HARRY POTTER CONTINUED
Author's note: I was inspired by J.K. Rowling to write this piece.
Twisted FeelingsThe next few days passed in a blurry daze. Hermione had tried every means of communication with Harry, but to no prevail. Zenrir went out all day, to get more food and supplies; they’d be there for a long time, due to the storm. Hermione gave up all hope when the news report came out saying the storm could last weeks, even months.
“Typical Antarctica,” muttered Zenrir. “’Course we’re stuck in a stupid storm…”
Hermione sighed. “We’ll be days away from him. Why does this always happen? First it was Ron back when we were seventeen. Now, it’s Harry.” Zenrir rubbed Hermione’s shoulders.
“It’ll be okay.”
Hermione didn’t answer.
“Maybe just one and a half days until the storm clears and we can get moving again, although I don’t know how Harry could’ve survived that storm. He could be blown off the charts,” Zenrir said quietly.
“Serves him right. I wouldn’t care if he was blown all the way to China,” grumbled Hermione. She honestly had enough of men; they were too temperamental. Almost like girls, really.
A long awkward silence filled the air.
“Can I tell you something?” said Zenrir at last.
Hermione turned around. “Sure, I have all night.”
Zenrir slowly made his way to the small leather couch and sat down, a mug of steaming black coffee in his hands.
“Well, I think…I think there was a period of time when I Imprinted on you.”
“Imprint?” said Hermione. “What’s that?”
“It’s when a male werewolf lays his eyes on a female and there’s an unbreakable bond that forms between you two. It’s like a true love, except this one you can’t really change.”
“Oh…so…” Hermione’s eyes widened.
“Don’t worry,” said Zenrir quickly, “I’m not…not anymore…no…”
Hermione smiled uncertainly. “I’m sure you’ll find someone sooner or later. You’re not so bad a werewolf.”
Zenrir looked up.
“You know, Zenrir, I really can’t believe I’m doing all this,” Hermione sighed and folded her arms across her chest. “I don’t understand why all of a sudden, everyone seems to take a strange liking to me. And me! Liking them back. It’s all a bit confusing, you know. And strange. I don’t know what to do.” Hermione got up and started to pace around the room. “I love Ron, I always have. And then, Harry…well I’ve always loved him too. Those eyes…but really, I do love Ron. He’s always been there, ever since Malfoy made fun of me being a mudblood back in second year. Ronald’s ‘eat slugs’ spell backfired on himself!” Hermione laughed softly. “I think I rushed into things too fast. I liked it when it was just the three of us, with no distractions, no complications. It was so much easier.”
“Yeah…” said Zenrir, “I understand.”
“Do you really?”
“I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately, and I came to the conclusion that I should just live out the rest of my days alone. Alone with my hundred cats and pots of smelly tea…” Hermione and Zenrir laughed together, their voices mingling. Hermione breathed out a puff of air and turned serious again.
“But, really, Zenrir, that’s what I should do. I can’t take this anymore. I should just walk out that door like Ron and Harry did, and forget about all my troubles and problems…”
Hermione and Zenrir whipped around simultaneously, wands out and teeth bared.
“Who’s there?” called Hermione, her voice shaky.
“It’s just me, calm down. I’m tempted to call you a mudblood again, but that wouldn’t be too adult-like would it?”
“Dra…Draco?” whispered Hermione.
When the thick clouds of snow and the sounds of a raging storm disappeared, a white blond head emerged, followed by a tall and lean body. Draco Malfoy shook snow off his coat and hurried over to the fire, ignoring the two’s shocked looks.
“What, Hermione? Aren’t you glad to see an old friend of yours?” said Draco, in a condescending tone.
“We were never friends, Malfoy,” said Hermione firmly.
“Well, let’s change that, shall we?”
“What’s your business here?” barked Zenrir. Draco looked round at Zenrir as if noticing him for the first time. Draco widened his eyes and lifted a finger.
“You…you look like…no…it can’t be you…you’re supposed to be dead,” mumbled Draco, leaning away.
“Why do I always get that?” said Zenrir, exasperated. “I’m his son. I’m assuming you’re speaking of my father, Fenrir Greyback? Well, yeah, I’m his son.”
“Impossible! Greyback never had a son…”
“Well you’re looking at him right now,” Zenrir said bluntly.
“So,” said Hermione, “what are you doing here?”
Draco moved away from the fire and sat on one of the chairs, eyes downcast. He stayed silent until Zenrir shifted threateningly.
“Well…I’ve come to help you,” Draco finally said.
“Help us? How?”
“Death Eaters. I want to help you kill them one by one…to tear their eyeballs from their sockets…to skin them alive…and hear their dying pleas—”
“Right, yeah, sorry. Got carried away there. Anyway, I want to help you two kill them. But, I was expecting the two most hated blokes—”
“If you mean Harry and Ron, they’ve walked out. Well, Ron got turned into a werewolf and Harry just left about two days ago. He went to save the old Death Eater, Jeriel. Jeriel Enrile.”
“Old Death Eater?”
“Yeah, your Death Eater buddies have captured our Death Eater friend. He was a Death Eater—” continued Hermione, seeing the triumphant look on Draco’s face, “—but is no longer. That’s the only reason why we’ve befriended him.”
“That’s brilliant! Then, I can tag along and help with the killing!” said Draco, his face eager.
“How did you know we were here?”
Draco laughed. “You think if Harry Potter and his little sidekicks came to town, nobody would talk? I just had to ask around a few places and they gladly told me of your, ah, campsite.”
Hermione rolled her eyes.
“And for the record, those aren’t my ‘Death Eater buddies’. I hate them, remember?” said Draco.
“Yeah, fine,” said Hermione impatiently. She still felt uneasy, as if Malfoy wasn’t telling the whole truth. “You can stay with us if there isn’t any trouble…and…and if this isn’t a little trap devised by your cronies. Is that clear?”
Draco lifted his hands in mock surrender.
“So when do we start out?” asked Malfoy that night, as Hermione cooked dinner and Zenrir repaired a broken patch in the tent. “Tonight, maybe? If we get a move on, we can probably catch up to one of those nasty gits and finish them off—”
“We’re not leaving tonight, Malfoy,” said Hermione, “It’s better if we just hold still till the weather clears, or until we hear back from Harry.”
“I’ve left him countless messages and tried to locate him in Antarctica, but I really can’t seem to find him anywhere. I’ll let him be.”
“He’ll just have to suffer the consequences if the Death Eaters catch up to him and he’s outnumbered. His fault, the bloke,” muttered Zenrir from his corner of the tent. He had just finished patching up a small hole, and started to drift towards the meal Hermione was preparing.
“Smells delicious, Hermione, what is it?” said Malfoy.
Hermione looked up, still not completely sure of Draco’s intents.
“Salmon and Halibut stew, bread, and some fruit for dessert. Simple, but that’s all I can rustle up right now.”
“No, no, don’t get me wrong, it’s a wonderful meal,” said Malfoy licking his lips.
Hermione wondered why on earth Draco Malfoy was suddenly being so chivalrous when he’d been trying to make her life miserable for the past eight years.
“Why are you…” Hermione started.
Malfoy looked up with a smile. “Why am I what?”
Malfoy simply shrugged and turned to set the table for dinner, a small smile playing on his lips.
Once they had sit down and started to eat, Malfoy started to throw Hermione peculiar looks. Zenrir, noticing, decided not to say anything and quickly slurped his soup and hurried outside, claiming a strong urge to go find some flowers. Hermione, also noticing but not saying anything, decided to hold it in until she couldn’t take it anymore.
“Malfoy!” Hermione practically screamed half an hour later of awkward silence and weird looks.
Malfoy smiled, his teeth gleaming. “Yeah?”
“Can we…can I talk to you?” said Hermione, as she got up to pick up the plates. She stacked the plates and bowls in her arms carefully and paused before Malfoy, who was holding his bowl up, waiting for her.
“Sure,” said Malfoy.
“You…you seem so…so different. Like another person, I don’t understand,” said Hermione, with a small frown on her face. “I just…yes, I don’t get it. At all. So help me.”
Malfoy grinned and stretched out his arms, yawning. “Well…you’re different too.”
Hermione raised her eyebrows skeptically. “How so?”
“You used to be so ugly,” Malfoy grinned wider at Hermione’s sudden snort of contempt, “—and now…well, look at you. All grown up. You’re actually stunning. No wonder Potter ditched his weasel wife and slept with you.”
Hermione made an angry noise. “Have you been…watching us?”
Malfoy laughed uncomfortably. “Um…maybe?”
Hermione huffed angrily and threw the dishes into the little rusty sink. With a wave of her wand, the dishes started to wash themselves, lathering first, then rinsing and drying themselves before zooming into the cupboards.
Hermione stopped. She’d never heard this tone of voice from Malfoy before. His ususal cockiness and arrogance disappeared, replaced with the foreign sound of sincerity.
“Come walk with me?”
The question was so sincere and stripped of all bravado, that Hermione was compelled to follow Malfoy outside and hear him out. Dropping the soapy dishrag, she wiped her hands on the backs of her jeans and followed Draco Malfoy out into the cold, dark night.
“So what is it?” said Hermione, once they were a bit away from the campsite. Malfoy looked up at the sky. It was still gray and it was still snowing, but the wind had died down and the storm was a little less cruel.
“All those times, Hermione…I don’t know, but, it’s different now. I’m changed, you’re changed. It’s all different,” said Malfoy.
“I don’t understand,” Hermione said slowly.
“I was…I was realy jealous. All the time. From the moment he didn’t shake my hand, from the first time you beat me in Charms class, from the first time he was admired and praised for his quidditch skills. Every single time, it as like that. Day after day, I’d plan and plan and plan and…to no avail. Nothing came out of it.” Malfoy sighed, “I’m still on the Ministry’s Most Wanted list, everyone hates me…all this…”
“I still don’t understand,” said Hermione, gentler this time. She registered the genuiune expressions and tone of voice coming from the blond haired boy beside her.
“Every single time I called you mudblood…I felt satisfaction—”
“Eveybody knew that—”
“Let me finish, Hermione,” said Malfoy exasperated.
“Sorry,” she whispered.
“Anyway,” continued Malfoy, “I never truly believed it, you know. Never. It was just my family…well, as you know I didn’t spend much quality time with my type of family,” Malfoy scoffed. “I just grew up believeing that mudbloods were terrible, terrible, vile creatures that—”
“We get the point,” Hermione said shortly.
Malfoy took a deep breath. “Sorry.”
The pair had rounded a bend and came upon a clearing bearing a small, frozen stream and a few measly patches of yellowed weeds.
“Honestly…it’s really hard for me to say this, but you deserve the truth, Hermione. All that time…at…at Hogwarts, well, I didn’t really hate you three. Especially not you.”
“Oh give me a break, Malfoy! You not hating us? Is this another one of our stupid—”
“No, Hermione! No. It’s not, I’m dead serious right now.”
“Lok, the whole time…I was really just jeaous. Jealous that Potter got all the attention, that you were so smart in everything…that Ron, well, that he got you in the end.”
“Everyone knew you were jealous—” Hermione stopped.
“Wait…exactly what did you say?”
Malfoy kicked at the ground and fidgeted with his wand, not meeting Hermione’s piercing gaze.
“Right, well, we should get back now—”
“DRACO MALFOY WHAT DID YOU SAY?”
Malfoy looked ashen. “Um—”
Hermione had completely rounded up on Malfoy now, her eyes wide, her breath coming out in fluffy white puffs of steaming air. Her hands lay on her hips in such a threatening way; Malfoy took an involuntary step back.
Hermione narrowed her eyes. “WHAT DID YOU SAY?”
“I said that I was jealous of Potter—”
“NO, NO, NO—THE OTHER PART!” Hermione practically yelled.
“That…um…Weasley got to have you in the end,” Malfoy said quietly.
With those words of doom, Hermione fell back onto the snow and covered her face in despair. Why must all the men come and grovel at my feet like…like I’m some kind of goddess? Why?!
“Are you all right?” said Malfoy worriedly.
“Quite, thank you,” snapped Hermione.
“I’m sorry if—”
“What was that?” interrupted Hermione.
“What?” said Malfoy, taken aback by the abrupt change in topic.
A twig snapped.
“That!” Hermione hissed.
“It’s nothing. Probably just a—”
A sudden roar erupted from the dense woods behind them.
“Well, I was going to say squirrel but I don’t think—”
There was the sound of a tree splitting in half and something large, lumpy, and gray emerged from the woods, dragging a gigantic wooden club behind it, leaving a six foot trench in the snow.
“Where’s Grawp when you need him,” muttered Hermione, as she readied herself to face the twenty foot tall giant with gleaming teeth and angry black eyes.
“Hermione, watch out!” Malfoy yelled as the giant took a swing at Hermione. Grunting, she jumped and managed to latch onto the giant’s club. Digging in her fingernails, she began to climb, gritting her teeth against the cold wind that lashed at her face, not to mention the horrific giant drool that was dripping over her head. She had a sudden flashback of the giant they had tackled during their first year at Hogwarts. Harry had bravely grabbed onto the giant’s head and stuck his wand inside of his nose. Clamping her mouth shut, Hermione started her ascent to its huge potato-like head. Meanwhile, Malfoy was still on the ground, shouting curses, hexes, and jinxes at the giant’s tough hide, but to no avail. He cursed in rage and started to aim for the giant’s head. The creature roared and swung his club left and right, narrowly missing Hermione’s head and almost whacking Malfoy in the stomach. The giant seemed to finally understand that Hermione was on his back, and with one surprisingly swift gesture, he grasped Hermione by the middle and swung her around to face him. With the giant’s grinning face looming ahead of her, Hermione made a final attempt to stick her wand up its nose.
“Hold on, Hermione, I’m gonna get this bloke—”
Malfoy shouted more, and blue and silver streaks slashed through the air, barely damaging the hefty giant. The creature opened its wide, revolting mouth and Hermione screamed. Just as she closed her eyes, the giant stopped moving and with a dramatic swaying motion that almost made Hermione puke, it toppled to the ground, blowing up snow all around it, causing a mini snowstorm right in the clearing.
Hermione was shaking, wet, and dirty when Malfoy finally managed to retrieve Hermione from the giant’s ferocious grasp. He helped her out of its clutches and gave the giant a final blow to its head, causing it to snort and release a blast of breath that blew them back several feet.
“You okay?” said Malfoy, breathing heavily.
“Yes,” wheezed Hermione, surveying their damage. “I’m good.”
“So what did you do back there?” asked Hermione, once they were back in the woods, headed for home. Malfoy shrugged.
“Nothing, just a combination of a Stun spell and a hex at once,” said Draco, “well, and a full body slam against the thing’s leg, but that doesn’t count, does it?”
Hermione laughed, shaking her head.
“Well thank you anyway. I didn’t really expect that out of…” She stopped.
Malfoy smiled sheepishly. “No, you’re right. After all those years, I didn’t even expect myself to do that, quite frankly.”
Hermione chuckled softly, sticking her wand back in her pocket.
A twig snapped.
“More giants?” whispered Hermione.
“No,” said Malfoy. “I don’t think so.”
This time, a larger branch snapped and almost instinctively, Malfoy’s hand reached protectively around Hermione’s waist. She stiffened automatically and even in the dark, both knew the other was blushing furiously.
Malfoy stepped a distance away. “Sorry,” he muttered.
Hermione stayed silent, unsure of what to say. A sort of tension filled the air, the snapping branches forgotten. Hermione rushed back the campsite and immediately strengthened her protective enchantments, not meeting Malfoy’s gaze.
No…no…no! This can’t happen again! Especially with Malfoy! Hermione thought as she whispered Repello Muggletum three times. Malfoy retreated to the tent, feeling peculiarly warm. His heart was fluttering furiously and his forehead was slick with sweat. What was happening?
“No…no…no…” Hermione whispered to herself over and over.
Later that night, when Zenrir and Malfoy had fallen asleep, Hermione took out a small, jewel encrusted hand mirror and stared at her reflection disapprovingly. Sure, she lost the buckteeth, the large nose, the bushy brown hair, but she still looked the same as ever. Her hair was streaked with bits of gold, her teeth were pearly and white, her eyes wide and confused. Confused was right. She knew she was supposed to be in love with Ron, but then Harry came along and messed the chemistry up with those captivating emerald eyes, and now Malfoy? Draco Malfoy, the threesome’s archenemy for eight years, their tormentor, bully. Hermione couldn’t understand why she suddenly looked past Draco’s arrogant demeanor and saw the scared, confused and normal boy he rarely let anyone see. How come she could see past that brave heart and see all his fears and dreams, wishes and desires? How come she saw the sincere, kind boy that showed chivalry in times of need? Not abandonment, but help. Sincere help. Why? Hermione shook her head to clear her thoughts, setting the mirror back in its place, wishing she could look to her parents for advice. Hermione rolled over and closed her eyes.
Tomorrow was going to be a long day.