Chapter 15: Our biggest secret
"Did I just hear Draco say that he loves me?... my god, just how unconscious am I?, yes, I must be dreaming, Not in any world would Malfoy tell me that he loves me" Hermione didn't want to move a muscle, she wanted to stay still and silent and wait to see if he would spill anything else, but alas her foot started to cramp in discomfort, she wiggled her legs a little to release the muscles that were knitting together. Draco, recognizing she was waking up started to panic and like a coward slowly and quietly left the room.
By the time Hermione opened her eyes she found herself alone, "Ugh my head hurts like if someone were constantly hitting it with a rubber mallet" Standing up shakily she blindly made her way into the kitchen and to where Harry was standing at the stove, arm stretched out to her with a vial in hand. Uncorking the top she recognized the aroma of a hangover potion.
-'You are the best brother, I love you and… thanks'- Hermione eagerly took the bottle and downed the potion in one. As soon as the potion took effect and her headache lessened she began to help Harry with breakfast. Too immersed in the art of cooking they never noticed Narcissa enter the kitchen fully dressed. She stood watching them with a little smile on her face, soon there were two people watching them, Draco decided to enter the room just after his Mother.
-'Cinnamon, and a bit of sugar…'- Hermione had a big blue plastic bowl in her arm as she began to whisk it all together.
-'Is the main potion ready Mione?'- Asked Harry amused
-'If you don't shut up Mr Potter they won't be ready and I will end up burning your pancakes!'- Said Hermione that was in full concentration.
-'I will just stay quiet then, and could you send me the honey this way?'- Harry popped the coffee maker on and took the fresh juice from the fridge.
-'Honey? What for?'- Hermione stopped whisking and asked.
-'To make you sweeter that genius of mine'- Harry laughed as Hermione threw a hand full of sugar at him in response of his cheek.
-'How funny, idiot'- she responded sarcastically but with a small sweet smile in place.
Narcissa and Draco decided to make their presence known, to make sure no more ingredients were used as a rain shower and more mess to be cleaned.
-'Good morning Harry, Hermione'- Narcissa had decided the night previous to call them by their names, after all they were just kids like her Draco.
-'Good morning Mrs. Narcissa'- The two greeted joyfully together.
-'Morning guys'- Draco's voice portrayed a tad more nervousness than his composed Mother.
-'Morning Draco'- Harry smiled at him as he put the coffee on the table, Draco could not figure out if the two had forgotten last night's event or they were brushing it under the rug.
-'Morning Malfoy… hum, why don't you sit at the table? This is going to be ready in a few minutes'- Hermione called from the cooker.
-'May I ask why you don't just ask some elf to do the cooking?'- Narcissa politely asked, she knew that Hermione was against the treatment of elves being captive like slaves but she also knew Harry kept them.
-'It's their free day'- Hermione announced proudly as she smiled appreciatively at her Brother.
When Harry and Hermione sent the dishes to the table they stood in front of the Malfoy's before eating. Draco knew this was going to be it, his demise was to end here just before breakfast.
-'We're sorry about yesterday, we do not recall the details but we assume that we offended you two, believe it or not we know how mean and impertinent we can be when we're drunk, so please accept our sincere apologies'- Harry offered as Hermione nodded dutifully.
-'Well I never expected you would apologize for what was said, but I'm glad that you have, you're forgiven'- she smiled up at the two of them. "How cute and responsible for them, they reminds me of two little kids" thought Narcissa.
-'No offence taken'- Draco smiled his charming smile at Hermione specifically.
-'We'll thanks, come Mione sit and eat whilst I go and wake up those sleeping snakes'- Draco stood up and pulled the chair next to him for Hermione to sit in, pushing her in like a true gent he sat back down in his sit and made her juice just how she liked it.
-'That will not be necessary dear Harry, here they are'- A bright eyed Luna walked in by two half sleeping Theo and Blaise.
-'M'ning'- Said Blaise trying to fully open his eyes.
-'G'd moooooorning'- Said Theo yawning behind his hand.
They all tucked into the great breakfast, and the only adult in the room was smiling with nostalgia settling in, she felt like the Mother of all of the kids that were eating at the table, Narcissa had always wanted more kids, but Lucius was happy enough with one when he found out that his first baby was a boy, he didn't want more kids that could take away the attention from his adorable Son and future heir. She was smiling at the thought of that when a white owl posed on Harry's shoulder.
-'Morning my dear, you have something for me?'- Harry caressed Hedwig as she rubbed her beak up and down his cheek lovingly. Harry took the note from Hedwig, and suddenly, after reading a bit of it, stood up and got ready to leave, not before lending the note to Hermione whom just sighed and returned the note back to Hedwig who flew off to put the letter into Harry's study.
-'I'll handle this Mione, but you know how he is so prepare a good speech for him later, I'll be back in a moment'- Harry took a swig off his coffee, kissed Hermione's head and disappeared.
-'Is it something serious?'- Narcissa wiped her hands on her napkin from toast crumbs as she inspected Hermione's face for a tell-tale sign
-'No, but very troublesome, a friend of ours is about to lose his mind because he can't find us anywhere, Potter Manor is one of the safest places in the magical world, no one apart from us and Snape know how to enter and the exact location of the manor. To put it simple they're not aware of this existence'- Said Hermione serious, but then she smiled and continue eating cheerfully.
Harry appeared in his office at the ministry just in time to welcome a pale Ron that sighed in relief when he saw him.
-'Thanks to Merlin that I found you Harry, I went to the Black's Manor but you weren't there and Hermione isn't at home either and I so got worried'- Harry took a seat at his desk as Ron sat before him.
-'Relax Ron; Hermione is visiting her muggles relatives, just to take a day or two out she is fine'- Harry easily lied.
-'Oh, did she go alone?'- Asked Ron interested
-'No, I never let her go alone'- Harry skittered around the subject with a smile, he knew what Ron was trying to ask.
-'Was Luna her companion?'- Ron asked even more curious.
-'No, Luna is… how do you expect me to know where is she? She's like a little rabbit, she pop up in any place she likes'- Harry laughed at his own description of his sister.
-'… oh come on Harry you know what I mean, I'm trying to ask you if Hermione is dating anyone!'- Ron ran his fingers through his hair in exasperation.
-'Why? I mean, why do you want to know if Mione is with someone? That doesn't concern you, remember?'- Harry's tone became all serious as he sat straight up in his leather chair.
-'It concerns me if that someone is Victor Krum! Or a guy like him'-
-'You know that Victor is already married to one of Fleur's friends you was at the wedding so tell me the truth as to why you want to know'- Harry bit out angrily.
-'I broke up with Lavender a week ago after catching her making a love potion for me, that was the first time in a while where I could really see the own dirt past my own nose. She has been clouding my feelings and judgement since school…'- Harry lowered his glare at him, Ron fidgeted nervously with the cuff of his robe. -'Ok, ok maybe I never was truly under her spell but I really want to start over with Hermione, she is amazing and I feel we could make a great future together'- Harry saw red, how dare this insect think he deserved a chance with such a rare gem. Ron put his hands up in defence. Harry was out of his mind but he recognized Ron as his friend and tried to calm himself a bit.
-'Ron, you and I have already talked about that, you agreed not to date Hermione, and I agreed to not…'- "Kill you" Harry thought the last bit in time, but he didn't say it aloud -'ahem… I agreed to be your friend again-' Harry explained calmly and collectively.
-'Yes, I know, but maybe you can reconsider that, just think about it, better someone you know than some of those beasts out there'- Said hopefully Ron.
-'How stupid do you think I am? I won't fall for that!'- Harry roared slightly at the stupidity sitting in front of him.
-'Please Harry, just one chance, I promise I won't hurt her again, and you can date Ginny, we can be like that'- Ron crossed his fingers together to put his point across only to see the rage and the astonishment in Harry's face.
-'You have to be kidding, how can you put your sister on a silver platter like that? And plus Hermione is already with a great guy'- Harry put his fingers together and pondered his next move, he was always a better chess player than his opponent. "You would have to pass over my dead body to have a second chance with her" thought Harry angrily, if he has to lie to prevent Ron dating his beloved sister, he was going to invent the best lie in the world.
-'Really? Do you know him? Who is he? Is he a wizard or a muggle? Is he younger or older than her? Do you consider him better than me?'- Ron began to question manically.
-'Yes I know him, I can't tell you who is he, but he is a wizard and is the same age as her, and… sorry Ron, but yes, I consider him better than you for now'- Harry related calmly, relishing in the look of disbelief in Ron's face.
"I can't believe that I'm saying those things about Malfoy but he's the one that came to my mind, even if that angers me a bit I do prefer Draco over Ron, at least I can watch him since he's living under my roof" Thought Harry sighing in his mind.
-'So I think our agreement still stand? Well, at least until I found out who is he and surpass him so Hermione can choose me instead'- Ron stood and offered offering his hand to Harry that took it immediately.
-'Good luck with that, he's not going to give up on her that easy, and he hates to lose to anyone'- Harry smiled as he gripped Ron's hand in a tight warning. Said Harry smiling "Malfoy is a very fierce opponent my friend" And with that thought Harry smile more.
When Harry arrived at the manor Hermione received him in the entrance hall a bit nervous.
-'Hi Harry… hum… do you re-remember if I said something to you last night?'- Hermione searched his eyes as she began to pale.
-'Not specifically, do I have to remember something especially?'- Harry asked as he worriedly began to wrack his brain to remember.
-'Thank Merlin! No, I was just wondering if I just… no, it was nothing, don't worry… now tell me how it went?'- Said Hermione that was happy to change the subject.
After the whole story Harry retold of Ron, Hermione went to her room to rest and prepare herself for the battle at Hogwarts.
"I can't believe that I actually told Harry of my disagreement with Malfoy he could have killed Malfoy in that instant, I swear no more alcohol, Narcissa was very frightened, and I don't blame her, I would be terrified. Now Harry is telling Ron that I'm dating Malfoy, how should I explain to him about the incident, I was evading Draco for that reason Merlin I'm dead now!" Hermione began to feel trapped, she had asked to speak to Narcissa alone that morning and found she had told Harry the whole thing whilst Narcissa and Draco stood before them, how awkward! At least Narcissa put her mind at rest and agreed she would have done the same thing if someone had been so rude to her. What surprised her the most was Narcissa pleaded with her not to mechanically change her feelings for Draco but to let them flow and see where they go. Hermione was so immersed in the mornings events she only just heard a knock on the door.
-'You can enter'- Hermione spoke a bit distracted.
-…- Draco just stood in the door in silence, after a few minutes he entered the room closing the door behind him.
-'What do you want Malfoy?'- Hermione tried to sound calm but failed miserably.
-'Just for how long are you going to call me Malfoy?'- Draco bit out.
-'Sorry but I thought that was your name'- Hermione looked up at him in surprise.
-'No, that is my family name, my name is Draco, and how could you forget about our conversation all those months ago?'- Draco smiled maliciously as he stalked her up the bed, he sat right in front of her feet as her back was close to hitting the wall.
-'Oh! Is that so? Sorry but after that incident I didn't feel myself worthy to call you by that name; to me you're just Malfoy again'- Hermione bit out just as angrily.
-'And that's why I'm here, to talk about what happened at your place, before your capture.- Draco ran his hand through his unkept hair.
-'Really? Ok, you have caught me in a good mood… I shall give you the benefit of the doubt, take a sit and let me hear your explanation, excuse, or whatever you're going to give me'- Hermione motioned warily to the small round tea table with two white seats at either side.
-'About what happened in your house, I'm sorry. It is just as you said, I was too sensitive and didn't want to listen, by the time I realized what I had done, it was late, you were gone and I knew that I broke my promise and our friendship, you began to ignore me and I just didn't know how to approach you to discuss what had happened, and then you were abducted by those… idiots and I… I… I was scared, terrified when I found you unconscious in that cage, I thought you were dead, fortunately that wasn't the case, I realized how much I need you at that point… what I'm saying is that I'm not asking you to trust me because I know that only time could make that happen again, I don't expect you to love me again… yes, I heard you saying that you love me, but that's not the case, what I'm asking now is for your forgiveness… if you forgive me and give me a chance to be with you again, it would be enough for me'- Draco reached over to take one of her hands in both of his.
Hermione was taken by surprise, she never expected that Draco could say something so sweet and meaningful to her.
-'I… I… I'll think about it, but first I must confirm one thing… Did you kiss me this morning?'- Hermione's cheeks flamed up a hot pink, but she was determined to confirm that she wasn't crazy and that her mind wasn't hallucinating kisses from not so random platinum blondes.
Draco opened his eyes wide, and a light pink colored his cheeks.
-'How… you… you were supposed to be sleeping… I mean… no… well, yes… but…'- Draco began not knowing what to truly say.
"So I wasn't dreaming" Thought Hermione smiling in her mind
-'Well, Yes or no? Did you kiss me or not? I don't want you to tell me why… for now'- Hermione smirked at the uneasiness creeping upon his usual stoic features.
-'Ok, ok, I admit defeat, YES I kissed you this morning yes, but… for what I said before I kissed you… I really mean it, if it takes it I will prove every day to you how much you mean to me'-
-'Is that all you really said? I was dreaming remember?'- Hermione smiled deviously as he squirmed uneasily.
-'You…you… are you going to make me repeat it again?'- He rolled his eyes at her but not in annoyance.
-'I'm not sure; maybe it was just a dream'- Hermione scooted her chair around closer to Draco.
-'You little devil… ok, I'll say it again… I love you Hermione, I really love you, I know that you might reject me now, but I'm going to make you fall for me again'- He stared into her eyes trying to portray how serious he was.
-'Maybe you don't have to try that hard…'- Hermione was that happy to hear the "I love you" wasn't a dream, she kissed Draco… kissed… a very deep and sweet kiss.
-'Morgana! I should have apologized earlier'- Draco whispered surprisingly as he pulled away and rested his forehead against hers.
-'Idiot, haha'- Hermione laughed lightly as butterfly's flew around in her stomach.
Harry was in his studio, but he still heard the quiet laugh of Hermione, "well, that means that they finally are friends again… friends, yeah right, THEY'RE A COUPLE NOW! How am I supposed to deal with it? AAHHH! I don't know what to think any more, but she's happy, and that is ok… but now this and that…" Harry sighed as he put his head back to his paperwork.
Morning of the battle…
The morning was dull, it was past 7am and still the sky was rather dark. The fog had yet to lift and was still low lying. The line of the army and order were ready in their respective places only waiting on the Basilisks to appear, and they didn't have to wait long, many creatures started to appear, looking up the sky was filled with dementors and other dark flying creatures, Hermione was up front and of course next to her was Harry.
A dark hooded figure stepped forward from the rest of the Basilisks. A leader perhaps?
-'It doesn't have to be like this, I see you have a couple of our own amongst you- Draco growled a low predatory growl and took a step forward to protect his Mother. -'I will give you young snakes a chance to change your mind, come join us or die being traitors'-
-'Ha, did you memorise most of that touching speech from Voldemort? You are mistaken, your stupidity has cost you your demise and it shall be you whom dies today'- Harry threatened.
With a flick of his wand, it was the Basilisks who charged first with spells flying in every direction, the order and Army followed suit casting the counter curses in response.
When the battle begun in full form everyone who could began to turn into their respective animagus. The Weasley's revealed their forms, red lions, all of them were lions with the size of a horse with red fur. Harry and Hermione separated from each other and fought fiercely. Harry was surprised when he glanced to his left was a familiar Potions Master fighting alongside him with a smirk situated in place.
Fortunately for Hermione her new boyfriend took it seriously being part of the order and was fighting alongside her, using any curse and hex he had been taught to protect himself and what was hit. When Hermione recognized that Draco and his Mother were in danger she didn't think or hesitate and with a roar that made everyone stop for an instant, she transformed into her given animal form, a Sphinx, She had the body of an over-large Lion, great clawed paws and a long yellowish tail ending in a brown fluffy tuft. Her head, however, was that of a woman. She turned her long, almond-shaped eyes to the witch that was about to kill the Malfoy's and scratched her to death with her elongated talons coming out of her paws, this Sphinx was different she had wings, those like an eagle, that extended in the moment of the attack, that impulsive action made her vulnerable and just when Pansy was about to attack her, Harry got in her way and before everyone could process what was happening Harry transformed too.
-'Not to my sister Parkinson'- And with revealed his animal form with a roar mightier than Hermione's, he jumped into the air by the time he landed, a Chimera was in his place; he was the size of an Hippogriff, the physic of a lion and three hissing snakes for a tail. Harry in his Chimera form was intimidating not to mention his ferocity and immunity for all kind of charms. Lifting one of his almighty paws he scratched Pansy with his claws, a pair of dragon wings appeared on his back giving him an even scarier look.
-'So that's why you're lion king and queen, this is your biggest secret'- Draco stared in shock, the others were in a catatonic state, nobody on the battle field dared to move, two of the most dangerous creatures where before them and the creatures were very angry.