The Carriage Ride

Chapter 12-Getting Too Close


Summary: On a stormy night, the Golden Trio is stuck in a carriage with a grumpy Malfoy and a few odd people. Unfortunately, fate seems to be laughing as Hermione suddenly has three boys fighting…over her?

...previously on Chapter 11- A Little Crowded

Draco looked around, realizing that the only person who could help the bushy haired cat lover...was him. By taking only a swift glance, Draco could tell that the younger students were trying to stay as far away as possible. By their obvious body language, Hermione was now equivalent to a contagious disease.

A/N: Everything belongs to the wonderful JK. Rowling.


The only person who wasn't affected by the gruesome truth was Luna. Humming quietly to herself while cleaning her odd musical instrument, she was oblivious to the chaotic environment around her. In a relaxed manner, her hands moved to its own accord as her fingers went in and out of several different shapes, holes and tubes, her glittery green nail polish catching the light every few seconds from the dying lamp on the wall. Giving a contented sigh once she had completed her cleaning, Luna placed her instrument and cleaning equipment aside. Drowsy eyes looked around as she absentmindedly fixed her turban. Curiously she looked at Hermione as the grief-stricken Gryffindor let out a heart-wrenching sob. Hermione was cradling Crookshanks on her lap, unabashedly letting tears and snot slide down her face.

Luna made a pitying noise at the pathetic sight in front of her and asked, "Would you like if I sing for your cat?" She motioned with her hand her instrument lying on a vacant red seat.

A simultaneous groan was heard inside the carriage. Although Harry always thought the best of Luna (really he did- in a secretive sort of way), he couldn't help but wonder if Luna had decided to show suicidal tendencies. Now was not the time to hear the horrible screeching noises coming from that Merlin-knows-what excuse of an instrument. Earlier on, the atmosphere in the carriage was anything but pleasant but now it had taken a nosedive.

Immediately Hermione stopped her crying. Her whole body stiffened and she slowly turned around to face the strange Ravenclaw.

Draco, who had been silent for quite some time, let out a strangled noise. It was hard to tell for those around him if if was a snicker as he quickly coughed into his fist.

Really, he thought. This is absolutely ridiculous. It's an ugly cat. Let it go.

But Draco felt something stir within him once he saw Hermione's tear stained face. The humor he was feeling about the whole situation melted away. It was disquieting but Draco had to admit to himself that it was not as entertaining to see the Bushy-Know-It-All cry. The situation at hand was quickly turning into one of the most awkward moments Draco was unfortunately placed into. He didn't know what to do (what kind of man did?) nor did he really want to either. He was fervently praying that someone-anyone- happened to have a handkerchief nearby.

His storm gray eyes roamed over her face and he concluded point-blank that Hermione was not a pretty crier.

She sniffled.

Dear god, he thought. To his horror, the blond Slytherin felt a twig of guilt and pity. Taunting crying witches with snot on their faces was not one of Draco's favorite past times. Hermione's normal look never did pass Draco's base expectations of being well-dressed but this was an altogether different matter. Seeing her now with her red and puffy eyes only reminded him of the ugly-flower-eating-insects that needed to be burned, stabbed and ripped off of those stupid plants in last year's Herbology classes. The poor Gryffindor's already embarrassingly low spot on his mental list of Dashing and Best Dressed at Hogwarts shot all the way down.

But Draco's sympathy evaporated into thin air once he saw Hermione's eyes. The cat lover was giving the kind (but unsuspecting) Luna a murderous glare.

Granger's going to explode, he thought. Looking over the situation with a critical eye, Draco concluded that the odds were in favor that Loony Luna was going to be the victim of Hermione's dangerous and raging temper.

"I'm a fool," he sighed as he slowly got up from his seat. His final decision was made: he was to go against his Slytherin beliefs and save Loony Luna.

Oddly enough, Harry was aware that Draco was moving. He didn't like it when Draco moved. In fact, if it were up to the himself, Draco's unconscious body would be glued to the bottom of the carriage.

"Malfoy, where are you going? Sit back down. Don't you dare touch Hermione, you understand me?" warned Hermione's blind bodyguard.

Draco was surprised that Harry could see him at all. The Boy-Who-Lived reached his hand in front of him as though hoping to grab Draco to confirm his nearby presence. His hand fisted nothing but thin air. Draco, having enough of The-Boy-Who-Lived-But-Couldn't-See-Without-His-Damn-Glasses, forcefully pushed the rising black haired boy back to his seat.

"Would you shut it, Potter?" hissed Draco, annoyance clear in his voice. Harry squinted his green eyes, internally hoping that he was putting on a don't-mess-with-me look on his face. But no matter how much he squinted, he couldn't gauge Draco's expression. In fact, he could barely see the Slytherin's profile. Harry gave a sigh.

"I might not be able to see at the moment but I can hear, Malfoy. I can hear. Everything," said Harry threateningly. He gave little thought to Draco's earlier and rose from his seat. The Boy-Who-Lived tapped his ears while trying to give an intimidating look amidst his current blindness. Draco, on the other hand, wondered how Hermione could ever befriend such an idiot. He resisted the urge to punch Harry in the face by promising himself that no doubt the opportunity would arise later on in the future.

Preferring not to repeat himself, Draco left Harry standing there aimlessly and walked over to the very emotional and unstable Hermione. In two short strides Draco's looming figure was standing over Hermione who looked as though she was going to break into tears all over again. Draco was going to make sure that she never cry in his presence again. He absolutely hated the noise.

Opening his mouth, he stopped himself short, a disgusted look on his face. He couldn't believe what he was doing. A Slytherin comforting a Gryffindor! He was betraying his house, his reputation and the cleanliness of his clothes to comfort a crying girl. Draco mentally thanked the high heavens that none of his school colleagues were here to witness this despicable act of kindness towards a sniveling witch. Without his Machiavellian attitude towards Gryffindors, Ravenclaws, Hufflepuffs, house elves and ugly insects, what was he?

Get it over with, he ordered himself.

He paused.

What exactly was he supposed to say?

A panicked look flitted across Draco's face as he stood there speechless, not liking the idea of being a speech invalid beside a time bomb. Hermione, who had sensed Draco's looming presence, whipped around to face him. Her eyes narrowed dangerously.

"What do you want, Malfoy? Come to make fun of me as well? Want to tell me "I told you so"? Or are you going to sing a funeral song instead?" asked Hermione, her voice rising until she was shrieking.

"Granger, shut up," commanded Draco, saying the first thing that came to mind.

Hermione's mouth snapped open in shock.

"And stop crying, you look horrible like…that," continued Draco lamely, finished Draco lamely, rudely waving his hand at Hermione's face as though that explained everything.

"Idiot," muttered Harry under his breath, shaking his head. "He's never going to have the same face again. You'd think you'd learn after the first time."

"Beating him up is now my number one goal," muttered the red-headed freckled wizard. Ron re-entered the carriage, a dark look on his features. With his arrival came the strong wind and the freezing rain. Instantly there were cries for "someone to shut the door already!". Both Harry and Ron tried to close the carriage door but to no avail against the stubborn, howling wind.

"Didn't you do that already?" shouted Harry, reminding his friend of the fight that happened only a few minutes ago.

Ron decided not to answer. Frustrated and wet, he kicked the door with all his might. Surprisingly it closed shut. The red-headed wizard tiredly slumped down on a vacant seat right in the middle of the Hufflepuff girls. With all the refined etiquette of an ant, Ron wiped his mouth with his sleeve, vomit and other mysterious substances staining his clothes. This earned him many "ews", "gross!" and "he smells" from the girls as they migrated to a crowded area. In only five seconds, Ron had one entire side of the carriage for his pleasure. Not particularly caring about what the younger students thought of him, Ron laid down on his back, his arms hugging his middle.

Meanwhile, Hermione and Draco were in their usual routine of bickering back and forth. Just about to respond with a nasty retort, Hermione instead let out a surprised yelp as the carriage suddenly moved sideways. Only two wheels on the muddy road were supporting the tilted carriage. Hermione found herself on the floor, Draco's weight pinning her down. The two were clutching their heads, both moaning in pain.

"You hit my head," Draco loudly accused Hermione.

The brown haired witch gave Draco a watery glare. She opened her mouth to reply but her voice was completely drowned out by the Hufflepuffs' screams.

"It's the goat's body looking for it's head," cried one of the Hufflepuff girls as she covered her head, completely losing her mind.

"What the-?" were Harry's words before he fell face first on the ground, tripping on someone's elbow.

Hermione's face was pressed intimately into Draco's neck. She gritted her teeth, hating that she was stuck in a lover's embrace. Both of her arms were circled around his narrow waist, her hands resting on his back. One of his hands was cradling her waist protectively while the other was innocently lying on her breast. His hands were surprisingly warm and strong. A dark red crept up her neck until Hermione was sure that she was tomato red in the face. She momentarily glanced up at him only to catch him staring down at her. His storm gray eyes lacked the usual disdain and disgust she regularly saw when she looked at him. Instead he was focusing intensely at her, his eyes tracing her nose, lips, cheeks and coming back to her wide eyes.

What is he doing? Wondered Hermione faintly. There was an unreadable expression written on his face and for the life of her, Hermione had no idea what he was thinking. Her heart started to beat faster and she quickly lowered her eyes, choosing instead to glare at his shoulder.

Then he squeezed her breast.

"Malfoy! Get your hands off of me right now!" bellowed Hermione angrily.

Draco had the audacity to smirk down at her.

"Sorry, I can't. I never thought that you'd be slow with details and such but unfortunately Granger, we are stuck," said Draco and with good measure, squeezed once more.

Hermione tried with all her might to move her hands from Draco's back. She had quite a few ideas as what to do with them once they were free. The idea of strangling him with both her hands strongly enticed the enraged Hermione. But unfortunately no matter how hard she tugged and pulled, she couldn't free her hands from his back. A Hufflepuff boy on the heavier side was lying unceremoniously on top of Draco. He was clutching his nose with both hands and wailing miserably as tears fell down his round cheeks.

"My nose! My nose! My nose!" he cried in a panic voice as Hermione simultaneously yelled, "Get off! Get off! Get off!"

"My, my, Granger. Looks like someone has a bit of a temper," drawled Draco quietly into her ear.

The blond Slytherin absolutely loved it when he found himself near the female Gryffindor at times like these. Seeing her self control melt away and leaving a frazzled and furious young woman made him grin devilishly. To be able to push her buttons and witness her in such a disheveled state made his heart beat faster and his eyes turned into an intense dark gray.

Hermione sensed something had changed about him. Up until now, he had acted as a spoiled, rich and conceited young wizard, always looking down at her from the bottom of his aristocratic nose. But now he had the look of a predator, his devilish grin and white teeth reminded Hermione of
a hungry wolf. He was taunting and teasing her as though she was some kind of prey.

Draco's arm that was snuggled against her waist slowly started to descend. Long, elegant fingers were skimming past her pleated skirt. Hermione widened her eyes in shock.

"Malfoy, you better stop right this moment," she whispered, her voice promising imminent pain.

Draco ignored her warning. He was feeling a sensation that he rarely felt before.

He was feeling crazed.

Ignoring the warning voice in his head, he continued to taunt the bushy-haired witch with suggestive bodily movements. Right at this moment, he was in control. He finally had the upper hand. Draco had managed to get under her skin and see her squirm. With their verbal confrontations, she was too good. Hermione was always quick, witty and had an endless supply of sharp retorts at hand. Even when he cursed her, not a hint of hurt or anger appeared on her face. But now he was pushing her away from her comfort levels and he enjoying every minute of it.

"Malfoy, please stop it," gritted Hermione angrily.

Hermione knew that he was mocking her. Pinned under his intense gaze, she could read amusement and even...desire in those swirling gray orbs. Unlike the blond Slytherin, Hermione was not enjoying the circumstances fate had put her into. She was livid. She did not appreciate being played around as some sort of toy.

Draco licked her ear.

Hermione very nearly exploded.

She looked away from Draco's scorching gaze. Her eyes rested on her scarlet and gold Gryffindor tie. She knew what he was doing and her hands clenched in fists. Her hands were still tied at his back so she would use the only available weapon she had.

Draco, thinking that Hermione's lowered gaze meant that she was submitting to him, lowered his head, a grin dancing on his lips-

- only to have Hermione look up defiantly and head butt him in the face.


Author's Note:

After such a long time I have finally updated! I'm really sorry for all my viewers who had to wait so long for the next chapter. If it's any consolation I'm in the process of writing the next chapter and the wait will definitely not be as long. Hopefully this chapter was a bit satisfying. I'll be posting up chapters for my other stories as well. Reviews are greatly appreciated and see you guys next time ;)

blue sapphire lady