Stay By Me
Stay By Me
Stand a little bit closer
I need to breathe you in
Feel you moving under my skin
Do you feel alone when you're on your own
Pick up the pieces and sway
Stay by me
Everyone else can leave
We're just a feeling
She's just a pick me up.
The next weekend was the first Hogsmeade trip of the term and Hermione had a day off, so she invited Ginny and James (and Harry, but he was busy as usual) to The Three Broomsticks for a butterbeer. She only wished that Teddy could accompany her, but not even Hermione could bend the school rules. She knew James wanted to see his older brother and ask him all about Hogwarts, but they would have to write each other letters instead. The September air was pleasant as Hermione walked down to the village, watching the students ahead of her talking and laughing. Malfoy was on chaperone duty, which meant he was a few paces ahead of her, yelling at a four Ravenclaw students who thought it would be funny to let off dungbombs ever few meters. Hermione wrinkled her nose as the smell hit her and it reminded her of her fifth year at school. In that year, as the tyranny of Dolores Umbridge reached a new level with her becoming Headmistress, the students of Hogwarts (Hermione included) revolted en masse and dungbombs were dropped in the halls with such frequency that students had to use the bubble-head charm just to ensure that they had fresh air to breathe. Hermione had to admit, it was an excellent way of teaching students how to use the bubble-head charm. Even first years could do it at the time.
Hermione covered her hand with her mouth, hiding her laughter as Malfoy threatened to feed the students to one of the plants in the Herbology garden. Upon hearing her laughter he turned around to look at her, irritation flashing across his face.
"Do you find this funny, professor Granger?"
"Not at all professor Malfoy," Hermione smirked, enjoying this much more than she should. She should have been reprimanding the students with Malfoy, but she was having too much fun. "If the smell bothers you so much, I suggest you use the bubble-head charm professor Malfoy. Surely you must have mastered it by now?"
A snicker came from the students as they watched the exchange between Malfoy and Hermione. They had never seen professor Granger act like this. Was she actually encouraging this kind of behaviour? She was normally the first one to put a stop to it. It was going to be a good day indeed.
Malfoy's mouth hung open, did he just get smart-mouthed by Hermione Granger?
Hermione smirked, feeling oddly satisfied that she managed to leave Draco Malfoy speechless. It was something she had only done a few times in her life, the first being when she hit him the first year. That was a feeling she would never forget.
The students were now waiting in anticipation for professor Malfoy's comeback. They had stopped walking entirely just to watch the two of them. Malfoy blinked a few times before he recovered, a cocky grin spreading over his features.
"Why don't you enlighten the students as to why I had to master the bubble-head charm?" Malfoy asked as he crossed his arms over his chest, indicating that it was Hermione's turn in this chess game of wits.
All eyes were suddenly on Hermione, as if they were watching a tennis match and following the ball back and forth. When Hermione couldn't return the ball fast enough Malfoy answered for her.
"Professor Granger over here used to drop dungbombs in the halls so frequently the whole school had to master the bubblehead charm."
There was a moment of silence as a few jaws hit the floor. Professor Granger used to drop dungbombs in the halls? The same professor Granger who immediately confiscates any joke products? Hermione had to act quickly otherwise her reputation will be ruined.
"Don't forget to mention that you failed to catch me, each and every time," Hermione winked at Malfoy. This was getting too good. The students were hanging on each and every word of the banter between their professors and a chorus of "oohs" and "aahs" rang through them. Hermione 1, Draco 0.
"Alright, that's enough," Malfoy turned to the students. "Off you go kids." A chorus of complaints came from them as they started walking away. They wanted to hear more about the adventures of their professors.
When it was only Malfoy and Hermione left he gave her his signature smirk. "I didn't think you had that in you Granger."
Hermione shrugged as she fell into step next to him and they followed the students to Hogsmeade. To be honest she didn't think she was capable of that either, it all happened so fast. She was proud of herself though, she held her own against Malfoy and she didn't back down. Progress was being made. She still loathed him with every fiber of her being, but she could at least tolerate her. He truly wasn't that bad too be around. The rest of the trip was made in silence, but once they reached Hogsmeade Malfoy turned to her.
"Where are you off to Granger?"
"The Three Broomsticks," Hermione said slowly, not sure why he was interested in knowing where she was heading.
"Coincidentally, so am I." He held his arm out in front of him, indicating that she should lead the way.
Ginny was already waiting outside The Three Broomsticks with a bouncing James in hand. Her eyebrows shot up the moment she spotted Hermione with Draco. Hermione could tell she would have to undergo a serious inquiry later on.
"Aunty Mione!" James yelled and broke free from his mother's grip to run toward Hermione, his arms outstretched. Hermione caught him, lifting him up and hugging him tightly.
"Hey there James," Hermione said as she walked James back to his mother, putting him down next to Ginny before embracing her friend.
"What is he doing here?" Ginny asked in Hermione's ear as they hugged each other.
"It's a long story," Hermione whispered back.
"Hi, I'm James, what's your name?" Hermione let go of Ginny to turn around when she heard James' voice. He was standing in front of Malfoy, his little hand outstretched toward him. Malfoy smiled a genuine smile at James, bending down to take James' hand and shake it.
"Wow, that's a good grip you got there James. A good grip is very important. My name is Draco."
"Nice to meet you, mister Draco," James said before returning to his mother's side. Malfoy straightened up, nodding his head at Ginny.
"Actually it's Potter now."
Malfoy looked between Ginny and James. "Ah, how could I have missed the resemblance. If you will excuse me, I'll be on my way." And with that Malfoy disappeared into The Three Broomsticks.
Ginny turned back to Hermione, her eyes wide. "Talk, now."
A few minutes later Hermione, Ginny and James were seated inside the Three Broomsticks, each with a butterbeer in front of them. James was sitting quietly for once, which could only mean he had some kind of trick up his little sleeve. Ginny was too busy interrogating Hermione to notice her son's odd behaviour. Hermione looked around the Three Broomsticks, hoping to spot Malfoy and whoever he was meeting here, but she couldn't see him.
"Earth to Hermione, are you listening to me?" Ginny asked as she snapped her fingers in front of Hermione, pulling her back to reality.
"Yeah," Hermione lied rather unconvincingly and Ginny just shook her head at her best friend.
"Will you please tell me what you were doing with Draco Malfoy? Or do I only get to read it in Witch Weekly?"
Hermione sighed and took a sip of her butterbeer before launching into the story of how Draco Malfoy was the new DADA professor and Head of Slytherin House.
"But...he's an ex-Death Eater? Surely he shouldn't be teaching children?" Ginny exclaimed before taking another sip of her butterbeer.
"My thoughts exactly," Hermione mumbled into her butterbeer.
"Why would Professor McGonagall allow him to teach then? Is he any good?" Ginny asked.
Hermione shrugged. "From what I've heard he's doing a good job. The students seem to enjoy his classes." Hermione was curious about Malfoy's teaching style. She had a group of NEWT students directly after they had DADA and they all spoke very highly of professor Malfoy. They said that he was a great teacher and taught them a lot on their first day. "And he seems to be good with children as well," Hermione said, referring to earlier when Malfoy greeted James.
Ginny still didn't seem convinced about all of this. Hermione could tell she was worried for Teddy.
"Professor McGonagall trusts Draco, she wouldn't put the students in danger just so that Malfoy could have a job." Hermione tried to ease some of Ginny's worries.
"Since when are you on a first name basis?" Ginny asked as her eyebrows shot up again. "And what happened to the Malfoy Fortune? It was said that he would never have to work a day in his life."
Hermione didn't have any answers to either of those questions. She had no idea why she called him Draco, or why he was at Hogwarts. She just assumed it was to get one over on her, or to rub the fact that she was never going to get him out of her life in her face, but she didn't think that was the case.
"He was sleeping in a parking lot when I found him Ginny, maybe he lost all of his money?" It was certainly an option, Malfoy did spend ten years in Azkaban and after the death of his parents who was supposed to look after their fortune? He couldn't.
"I don't think that's the case. I tried to ask Harry about it, but he said it was confidential, so I dug around a bit." Ginny was good at digging around, it was a skill she learned whilst she worked for the Quibbler as their sports editor. "His money is all there in his fault. Question is, why doesn't he use it?"
"Maybe he really just wanted to be a teacher all his life?" Hermione suggested, but she knew that wasn't true. The reason why Malfoy was at Hogwarts never bothered her too much, but now she really wanted to know. "And why were you looking into his funds?"
"Really? Draco Malfoy secretly wanting to be a teacher? I don't think so," Ginny shook her head before shrugging. "I was curious as to why he was sleeping on the street."
Hermione just shook her head at her best friend. Ginny was too curious for her own good. Hermione's eyes wandered across the Three Broomsticks again before settling on the empty chair next to Ginny. That's odd...
"Ginny, where is James?" Hermione asked as she started to look around for the familiar black haired boy. Ginny turned in her seat, shock crossing her face as she saw James' chair empty. She jumped up to get a better view of the Three Broomsticks, but he was nowhere in sight.
"He must have gone outside, let's go," Ginny said as she and Hermione grabbed their bags before rushing out of The Three Broomsticks. "James!?" Ginny called as soon as they got outside, but once again James was nowhere in sight.
"Alright, you go left and I'll go right. He couldn't have gone far," Hermione said. "Meet you back here in an hour."
Draco sighed, running a hand through his hair as he looked at the papers in front of him. "Are you absolutely sure there is nothing we can do?"
The brown haired woman that sat opposite him shook her head, pushing her glasses up her nose with one finely manicured finger. They were both looking at Narcissa Malfoy's will, the one that detailed that Draco could only inherit Malfoy Manor and the fortune in their vault when he got married. Only his mother could think of such ridiculous terms of his inheritance. Astoria Greengrass was a close family friend, her sister being one of Draco's old classmates. Astoria worked for the Ministry of Magic, handling the estates of deceased witches and wizards. Astoria was the one who set up Narcissa's will and Draco invited her here in hopes of having her alter the will.
"I am sorry Draco, it just can't be done. The magic that binds this will cannot be broken. You have to meet the terms."
Draco sighed again, his mother and father were probably getting a good kick out of this. "What if I never marry? What happens to the money and the Manor?"
"It will go to the nearest family you have left." Astoria consulted a few records before looking up. "Teddy Lupin will inherit everything should you never marry."
"Teddy Lupin?" Draco asked, as he was currently not aware he had any surviving relatives.
"He is the son of your cousin, Nymphadora Tonks, currently in the care of Harry and Ginny Potter," Astoria said.
Draco could not let Teddy inherit his fortune and the Manor, but not for obvious reasons. Malfoy wasn't selfish, he didn't need the Malfoy fortune, it was the house he was worried about. Even though Malfoy Manor was a dark place, it was still his home. Generations of Malfoy's lived there and priceless heirlooms and things with sentimental value were still in the house. If Teddy Lupin inherited the Manor then the Potters were going to knock it down for sure. Draco could not let that happen.
"Alright then, I'll get married."
"There is more." Astoria said and Draco raised his brows.
"Yes, you have twelve months to get married, otherwise your inheritance goes to Teddy."