“So that’s it, is it?” Draco asked, staring into Hermione’s misty eyes.
“That’s it,” she replied in a small voice.
“So…your husband is accusing you of a murder that happened five years ago, the entire ministry is looking for you, all of the muggle police are looking for you, no one trusts you, you have no where to sleep, no food to eat, you’re pregnant, and you came to me. Did I touch all the bases?” Hermione nodded, taking a sip of her lukewarm tea.
“Quite honestly, Granger, I have no idea what to say- and that’s saying something.” He laughed to himself. “Look, I don’t know what to do. I’m about as good in the wizarding world as you are. No one will let me alone anymore. I can’t move about feely, and as you’ve just alerted me, the ministry is keeping tabs on me. What is it you expect me to do? Whip out my wand and curse your foes into oblivion?” Draco asked, exasperation inching into his voice. Hermione stared at the table.
“We make quite a pair, don’t we?” she asked quietly.
“That we do. Hermione, I just don’t know what to do. Quite honestly, two hours ago I still considered you a sworn enemy. And here we are, sitting at my kitchen table, chatting like two school girls. I mean- what the hell do you want?”
“I don’t think you understand, there isn’t anything I can do! No one will listen to me! I could get Percy Weasley himself to vouch for you, but then the aurors will assume I’ve used imperius and they’ll throw me in Azkaban forever! Even with no proof! Don’t you see? I’m bad news, Granger.”
“You know, for not knowing what to say, you sure do say a lot.” She smiled a genuine smile, and Draco stopped talking. “Look, I don’t want anything from you. You heard the story. I needed a place to hide, and you provided that for me. I don’t need anything. But thank you for your kindness. For that, I will never be able to repay you.” She stood to leave.
“You’re leaving?” Draco asked, rising from the table.
“Like you said, there is nothing you can do. I need to plan my next move. I won’t bother you anymore.”
“Well…you’re not exactly bothering me….”
“Draco Malfoy, why would a mudblood hater like you want to keep me around?” Hermione raised an eyebrow, thoroughly confused. The last time the two had met, the last words he’d said to her were, “Thanks for all the help, mudblood.” He’d smirked at her like he’d always done, and that was the end.
“I’m not saying I like you, Granger,” he said, the familiar sneer returning, “I’m just suggesting you stay here and plan, that’s all.” Hermione smiled again.
“Alright, then.” She sat back down. Hermione had a feeling that perhaps Draco would become cool and distant.
“Well, I’m off to take a shower…..I’ll leave you alone with your thoughts.” Hermione nodded, holding Draco’s gaze before he broke it. His eyes were piercingly gray, not too blue or brown or even green. Many people might think gray eyes to be cold, and Draco’s eyes were no exception. However, when Hermione got to a particularly sticky detail of her story, those eyes would warm up with concern. This was definitely not the Draco Malfoy that had paraded around the halls of Hogwarts. He was dressed in rags, and the deep lines on his face showed much more hurt and suffering than a twenty-three year old’s face should ever show. Still, he was a handsome man, and while Hermione was recounting her story, she couldn’t help yearn for a man to wrap his strong arms around her and protect her.. But no…not Draco’s arms….no, she wanted Ron. But something had gone very wrong in Ron’s mind. What was it?
Perhaps the missing link was the imperius curse, although, like Hermione had previously thought, it was much to difficult to try and control the entire lot of them with the imperius curse. Polyjuice potion maybe? But even then, that didn’t explain Ron’s family, or how Ron knew where their honeymoon hotel was. And Hermione had no idea how to even go about explaining how Harry’s dead body was on Ron’s bed. Something was definitely missing. Hermione guess that some kind of memory charm was performed to make everyone think that she’d killed Harry. She was fairly sure that some kind of potion was being used to confuse everyone into thinking that she was bad and should be killed. That would make sense. But why! That was the only piece of the puzzle that was missing. She knew Ron was behind it all, but who charmed Ron into this sick way of thinking, and why was this happening to her? After all, the whole day this happened, Hermione had been in Diagon Alley. Something just wasn’t clicking.
And what about Draco? She had just recounted her whole harrowing tale to him, and he seemed genuinely shocked by it all, but was it all an act? It was foolish to trust him, yet it was so easy. She needed a friend and a confidant ever so badly, and he seemed to be the only person left who believed she wasn’t a murderer. Just as she began to contemplate whether or not to leave the house immediately, Draco came out of the bathroom wearing only a towel. Hermione looked over to him, and frowned deeply. She quickly averted her eyes, annoyed that he had chosen this particular time to strut about in naught but a towel.
“Sorry about this, I was in the middle of laundry when you came. I’ve got to get to it to get my pajamas for the night.” He showed no hint of embarrassment.
“Right.” He walked over to collect his laundry, disappeared for a few seconds, and came back out wearing a shirt and some ratty old pajama pants.
“So did you think up a plan?” He asked, sitting down.
“No, not yet. I was thinking about the possible causes for the madness. I’m thinking it’s a combination of potions and memory charms, although I can’t specifically name any of them.”
“Novo Animus,” Draco said quietly, staring at his hands. Hermione hit her forehead with the palm of her hand.
“Oh, I’m so stupid! Of course! The novo animus charm would be all the person would need to change someone’s behavior! But, that spell is monitored by the ministry. It’s darn near an unforgivable. So who ever is doing this to me…has a death wish.”
“Here’s what I think you should do. You have Harry’s death certificate. Perhaps we should visit his grave? Take photographs even. I mean, it’s worth a try, isn’t it?” Draco asked, looking into Hermione’s chocolate eyes.
“Yes..I-I haven’t been there in so long. It’ll be hard.”
“Well you know, on the way we can stop at the Malfoy mansion…I’ve been meaning to go for sometime, but I didn’t want to go alone. After all, I haven’t been inside since…well, since, you know…my mother died.” Draco sighed heavily. His mother had always been kind to him, even when he did stupid things like join league with the Dark Lord.
“Of course I’ll go with you,” said Hermione, smiling supportively. Draco didn’t know what to think. He was bonding with this girl, this woman, who he had spent his entire life vowing to hate forever. They were connecting in a most primal way- fear of the unknown. Hermione reached over and grabbed Draco’s hand, trying to support him. This, however, was going too far.
“Look, Granger, I’ve got to go to sleep. I don’t want you to think I’ve gone all soft or something. I’m still as much as an ass hole as I used to be. So don’t make any noise tonight, mudblood. I’m a very light sleeper.” Hermione nodded, not believing a word he had just said. And if she knew any better, she would guess that he wanted more than anything to have her in his bed tonight. So, as he got up, she followed suit. He glared at her, trying to be intimidating, trying to find that Slytherin spirit deep inside him, but it was too no avail. Those big, innocent eyes staring at him began to take a toll on his manhood. It had been so long since he’d been with a woman- but Hermione was born of muggles, she had been a Gryffindor, and she was married. To a psycho, yes, but married all the same.
Draco hated himself for these conflicting thoughts. What he didn’t know was that Hermione was having them too, longing for someone to hold her, to tell her everything was going to be okay. They stared, paralyzed, looking into each other’s eyes. Oh, to feel the warmth of her body, to remember what it was like to taste someone.
“Well, uhh, goodnight,” Draco stumbled. But before he could turn, Hermione walked up to him and planted a kiss on his cheek. It was a tender kiss, but not romantic.
“Thank you for everything you’ve done for me. I will never forget it, even if you do hate me from now until forever.” Draco merely nodded, took her small hand, and led her to his room. She made no protests, eager to feel him. Together they laid on his small bed, wrapped up in each other’s arms. They said no words. The only thing that they shared was the moment and the warmth. Draco’s touch was therapeutic to Hermione, as was the gradual rise and fall of his chest as he drifted to sleep. She soon followed suit, wrapped in his arms, consumed by the darkness, happy for company, alone in her thoughts.
They would never speak of it again, of course. It had been their small moment of clarity, and the next morning, Draco’s biting wit and sarcasm returned as they readied themselves for the day’s journey. Hermione took a shower, desperate to wash off the horrible day before. After she was finished, the unlikely pair made their way to Malfoy Manor. They decided that apparating together would be alright, and so they did. They apparated a few yards from the front door. The house was a shambles. The trees and shrubs were overgrown. Draco was hit with pangs of sorrow as he remembered how his mother had loved her garden.
One of the large white columns was knocked from its place and rested down in the front lawn. The paint was peeling from the sides of the house, and most of the windows were broken. Draco took in a sharp breath and stepped inside the house where he grew up. Inside, the furniture was over turned. There were black scorch marks on the wall where the fight had taken place that had resulted in his parent’s deaths. Draco had been away at school when it had happened. His father had just been released from Azkaban prison, and Voldemort was very angry. Draco didn’t know all the details of the resulting battle, only what the aurors had told him. And all they told him was, “your parents are dead.” Draco had to guess the rest.
Hermione watched as Draco relived the horrible tragedy of his parent’s deaths. It was almost as though she could hear their screams. She had no sympathy for his father however. From what she knew of him, he was a bastard who cared about no one but himself. However, being his child, it must have been absolutely awful. Hermione couldn’t imagine her life without her parents. They were vital to her success in life, and she loved them dearly.
“Well,” Draco choked, “This is it. This is where I grew up.” He proceeded to walk through the kitchen, which was also in a shambles. There was a door in the corner, and he went down stairs, through the cellar, and into another small room, which held a combination lock. Hermione watched as Draco put the combination in, and pulled open a door to a hidden safe. Inside was stacks and stacks of gold and silver- a small portion of the Malfoy fortune.
“I never wanted this after they died. I can’t really use it anymore anyway. I don’t even know where the rest of it is, but this is all mine that they saved for me. Not my inheritance, but some. I thought you might be able to use it more than I could.” Hermione smiled weakly at Draco.
“I’m not taking your parent’s money. I’m not going to be able to use it either.” Draco nodded but took several handfuls anyway.
“Alright,” he said, his voice channeling the Malfoy confidence, “Let’s get to Potter’s grave and get more proof that you are innocent.”
A/N: For all of you who are going to write to me and tell me that Draco is OOC, I would like to remind you of all the things that he has been through. His parents, who I am going to assume he loved, are both dead, his money is gone, his dignity is gone, he is working as a telemarketer for goodness sakes! He barely has anything left to live for, I'm sure that would do something to a person's core and perhaps change them, even if it is Malfoy. So if it is OOC and it bothers you, sorry!!
If you're looking for an AWESOME Draco/Hermione fic, or even an awesome action/adventure fic, check out No Longer Helpless by DB2020