CHAPTER FOURTY-ONE

I'm an angel with a shotgun

Fighting till the war's won

I don't care if heaven won't take me back

I'd throw away my faith babe, just to keep you safe

Don't you know you're everything I have

Veritserum was a devilishly tricky potion with too many steps, that id upset could ruin the whole potion and have the drinker spilling their every secret for a year, and it took a month to brew. Hermione took great care over each step, making sure nothing was left to chance. She worked at night, in moaning Myrtle's bathroom. Since the polyjuice potion incident, none of her boys, Gryffindor or Slytherin, had stepped foot in the room with the miserable ghost.

"Oooh" she crooned, floating past "A truth potion, what would little miss perfect want with one of those, not doing anything illegal are we?"

"Mind your own business Myrtle" Hermione snapped, more out of irritation than spite, but it was still enough to have the spectre wailing in abandon as she flushed herself down another toilet.

Hermione sighed, she hadn't intended on being so short with Myrtle, but in truth she was being short with herself. She knew she was doing something illegal and so wrong and she didn't need another reminder. This was the only thing Hermione could think of, it was against everything she believed in. But if she could help Draco with this, Hermione was willing to throw away all of her beliefs.

She poured in the last ingredient for the seventh step of the potion and settled a cover on top. Not it needed to brew for a good two weeks, more than enough time for her to concentrate on other endeavours.

Hermione had purposely left Draco in the dark about her Rita-Skeeter scheme to surprise him, but even more than Draco, she couldn't wait to see the look on the toady woman's face when she saw the article.

Hermione crushed the firefly wings into a fine powder by rolling them between her palms and dusted it into the cauldron, then she lidded it and hit it in an alcove in the floor behind the thirteenth stall, just out of the way that should any first year stumble in by accident, they wouldn't see the faint smoke emitting from the cracks in the stone. She exited the bathroom and made her way down the hallway, no one even sparing her the slightest glance.

It was strange, Hermione was truly the brightest witch of her age, yet the things she got away with…well, it was a very good thing Hermione wasn't in the mind for world domination.

Perhaps even if she were to drag a body bag through the hall, no one would spare more than a ten-second glance.

The first reason for why she could do so much so easily was because despite all her brilliance, Hermione went almost completely ignored by her peers. Even most of her teachers didn't really take her seriously, maybe Professor McGonagall, but not even Professor Dumbledore saw beyond her usefulness to Harry and Ron in his schemes, to the witches and wizards of Hogwarts, Hermione was just a goody-two-shoes know-it-all who'd never be up to anything sinister even thought she was the one most capable in the school to do so.

Sometimes she mused, this must be why Voldemort got away with so much, opening the chamber of secrets, setting up an anti-muggle hating group right under the professor's noses, he's gone seriously under estimated until it was too late.

The second reason was, because Hermione went almost completely unnoticed, she was able to watch the goings on of people around her without anyone realising. She watched people, heard them talking since no one bothered to hold their tongues around the girl buried in her books, she heard things and learned things, and Hermione remembered everything she learned.

Even Harry and Ron, were always so surprised when Hermione would reveal how much she knew, like how she was aware Ginny was good at Quidditch because she'd been breaking into her brothers shed and stealing their brooms when they weren't looking, Ginny had told her this two years ago. Hermione still remembered.

She knew them, and she knew what she could get away with, how much, and when it should be executed.

Which was why she knew Umbridge would never know about the interview in the Three Broomsticks since Madam Rosmerta had banned her and all her spies; Umbridge would blame Harry, no one would know it was her idea, leaving Hermione free to meddle even more subtly. If anything, Harry was her shied. it was also why, despite all her scheming over the past through weeks, Draco had no idea she was up to something, or that she'd caught onto his lies. It made her…just a little sad, to realise that just as she'd been only seeing what she wanted in him, he'd been doing the exact same with her. He knew what she could do, what she had helped him accomplish, yet he didn't feel any need to be wary of her or trust her. Only lie to her and hope she remained naive enough not to ask,

What did he take her for? Of course she'd never lever leave it alone, she was a nosy know-it-all with a bleeding heart and a sacrificial tendency for her friends. Did he know her at all?

They'd always claimed to be so close; but they actual knew nothing about each other, they had grown to become stagers. Hermione was determined to change that, even if that made them enemies instead. At least she would finally know him.

x-x-x-x-x-x-X-x-x-x-x-x-x

Draco trudged downstairs to a very busy Great Hall the next morning. All around him, Slytherins, Ravenclaws, Hufflepuff's and Griffindors alike, were gossiping in huddles together in hushed whispers, all glancing towards where Potter and his friends were sitting. Draco coughed as he just caught Umbridge's expression as she exchanged words with Potter, her face getting redder and uglier by the moments before she flounced off, looking somewhat like someone had stolen her breakfast flies that morning.

He sat down as he realised the thing everyone was gossiping over was a newspaper. He turned to Theo and asked, as he spooned cereal "Is it just me, or is there a suspiciously renewed fascination in the newspaper this morning, who died this time?"

Theo looked up and replied "Cedric Diggory"

Draco raised an eyebrow "What, again? Don't tell me someone brought him back to life too, and then killed him again? Now that's a sick joke if I ever heard one."

Theo wacked him around the head "Moron, he's still dead and it's not the Daily Prophet everyone's going crazy over, it's the Quibbler"

"That rubbish magazine that's always spouting stuff about non-existent creatures? Why in the name of Merlin, would anyone be interested in that?"

"Because Potter gave in all exclusive interview about the night Diggory was killed and he rose again and guess what, our dad's names make an appearance" Theo replied.

Draco went still. What the… "How much does it mention, what does he say?" he eventually asked.

"Here, see for yourself" Theo slapped the magazine down a little too loudly, reminding Draco to replace the awestruck look on his face for one of anger, lest it be noticed by his fellow Slytherins, since his dad was mentioned in an unfavourable light after all.

Draco ignored Potter's idiotically grinning face on the cover and read the title:

HARRY POTTER SPEAKS OUT AT LAST:

THE TRUTH ABOUT HE WHO MUST NOT BE NAMED

AND THE NIGHT I SAW HIM RETURN

Then he skimmed over the contents. With each word, he felt his elation growing. It mentioned with detail, exactly what happened. Draco had never asked potter for a play-by-play of that night, it was enough to know Voldemort was back, but reading this now, he was a little more than impressed. Not many could say they sparred against Voldemort and lived, even his dream self wouldn't have dreamed of it.

But more than that, it was the sight of his father's names and the names of all the other death eaters, and Draco couldn't help but think of all the atrocities that had been committed by these men in his nightmares, atrocities that always went completely unnoticed since no one was willing to believe Lucius Malfoy, philanthropist and pure blood wizard aristocracy, was wandering about murdering little muggle girls in their beds and turning heir parents skin inside out for the fun of it. This...this was a very good thing.

"And they believe this…crap" he said this with contempt in his voice, but his eyes conveyed to Theo his real question. Theo understood Draco's need to have people realise how much danger they were in, to have them wake up from their ignorance and learn to protect themselves before it was too late.

"Yes" Theo said slowly "Unfortunately…more and more people are beginning to believe in Potter's story."

Draco struggled not to let out a sigh of relief and instead transfigured it into a contempt groan. He crumpled up the magazine and resolved to find a copy later so he could read properly. This was…a very good thing.

Though Draco didn't show it, he was in a very good mood the rest of the day; almost as if he was happy enough for two people. Especially as by mid-morning, signs were up all over the castle saying:

BY ORDER OF THE HIGH INQUISITOR OF HOGWARTS

Any student found in possession of the magazine

The Quibbler will be expelled.

The above is in accordance with Educational Decree Number Twenty-seven.

Signed: Dolores Jane Umbridge, High Inquisitor

Theo took one look and claimed "The woman just signed her own doom, but we always knew she wasn't very smart"

He was right, banning it was the worst thing she could so, because by the end of the day, there wasn't a single person who wasn't reading the Quibbler and its interview. At one point in the library, he, Crabbe, Goyle and Theo were in the library when he met Potter's eye across the room. He acted all threatening and furious, but as soon as their backs were turned he gave a quick nod of approval before rushing out.

Now finally, people would see how much danger they were in, perhaps they might even find a way to lure Voldemort out into the open. In Draco's dreams, the truth behind Voldemort, return wouldn't be made public until his sixth year, during which time he'd seen himself agonising a Vanishing Cabinet, but Draco still didn't know why.

That evening after dinner he waited by statue of the witch with the third finger as the Scorpion amber necklace Hermione had given him for Christmas glowed faintly. Draco had come to realise that if he wanted to meet her, or if she wanted to meet him, the necklace would glow. He only assumed she must have a piece of jewellery of some sort that corresponded with his. Her intelligence would never cease to amaze him. This time, he had been the one to call for her, he didn't specify where they would meet, but she always seemed to know anyway.

Sure enough, the one time he shut his eyes for a moments or two, he opened t see her standing in front of him with a small smile on her face. "Everything alright Draco?"

"You little minx, you know I'm better than alright, this" he took out the magazine "This is a good thing, I didn't know Potter had it in him…" it was then he noticed her grin "You did this, really? How?"

"Remember Rita" Hermione grinned "Well, she owed me a favour"

"Wow, why didn't you tell me?"

"I wanted it to be a surprise" she said sitting down beside him, his hand strayed to her knew and rubbed with his thumb "Nice surprise?"

"The best" he said softly with smile "Thank-you." he turned her face to his and kissed her gently, deciding to indulge a bit, but then noticed that Hermione had a slightly odd expression about her.

"What's wrong" he asked.

Hermione shook her head "It's nothing, just…you know I care about you, don't you"

He frowned "…yes?" not quite understanding where she was going with this.

"And…you trust me, right?" she said

"You know I do" he answered, getting curioser by the minute.

Hermione went quiet "You…have really dark circles under your eyes, been getting…enough sleep"

"What" Draco's eyes widened

"I mean" she amended quickly "You told me before you were suffering from nightmares, right?"

Draco didn't like the emphasis she put on the world nightmares, she couldn't know, right? A cold sweat broke out on Draco's neck at the idea of her knowing the truth behind his dreams. But no, it couldn't be, he hadn't told her anything, never. And this was Hermione, sure she was smart, and anyone could figure him out, it would be her. But he couldn't understand why she would want to.

Wasn't her life so much easier with her just not knowing? He was keeping this whole thing a secret partly for her sake after all.

He siphoned all traces of unnecessary emotion from his face "Actually, I've been sleeping rather well for the past few days. Must be all the hours I stay up doing the assignments that infernal homework diary you sent me for Christmas keeps nagging me about."

Hermione was quiet for a moment more, a serious look on her face as she stared into her hands, before looking up with a bright smile, all traces of seriousness were gone, Draco blinked, more than a little surprised at the bi-polar switch "So, how's Quidditch practice coming along?"

"Uh…" Hermione interested in Quidditch…without prompting or nagging! The world as he knew it just stopped making sense.

x-x-x-x-x-x-X-x-x-x-x-x-x

As far as Harry was concerned, Snape and his Occlumency lessons could go jump off the Astronomy tower. He was in too much of a good mood from making up with Cho and in confusion from the dream he had last night to go through that torment.

He passed though the hallway and noticed from the corner of his eye that more students were reading the quibbled and whispering amongst each other; As soon as they saw Harry, the paused, and sent a nod his way before hurrying along. Harry grinned when he saw this. Since the article, Umbridge had been going on a right rampage trying to stamp out reading the magazine, but no one, not even the teachers were on her side. In fact, every teacher had found some way to symbolically 'pat him on the back'. Professor Sprout gave him a whole mess of points for passing her a watering can; Professor Flitwick gave him a box of squeaking sugar mice etc.

Well, almost every teacher, while he wasn't due for potions till Friday, Harry was more than sure not to expect anything from Snape, except sarcasm and another failing grade to go with the rest. His article had mentioned the fathers of quite a few of his Slytherins, but Harry wasn't too concerned over that. They were the evil ones, the ones supporting Voldemort, people needed to know. And besides, the furious look on the Slytherin's faces, knowing they couldn't do anything for fear of admitting they'd read the article, it was just another added bonus.

But Harry could shake the troubled expression on Hermione's face when he told her his impression of the Slytherins bad position in all this.

She just frowned and shook her head "I'm glad you named the Death eaters" she said "But at the same time, you should always remember, there are shades of grey in every war and every action you make had both positive and negative outcomes" he didn't really get what was worrying her so much, Ron reckoned she was just being barmy again but Harry wasn't sure, Hermione could be barmy, and then she could be barmy but annoyingly right. He hoped it was the former in this case.

Harry waved at another pair of Griffindors reading the magazine who gave him a little wave. Feeling embarrassed he jerked a hand at them quickly in what was mean to be a wave back, then continued down the corridor, but as he did, he began to hear voices.

"Where do you think you're going" a male voice snapped

"S-s-stop it"

Harry stopped in his tracks, that voice was familiar.

"It was your Uncle and Brother who was mentioned in that article, wasn't it, we read all about how they helped You-know-who come back apparently. Aren't you ashamed" someone said spitefully.

Then Harry heard the tell-tale sound of sniffling as he rounded the corner. There, he was met with a sight he didn't expect.

Two Ravenclaw third year boys and a Gryffindor fourth year girl Harry wasn't familiar with was ganging up and a Slytherin girl in first year, one that with closer inspection, Harry realised he recognised. It was Livia, one of the Slytherins that had joined his Defence lessons, the timid, little blond girl who hid behind her friends, the one with the tiny smile. The older children had backed her up against the wall and were towering over her and shy Livia was wringing her emerald green sweater in her hands and looking very much like she was trying not to cry.

"Course she's not" one of the Ravenclaw boys said "She's a slimy Slytherin; they're always up to good. Slytherin's are evil"

"N-n-n-o I'm not" a softer voice explained after several tried of trying to get the words out.

"But that your name there so that means your parents are death eaters, are you a Death Eater too"

Livia bit her lip and seemed to gain some strength "D-don't you talk about my parents!" she squeaked.

They just laughed "Or what, you gonna Avada us? The Death Eaters are evil; they've killed millions of people in the old days and now their back. How are you gonna take responsibility"

Her bravado faded instantly, Livia just wasn't the confrontational type, tears began to bead in her eyes and that was when Harry broke out of his daze and realised he'd seen enough. Picking on a crying witch just wasn't Quidditch.

"Oi" he said loudly, catching all their attention and surprise, especially Livia's as the quick motion made her beaded tears drip down her face a little, she quickly wiped them away with her sleeve hoping no one would see, but Harry noticed. He walked over to them, rather surprised himself with just how annoyed he was feeling. "What do you think you're doing?"

"Potter" the one Ravenclaw boy said, raising an eyebrow "This doesn't concern you"

"It doesn't need to" he said I get what you're doing, but this isn't right"

"We're just putting a Slytherin in her place" the other boy said.

"By bullying" Harry pointed out, and if there was anything he hated more than Voldemort, death eaters and Malfoy, it was bullying "Three against one aren't good odds"

"The Death Eaters do more than bully, if we don't put an end to them young, then what about in a few years when she'd crusio-ing our families?" the boy snapped back.

"I don't see why you're so concerned, you mentioned the death eater's names in your article, isn't this why, so we won't be fooled by their innocent guise?"

Harry's eyes widened "No…that's…but"

"But nothing, it's just like Jasper said, if you don't put a stop to them, then what's the point in naming them?"

"She's not a Death Eater"

"She's a Slytherin and a death eater's kid, it's just as good as" the Gryffindor girl crossed her arms over her chest with a serious nod, "Well?"

Harry didn't know what to say, what was there to say. She wasn't saying anything that he hadn't thought himself just a few weeks ago…heck…just yesterday. Didn't he hate Malfoy partly because his dad was a death eater? The enemy were the Slytherins and the Death eaters. Everything to do with the Death Eaters were evil.

Harry glanced at Livia, who lowered her eyes, and cringed, as if expecting him to realise the sanity in her bullies words and turn on her too, just because she was Slytherin. But did that make her evil?

Perhaps it was because he knew Livia personally that he was questioning himself. Livia, sweet, shy, gentle Livia whose voice was rarely raised higher than a squeak or a whisper, who acted the peacemaker in her group; but suddenly, that resignation in her eyes made Harry feel unbelievably guilty. She wasn't evil, he was sure of it, but no because of his accusation, everyone would think she was.

He felt horrible.

"Well Potter?" Jasper repeated his friend's question.

Harry said nothing, then moved to sand beside Livia and placed a firm hand on her shoulder. Her eyes widened in uninhibited shock as she looked up at him. That shock just made him feel worse as his hand tightened on her thin shoulder. Dang, she was just eleven.

"I stick with what I said, she's not a death eater, and what you're doing isn't justice, its needless bullying. I mentioned those people not for you to rage war on the Slytherins, but to be aware of the dangers that exist right under our noses. So leave off"

They glared at him "Tsc, you disappoint me Potter" and stomped away, leaving him and Livia behind in silence.

Then Livia spoke up "T-they're going to hate you now" she said softly

"I don't care" Harry said firmly "What they were doing was wrong"

"But they were right…a bit. That was my uncle you mentioned in that article, I guess I can understand why they're nervous of me. My Brother's a fifth year, so they wouldn't bother him, but I'm an easy target" her eyes lowered sadly as she leant against the wall.

That guilty feeling retuned with a vengeance, Harry scratched the back of his unruly hair "Look Livia, I'm sorry about what happened…about the article. I didn't think people would react like that to it"

She looked up and smiled sweetly "It's ok, Thank you for sticking up for me."

She was rather sweet. Harry wasn't used to demure girls; the women of Gryffindor were all a rowdy bunch. You're in my defence class aren't you, you're my responsibility. Anyway, where's your brother a, why don't you hang out with home until this article hype dies down?"

She shook her head "my brother and I…don't get along."

"Oh"

"Yeah, Oh" she looked up and seemed as if she were going to say something, but was interrupted by someone calling out "Livia!"

They both turned towards the call and Livia's eye's widened "Bella, Chari, what are you doing here? Don't you both have Potions now?"

Dulcibella Haim and one of the twins, Chariovalda Harry assumed, were rushing down towards them Dulcibella grabbed Livia by the shoulders and faced her around; her eyes scanned the entirety of her form "Good, you look ok. What are you thinking wandering off by yourself; you know everyone's been out for your blood since that article. I told you to stay by me and let us take you to your lessons!" she exclaimed.

Harry blinked in surprise at the sudden explosions of maternal care coming from the usual queen of darkness he was familiar with. In his lessons, Dulcibella was as haughty as a duchess and pissed off everyone in the vicinity, especially Ron. Their fights were the stuff of legends, like a ginger stonecutter up against a mighty green mountain. Her long black hair and dark gaze meant she rarely raised her voice beyond a mocking tone, and while she was protective of Livia, Harry had never seen her so…motherly, before.

Livia looked down, her eyes sad "I'm…sorry, I was late to charms and I…"

Chariovalda stepped forwards and managed to push Dulcibella to the side, he placed a firm hand on Livia's shoulder.

"Its fine, don't worry" he said softly "Dulcibella's being a jerk cause she was worried. If you can't stand up to people, then stick with us." She nodded "Sorry Chari"

Chariovalda smiled gently at her and then looked up at Harry who was experiencing a major what-is-happening thing again. Slytherins weren't maternal, and they didn't smile warmly. At least in his world where things made sense.

"Sorry for the trouble Potter" he said, nodding his head "Thanks for helping out Livia"

"No-no problem" Harry managed to say "I guess I'll see you at practice."

Chariovalda nodded again "Yes", then let go of Livia's shoulder, Dulcibella quickly moved to replace him "Come on, there's no pint showing up for Charms. Let's go kill time till our next class"

"Ok"

As the two of them left, Livia turned again to Harry and smiled, it was so sweet, he found himself smiling back.

Harry watched them go, his smile fading as she went. This just made him reassess some of his values…a bit. Harry had always been so sure of who his enemy was, but it seemed ever since Umbridge and his crazy deal with Malfoy, the lines of his perfectly understood world were becoming too blurred. Now, he could no longer believe blindly that all Slytherins were evil. Livia wasn't, and her friends weren't. There were some good sort in that house too, just like there were some bad sort in his, aka Peter Pettigrew. The lines were blurred with that discovery and they were being blurred even more with this.

But this just gave him a new conundrum. His actions had helped to put a halt to Umbridge and Voldemort's plans, but he almost caused trouble for some perfectly innocent Slytherins with his biasedness. Livia was too timid, she almost got hurt.

The guilt returned, when he realised that she was probably going to get harrowed in her other classes too, and unlike most Slytherins, she wasn't going to be able to stand up for herself. Just remembering those tears and that hopeless look in her eyes brought about a new wave of guilt, one he realised was going to be there a while, at least till he figured out his conundrum.

Somewhere in the middle of Harry's thoughts, he remembered he was late and Snape, the one Slytherin he as quite sure was evil, was going to kill him.

x-x-x-x-x-x-X-x-x-x-x-x-x

"I'll bet you wish you hadn't given up Divination now, don't you, Hermione?" asked Parvati, smirking. It was breakfast time, two days after the sacking of Professor Trelawney; they were to have their first lesson with Firenze that morning.

The past few days certainly saw some interesting events, mainly the dismissal of Trelawney in full view of the students by order of Umbridge and Dumbledores refusal to let her leave the school grounds. Then there was the hiring of a centaur, a half-human, the one thing Umbridge hated more than Harry and Dumbledore. Now Firenze was teaching divination and Trelawney was…still here.

Hermione looked up for a second to see her curling her eyelashes around her want and examining the effects in her spoon with lacking success. "Not really," she said indifferently and returned to her Daily Prophet. "I've never really liked horses." She turned a page of the newspaper and scanned its columns.

"He's not a horse, he's a centaur!" said Lavender, sounding shocked.

"A gorgeous centaur . . ." sighed Parvati.

Hermione rolled her eyes. Really, give the girls something new at Hogwarts to gawk over and they went nuts. She really wasn't interested, Hermione thought Divination was a load of wool no matter who taught the subject. Besides, Firenze wasn't the only one with ice white hair and bright eyes she thought as she glanced at her boyfriend from across the table. Since the article his colour had improved considerably, Hermione estimated it was having the truth revealed, not having to worry so much about everyone's ignorance that was the cause. She was so glad she had been able to do something for him. See what she could accomplish if he just trusted her? Draco caught her eyes and smiled, morning light reflecting off his white-blond hair and silver eyes, sending butterflies straight though her stomach.

Thought she couldn't tell of those butterflies were from excitement, or guilt.

"Either way, he's still got four legs," said Hermione coolly. "Anyway, I thought you two were all upset that Trelawney had gone?"

"We are!" Lavender assured her. "We went up to her office to see her; we took her some daffodils - not the honking ones that Sprout's got, nice ones."

"How is she?" asked Harry.

"Not very good, poor thing," said Lavender sympathetically. 'She was crying and saying she'd rather leave the castle for ever than stay here where Umbridge is, and I don't blame her, Umbridge was horrible to her, wasn't she?'

"I've got a feeling Umbridge has only just started being horrible," said Hermione darkly.

"Impossible,' said Ron, who was tucking into a large plate of eggs and bacon. 'She can't get any worse than she's been already."

"You mark my words, she's going to want revenge on Dumbledore for appointing a new teacher without consulting her," said Hermione, closing the newspaper. "Especially another part-human. You saw the look on her face when she saw Firenze."

Hermione wasn't surprised in the least when there were vacant looks on the faces of the others, but she was disappointed. Oh well, they would see soon enough, she supposed.

After breakfast she departed to her Arithmancy class while Harry and Ron made their way to Divination. But on the way to class, she stopped by the girls bathroom to add another ingredient to her secret potion, guilt bubbling in her stomach as she did.

March blurred into April, and soon, the Veritserum was finished. Hermione held the potion contained in a tiny blue bottle in her hands, ready to be used. She stood and vanished her cauldron, then caught of sight the dusty stone sinks in the corner of her eye.

She felt terrible; this was going against all her principles. Hermione was a meddler by nature, but she didn't believe in using magic to interfere, especially in Draco's business. He was a paranoid person, who didn't trust easy. Doing this…could break them apart forever, he'd never forgive her, and that terrified her.

Hermione's hands shook as she realised she didn't have to go that way, so easily she could pour the potion away, right now even. The sink was right there.

She couldn't lose Draco; she loved him, more than she'd ever loved anything before in her life. It scared Hermione how important Draco had become to her; she couldn't imagine her life without him anymore.

Couldn't she just turn a blind eye to this all? Wasn't that what Draco wanted. He was willing to go to such extents to keep the truth from her; perhaps she should just let him. Wasn't staying in ignorance a good price to pay to stay by his side? The guilt was killing her anyway.

She unstopped the option and held it out over the sink, tipping the bottle so the potion pooled by the rim, only a flick of wrist would have it all tumbling away down the drain forever. She didn't have anymore, it was so easy.

But then she remembered. How tired, how miserable, how broken he'd become. He wasn't her Draco anymore; he was a shadow oh himself. She remembered that broken Draco that came to her on that snowy night, completely out of himself. How much could she turn a blind eye to? Till he was completely destroyed?

And with that she closed the bottle and slipped it into her pocket. Her mind now firmly made.

Hermione loved Draco, and that was why she was willing to risk everything they had, if only to save him from himself. He didn't need to love her, he didn't need to be grateful. She'd love him in her own way, just as she always did. Even if he never forgave her, even if she could never again be by his side, even if he hated her, as long as he was safe she didn't care.

As Hermione left the bathroom, she realised, if any part of him really loved her like she did him, then she was about to break his heart with her betrayal, an her heart too.

But there was no turning back now.

Long Chapter, I got B's again. I know to most people, B's are a great thing, but when you've never been able to get above a B, in almost anything, you begin to despise the letter with a vengeance.

Oh well, I'll put all my angry passion into my story.

Please review.