~ Draco and Hermione ~



"The world isn't split into good people and Death Eaters.
We've all got both light and dark inside us.
What matters is the part we choose to act on.
That's who we really are."

Disclaimer: All Harry Potter characters and settings belong to J.K Rowling.


Chapter 40

As the rest of the class filed out of the room Draco and Hermione were getting quite a few peculiar looks, and Draco couldn't help but mentally scold himself for what had happened. He should have just told Lupin to skip his turn and not let the boggart show his fear. The problem was though, he had no idea what it was going to become. He thought perhaps Voldemort, or maybe Azkaban, but at the same time he had an inkling that it could be related to the muggle-born girl he'd become so recently infatuated with. It would be close to impossible to lie his way out of what his boggart had shown. The only positive thing he could think of was the fact that Pansy hadn't seen it, but he'd have time to worry about her later. For the moment he had to deal with Lupin, who looked completely flabbergasted.

"I'm still trying to process what I just saw. These fears of yours, tell me about them," Lupin said curiously.

"I don't have time for a heartfelt chat, but thanks for the offer," said Draco sarcastically, turning for the door and hoping that he'd be able to leave.

"I wasn't asking, Mr Malfoy. This is part of my lesson," said Lupin firmly.

"Well your lesson's over, isn't it?" said Draco snidely as he turned back around.

"Then we can proceed in detention time, if that suits you better?" countered Lupin. Draco dropped his bag in frustration and stayed where he was, deciding to just get it over with. There was an awkward silence and Hermione knew that Draco wouldn't speak, reminding her of his traditional immaturity and inability to show his weaknesses. So she took a deep breath and began.

"Well, when I was at Malfoy Manor Bellatrix tortured me. I never want to experience that again," said Hermione simply.

"That doesn't explain why Malfoy feared the same thing, unless you fear specifically Bellatrix?" asked Lupin.

"I'm not afraid of Bellatrix, I hate her," spat Draco furiously.

"Then what was it? You fear seeing Hermione in pain? I know you helped the Order for a while and you may have matured somewhat, but I'm sorry, that still seems incredibly uncharacteristic of you," said Lupin with a bewildered expression. Draco hesitated slightly, not knowing what to say.

"I guess we just both fear the memory of being there," said Hermione quickly.

"That's not how it works. Fear and memory are separate, if you feared that memory the boggart would change into a dementor like it does for Harry, not the image of you being tortured. The main difference is in Hermione's fear, you had 'mudblood' cut into your arms. You don't just fear Bellatrix, you also fear being labelled and treated as such. In Malfoy's fear you were screaming, so he fears, in essence, the idea of you being in pain. It is also possible to fear someone you hate, and so his boggart may also be purely Bellatrix-"

"I've had enough of listening to you act like some sort of psychologist, you don't know anything about me," Draco fumed, as he grabbed his bag and started for the door again.

"Psychology is a muggle profession, how do you know what that is?" asked Lupin curiously, not bothering to threaten him with detentions anymore because it just didn't work.

"I read it in a book," sneered Draco, his voice laced with sarcasm.

"Hermione must have told you about it, and so you're both keeping something from me," Lupin mused.

"Does it matter? If we were it wouldn't be any of your business, would it?" snapped Draco.

"My students are my business, and if this secret you two have is affecting the education of the cohort, I have every right to inquire-"

"If it's a secret than it's not affecting anyone!" said Draco in exasperation.

"Every student in my Defence Against the Dark Arts class saw Hermione lying on the ground being tortured by a well-known psychotic Death Eater, not just from her boggart, but from yours. And your entire year group will know about it by tonight, because that's how Hogwarts works," continued Lupin sternly. There was a long silence as it became clear that Lupin wanted some sort of explanation and truth, and it also became clear that Draco was definitely not going to give it. Hermione rolled her eyes at him as she took a deep breath and thought carefully about how to answer.

"Voldemort had us captive in Malfoy Manor, and we escaped together. From that moment forth we... saw past our prejudices and became friends," she said simply, which was essentially the truth but with a vast majority of information left out. Draco didn't say a word while she spoke but looked rather crestfallen, and Lupin figured that it meant she was telling the truth. He was truly surprised as they were the most unlikely pair of individuals he had ever met to see past their inherent differences. The situation reminded him of Snape and Lily, and he was rather intrigued.

"Great, are we done here?" said Draco in an attempt to break the silence which ensued.

"Who else knows about this 'friendship' of yours?" asked Lupin curiously.

"Most of the Order knows we tolerated each other over the summer holidays, not to the real extent though. Only you and Harry. Ron and Ginny had an inkling over the summer," said Hermione.

"And Snape knows," said Draco bitterly, reminding Hermione that it was Snape who had caught them almost kiss at the Burrow as well. Lupin knew that he would have to have a word with Snape about it. It was a strange coincidence and Snape must have been just as confounded by it as he was.

"Well then you're not finished here, because I'm assuming you're going to need some sort of story to cover this up," said Lupin.

The next lesson Harry, Ron and the other Gryffindor's were with the Hufflepuff's for Transfiguration. Word had already spread over what had happened in Potions and outside the Transfiguration room the entire group had obtained the opinion that she 'deserved' it for ruining her own potion, and simply because she was Slytherin. It meant that Harry was safe from being attacked over it; however he still couldn't rid himself of the guilt. If anything, the support from everyone else intensified the guilt he felt for what he'd done to a girl who, despite being blatantly mean and frustratingly annoying, didn't deserve what had happened to her. Professor McGonagall's presence created an immediate silence for the majority of the lesson, but that didn't stop Ron from talking.

"What d'you think Lupin and them are talking about? What the hell was Malfoy's boggart too, why was Hermione in it?" Ron rambled, glancing at the entrance to the classroom every few seconds as though someone would come in to give him the answers.

"I dunno, it was probably just his fear of Bellatrix or something," said Harry quietly, still contemplating his actions.

"Maybe. I don't like that Hermione was in it though. He's probably going to want revenge, you know that right?" Ron continued skeptically.

"I know," said Harry.

"So we need to think of a plan-"

"I don't want to talk about it right now," snapped Harry.

"What d'you mean? We've got Quidditch coming up, you know the git will try something then," Ron insisted.

"To be honest I'd feel safer on a broom than on the ground if he was plotting something anyway, so let him try," said Harry with a shrug.

"Got that right, he can't fly straight if his life depended on it-" Ron was saying in amusement, but the slam of a textbook on their table caused them to both jump in fright and turn to look behind them.

"As much as I love hearing about the Slytherin house lose in Quidditch, if I hear one more word about the sport from either of you in my class again I'll give you double the homework you already have. Perhaps then you'll actually achieve higher than a mere 'Acceptable'," said Professor McGonagall sternly, eliciting some quiet laughter from the rest of the class as Ron's ears went red. Both students muttered grudging, 'sorry professor...'s as she moved back to the front of the class and resumed the lesson. They were mostly revising topics from last year, which was technically their sixth year, to trigger their memories before moving onto seventh year work. As the lesson ended and people began packing their things and filing out, Professor Snape strode in with a bitter expression.

"Potter, stay. Weasley go," he said firmly. A few heads turned in surprise and Ron looked reluctant to leave, but eventually they were all gone and Harry was left alone with the two teachers who had been murmuring quietly together. He knew it was about Pansy.

"Tell me you didn't intend for miss Parkinson to be in the Hospital Wing, Mr Potter," began Professor McGonagall with a sigh.

"I didn't, I was just angry and I ruined some potions to get back at her for something. I had no idea that this would happen," Harry said quickly, and honestly.

"But it did happen, and if she doesn't improve within the next forty-eight hours she'll be in St. Mungo's. If a Slytherin student had done this to a Gryffindor student they would already be packing their bags and be on the first train home. You and Albus have been protecting him - and all of Gryffindor, for that matter - since he set foot in this castle and this is the last straw Minerva, this absolutely warrants punishment," said Snape, his voice almost shaking because he was so angry.

"I understand Severus, and I intend to run this school from a neutral perspective. From the moment miss Parkinson is able to return to class, she and Mr Potter will have one weeks' worth of detentions together, and after that Harry will continue for another week of detentions by himself. I'll decide if more punishment is required after that," said Professor McGonagall after a long think. Harry felt slightly crestfallen, but having a few weeks worth of detentions was nothing new to him. He could deal with that.

"You're going to force a sick girl who will already have missed enough classes, to do a week of detentions for something that he inflicted upon her?" spat Snape, his black eyes consumed with fury.

"For something that she partly inflicted upon herself, you and I both know that. Potter gets double the punishment, and all of their detentions will be with you. That is final," snapped Professor McGonagall, as she turned and walked out of the classroom without another word. There was an awkward silence as Harry began packing his bag hurriedly.

"She's in a temporary magically-induced coma while her body fights the poison from the potion. If she doesn't wake up and show signs of improvement within the next forty-eight hours, she'll have to go to St. Mungo's and you will be doing far more than two weeks, I can guarantee that," said Snape, without looking at Harry as he strode out of the room.

Draco and Hermione left the Defence Against the Dark Arts class without having thought of any cover-up story at all. One of Lupin's younger classes had come in for their lesson which forced them to leave, and there really wasn't any way to cover up what everyone else had seen anyway, no matter how much they thought about it. All they could do was lie. The only thing Draco could think to do was to simply deny that it was Hermione and continuously say that it was his mother on the ground being tortured by Bellatrix. Perhaps if he kept saying this, eventually it would be believed. He was a good enough liar, after all. As the two of them neared the Eighth Year dormitory to get their books out for the lesson which they were currently late for, the short bushy-haired Gryffindor stood in front of the door and blocked the way.

"Are you going to get back at Harry?" she asked.

"Yes," said Draco after a short pause. He decided he simply wasn't going to lie to her.

"Why?" Hermione demanded.

"Because he hurt one of my friends and I'm going to do what I always did. I'm not going to let my relationship with you make me go soft," said Draco firmly. He knew the words would make her furious, but they were the honest truth. His friend didn't deserve what happened to her, he'd always hated Harry, and he was doing what he thought was right.

"Go soft? That's what you're worried about, looking tough to your friends?" asked Hermione incredulously.

"No, I'm worried about my best friend who's in the Hospital Wing and won't wake up. How would you feel if Crabbe or Goyle did this to Harry, or Ginny or someone else you've known since you were a kid?" asked Draco, attempting to make her understand where he was coming from.

"I would feel angry, maybe I would want revenge, but I would have the self-control and decency not to act on it and to do the right thing," snapped Hermione.

"Well I'm not a decent person and I protect my own," said Draco in annoyance.

"You are a decent person. I can't believe you're saying these things, we went through this months ago," said Hermione angrily. There was a pause as they briefly reminisced on all of the similar situations that they'd experienced whilst at the Burrow and hunting for horcruxes.

"Whatever. It doesn't matter, I can't simply do nothing. And knowing McGonagall, he probably won't even get into trouble for it," Draco continued bitterly.

"He will get into trouble, Professor McGonagall said she was running the school neutrally this year," argued Hermione.

"Which is a load of crap, she's always favoured Gryffindor-"

"Just like Snape has always favoured Slytherin. What are you trying to prove with all this?" asked Hermione in exasperation.

"I'm not trying to prove anything, Potter is the one who caused all of this shit, not me!" Draco nearly shouted. Thankfully students were in class and nobody was around to hear them arguing.

"Well he's my friend and I'm always going to support him and protect him," said Hermione fiercely.

"And that's exactly what I'm doing for my friends. Just because it's Pansy, doesn't mean she's any less important," snapped Draco.

"I didn't say that, I'm saying you don't have to get revenge! You could be expelled," said Hermione.

"If Potter doesn't get expelled for what he did, I won't get expelled either," said Draco calmly. There was another brief pause as Hermione shook her head and contemplated what to say next.

"So you don't even care anymore? You're just going to revert back to doing what you always used to do?" she asked.

"Of course I care! Merlin Granger this is just one little thing, we're only a week into the school year. I hate Potter, not you-"

"He's my best friend, if you hate him you indirectly hate me-"

"You hate Pansy and she's my best friend, I don't hold that against you," said Draco in frustration.

"I don't hate anyone, hate is never the answer-"

"It's an emotion just like happiness, everyone feels it regardless of whether they want to or not-"

"Oh my god, you make me so angry!" hissed Hermione, causing Draco to smirk and reluctantly try not to laugh.

"Don't laugh! This isn't funny," Hermione continued irritably.

"Just relax. By getting revenge it'll probably just be me telling Crabbe to hit a bludger at Potter in Quidditch. Same old harmless rivalry, nobody will be surprised," said Draco with a shrug.

"Harmless?" Hermione snorted, "there is nothing harmless about a cannon-ball sized rock colliding with a human skull."

"I'm sure he'll take care of himself. Now, thanks to you blocking me from getting my books and going to class, like the bully that you are, I've missed out on Charms," said Draco with a dramatic sigh. Hermione smiled briefly, despite the fact that they'd just been arguing and that she was still adamantly against what he was doing. She still couldn't get over how differently his mind worked and how differently he saw things in comparison to her – which was probably yet another quality which made him all the more intriguing. There was a lengthy pause in which they both momentarily forgot about the argument, forgot about Harry, Hogwarts and the world, and were about to embrace. It was short-lived however, as Hermione cut herself out of it and thought as her rational self again.

"Well he's my best friend, and if he gets hurt I'll never forgive you," she said firmly. Draco seemed disappointed when the subject returned to Harry again, but nodded nonetheless.

"I completely understand. In-case you'd forgotten, my best friend has been gravely hurt, and hence the reason for my passionate desire for justice," Draco began in amusement.

"Yes, I understand that as well, but..." Hermione sighed, not knowing what to say or where to go from there. There was simply no way of agreeing in the situation that they were in. All they could really do was agree to disagree, let the inevitable happen and aim to not let anything like this happen again in the future.

"As I said, just relax and let whatever happens happen. My head hurts thinking about all of this, and the rest of them are going to be here any second," said Draco grudgingly, since the last period was over and dinner was being prepared in the Great Hall as they spoke. Most of the grade would stop by at the common room to drop off their bags before going to have dinner, and just as Draco said it the first few Ravenclaw's walked down the hallway. Hermione opened the door and walked into the common room, with only a glance at Draco, as they pretended as if they hadn't just been talking.

That night, the common room was consumed with talk about what had happened during the eventful day. Harry, Ron and Hermione were huddled up around the fire with some others such as Neville, Padma and Ernie; having no desire to converse about Harry accidentally poisoning Pansy or Hermione being tortured by Bellatrix Lestrange. Of course, avoiding such fascinating discussions so early in the school year was absolutely impossible. And it was especially impossible when Harry continuously received dirty looks from every Slytherin in the room. Arguments inevitably began forming, and Ron got up to join in with the shouting despite Hermione's disapproval.

"Honestly, if she really did ruin her own potion, then she deserved what happened to her," said Parvati loudly, causing Harry to cringe as he knew it would somehow backfire on him.

"She might end up in St. Mungo's thanks to Potter, so how about you shut!" Blaise said furiously, shooting daggers at Parvati who blushed slightly.

"It wasn't Harry's fault; he even offered to drink it if she got cold feet. I think if we look at it objectively, they were both in the wrong," said Padma, as though she were writing an essay on the topic. This enflamed Blaise even further.

"Just because he offered, that doesn't take away the fact that by ruining two potions – which in itself should have warranted a detention – he directly had her poisoned," argued Blaise.

"Well it does, because it was her decision to drink the potion, nobody forced her, thus it's nobody else's fault," Padma replied.

"She drank it because she isn't a coward," growled Blaise.

"No, she drank it because she's stupid," said Ron with a laugh.

"Coming from someone who couldn't get into Advanced Potions, yeah good one idiot," Blaise snapped back. Ron's ears went their typical red and the fight between them began to escalate dangerously, until Hermione and Ernie also decided to go and join in. Harry knew that it would eventually either spiral out of control or force him to join in, neither of which he wanted to happen. He got up from beside the fire and walked straight out of the room. The difference was incredible, inside was bright and loud and headache-inducing, whereas in the dungeon corridors it was cold, dark and strangely relaxing. In fact, he'd only been in the school for a few days and the dungeons were already beginning to grow on him a bit, but perhaps he was just happy to be back at Hogwarts. He was barely noticed as he left the common room, just as hardly anyone noticed that Draco was nowhere to be seen either. Harry assumed that he was at the Hospital Wing, checking up on Pansy, and wished with all his heart that she would wake and be fine again. The faster she recovered, the faster everyone would just forget about what happened... hopefully. And also, the faster he could apologize to her in person, as he intended to. How, when and where, he wasn't sure. Why? Not sure either. He just knew that he had to do it, for reasons he hadn't yet figured out.

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