A Change of Heart

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Chapter 11: The Time:

Harry, Ron, Ginny and Draco were sitting in Hermione’s living room after coming home from her dad’s funeral, while Hermione was upstairs taking a nap. Her four companions sat in complete silence, not knowing what to do to help her.

It turned out that Bernice was a witch. She wasn’t a Muggle. Harry had thought there was something familiar about her the first time he had met her. He had gone to Dr. Granger’s wedding, to support Hermione, and when he got home, he told Ginny that he knew he had definitely seen “Bernice” somewhere before. Unfortunately, he never fully made the connection until the night Hermione’s dad died.

It seemed that Bernice made a practice out of marrying lonely, widowed Muggles. She always made sure they had witches or wizards for children. She would marry them, and then blackmail them, for her silence, when she “discovered” they had magical children. She would never reveal to them that she herself was a witch. Since Hermione’s father had never officially told Bernice that his daughter was magical, things weren’t going along as fast as Bernice wanted. That’s why she tried to get to know Hermione better. She kept hoping that Hermione would somehow reveal her ability. Apparently the day she met Malfoy at the mall, she had another one of her husbands (she always had more than one at a time), with her and she couldn’t risk Malfoy blowing her cover, nor could she risk using magic against him.

When Bernice called Hermione’s dad to come bail her out of jail, he had already become suspicious of her. He tried to call Hermione, but her phone was off the hook, so he called Harry. He always liked Harry Potter. Harry went with Dr. Granger to bail Bernice out of jail. That was when Harry finally remembered from where he knew her. The Aurors had been searching for her for quite sometime. Harry left Dr. Granger to take Bernice home by himself, then he went to get some fellow Auror’s so they could arrest her.

When Hermione’s father and Bernice got home that night, they argued, and he told her he wanted her to leave. They argued bitterly, and Hermione’s father had a major heart attack and died. Harry and the other Auror’s arrived just a few moments later. It was too late to save Dr. Granger. It wasn’t too late to arrest Bernice.

Harry blamed himself. He shouldn’t have left him alone with her. True, she didn’t really kill him, but she might as well have.

Draco blamed himself. He should have killed the bitch that night she pinched his bum.

Of course, Hermione blamed herself. If her dad hadn’t been sad and lonely, he would never have sought out that woman’s attention. And worst of all, that woman would never have sought out Hermione’s dad if Hermione hadn’t been a witch.

Hermione came walking through her living room a short while later, and smiled a plastic smile at everyone, although her red-rimmed eyes revealed her true feelings. She knew they had good intentions, but she just wished they would all go away and leave her alone. She was fine, really. She just really hated the month of March. Good thing it would be over in four more days.

“Does anyone want something to eat?” she asked as she passed through.

“I’ll fix it!” Ginny said as she popped up from the couch. “Come help me Harry, Ron.”

That left Draco and Hermione alone in the living room. Draco could tell she wasn’t in the mood for fake proclamations. She wouldn’t want any sympathy right now. She probably just wanted everyone to leave her alone. She went to the front window and looked outside. “I can’t believe its snowing. When will spring ever be here?” she said, as if in a dream. Draco stood behind her, but didn’t touch her.

She continued, “When I was eight or nine, my father took me out in the back garden during a massive snow storm. We acted as if we were lost in the snow, and we pretended there was a big avalanche. We rolled around on the cold ground, and acted like we couldn’t find our way home, even though the warmth of our house was only a few steps away.” She was now crying without restraint. “My mum made us come in, and told my father he was stark raving mad to take a small child out in a blizzard. My mum made me get a hot bath, and go straight to bed, but my dad snuck up the stairs and gave me some hot chocolate with marshmallows.”

She put her hands up to her face and continued to weep freely. Draco remained behind her. He didn’t know what to do to ease her pain. Her other friends came into the room, and everyone stood and watched her cry. She turned to face them and wiped her eyes and said, “Is the food ready yet, Gin?”

Ginny smiled and said, “Soon.”

Ginny walked back into the kitchen, followed by Ron. Harry and Draco stayed in the living room with her. She asked, “Where are the tissues, I need to blow my nose?”

Harry went to find the tissues. Instead of waiting for Harry to come back, she reached over to Draco, grabbed his arm, and said, “Give me your sleeve.”

He laughed, and he thought ‘she’s crazy’, but he held out his shirtsleeve, and she really did wipe her nose on his sleeve. He looked at the snot on his sleeve and made a disgusted face, and she laughed for the first time in days. Harry came in with the tissues, and tried to hand them to Hermione. She pointed to Draco and said, “He needs them more than I do. He has snot on his sleeve.”

Harry frowned and threw the box to Draco. "That's disgusting, Malfoy," Harry spat.

Draco caught the box of tissues and tossed it aside. “It’s not my snot, Potter,” Draco said with arrogance. He took out his wand and cleaned his sleeve. Draco had been making a mental list of the things he did for Hermione out of love for her; since that day on the beach when she explained how a person knew they were in love. Letting a girl wipe her snotty nose on a man's sleeve was going to be placed at the top of his list.

Hermione walked into the kitchen, and grabbed a sandwich. “I’m going for a walk.” She put on her coat, and went out the front door, still holding her sandwich.

“Someone should go with her,” Ron said.

“I’ll go,” Harry suggested.

“I think Draco should,” Ginny recommended. Draco looked at the girl Weasel and nodded. He put his coat on, grabbed a sandwich for himself, and followed her out the door.

He didn’t have far to go. She was sitting on the front stoop.

He sat next to her. He bumped her shoulder with his. She didn’t look up. She said, “I want you to know that I’ll be back to work tomorrow. I know I’ve been slacking lately, but everything's coming along fine with the plans for the Spring Fling.” She took a bite of her sandwich.

“Yes, well, I've been very worried about the bloody Spring Fling, after all. It’s been consuming my every waking hour. Nothing else is going on in my life. It’s not like my girlfriend’s dad just died or anything,” he said, trying to sound dismissive, but ending up sounding almost cruel.

She dropped her face to her knees, and started to cry again. He put his arm around her. She fell into his lap. He rocked her back and forth. The snow littered their hair and coats. Finally, after a moment of silence, she sat up and looked up at him. She touched his hair and said, “Your hair is almost the same color as the snow.”

He didn't know how that was relevant, but he asked, “Do you need my sleeve again?” She laughed and shook her head no.

“I want everyone to go home, but I don't know how to tell them. Will you tell them? They're used to you being mean, so they won't think twice of it coming from you, and really, I’ll be fine. I just really want to be alone,” she pleaded.

“Does that include me?” he asked. "Do you want me to leave, too?" He wouldn’t be offended if she said it did. He just wanted to know.

“No, you can stay, if you want. I know you’ll give me my space.”

He stood up and grabbed her hand to pull her up. He embraced her and said, “You still owe me a date, don’t you?”

She looked up at him and said, “Do you know what my dad said about you?”

He didn’t know what one thing had to do with the other, but he asked, “What?”

Hermione said, “When he found that you were THE Draco Malfoy, the well known mudblood hater, pureblood extraordinaire, he said, ‘are you sure you weren’t exaggerating about him all those years pumpkin, because I find him a personable and charming young man.’ I laughed when he said that and told him that you were without a doubt the same Draco Malfoy, but that you must have had a change of heart, because he was right, you were now a personable and charming young man.”

Draco loved Hermione. She was the best thing in his life, and if he did have a change of heart, it was because she came into his life and helped him find his. Just like in that story she liked about that Wizard of Oz, and how the Tin Man found his heart, Draco Malfoy found his heart the moment he fell in love with Hermione Granger. He didn’t respond to her story about her dad, however. He merely held her tighter than ever before.

“Let’s go inside, Granger. You know I hate the cold,” he said, in mock annoyance.

They walked inside, he took both of their uneaten sandwiches, and he said, “I’ll throw these out and get rid of your fan club now, if you still want.”

She said, “You know what, let them stay. If the shoe was on the other foot, I'd want to be there for all of you.” She went to the couch and decided to lay down. She kicked off her shoes. He covered her with a throw that was over one of the chairs. He left her in the living room and went to join the others in the kitchen.

Draco told her friends, “She’ll be just fine,” and he knew she would.

She woke up much later, and the house was dark. She was disoriented. She almost felt like she was in a dream. But, all too soon, she realized everything was real. It wasn’t a dream. It was a nightmare, but not a dream. She sat up and called out, “Draco?”

In the dark, she didn’t realize he was sitting in the chair next to the couch. He must have dozed off, too. He seemed as disoriented as she was just moments before, although he came stumbling over to the couch, and cracked his shin on the coffee table, which was hidden by the darkness of the house.

“Bloody hell, damn, mother fucker!” Draco spouted, under his breath, in his pain and confusion. Hermione made no obvious attempts to hide her chuckle. Draco sat beside her on the couch, holding his shin. This would have to be added to his list.

“Quite an interesting and intellectual vocabulary you have there, Mr. Malfoy,” Hermione said, stretching her arms. “What time is it?” she asked.

“Time for all good men to go to war,” he quoted.

What? Hermione thought. Well, if he was going to spout off quotes about time, so would she, so she said, “Time and tide waits for no man; Mark Twain.”

Draco said, “Time is money; Benjamin Franklin”.

Hermione said, “Can anyone remember when the time was not hard, and money not scarce; Emerson.”

Draco said, “It takes less time to do things right, then to explain why you did them wrong; Longfellow.”

Hermione said, “Time spent laughing is time spent with the gods; Japanese Proverb.”

Draco said, “Time stays long enough for anyone who will use it; DaVinci.”

Hermione said, “Time is not a reality, but a concept; TS Eliot.”

Draco said, “I wasted time, and now time doth wasted me; Shakespeare.”

Hermione said, “Lost time is never found again; Benjamin Franklin.”

Draco said, “Do not squander time, for that is the stuff life is made of.”

Hermione said, “He who knows most, grieves for wasted time.”

Draco said, “Time waits for no man.”

Hermione said, “The times they are a changing.”

Draco said, “To see a world in a grain of sand, and a Heaven in a wild flower, Hold infinity in the palm of your hand, and eternity in a hour; William Blake.”

“That one didn’t have the word time,” Hermione complained

“It was about ‘time’, though,” Draco pointed out.

“I don’t think that counts,” Hermione said.

“I didn’t know there were rules to this little play of words,” Draco stated, “Because, if there are rules, I think the rules would say if you can’t think of another time quote, then I win.”

So, Hermione said:

“There is a time for everything under heaven.

A time to give birth and a time to die.

A time to plant, and a time to sow.

A time to kill and a time to heal.

A time to tear down and a time to build up.

A time to weep, and a time to laugh.

A time to mourn and a time to dance.

A time to throw stones and a time to gather stones together.

A time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing.

A time to search, and a time to give up what is lost.

A time to keep and a time to throw away.

A time to tear apart, and a time to sew together,

A time to be silent and a time to speak.

A time to love, and a time to hate.

A time for war, and a time for peace.

King Solomon, the Holy Bible.” Hermione finished her speech, turned to Draco, and said, “now, do you really know what time it is, or not?”

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