Everything In Its Right Place

Chapter 2

5 Years Later

"Ah, Hogsmeade," said Ron fondly. It was December 23rd, and Ron, Harry, and Hermione were headed to Professor McGonagall's annual Christmas party. It was cold and snowing, and the village, as always, looked like a picture postcard.

They entered the Three Broomsticks, which was filled to capacity. Hagrid gave them a booming hello, clapping Harry and Ron on the shoulder so hard that they nearly fell over. After greeting their former professors, Harry ordered three Butterbeers and the trio managed to secure a table.

"Happy Christmas," toasted Hermione, raising her glass. Ron and Harry did likewise.

"Butterbeer just tastes better here." said Ron, drinking deeply.

"True, true," said Harry, "but I still feel like a bit of a kid here. Maybe it's being surrounded by all of our professors."

"Bloody hell," said Ron. His eyes were narrowed and his nostrils flared as though he had smelled something unpleasant. "That git Malfoy is here."

"Oh, yes," said Hermione. "He's teaching at Hogwarts."

Harry laughed and Ron spluttered. "What's he teaching, Advanced Prat?" said Ron.

Hermione ignored Ron's jab. "Alchemy. Professor McGonagall told me."

"Blimey," said Ron, "what a nightmare. "

"Doesn't look too happy though, hmm?" said Harry.

Hermione turned around to see Draco at a small table, alone. He was drinking from a tumbler, and several empty glasses littered his table. Hermione shook her head.

"Professor McGonagall told me she was concerned about him. He apparently speaks to no one, outside of his students. And he seems to have developed a rather nasty drinking habit," said Hermione.

"Who cares?" said Ron, "Malfoy was always a prat. A twitchy little ferret, right Hermione?"

"Quiet, Ron! He'll hear you," said Hermione sternly.

"He deserves it. He was a foul git, he is a foul git, he'll always be a foul git," Ron spat.

Harry shook his head. "I was never a fan of Malfoy, but…"

"Don't defend him," said Ron, interrupting in mock horror. "Anyway, it's Christmas. Enough about Malfoy. Let's talk about something interesting. Did'ya see the new Nimbus?"

As Harry and Ron launched into a broom discussion, Hermione heard breaking glass behind her. Turning around, she saw that Draco had slipped from his stool and had turned over his table. He was straightening himself, shoes crunching on the broken glass at his feet.

"Professor Malfoy is druuunk," said a witch Hermione didn't know, and the crowd around them had a hearty laugh. Draco's eyes flashed with anger and embarrassment, and Hermione felt embarrassed for him. He slowly stumbled across the bar, making his way out of the door. No one spoke to him or offered their assistance.

Hermione rose from her stool. "Where are you going?" said Ron.

"To check on Malfoy. He's really pissed;

I want to make sure he isn't face down in the snow."

"Leave him!" Ron called out, laughing.

Hermione headed out into the frigid air, looking for Malfoy. He hadn't gone too far, and was trudging awkwardly through the snow towards the castle.

She started making her way towards him. "Malfoy?" she called out. "Malfoy – wait."

He turned around, swaying on unsteady feet as she approached him. "Are you going back to Hogwarts?" He didn't answer, so she continued. "Can I walk with you?"

"Why?" he said, softly.

"Why not?" she replied.

He looked at her, still swaying. "I don't understand you," he said, slurring. "Perfect Granger, always so perfect." He fell to his knees in front of her. "Let me see it, I want to see it," he said, fumbling for her arm.

"Have you completely lost your mind?" said Hermione, pulling away from him. "Get up, get up this instant! " He grabbed for her hand, eventually succeeding with a firm grip. "What are you doing?" she screamed.

He pushed her sleeve up, roughly. "Lumos," he said, lighting his wand and investigating her forearm.

He was looking at her scar. She stopped struggling, too confused to protest further.

"Why haven't you used magic to heal this? Why is it here? I hate it, I hate it!" he cried, his grip tightening.

"Get away from her, Malfoy!" shouted Harry. He and Ron had left the pub, and were headed towards Hermione and Draco, wands raised.

Draco released her hand, and spread his arms out wide. "Oh, Saint Potter!" he said, laughing. "Please, hex me! Obliviate me! Or Sectumsempra, remember? Remember?" he screamed wildly.

Harry stopped, and lowered his wand. Malfoy was obviously deranged. But Ron continued his advance, wand pointed directly at Malfoy's chest.

Hermione fell to her knees, wrapped her arms around Draco's torso, and Disapparated.

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