A/N – Sorry for the long wait. As always reviews are more than welcome. I don't own HP. Wish I did. But if I had a penny for every time I wished that then I wouldn't be without internet at home. NOW! On with the story.
Draco sat in the library reading over the homework in his charms book that was due in a few days. He understood most of the chapter but unfortunately he was having issues trying to figure out the theory question and what exactly it was asking. Hermione hadn't shown up to help him today and that thought had him rather worried. She hadn't been seen in the Great Hall for breakfast or lunch and the glimpses he did see of her in the halls told him that she had been up very early and had an extra-long work out. The bruises were worse today and she limped as she walked, but she was avoiding every one. He blew out a breath in frustration and snapped his book shut, tossing it carelessly on the table in front of him.
"Something the matter, Draco?" a dreamy voice behind him asked.
He spun around to see Luna Lovegood standing there with the latest edition of the Quibbler in her hand, upside down of course. The cruel retort that immediately popped into mind died on his tongue. What could he say to her? Sure she was strange and did things that didn't make sense. But then how was he any different? He had done things that didn't make any sense before. He opened his mouth to speak and closed it again. She simply smiled at him and sat down next to him, tucking her reading material into her bag. Grabbing his book she pulled it over and flipped it back open.
"Which part do you need help on?"
"Uhm, chapter 37 questions," he answered. "I understand most of them but the theory questions are confusing." He hunched over the book with her. As she leaned closer her distinctive scent wrapped around Draco and he found himself glancing up at her. Once he took the time to look past the oddness and strange quirks that she was known for and truly see her, he noticed that she was actually very pretty. Her icy eyes and blonde hair gave her a delicate look and the dreamy expression she always wore very suddenly seemed slightly endearing.
Once she had finished explaining the theory behind the spell they had been studying, Draco immediately bent over the parchment and wrote out a rather lengthy answer. "Are you and Hermione dating?" He heard the question and leaned back in his chair. He ran a hand through his pale hair and blew a breath out through his nose.
"No we aren't dating. I tried to kiss her a while back and she broke my nose. She is my best friend though." He answered quietly.
"Oh. Well, then how, I mean, would you like to get a drink with me on the next Hogsmead weekend?" Luna stumbled over the request.
Draco paused and thought for a moment. Usually his Hogsmead weekends were spent with Hermione anymore and before that they had been spent with his fellow Slytherins, but with Hermione gone AWOL, he didn't see a reason for him not to accept. Maybe if he got to know the strange girl sitting next to him, maybe he could find someone to spend his days with. "Ok, yeah I'd like that."
Ginny paced Severus Snape's private rooms. For months now she had been studying as his apprentice. She could feel the emotions between them growing and becoming more uncontrollable every minute they spent together. She knew she was falling in love with him, but every time she tried to get close, tried to talk about their feelings for one another, he shut down a froze her out.
She sat on a chair and pressed her face into her hands. She wouldn't cry, not until she had definite answer from him, but it was getting difficult to fight that urge. That was probably what irritated her the most. The stupid git could make her cry at the drop of a knut. She growled low in her throat and stood again, pacing in front of the bookshelf. She was quickly growing tired of the constant hot and cold attitude she got from him. She sat again as she passed the chair. Restlessness moved through her like a disease. She shoved the fingers of both hands into her hair and left them there, bracing her elbows on her knees.
She was so wrapped up in her own thoughts that she didn't hear the door open and close softly. She didn't hear the quiet footsteps that made their way across the carpet and didn't realize that Severus had knelt in front of her until he had gently taken hold of her wrists and pulled, dragging her hands away from her hair. A long finger under her chin forced her to look up at him. He didn't speak a word but his eyes told her to explain.
"I'm tired." She whispered, only to receive a raised eyebrow in response. "What are we, Severus? Am I just a fling to you? Just someone to toy around with until you find someone better? Or does this actually mean something? I need answers. I can't keep going like this."
His hands framed her face as he studied her intently. "You think that I would merely keep you around to warm my bed? That I would enter into any sort of relationship like this without feeling something first? I-I am not used to having to share my emotions with anyone. Anything I grew to care about could be perceived as a weakness to the Dark Lord. I am sorry I have lead you to believe that I don't care. Nothing could be further from the truth."
"The Dark Lord has been gone for almost a year. There is no need to hide anymore. Please, tell me how to help you get past this fear. I'm not asking for public displays, just when we are alone." Ginny was half begging the man in front of her.
Severus sat back on the rug in front of the fire and dragged her out of the chair into his lap, cradling her against his chest, her head on his shoulder. He looked down at her and brushed her hair away from her face. "I do care for you Ginerva. So very much. Please forgive me." He buried his face in her fragrant red hair.
Gentle kisses peppered her neck and shoulders as Ginny sighed. "I forgive you, but we will work on the emotional part of all of this right?" she asked, backing away to look into his obsidian eyes.
"Of course," then he kissed her, and they both forgot everything else that could possibly have been said.
Hermione wandered the halls as if in a trance. Her mind continually replayed the fight between herself and Ro. It had been two days since the argument between them. She missed the older witch, her sharp wit and dazzling smile, the barking laugh that seemed to erupt from her chest whenever she heard something that amused her. She wasn't sure how she should go about talking to her again, though she wanted nothing more than to march into the Great Hall and ask her to come back to practice.
She sighed knowing that she was going to have to wait Ro out. She also knew that if her friend found out about the cuts, she didn't think she could take the disappointment again. So for the last two days she had wandered the halls in her free time trying to distract herself from the need to find a quiet corner and dig out her razor.
She had skipped out on tea with Minerva these last two nights as well. She had told her Headmistress that she had a charms project to work on with Draco. An outright lie. She had avoided Draco too. The older woman had understood and told her that they could reconvene when the project was done. Hermione knew the older woman could sense her lie. So why did she go along with it? What would Minerva say if she knew about what had happened after Ro left the Room of Requirement? She didn't want to think of that. Disappointing the emerald eyed witch scared her just as much as disappointing Ro did. That confused her as well, though she refused to consider it just as much as she refused to consider her feelings for her white haired friend.
She came to a stop at the door to the Room of Requirement again. She leaned her forehead against the cool wood and let the tears flow down her cheeks. 'Please,' she thought to herself and to the castle, 'please give me what I need. Though even I don't know what that might be.' Opening the door, she was amazed when she saw a small comfortable sitting room. Two over-stuffed chairs sat before a blazing fire with a small table between them. On the table was a steaming kettle of water and a cup. Next to the cup were several packets of muggle instant hot chocolate. One of the chairs was occupied by Helena.
"Apparently you still wished to talk." The ghost said.
With a small, strained smile, Hermione sat down in the unoccupied chair and began to speak. They talked about everything they could think of, from the things the history books had gotten wrong, to the things that had changed in the muggle world. They discussed Hermione's classes and her impending graduation. Helena laughed when she described some of Ro's more spectacular wipe outs on the court and Hermione laughed when the ghost described her mother and Helga Hufflepuff covered from head to toe in mud after racing on horseback in the rain. And for just a moment, Hermione felt as if maybe she could get better. Maybe, with the help of her new friends and a lot of determination things wouldn't be so hopeless anymore and she could move on.
A/N – Ok, so sorry for the super long break in between my last update and this one, but a lot happened and my computer took a vacation. Then my computer Dr. fixed it, and now I have her back, so kudos to the computer Dr. As always, read and review! You guys are amazing and I love you all!