familiar with taunting Ron and it still felt wrong for them.
Draco sensed the uneasiness in his Gryffindor counterparts and broke the quiet. 'Listen, you don't have to break your friendship with Weasley for our sakes, and you don't have to laugh at our jokes or taunt him with us, please don't feel obliged.'
Harry looked at peace and was smiling eerily while Hermione had bowed her head and bitten her lip. She looked up carefully, eyes wide in earnest and said in a deathly whisper, 'But I want to.'
Draco blinked in confusion and Hermione elaborated, 'I want to laugh at your jokes and taunts, I don't want to be friends with Ronald anymore, he's being simply awful about this and I want to make things work between the six of us, and Blaisé. I want to be friends, not just an alliance for the war.'
She looked tearful and Ginny comforted her, 'In order to win this war we can't just rely on our Gryffindor chivalry and audacity, we need to be cunning like a Slytherin. We need to be extremely ambitious, and in all honesty, we need you, Draco.'
Pansy sobbed and Dean hugged her while Harry sat serenely smiling. Draco was taken aback and managed to stutter, 'Wow.'
Harry came out of dazed state and said simply, 'Took you long enough to realise.'
Draco looked questionably at Harry who was grinning manically and Hermione looked reproachfully at Harry.
Rolling his eyes, Draco kneeled next to Hermione on the bed and took her wrists in his hands, 'You do not want to be corrupted by the ways I think. Slytherin's have different ideals and different cultures to other people and I don't want you fooled into it. I don't want to be your downfall'
Hermione breathed in and looked straight at Draco, 'You already have been my downfall Draco.'
Pansy, who had been giggling had stopped and Dean was looking at the couple sat on the bed.
Draco was astounded and couldn't verbally reply, words refused to come from his mouth and he did the only logical thing which he could do at the time. He pulled her wrists towards him and swooped down to claim her mouth. The kiss was sweet and tentative, as if they were each testing new boundaries. His fingers raked through her hair and she let herself be lost into the depth of the gentle caressing of her lips.
He had released her hands and was holding her closely while Hermione's hands were resting on his chest.
They broke apart hesitantly and turned to their flabbergasted friends.
Harry, who didn't seem shocked at all just looked at them in a strangely smug omniscient way and smirked, 'Finally!'