“You did what?” Hermione practically yelled, causing anyone within a ten foot radius of us to glance in our direction.
“I said I’d go on a date with him,” I replied with a shrug. It was now dinnertime, and in the two hours since I’d agreed to go out with him, I’d convinced myself it wouldn’t be too bad. One date, that was all I had to do. If it was that bad, I wouldn’t have to go through it again.
Hermione, however, wasn’t so convinced. Both she and Ron were looking at me as if I was crazy. Harry was a bit harder to read. His brow was furrowed and he was frowning slightly. The expression was hard to decipher. Concern, maybe?
“You agreed to go on a date with Malfoy,” she said slowly, as if she couldn't believe the words that were coming out of her mouth. “Are you mental?!” she said, practically yelling again.
“He’s never going to give up, Hermione,” I replied. “It’s one date, and then he’ll finally leave me alone. He promised that if I didn’t want a second date, he’d stop bothering me. Plus, it seems like he’s changed so maybe it won’t be too bad. Maybe I can ask why he changed so drastically.”
My words seemed to have little effect on Hermione. “Malfoy acting a little different doesn’t mean that he’s changed, Carrie,” she said.
“You didn’t see what happened in the courtyard,” I replied, beginning to get annoyed that Hermione wasn’t listening to me. “That kid flew across the courtyard. A jinx that strong can only come from an extremely powerful wizard or an extremely angry wizard. Clearly, Draco isn’t an extremely powerful wizard.”
Hermione and Ron shared a skeptical glance and I felt myself getting more annoyed. Why didn’t they trust my judgment? I didn’t want to get more upset, so I stood up from the table, picked up my bag, and said, “Whatever. I’m going upstairs to work on homework.” I walked quickly through the great hall and up the stairs to the Gryffindor common room.
I plopped down on the couch, yanked my homework out of my bag, and began writing so furiously that I didn’t even notice Harry had walked in and sat down beside me until he gently lifted my hand from the parchment paper. I looked up to see that he had the same expression of concern on his face.
“Are you ok?” he asked.
“I’m the last person to be defending Draco normally. But after seeing him in the courtyard, I can’t help but believe that he’s changed. He’s not that same person anymore. Can’t they just trust my judgment? It’s not like I’m suddenly infatuated with him, I just think he’s different. And they won’t believe me,” I complained.
“They didn’t see him jinx that kid. It’s hard to believe that someone is so drastically different without seeing it with your own eyes,” Harry said.
“But you believe me, and you didn’t see him jinx the kid,” I replied. “You do believe me, right?”
Harry nodded. “I believe you. But I also think that see the possibility of Draco changing as more plausible than Hermione does. I’ve seen how much of Draco’s persona was forced upon him because of Voldemort.” He shrugged. “I guess it just makes sense to me, and it doesn’t make logical sense to Hermione.”
I thought about that for a while, while noticing that Harry still hadn’t changed his facial expression. “But you still look like you’re worried,” I said.
“I just,” he paused before continuing and looked at me as if trying to figure out whether or not he should say what he was about to say, “I just think that even if he has changed, that doesn’t necessarily mean you need to give him a chance. He doesn’t deserve it.”
“It’s not like I’m actually considering anything past this one date,” I said with a laugh. “I just want him to stop bothering me." Harry gave me a little smile.
“Good. You’re way too good for him,” he chuckled. I grinned, appreciative of him for making me feel less angry.
“I knew there was some reason I keep you around,” I laughed.
“Other than because I’m your best friend?” Harry asked, an eyebrow raised.
“You’re my best friend?” I asked kiddingly. Harry rolled his eyes.
“So what are the two of you doing for your date?” Harry asked, emphasizing the word date in a way that nearly made me cringe.
“I don’t know, he never said.”
“I bet it’ll be something really extravagant. Maybe he’ll rent a dragon for the day or something,” Harry chuckled.
‘He’d pee his pants if he even saw a dragon,” I laughed. “But I’m sure it’ll be over the top and terrible. But I’m interested to see what he wants to do.”
I didn’t have to wait long before figuring out what we were going to do on our date, because Draco pulled me aside after Defense Against the Dark Arts the next day.
“Have you thought at all about what you might want to do for our date?” he asked. I was a bit surprised that he didn’t just tell me what we were doing.
“I haven’t really been able to think of anything,” I replied. In all honesty, I’d only been trying to figure out what his plans were.
“Well, I had an idea, if you’d like to hear it,” he said.
“Sure,” I replied.
“Since this Saturday is the beginning of term Hogsmeade trip, I was thinking maybe we could go get lunch at the Three Broomsticks and just… talk,” he said.
“Really?” I asked, pleasantly surprised by the simplicity of the idea.
“We don’t have to if you don’t want to,” Draco said apologetically, mistaking my surprise for a dislike of his idea. “We could figure out something else.”
“No, I really like it,” I replied with a reassuring smile. “I just expected you to want to do something extravagant.”
“You wouldn’t enjoy something extravagant,” Draco said with a shrug.
“How would you know?” I said, a bit more rudely than I meant it to come off as.
“I notice more than you think I do,” Draco replied with a smile that was almost sad, as if disappointed. “So, if you like that idea, I’ll see you Saturday.”
“Yes, definitely. See you then,” I replied. Draco smiled and turned and walked down the hall.
For years, I had thought that he saw me as merely a prize to be won, but in that moment I realized that he had legitimate feelings for me. Even when I hated him, he was paying attention to what I liked and never gave up. Suddenly, I felt the slightest bit anxious for Saturday.
The next few days were spent fluctuating between anxious excitement and anxious dread, but eventually Saturday came. It was a bit odd to be going to Hogsmeade without Harry, Hermione, and Ron. The four of us walked down to the entrance hall together, where I met Draco. We separated from the other three and made our way down and to the Three Broomsticks. We found an empty booth in the back and slid into it.
“So…” Draco started, clearly feeling awkward. “Why do I get the feeling this is going to be a really heavy conversation?”
“Let’s start it out light. I feel like we don’t actually know each other very well,” I said, trying to get rid of the awkward tension.
“Maybe you don’t really know me very well, but I definitely know you well,” Draco replied with a smirk.
“Oh yeah? Prove it,” I replied.
“For starters, you’re gorgeous,” Draco said. I rolled my eyes almost on impulse, but he continued on. “And I also knew you would roll your eyes at that, because you don’t think you’re pretty and because you think I’m a shallow git who doesn’t care about you. And you’re wrong about all of those things. Except me being a git. But that’s a different matter completely.”
I laughed. Surprisingly, he was completely right so far. “OK, I’m listening. What else do you know about me?” I asked.
“A lot of things. Ask me a question,’ he challenged.
“My best school subject,” I replied. It was his turn to roll his eyes.
“At least give me something challenging. Potions. You’re brilliant at potions. Better than anyone. You don’t know how many times I wanted to ask you to tutor me in potions,” Draco replied.
“I think you did ask me once. I probably said no,” I replied.
“What a surprise,” Draco said, sounding almost defeated.
“Well, we’re here now, aren’t we?” I replied. “I said yes this time.”
Draco smiled. “Yes, you did. But why did you? Because you knew I’d just keep asking? Or because of what you saw in the courtyard?”
“A combination,” I replied. He nodded in understanding, and I could tell he knew we were heading toward the heavy conversation. “I could tell you had changed. You’re a different person now than you had been all throughout school. What happened in the courtyard proved it. But I just… I want to know why.”
Draco thought for a second before replying. "I never wanted to be a Death Eater,” he began. “I became one out of fear. And from necessity. When my father was sent to Azkaban, Voldemort wanted to punish him, so he decided to task me with the job of killing Dumbledore. If I hadn’t become a Death Eater and tried to follow Voldemort’s orders, my family would have been killed. But that’s not an excuse. I could have done something to try to save my family. But I took the coward’s way. When Voldemort died, it gave me a new chance. I didn’t like the person I was forced to be, and I needed to change. And I’m working on that. I don’t want to be that guy again. He was a complete git.”
By the time he finished his soliloquy, I found myself smiling. “What?” he asked.
“You really are different. Completely different,” I replied. He smiled, and I once again realized how much I enjoyed his real smiles..
“I’m trying,” he said. “OK, my turn to ask you a question. And I want your complete honesty. You have feelings for Harry, don’t you?”
I felt my face instinctively contort into a confused expression. “No, of course not,” I replied. “Why would you think that?”
“The way you two act around each other. For the longest time, I was trying to figure out if you two were together, and if that was why you rejected me so much. But I’ve solved that mystery.”
“Well, if we’re taking turns asking questions, it’s my turn,” I said. “I just want to know, why me?”
“As in why have I been asking you out for all these years?” he asked. I nodded. “You’ve got to be kidding,” he said.
“I’m not. Why would I be kidding?” I replied.
Draco rolled his eyes and shook his head, dismissing my question. “Do you remember the day we met?” he asked.
I nodded. “Crystal clear.”
“That day, when I first met you, it was completely shallow. I’d never been talked to like you did and you were a challenge. In my arrogant little mind, you were this prize I could win easily. And then when I tried to, I realized there was so much to you. You’re more special than you realize, Carrie. You’re incredibly intelligent and independent. You think differently from other people. You’re your own person. You don’t realize how attractive that is.”
For what seemed like forever, I didn’t know what to say and just kind of stared at him. Finally, I was able to formulate my words. “A week ago, I hated you, and now I feel like I could snog you right now.”
“Really?” Draco replied, his eyes lighting up. I rolled my eyes. “Oh,” he realized. “You were kidding.”
“Yes, but that was one of the nicest things anyone’s ever said to me. Up until a few days ago, I was convinced you just wanted to win me or something,” I said.
“No, absolutely not,” Draco said. “I care about you. A lot. And I know you don’t feel the same way about me, but I just hope that I can convince you that I’m worth a chance. I probably don’t deserve one after being such a git for all these years, but I hope I’ve changed enough for you to give me a real chance.”
“You’re not just changing because you want to be with me, right?” I replied. “Because that would be stupid.” Draco laughed.
“Of course not,” he replied. “Like I said, I hate who I used to be. But if I was able to be with you, that would be even better.”
“We’ll see,” I smiled.
“So does that mean I still have a chance?” he asked.
“We’ll see,” I repeated.
“Let’s get on a lighter topic. We’ve been on the heavy things for too long,” Draco said.
“Agreed. And when do we get to order? I’m starving.”
As the date went along, we began to get more and more comfortable around each other. We began laughing and joking, and overall just having a good time. I was surprised at how much I was enjoying myself. Time seemed to fly, and before I knew it, we had finished lunch and were walking back toward the castle. When we reached the entrance courtyard, we stopped, both knowing without talking that this was really the deciding moment of the date. We stood and chatted for a while, both avoiding the topic.
Finally, we reached a lull in the conversation where neither of us really knew what to say. Draco was the first to take advantage of this lull. He took my hands in his and looked straight into my eyes.
“OK, Carrie. I’ve really enjoyed myself, and I’m hoping you did too, So… what’s the decision?” He looked at me eagerly, wanting to know the decision one way or the other.
I’d been thinking about it all throughout the date, going back and forth with what to do, and I hadn’t made up my mind. Finally, I just decided to go with my gut- the first decision that came to my mind.
I hope y'all enjoyed chapter 5 of The Secret Lightning Scar! Chapter 6 is coming on Saturday, April 19th! I hope this one makes up for the last one being pretty short!
Hope y'all are excited for the next section, because I'm excited for y'all to read it! See you back here soon!
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