The knowledge that he wasn’t completely hated brought a tiny notch of happiness back into Draco’s life. Matt still trusted him, still wanted to be friends with him. He should have known that. Matt had always been loyal.
Draco sat alone in his room that night, struggling to finish his potions essay. His attention wavered, however, between the work he so desperately needed to finish, and the guitar in the corner. Since he’d quit the band, Draco hadn’t played it once. It simply sat in the corner on its stand, collecting dust.
Giving up on his homework, he pushed his books aside and instead picked up his guitar. The wood felt good against his hands, and he couldn’t resist the urge—it felt too right…and he started to play…
Down stairs in the common room, Hermione Granger was having no trouble concentrating on her studies…until she heard music drifting down the stairs that led to Draco’s room. She shook her head at his procrastination, and went back to her work, only to be distracted again when a voice joined the music.
From the distance she was at, she could only hear fragments of the words.
“—so many things…..didn’t do—”
Unable to concentrate, and unable to resist the insistent call of her curiosity, she ascended the stairs as quietly as she could, leaving her work behind. The door was open just a few inches, allowing a sliver of light to poor into the hall. She couldn’t see Draco, but she could hear him—and the closer she got, the clearer the song became.
“And so I have to say before I go that I just want you to know. I’ve found a reason for me to change who I used to be…” His voice rang in her ears, bringing back memories of the times he had sang to her in the common room, just the two of them. “A reason to start over new; and the reason is you…
“I’m sorry that I hurt you. It’s something I must live with every day. All the pain I put you through: I wish I could take it all away.” He was singing about her, there was no doubt in her heart. Her eyes filled with tears, despite her greatest efforts to hold them back. “….and be the one who catches all your tears. That’s why I need you to hear. I’ve found a reason for me to change who I used to be. A reason to start over new….” Hermione slumped back against the wall, tears rolling down her cheeks. “And the reason is—” She sobbed, and the music stopped. She heard footsteps, and then the door opened completely.
“Hermione?” She looked up into a familiar pair of silver eyes. He looked so concerned, so sincere, so—dare she say—perfect… “Hermione, what’s wrong?” He reached up, wiping a tear from her face. His hand was warm, his skin smooth. She realized then how much she missed his touch. Another sob escaped, and she let herself be pulled into his arms. “Shhh,” he whispered, kissing the top of her head. “Shhh…”
“I love you….” she whispered.
“No.” She pulled away, realizing what she had just said. “No, I hate you.”
“So…why do I love you?”
“Hermione, what are you talking about?” He looked at her, confusion in his eyes, but a light of humor somewhere in the distance.
“This is too confusing.” She turned away, heading back down the stairs. He followed.
“Hermione, wait.” Draco latched onto her arm, pulling her back towards him.
“Let go of me,” she said, attempting to pull her arm away.
“I just want to know exactly where we stand.”
“I hate you, don’t you get it? You hate me. That’s the way it’s always been, the way it always will be.”
“But I don’t hate you.”
“You do, you know you do. You just fail to see it.”
“Hermione!” She pulled her arm away, hurrying down the stairs to gather her books before disappearing into her own dorm. She left a stunned and hurt Draco alone in the common room. What had just happened?
* * *
Draco was stunned when Matt sat next to him in Defense Against the Dark Arts the next morning. Across the room, Blaise and Jonas were sitting together, both casting glares their way.
“Morning, mate,” Matt said, pulling his copy of Advanced Defensive Magic
from his bag.
“Um, is there something that I’ve missed?” Draco asked, hearing whispers echoing around them as the Slytherins conversed.
“Not much. I’ve just told Blaise I’m out.”
“Wait, out of what exactly?”
quit the band? You, Matt Crowder, actually quit
the band?” He was astonished. For as long as he’d known him, music had been Matt’s life. The thought of him not playing was incomprehensible.
“Yeah, told him just this morning. Didn’t take it too well, though.”
“What’d he say?”
“Mostly a trail of obscenities, you know how he is. Did the same thing after you left.”
“I was tired of pretending. He was gonna kick me out anyway, after he’d heard what I did yesterday. Thought I might as well beat him to it. That band was a dead end, anyway.”
Draco was silent, still trying to process the information he’d just received. He glanced at Blaise. The boy was glaring at him, shooting daggers with his eyes. Draco was amazed at himself for not dropping dead.
“Besides, I thought I’d join up with you.”
“Yeah, I thought we’d start something of our own, you know.”
“No. I’m not starting another band, Matt.”
“I just….I’ve moved on. It doesn’t interest me anymore.”
“How could you just give up on it like that? Music used to be everything to you.”
grown up, Matt!”
Matt was silent instantly, staring down at the wood of the desk. Draco sighed and mentally kicked himself. He was always getting himself into trouble when he spoke. He’d have to watch his tongue from now on.
“I’m sorry, mate,” he said. “I just…I don’t think I could do it again, after what happened.”
“Of course you can,” Matt coaxed. “You’re brilliant, Draco. I’ve never heard songs like yours. They’ve got something, a certain spark that I’ve never seen anywhere else.” Draco looked up at him, taking in the excited expression on his face. “You can’t
give up, Draco, you can’t
“Alright, alright. Calm down. God, you’d think I’d just told you music was wiped off the planet.” They grinned. “Come up to the dorm tonight; bring your set, and those lyrics you wrote. I’ve got an idea.”
Hermione was quiet throughout breakfast, but Harry was the only one who seemed to notice the far away look in her eyes. He walked with her up to transfiguration, waiting for Ron to go off with Seamus and Dean before beginning the interrogation.
“Is something wrong, Hermione?” he asked. “You seem a little distracted this morning.”
“I’m fine,” she replied, not looking up at him. “Just a little tired, I guess.”
“Did something happen with Malfoy?” The question hung heavy in the air. Hermione was afraid he’d ask this; the one question she didn’t know how to answer. She knew what Ron had done to day before; the story of his encounter with Draco echoed relentlessly throughout the school. It was because of this that she feared to tell Harry what had happened in the dorms that night. Granted, Harry was a bit more level-headed that Ron, the boy-who-lived still had a short temper, especially when it came to matters involving Draco Malfoy.
However, she knew she couldn’t avoid his question forever; so, putting on her most head-girlish expression, she answered him. “Nothing worse than usual. He’s still the same prick he’ll always be.” Then, deciding to change the subject before the conversation led to revealing what had really
happened, she asked, “Did you finish that essay for Snape last night, or are you planning on spending Saturday cleaning cauldrons for him?” She smiled to show she was teasing, and then silently congratulating herself when Harry started in on how ridiculous the assignment had been.
* * *
Seven-thirty brought a knock on Draco’s door. Matt entered, looking extremely excited and already pulling his wand and a tiny drum set from his pocket. Setting it in an empty corner of the room, he waved his wand over it, restoring it to full size.
“Did you bring the lyrics?” Draco asked, pulling his guitar from the stand and checking to be sure it was in tune.
“Yeah,” Matt said, pulling the papers from his bag and handing them to him. “What’ve you got planned?”
“Not much, just maybe running through a few old songs,” he replied, setting the papers down on his desk. “If we’re seriously going to do this, we’ll both have to realize it’ll be hard. There’s only two of us; it’s gonna be difficult to play most songs.”
“Yeah, but your pure brilliance at writing will make them work.” Matt winked at him. They played through a few songs, making a point to avoid anything that brought back vivid memories of Blaise, which meant it was mostly songs from when Draco had been lead. “Can we play animals?” Matt asked.
“Do you want to? That was sort of yours and Zabini’s thing…,” Draco replied.
“Yeah, I think you could do a better job. After all, it was mostly my song.”
Draco spent that Saturday afternoon working on music to go with Matt’s lyrics. He’d tried guitar, both acoustic and electric. Neither sounded right. He sat staring at the lyrics, and suddenly it hit him. He went to his trunk, digging at the bottom for the small box in the corner. He was glad he had though to bring it with him. He opened it, pulling out a tiny piano, barely the size of his palm. Setting it on the floor, he waved his wand over it, restoring it to its natural size. Sitting down on the bench, he started to play.
When Matt arrived that evening, he was amazed to see a piano taking up a decent part of the room.
“What the…?” he began, motion towards the instrument. Draco grinned at him.
“Just get your set up.” The blonde gave no further explanation, simply moving over to pull a stack of papers out of the drawer of his desk as Matt waved his wand over his drum set. “I’ve been working on your song.”
“You have?” Matt was suddenly excited. Draco set the papers down on the piano, and pulled up the bench. “Ah, so that’s what this is for, then?”
“Yes. I tried guitar, but nothing sounded right. Then I remembered I had this baby stored at the bottom of my trunk.”
“I have to ask—is there anything you can’t
“Yes, the flute.” Matt laughed, but the laughter stopped abruptly when Draco started to play. The music was slow, sad, stirring. And then Draco started to sing. “I’m holding on your rope, got me ten feet off the ground. And I’m hearing what you say but I just can’t make a sound.” He turned the page. “You tell me that you need me, then you go and cut me down, but wait—you tell me that you’re sorry, didn’t think I’d turn around and say that it’s too late to apologize. It’s too late.
“I said it’s too late to apologize, it’s too late.” It was perfect. Matt sat down at the set, joining with a slow beat of his own. Draco grinned and continued on. “I take another chance, take a fall, take a shot for you. I need you like a heart needs a beat, but it’s nothing new. I loved you with a fire red, now it’s turning blue, and you say…I’m sorry like an angel heaven let me think was you. But I’m afraid it’s too late to apologize, it’s too late. I said it’s too late to apologize, it’s too late.”
Matt echoed him in the chorus, and then they sang it together again. “It’s too late to apologize, it’s too late. I said it’s too late to apologize, it’s too late. I said it’s too late to apologize, yeah. I said it’s too late to apologize, yeah.”
“I’m holding on your rope, got me ten feet off the ground.”
Matt set his sticks down on top of the snare and moved over to hug his friend. “Perfect, mate. I knew you’d be able to make it good.” He smiled, and Draco returned the gesture.
“I’m glad you like it,” he replied.
Author Note: Chapter title credit to the ever wonderful Three Days Grace for their song "I Hate Everything About You". Song credit to the brilliant men of One Republic for their song "Apologize". Please, send along suggestions for further chaps in your reviews!!!! This is your chance to tell me what you want to see!!!!