Chapter 10 – Animated

Hello everyone! As always, thank you all so much for the reviews. ANEwrites - you may be right. The low standard of writing's probably because of how busy life is...and to be honest, I really hate this chapter. That sounds awful, but I wrote it a while ago, so I found it hard to edit. I can promise you guys that things pick up in a few chapters, however, and the story becomes much, much better. Anyway - I don't like this one, but hopefully you will. Enjoy!

"Granger. I'm going to bed now." Draco stood up and stretched his arms out, yawning loudly.

"No! You can't go! We still haven't found out why - "

"We haven't made any progress for the past week. Nothing's happened to me – so I give up. No point in studying something if you gain nothing from it."

"That's the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard!"

He lifted an eyebrow. "Guess what?"

"What?" she knew something sarcastic was coming, but she still had to ask.

"I couldn't care less."

"God, Malfoy. You're infuriating."

"As are you."

"But you can't go to bed!"

"Why not? Want to come?" he smirked, and she whacked his arm.

"You're disgusting. I meant, it's only - " she checked her watch, "Oh. It's past midnight. Have we really been reading the same book for that long?"

He sighed. "Yes, Granger. Merlin, you really are stupid at times. "Brightest with of her age" my arse. I'm going to sleep." And he'd already left the room before she could reply, leaving her glaring after him indignantly.

"I hate you."

ooooo

She woke up the next morning with the lead weight of dread sinking in her stomach, Ron's letter clutched in her in her hand, and tear tracks dried on her face. She forced herself to wash her face and change into some decent clothes before she walked downstairs, trying to swallow down tears. At the smell of something frying, she ran to the kitchen, wondering why Draco was up so early, and couldn't help but allow a chuckle of delight when she saw who was at the counter.

"HARRY!" she shouted, running forward and throwing herself at him.

"Hi Hermione." He smiled, and gently prised her off his shoulders.

"You didn't tell me you were coming back today!" she scowled, hitting his arm.

"OUCH!"

She attempted a smirk. "You deserved that."

"I didn't tell you because I wanted it to be a surprise! But OBVIOUSLY that was the wrong thing to do." He shot a pointed look in her direction.

"Oh, be quiet. So – what's happening in the real world?"

His expression immediately became grim. "We thought we had a lead on the Zabini Movement – we were wrong, obviously. Another two muggle-borns killed. They were married."

"Oh!" she gasped.

"It's disgusting."

"He deserves to…to…God, Harry. I'm not even there, and I can't take this anymore." She felt tears filling her eyes again.

"I know."

"How does he keep escaping?!"

"We don't know." He shook his head. "And we're working on the members of V-DARK we've got at the Ministry, but they don't actually know where Rabastan and Rodolphus are, so we're at another dead end. Hermione, I'm going to be back at home more often…I'll come to visit, but they really need me at the Ministry."

She swallowed hard. "That's fine." She nodded, suddenly remembering why she'd been so upset in the first place, and burst into tears.

"Hey, Hermione. It's okay." Harry held her tightly as she sobbed into his shoulder. "I'll come as often as I can. We'll find him. I promise it'll be okay."

"It's not that." She managed to whisper, and pulled away from him. "You know what day it is today. Don't you?" she stared straight at him, her gaze unwavering. It was him who turned away, balling his fists.

"I'd hoped you wouldn't remember."

"Of course I remembered, Harry." And the tears started again.

"We all loved him. I guess it's just worse for you."

She cried harder. He had no idea.

"Hermione. Ron died two years ago. I know you loved him, but it wasn't your fault."

She dug her nails into the palm of her hand. "It was my fault." She whispered.

"No, it wasn't." Harry gathered her into his arms again. "Two years ago, on this day, he killed himself. You are NOT to blame. You loved him - "

"I still love him." Just not the way you think I do, she thought.

"But you've got to let go."

And for some strange reason, at the last moment, she decided not to tell him the truth.

He sat down, and she sat beside him.

"I miss him so much." She murmured.

"Merlin," Harry ran his fingers through his hair, "not a day goes by without me thinking of him. But he wrote letters to all of us – and he told us we should be happy."

She stared at him.

He sighed. "I know. It sounds stupid. I just don't know what to do – Ginny was a wreck yesterday, Mrs Weasley actually fainted, and George smashed an entire batch of products for the shop. I can't even imagine what it's like for him – Ron AND Fred being…gone."

She wiped tears away from her face.

"I don't even want to think about what it's like at the Burrow today."

"Harry."

He looked up. "Yeah?"

"Go to the Burrow."

"But what about - "

"They need you. I'll be fine."

"Hermione, I - "

"Just go." She smiled at him, bravely. "I promise I'll be okay."

He hesitated. "I wish I could take you with me…"

"I don't doubt it." She squeezed his shoulder.

"Oh!" Harry reached down, into his bag. "I got you something."

"Oh, Harry."

"Here." He held out a…DVD? She turned it over to look at the title.

"Wuthering Heights. 1939."

"You remember, don't you?"

"Of course I do." She smiled at him.

"The first film he ever watched."

"Can you believe he actually liked it?!" they began to laugh.

"He was transfixed."

Hermione glanced down at her watch. "You should go, Harry."

He sighed. "Yeah."

"Love you."

"Love you too."

"I miss him." She hugged him, fighting back the tears threatening to spill over again.

"We all do."

"Umm…Harry?"

"Yeah?"

"The food's burning."

ooooo

More than ten hours later, Hermione finally got out of bed. She'd gone back upstairs as soon as Harry had gone, and had spent the entire day looking through photos of Ron, and re-reading his letter – she couldn't bear to face Draco. Only at nine o'clock did she drag herself out of her room, and downstairs, to find that Draco was nowhere to be seen. There was, however, a huge plate of brownies on the table, with a note next to them.

Granger.

Out of sight, out of mind. Yeah, that's true. Holed up in your room the whole day? Didn't come up for the books because I had a feeling you'd hurt me…not that I can't defend myself.

Still. Had one of Potter's stupid urges to cook today, ended up making these things. Stupid muggle food. I'm not eating it, so you can. In my room – don't disturb me. You'll regret it.

Malfoy.

She couldn't help but let out a small chuckle at the tone in his letter. He was clearly disgusted with himself, and it really was quite amusing. Spotting the copy of the film Harry had got her where she left in on the counter, she hesitated a moment, before smiling at the memory of watching it with Ron, and grabbed the DVD and the plate of brownies, taking them into the living room before turning the lights down.

ooooo

Hermione quickly hurried out of the bathroom, hoping she hadn't missed too much of the film. She'd needed the loo after about 20 minutes of watching…and for some reason the damn remote wasn't working, so she'd left it on, hurrying upstairs to do her…business…and wash the tears away from her face – partly due to the tragic content of the film, and partly because of the memory of Ron watching it. But the sight which she encountered as she stopped in the doorway of the room quite literally made her jaw drop.

Sitting right in front of the television, with his face only inches away from the screen was Draco, literally transfixed – and if she didn't know better, she would have thought that she could see…brownie crumbs on his face. She paused, but decided to stay where she was, and stood in the doorway, watching the rest of the film leaning against the frame, as for some odd reason she couldn't bring herself to disturb him. And when the credits eventually rolled, she looked back over at him, to find him slumped on the floor with an almost dreamlike expression on his face. She quickly levitated his body onto the sofa, threw a blanket over him, and tiptoed upstairs.

And when she left, she could swear she saw his mouth tilt upwards in a smile.

So, as always, Draco's too proud to admit that he's wrong. Interesting stuff coming up...and I'd love to hear your thoughts on this one. Make my week and tell me what you thought? I'll update at...OMIGOSH, WE'RE ALMOST AT 100 REVIEWS! Can we get past it? That would be AMAZING. Thanks everyone!

Tris xx