~ 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 46

Once Draco and Hermione had arrived outside in the Hogwarts grounds, they were engulfed in darkness. The enormous castle behind them was illuminated here and there with dim torches, and certain windows were brightly lit. It would have been strange for an onlooker to see the Head of Gryffindor and the Head of Slytherin holding hands as they walked out into the grass in search of something. Luckily, it was far too late for other students to be out and about. There could be the odd prefect patrolling corridors inside, yet even they wouldn't be looking out at the grounds. Without her wand, in the dark and with her hand in Draco's, Hermione found herself feeling oddly safe and content with him.

"Once we get over there, illuminate your wand," said Hermione. "We should be right under the Owlery."

Draco smirked as Hermione's trademark bossiness showed through. He remembered how much it frustrated him when they were on the run months ago. Suddenly, he burst out laughing.

"Oh god, what are you laughing at now?" Hermione whispered, though she was smiling too. "And keep it down!"

"Just the way that Blaise was mocking you for your bossiness in Potions," said Draco with another chuckle. "I could tell you were getting so frustrated."

"I don't know how you're friends with him. You shouldn't laugh at him mocking me!" said Hermione, smacking him on the arm.

"He's funny though! You have to admit that," said Draco defensively.

"He is funny. The difference is, you like me and he hates me," said Hermione, sounding upset about it.

"He doesn't hate you. He just sees you as a Gryffindor, an outsider," Draco explained delicately.

"And a mudblood," Hermione murmured as she watched him. He didn't immediately respond, and she noticed he had a pained, or perhaps even guilty expression at hearing this.

"And that. But his views don't change mine," was Draco's diplomatic response, as he wrapped his arm around her and pulled her closer. Hermione seemed pleased at this, and they continued to walk in silent searching after Draco had illuminated his wand. After several minutes of looking, Draco gave up and Accio'd into the darkness. After a few attempts in different directions, a wand covered in dirt flew into his right hand from the long grass nearby.

To say that the Quidditch try outs that friday afternoon were a success would be an understatement. It appeared to have spread like wildfire that the Slytherin Quidditch team would be seeking revenge on Harry for what happened to Pansy Parkinson. As a result of this, practically all of Harry's fans had come along to the try outs, and they had more people trying out than any year before. Harry's unprecedented fame after the defeat of Voldemort and his return as Gryffindor's Captain one last year also helped with the turnout. The first position they allowed try outs for was the position of chaser, specifically, Demelza's position. While it was very close, Delemza had been replaced by a blonde sixth year girl named Erica Turnbolt.

"She was feisty," said Ron, impressed after they'd announced that she would be the new chaser alongside Ginny and Dean Thomas. Erica had landed almost every shot she made with the quaffle, and even prevented some other flyers from shooting by smashing them with the bristled end of her own broom.

"Maybe you should ask her out?" Harry suggested in amusement.

"I mean, we need more feisty on the team that's all," said Ron as his ears went pink.

"I'm sure. Alright, let's see who our new beaters are going to be," said Harry as he walked down in front of the stand where the majority of the crowd was, and called for anyone who wanted to try out for the beater position.

"Jason's an obvious pick," said Ron matter-of-factly.

"How do you know that? You haven't even seen him fly yet," said Harry with raised eyebrows.

"He wants to smash some Slytherin's, that's the attitude our beaters need."

"Our beaters need to be focused on winning, not just smashing people," Harry corrected him. The small group that gathered around them was made up of mostly fourth to seventh year guys. Some were small, some were big, and a few were huge, such as Jason Boom. They all had a broom at the ready, although many of the brooms they had were old, dusty and borrowed from the broom shed.

"Your drills will be simple. Try to hit the posts or hit the bludgers through the hoops as many times as you can. We'll be watching for accuracy and power in your shots, and your ability to dodge stray bludgers," said Harry loudly, as Ron began unclasping the bludgers from the Quidditch chest. "Mount up!"

In became clear very quickly that Jason would in fact be an obvious pick, as every time he hit a bludger, it moved with blinding speed and slammed into one of the goal posts almost without fail. Many of his shots made the colossal white goal posts visibly quiver. Other flyers rarely managed to actually hit the goal posts, and were instead hitting the bludgers through the hoops. While that was good enough for chasers using quaffles, for a beater to successfully hit another player with the bludger, it required far greater accuracy. There was another flyer who had the unusual talent of being able to repeatedly hit a bludger and chase after it, before hitting it again. This enabled him to 'dribble' the bludger close enough to the goal posts to deliver a devastating close range hit. He was younger and smaller than the others, but much faster and more skilled at hitting a bludger.

"Who's that younger one with the sandy hair? I've never seen anyone keep control of a bludger like that," said Harry, turning to Ginny.

"That's Alex Felaro. He actually plays Quidditch outside of Hogwarts, he's really good but his parents don't want him playing while he's at school. I think he only tried out to meet you," Ginny admitted with a smile.

"Screw his parents, with talent like that we need him on the team," said Ron bluntly. Harry found himself reluctantly agreeing as he watched the drills take place.

Just as Harry was considering calling the players back down, having decided on the two beaters that would be joining the team, the Slytherin team started walking onto the pitch. Harry noticed that several of the guys who had threatened Jason were amongst the players, and the moment they saw Jason doing drills up in the air, the taunting began. Harry, Ron and Ginny began walking over towards the Slytherin's furiously as they listened to the taunts being thrown towards Jason. Draco was leading the Slytherin's onto the pitch, but he remained silent apart from his trademark smirk at seeing Harry angrily approaching him.

"We're doing try outs, Malfoy. We've got the pitch booked for the whole night," Harry called as he got closer.

"Yes well, I had a chat with Professor Snape and he didn't think you needed the whole night for try outs, so you have until seven o'clock to finish up and we're going to start training," Draco responded with mock friendliness. "Oh, what do you know? It's seven o'clock!"

"Fuck off Malfoy, you try to pull this shit every year. Snape doesn't have the authority to do that," Ron snapped.

"McGonagall does, and luckily for us, she and Snape are on good terms at the moment. I'm not joking, you can go and ask them," said Draco with a shrug. He proceeded to chuckle as the rest of his team began the chant of, "Jason Boom is a bitch!"

"Jason's going to be one of our beaters, so I suggest you tell your team to be quiet," said Harry coldly.

"I will after you lot vacate the pitch. Rules are rules," Draco drawled in response, as he began to mount his broom. Out of nowhere, a bludger suddenly came pelting down at them all and smashed a Slytherin chaser directly in the chest, throwing him off his feet and slamming him into the ground from the sheer force. Two Slytherin's leapt onto the bludger to stop it from hitting anyone else, as other players knelt beside the beater, who was gasping and clutching his chest in pain. Above them Jason was sitting on his broom, laughing loudly as he yelled back, "Slytherin's are all bitches!" Harry swore at how stupid Jason was and how terribly the situation was now going to escalate. Ron looked as though he didn't know whether to laugh or draw his wand.

"A star player you've picked, Potter," Draco said furiously as he kicked off the ground. "Tell him to get off the pitch or I'll have Crabbe and Goyle beat him to a fucking pulp right here, in front of everyone."

"Boom! If you want to be on the team, go to the Gryffindor tower and stay there!" Harry bellowed angrily. He watched as Crabbe and Goyle mounted their brooms, bats in hand, ready to fly after the Gryffindor if Draco gave the word.

"McGonagall's going to hear about this, and I guarantee you that asshole won't be on your team," said Draco from the air above them. The other Slytherin's mounted up, except for two who agreed to help the wounded Slytherin to the Hospital Wing.

"Perhaps if you hadn't strutted out here chanting that he's a bitch, he wouldn't have done that," Harry snapped back, though he was grateful that Draco hadn't told Crabbe and Goyle to go after Jason. He knew what Jason did was reckless and uncalled for, yet he felt the need to instinctively defend the fellow Gryffindor. Up above, he watched as Jason flew towards the stands where the rest of the Gryffindor's were cheering him on. Ginny ran over and helped pack the Gryffindor teams gear up, as the Slytherin's took to the air and the Gryffindor's left the pitch. Harry decided that it would be best for him and Ron to reach McGonagall and explain the situation first. They overtook the wounded Slytherin as he headed to the Hospital Wing, his arms around two other Slytherin's shoulders.

"We need to convince her to let him on the team, Harry. You saw how he hit that bludger, it was dead accurate and he hit it from the bloody goal posts!" said Ron in awe.

"I saw him hit a bludger at another student who wasn't even mounted on a broom, not even in a Quidditch match. He's an idiot. If that Slytherin is badly injured, it wouldn't surprise me if Snape convinces her to expel him," said Harry, his frustration obvious. Before the Slytherin's had come along, he was convinced that he'd finally put together a team of genuinely talented players. Jason and Alex would have been the best beaters since Fred and George, and great counters to Crabbe and Goyle. Jason had single-handedly ruined everything, in Harry's eyes. Yet he was still a great beater and regardless of his flaws, Harry wanted to win the Quidditch Cup in his final year at Hogwarts more than anything.

Needless to say, McGonagall was furious. She did however share their sentiment, in the fact that they'd put together a strong team.

"I understand your point, Mr Weasley. Hitting another player on the ground with a bludger from the goal posts, is a display of exceptional accuracy and skill. It's also a display of exceptional stupidity, violence and rule-breaking that cannot be tolerated," said McGonagall. Ron's ears went pink as Harry silently admired their Headmistresses ability to understand and verbalise every angle of the situation.

"As much as I want Gryffindor to win the Cup, I have responsibilities as Headmistress to punish all rule-breaking. Dumbledore would not have allowed a student like Boom to play Quidditch after what he did. Severus will not tolerate it either."

"He won't tolerate it because he wants Slytherin to win!" Ron began desperately, causing McGonagall to give him a stern look.

"He won't tolerate it because one of his students was gravely injured. What Boom did constitutes assault, outside of Hogwarts he would be in trouble with the law. A corridor scuffle is one thing, hitting another student with a bludger outside of a Quidditch match is far more serious," said McGonagall as she rubbed her temples tiredly. Harry could tell that being Headmistress was already stressing McGonagall out; she looked almost as old as Dumbledore. While she didn't have Voldemort to deal with like Dumbledore did, she instead had assumed responsibility for the school at it's most divided point in a long time. It felt like the semester had only just started, and already the number of fights between Slytherin and the other Houses was growing.

"What if you give him an extreme punishment like a months worth of detentions with Snape, but then let him on the team?" Ron tried again. Before McGonagall could respond, the door to her office was slammed open. As if on cue, in came Severus Snape with a deathly glare.

"Three broken ribs, Minerva. This was aggravated assault. Tell me we aren't tolerating this in a school," is all that he said. He forced his voice to remain calm, but it was obvious that he was beyond furious. Harry had rarely seen Snape this angry, and he was usually only this angry over something that Harry had done, such as poisoning Parkinson.

"We aren't. I've just informed these two that Mr Boom won't be on the Gryffindor team..." McGonagall began, but Snape cut her off.

"With respect Minerva, let the foolish boy be on the team. At least then the Slytherin student he attacked can have a chance to return the favour in a setting where it's actually legal. Boom's punishment shouldn't be not playing, it should be worse than that. He should be forced to apologise publicly and be made an example of. He shouldn't just be given detentions, he should spend every hour outside of class doing labour around Hogwarts. Make him scrub the floors, help Filch, help Hagrid in the Forbidden Forest," Snape stopped momentarily to maintain his composure. He looked absolutely livid.

"If this goes without severe punishment, it will only get worse. I refuse to see a repeat of our generation."

"You won't, Severus. Thank you for your counsel, I will take everything you've said into consideration. I'm on your side in this," said McGonagall in response. Harry and Ron remained silent, mouths slightly open in surprise at the exchange. Harry was especially interested in what Snape meant by 'a repeat of our generation'. With a final nod of understanding, Snape left the office. He didn't even look at or acknowledge the Gryffindor students.

"Well, you got your wish Mr Weasley and you can thank Severus for that. Boom can be on the team, if he still wants to. He won't like his punishment however, and there will be no second chances after this. If he does something like this again, he won't just be banned from Quidditch. He'll be expelled. Do you understand?" asked McGonagall severely. Both students nodded quickly. "Good. Then go and make sure he understands. I might be Headmistress but I'm still a Gryffindor at heart, and I refuse to allow Gryffindor's image to be dragged through the dirt with violence like this."

"They listen to you, Draco. If you suggest some sort of cooperation between Slytherin's and everyone else, maybe there will be less fights," Hermione suggested.

"My popularity is dependent upon my reputation, Hermione. If I started touting cooperation and friendliness, I'd be replaced by some sixth year who's out for blood. And they are out for blood after what Boom did. Besides, Slytherin's do whatever the hell they want to do anyway, I can't control them all," said Draco defensively.

"Maybe not, but you could at least nudge them in the right direction," said Hermione.

"You're not listening. If I suggest being nice to Gryffindor's, it'll backfire and have the opposite effect," Draco argued.

"How do you know until you try?"

"Because I just know! Boom broke three of Roger's ribs. Most of Roger's friends figure it's only fair to break three of Boom's ribs. Do you see what I'm dealing with? Can you imagine how they would react if I strutted in saying, 'hey, maybe we should be friends with the Gryffindor's instead of getting justice'?" said Draco with a mocking voice.

"I don't mean they have to be friends, I just mean you should suggest civility. The Houses don't have to like each other, they just have to stop being violent..."

"Well you know what Hermione? So far I've only seen Gryffindor's being violent," said Draco with a hint of anger. "So maybe it's you, Potter and Weasley who should be the ones talking to the Gryffindor's."

"I'm trying, and I agree that things have gotten out of hand, but it's a two-way street. Your whole Quidditch team was chanting that he was a bitch. Maybe that needs to stop as well?"

"How the hell is that comparable to breaking someone's ribs?" Draco blew up, not bothering to hide his anger anymore.

"It's not, but it provoked him," Hermione responded.

"Provocation doesn't justify violence, you of all people should know that. No offence, but you act like you have good intentions, but you're sounding a hell of a lot like Weasley by defending that asshole."

"I'm not defending him!"

"Yes you are! Why do you want me to talk to Slytherin's, when it's Gryffindor's starting shit?" Draco demanded.

"I'm telling Harry and Ron the same thing, I'm not singling you out or blaming you. And what do you mean, I 'act like' I have good intentions?" asked Hermione, sounding hurt.

"Nothing, I didn't mean anything. Look I'm done talking about this," said Draco dismissively, looking away from her in frustration.

"We need to be able to talk about it, or it'll get worse," said Hermione, shifting her weight to try and get his attention. "Draco?"

"We're not talking. You're just telling me to talk to the Slytherin's, as if it's their fault, when it isn't. That's all this is," he snapped coldly.

"That's not what I'm trying to do..."

"You keep saying that, but it is what you're trying to do," came Draco's immediate reply as he glared at her. They stood in silence for a few moments, both somewhat shocked at the turn the conversation had taken. Draco was feeling a whirlwind of emotions, mostly anger at what Boom had done and anger at how Hermione appeared to be defending it. More importantly though, he was feeling betrayed. Hermione had promised that no matter what happened between their Houses, no matter how much their friends hated each other, that they would stick together. Yet here she was, acting like Slytherin's were in the wrong and pressuring him to do something about it. He noticed that she still looked hurt, which frustrated him even more. How was this his fault? She was the one who brought all of this up in the first place, knowing that he didn't want to talk about it.

"Well, I'm sorry if it seems that way. We don't have to talk about it now," Hermione offered, as she reached out for his hand. He pulled his hand away impulsively.

"It doesn't seem that way, it is that way," Draco seethed, annoyed at how she tried to word things in her favour. He suddenly realised that he was in a terrible mood, the kind of mood where everything would just get on his nerves. Hermione looked even more upset that he'd pulled his hand away. It made him feel like he was the bad guy, and that guilt only frustrated him more. Part of him felt like blowing up and telling her exactly how he felt, that he felt betrayed with how she acted like it was a Slytherin problem, that lately she kept suggesting that he talk to the Slytherin's as though it's his responsibility how they were behaving. He knew it would only turn into a bigger argument though.

"Look I'm too pissed off to do this right now. I'll talk to you later," he said quickly as he walked away, leaving her in a stunned silence.

Thank you for reading! If you liked this chapter, please feel free to review and add to alerts/favourites! :)

Check out my other stories!

Draco and Hermione - s/5661111/1/Draco-and-Hermione

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The Time-Turner Division - s/12337018/1/The-Time-Turner-Division