A/N: Chapter four it out! Happy reading x Also, thank you for 2 favourites and 8 followers, it doesn't seem like much but it really means a lot to me! Please, please, please review!
It was the first day of lessons and Hermione was excited as ever to finally begin learning. After all, it been over a year since she had sat down in a proper classroom with her books and quill. Although her first lesson was Potions with the Slytherins, she was determined to enjoy the lesson because most importantly, it was a new year, meaning a fresh start.
Potions was in the dungeons as it always had been. Although the room rarely saw the light of day and was always dimly lit with a few torches scattered along the walls, the room was still a comforting sight for Hermione. Tall wooden stools surrounded rectangular desks which were covered in cauldron stands, various bottles and other potion-making apparatuses. The brick walls were lined with tall oak cabinets stacked with all the potion-making ingredients any witch or wizard could imagine; jars of moondew, armadillo bile, root of aconite and some ingredients that even Hermione couldn't name. She turned to the front of the dungeon to find the teacher's desk empty, the new teacher seemed to be running late on their first day.
Making her way towards a table with a few familiar faces, she turned around as she heard the creaking of the dungeon door opening. In walked Draco and another Slytherin, Hermione recognised his caramel-coloured, angular face, but she couldn't quite place a finger on who he was. Even from afar, she could tell that Draco looked tired. Although his eyes were certainly not as bleary as they were when he had woken her up in the middle of the night, he still looked exhausted as he conversed casually with his friend.
"Hermione?" Ginny's voice interrupted her thoughts. "What are you looking at?" Hermione turned back around, and smoothed out her skirt as she sat down.
"Nothing," she replied casually, a pink tinge creeping up her cheeks, as she placed down her cauldron onto its stand. Ginny smirked, and nodded as if she actually believed her friend's answer.
"Who do you think the new teacher's going to be?" Hermione asked, steering the conversation to a new topic.
"I don't know, really," Ginny said. "I don't mind, as long as they're better than-" She paused for a moment. "Well, never mind." Their short-lived conversation was suddenly interrupted by a loud bang from outside the dungeon. The two girls both jumped in fright.
"What was… that sound?" Hermione said slowly, averting her attention towards the door. She noticed the Gryffindors and Slytherins pulling out their wands as they all faced the door, but they all exhaled in relief when they heard a voice from outside.
"I'm alright!" cried a chirpy female's voice. They craned their necks in order to get a better view of their new Potions teacher as the door began to open and she walked in.
A tall woman, who appeared to be in her mid-20s, entered the room. She had long butterscotch hair, with the most gorgeous wavy texture that Hermione envied, and she wore simple, sky-blue robes. Her arms and neck were also clad with a series of bangles and necklaces which remind Hermione strongly of Professor Trelawney's. A stack of books and a large cauldron balanced precariously on her outstretched arms as she slowly made her way to the desk at the front. With a loud 'thud', she dropped her stuff onto the table and swore quite colourfully. "I should've just used a levitation charm," she muttered, taking a few deep breaths. It seemed that she had forgotten the class was even there until she heard the squeaking of a desk chair.
"Oh!" she exclaimed, turning to the class. "My name is Margot McGonagall, and I'm your new Potions teacher. Sorry if I gave you a fright, I dropped my cauldron on the way here."
"Come again?" Ginny said, breaking the confused silence of the students. "Your name is Margot McGonagall?"
"Yes!" she replied happily. "Niece of the Headmistress. Call me Professor Ellie, though. Professor McGonagall makes me feel old…" Ginny nodded. Hermione surveyed the class and assumed that everyone was thinking along the same lines, how could a chirpy girl like Margot McGonagall be related to the Minerva No-Nonsense McGonagall? Not that there was anything wrong with being no-nonsense.
"I'm not sure if anyone even does this anymore, but let's do the roll, shall we?" As she read at the roll, Hermione discovered that Harry and Ron weren't the only people who weren't coming back this year. Many witches and wizards from her year hadn't returned, including Parvati Patil, Gregory Goyle and Pansy Parkinson. She also discovered that the boy Draco was sitting next to was Blaise Zabini, a previous member of the 'Slug Club'. No wonder why he had looked familiar, not that she was observing them or anything weird like that.
"We'll be going back to your sixth-year potions for this first lesson," Professor Margot began, "Amortentia, the strongest love potion, one of my favourites, I might add. You'll be brewing this advanced potion in partners." She paused as she watched students shuffling their stools towards each other, and Hermione and Ginny gave each other a look. "…which I'll be picking!" The class groaned, they knew this wouldn't end well.
"Let's mix up the houses, shall we?" she said, pulling her wand out of her robes and began to levitate the students around the room haphazardly. Ginny with Blaise Zabini. Neville with Millicent Bullstrode. Lavender Brown with Theodore Nott. Soon, Hermione realised she hadn't been moved yet.
"Um… Professor Margot?" Hermione said, raising her hand politely. "I don't have a partner…"
"Oh! Sorry Holly," the Professor replied and raised her wand.
"It's Hermione," she corrected as she gripped onto her chair as it levitated across the room before landing softly on the ground behind an empty table.
The Professor raised her wand again, "Well, Hermione, it seems that you're left with the blondie." Blondie? Hermione thought, but her mouth opened in shocks as she watched a very uncomfortable-looking Draco fly towards her at a dangerously fast speed.
"Oh dear…" Professor Margot muttered, but then added loudly. "Watch out, Hermione!"
Hermione just managed to dodge the flying chair and Slytherin as she leapt under her desk, a loud crash coming from behind her. She turned around to find Draco (and the sad remains of his chair) on the ground, Draco rubbing his wrist gingerly.
"I'm okay," Draco tried to say strongly, but it came out as more of a wince.
"Are you sure?" Professor Margot asked as the rest of the class swivelled in their stools to observe the scene, Blaise's face red in the attempt of holding down a laugh.
Say one word and it's over for you Zabini, Draco mouthed, flipping the bird with his uninjured hand. In response, Blaise stuck out a tongue and turned back to face his partner, Ginny.
"Are you alright, Malfoy?" Hermione asked, suppressing a fit of giggles as she watched him clamber upwards.
"I'm fine, Granger," he spat, as he sat on the new chair that Professor Margot had conjured. "Let's just brew the potion."
Things started off well, they were already up to step three, adding the refined peppermint oil. However, as Draco tipped over the vial of oil, Hermione slapped it out of his grasp.
"What was that for?" he spat, turning to his partner angrily.
"You didn't measure it!" she cried. "The book calls for a quarter ounce, you just tipped in whatever amount you liked!"
"And?" Draco said smugly. "I estimated."
"You don't estimate when it comes to making potions!" Hermione said, annoyed. "It requires precision and care."
"What's all this commotion about?" Professor Margot asked, standing up from her desk and making her way towards the disgruntled pair.
"Malfoy's being an annoying git," Hermione stated plainly, causing Ginny to giggle.
"Granger's being a measurement-obsessed shrew," Draco said, mimicking his partner's tone. The teacher surveyed the pair, clearly amused.
"Everyone stop what you're doing!" she said suddenly and Neville dropped his wooden spoon into the cauldron in surprise. She whipped her wand from out of her robes and muttered a spell. At once, the bubbling potions suddenly froze, even the bubbles stayed still.
"Let's play a little bonding game with our new partners, shall we?" Hermione and Draco both shivered at the word 'bonding'. "You'll each take turns asking each other a question, and hopefully as your conversation progresses, the deeper your questions will become." Draco smirked at the word 'deeper', Professor Margot was beginning to sound a lot like Professor Trelawney, the Divination teacher. "We will do this for the next ten minutes, and then you may continue brewing your potions."
Hermione turned around in her stool to face Draco and they both avoided as much eye contact as possible. "You first, Granger," he said irritably, gesturing to her.
"Why are you always such an annoying git?" she asked innocently, cocking her head to the side.
"Because I can be…" he answered. "Why do you always act like such a know-it-all?"
"It's called being education-invested," she replied and reached out to slap his hand. Hurt flashed across his face and he quickly pulled back his arm. However, instead of the apology he expected, she smiled smugly as she watched him grasp his wrist gingerly.
"Why are you smiling like a banshee?" he asked quizzically.
"It's because I just proved a point," Hermione replied. "Your wrist is injured, isn't it?"
"Yes," Draco replied. "And?"
"Why don't you just see Madam Pomfrey and get it fixed up? Hermione asked, her expression softening as she noticed that his wrist was already beginning to swell. It certainly looked broken.
"I can't," Draco replied, a shadow of fear passed over his face.
"Why not?" Hermione asked, confused.
"It's my left arm," he said nervously. "She'll see it." Hermione looked at him, momentarily confused, but then realised what he meant. His Dark Mark was on his left arm. No wonder why he didn't want the school matron to have a look at it, she could only imagine Madam Pomfrey's horrified expression as she rolls up Draco's sleeve to find the Dark Mark.
"I'm sick of getting horrified stares when my sleeve accidentally lifts up the tiniest bit," he said. "It's infuriating." Hermione paused. The nervous, hurt boy in front of her was shockingly different from the arrogant child she met in her first year at Hogwarts. Things really had changed.
"I can fix it for you?" Hermione offered.
"Sorry?" Draco said.
"I said, I can fix your wrist for you," Hermione said sheepishly. "I'm no Madam Pomfrey, but I do know a thing or two about Muggle healing methods. I can fix you up in our dorm?" Draco agreed and nodded, normally he would've said no, but the pain in his wrist was unbearable.
"Professor Margot?" Hermione asked, raising her hand. "Can I escort Malfoy to the Hospital Wing? He's hurt his wrist pretty badly."
"Yeah, no problem," Professor Margot replied. "Good to see you two getting along." Behind the teacher's line of sight was Ginny, winking at Hermione as she and Draco left the Potion's Dungeon.
"So, Muggle healing, huh?" Draco said, as a method of starting a conversation. He refused to have another silently awkward encounter with Hermione again. "How does that work?"
"Well…" Hermione began to ramble off about an assortment of common healing methods, pressure, ice and casts, as Draco nodded, slightly overwhelmed with the sudden surge of foreign information. When they had reached the door, Draco pushed open the door with his uninjured hand and gestured for Hermione to enter first. She blushed. She wasn't use to his 'gentleman' side.
"Stay here," Hermione said firmly, pointed to the couch as she ran up the stairs to fetch a roll of gauze and medical tape. I can't believe I'm sitting in the dorm I share with Hermione Granger, waiting for her to fix my injured wrist, Draco thought, chuckling.
"What's so funny, Malfoy?" Hermione asked, reappearing in the room with a roll of gauze and medical tape.
"Nothing," he said with a shrug. "So, work your magic." He held out his wrist towards her, his face grimacing with pain.
"I have to warn you, I'm not a professional," Hermione said and Draco stared back at her, an eyebrow arched. She began to wrap the gauze delicately, yet tightly around his injured wrist which had now turned a sickly shade of purple. She pulled up his sleeve as she continued wrapping, revealing his Dark Mark.
"Do you ever regret the things you did?" Hermione said quietly, meeting his grey eyes.
"All the time, Granger," Draco replied, his signature smirk gone. "Whenever I close my eyes, let my thoughts wander or even when I'm trying to go to sleep. All the time, every single minute of my day I think about the things I did as a Death Eater, I'm not proud of what I did. I don't think anyone would be." He took a deep breath and sighed as if he had been holding that in for a long time.
"Well, if you need someone to talk to, I'm here," Hermione said. Instead of pushing her away as he did on the train, Draco simply nodded and remained silent as she finished wrapping the gauze around his wrist before taping it down with medical tape. Carefully, she pulled down his sleeve over his bandage.
"Done," Hermione said proudly. "Maybe you can just stay here and sit down with an ice pack on top of your wrist until the end of this lesson. There are only about 10 minutes left." She conjured an ice tray, filled it with water and performed a Freezing Charm. Wrapping up the ice cubes in a towel, she placed her make-shift ice pack on his wrist.
"I'm going to head back to potions now," she said. "Finish of our potion." However, as she stood up to leave, she felt his hand grasp her wrist.
"Wait," Draco said, staring up at her. "Don't leave. I could-"
"Could?" Hermione asked hopefully.
"Icoulduseyourcompany," he said quickly, looking away from her.
"Come again, Malfoy?" Hermione said, smiling.
"I could use your company," he repeated, a lot slower.
"Well, when you put it that way, I guess I have no other choice." She sat down beside him on the couch. "In your first year at Hogwarts, did you ever imagine you would end up getting me, Hermione Granger, to fix your injured wrist and keep you company?"
Draco opened his mouth in protest, but shut it as he gave her question a bit of thought. "Definitely not." He replied.
As the minutes flew by, Hermione and Draco talked by the fireplace, an actual conversation, not just an argument or a string of taunts, but an actual conversation.
"Oh!" Hermione said as she realised the lesson had ended. "It's time for lunch."
"Wouldn't want to be late now, would we?" Draco said, his smirk returning to his face as he stood up from the couch.
"It was your fault anyway!" Hermione called out as he left the room. Teasingly, he stuck out his tongue at her and waved with his un-injured hand as he left the room.
For some reason, Hermione Granger found herself smiling as she watched the door close behind him, a rosy blush creeping upon her cheeks. Maybe the Slytherin prince isn't so bad after all, she thought as she made her way to the Great Hall for lunch.
A/N: I had a bit of time this weekend to do a bit of writing, so I thought I might as well finish the chapter I had started working on. I really hope you enjoy this chapter as it's beginning to show another side to Draco, a more vulnerable-ish side. Please review! I really want to know what you guys think about this story. Also, I'm thinking of starting another Dramione fic soon, but I'm not sure on how well I can juggle two different projects at once, so we'll see about that.
Word count: 2581!