All right. This chapter’s been a bit of a thorny one… That’s why it’s taken so long =P Hopefully it is good. I’ve made this one longer, because the past few chapters of mine have been relatively short. So enjoy!
It was 5:45 AM at Hogwarts, and the castle was still asleep. The grounds were slightly wet from the morning dew, but the sun was starting his shift early, and had already climbed up over the mountains just beyond the castle. The grounds were cast with a damp shadow that faded into a warm golden glow, and sitting just outside the shadow of the castle by the Black Lake sat Hermione Granger.
All night Hermione had been tossing and turning, and could not seem to shut her brain off long enough to let her sleep a few hours. So instead or putting herself through more suffering, Hermione had got up from bed, showered and dressed, and had made a pot of her special coffee to calm her nerves.
Last night was so strange. I never thought The Draco Malfoy could be so… normal. It’s almost too good to be true! But… That’s not always something to be happy about…I’ve got to keep my guard up. He seems fine. But, even so… Over the summer, he’s was so nice, and now he’s even nicer. And I believe he HAS changed, but can a person really change that much in such a short time? It seems weird… There must be something else going on besides Draco just wanting to make sure I’m safe… Wait no. I don’t think he’s like that anymore. He couldn’t be… Could he? Ah crap. I’m letting my mind get the better of me. I need some air… Everything will be fine… I’m sure of it! ... I think…
End Of POV.
Hermione finished up the last of her coffee, and went back up to her room to blow-dry her hair. Over the summer, she’d visited a stylist named Shauna and asked about how to get her hair to be curly instead of frizzy. Shauna had washed her hair, and taken her over to her work area and explained to Hermione what needed to be done. She’d first put a small bit or Curl Booster spray in Hermione’s hair that would help activate the curls. Then she’d smoothed a small palm-full of lightweight mouse into Mione’s hair, which was already showing potentially frizz-free curls. And then to Hermione’s amazement and surprise, Shauna had asked her to flip her head so her hair was hanging over it upside-down! She’d taken a blow dryer with a curling diffuser attached to the end of it, and used it to scrunched the curls and blow dry them so that they were curly and bouncy and smooth. After about 5-10 minutes, Shauna had told Hermione to flip her hair back over her head. She’d done so, and then when she looked into the mirror, she’d gasped.
Hermione had never seen her hair look so pretty! It was shiny and looked healthy and her curls were in natural ringlets all around her head. She stared at herself for a while longer while Shauna fussed and used a dab of hair jell here and there to put the few little fly-a-ways back in place.
Shauna didn’t charge Hermione, seeing as that salon, Luscious Lox’s policy was “The first cut is free!” but Hermione did purchase the hair products that had been used. She’d thanked her appreciatively and had left to go and show off her new look.
About 20 minutes later, Hermione came back downstairs to possibly get another cup of coffee before going outside, but to her surprise and slight alarm, Draco sat at the table where she’d been sitting before. He was sipping a mug of coffee—her special blend! —And reading a book. She tilted her head sideways to see if she could decipher the title. It looked to be a muggle book called Ink Heart by Cornelia Funke. It took Hermione a moment to realize that it was her copy. She gave him a curious smile, even though he wasn’t looking at her, and then she sat down on the other side of the table. He looked up from the book and saw Hermione’s eyes flick back and forth from his eyes, to the book in his hands. He put the book down quickly and stood up in a panic.
“Look, Hermione! I am sorry I went into your room without asking! But you were in the shower, and I know it was only 4:30, but I couldn’t sleep, and I didn’t have a book or anything and I just thought ‘Oh Hermione probably has something interesting,’ so I went in—Only for 5 minutes, I swear! —And then I went back to my room but then I heard you in your room again blow-drying your hair… Whoa… You’re hair looks really nice…Wait no, yes, uh so… so I came downstairs to get some coffee and…”
Draco gave Hermione a puzzled look as she just sat there smiling at him ramble on.
“You’re, uh… You’re not mad, are you.” Draco stated.
Hermione laughed lightly and went to get more coffee.
“Good morning to you too Drake.”
“Good morning,” He said with a big smile. “And, did you just call me Drake?” He finished, grinning.
“Sure did! You call me Mione, and so I call you Drake. Yes?”
Hermione cracked up. “What’s beautiful?” She was still facing the counter trying to understand why Draco had said that… It hardly fit into the conversation!
“You are.” Draco said with a grin as he came around to the side of Hermione, kissed her on the cheek, and started heading back up the stairs with his—Hermione’s book.
But before he got all the way up, he turned around and faced Hermione with his trademark smirk. “Great coffee by the way. See you later, girlfriend.” And with that, he turned and bounded up the stairs.
Hermione stood leaning up against the counter with her coffee in one hand, and her other arm resting behind her on the counter. She leaned her head back and it accidentally hit the cupboard behind her.
“Oww…” She winced and rubbed the now tender spot on her head.
She slowly brought her coffee to her lips –still rubbing her head—and took a sip. After a moment, she smiled.
“It is great coffee, isn’t it?” she said to nobody in particular. She finished it up and then grabbed her sweater, ready to go outside and sit in the morning sunlight for a little while. Everybody knows that the air and sunlight are the freshest and the most soothing first thing in the morning, and that’s what she needed most right about then.
-On Another Note…-
Once Draco had made it to his room, he’d put Hermione’s book down on his desk and sat down on his bed, staring out the window. To anybody who looked at him, they’d think he was just sitting there blankly, thinking about nothing. But what—or who, to be more specific—was on his mind was far more then a simple ‘nothing.’ More like a very complicated ‘everything.’
I hope I didn’t just freak her out… I mean, I had to say something. As a friend, I had to tell her she looked beautiful. And… As her new pretend boyfriend, I felt obligated to give her a little kiss, and compliment her on her blend of coffee. After all… it is great coffee! I wonder how she makes it… Whoa Drake, waaaaay off topic. I hope I can get her used to this ‘boyfriend girlfriend’ thing… I don’t want her feeling awkward about it. Especially because it is just pretend… I don’t want to screw up something that isn’t even real, that could possibly make things harder for her if a guy comes along who really cares about her… and asks her out…and she likes him back… and…
End Of POV.
Draco stopped his thinking short, trying to push images of Hermione with another guy out of his head. He shifted on the bed uncomfortably, trying to figure out what these new feelings and emotions were. He felt like the protective best guy friend that he should be… He tried to let the feelings go, as they were foreign, but he found he almost didn’t want them gone. He decided right then he’d give them a chance, hoping they wouldn’t lead to something potentially damaging to Hermione’s and his newfound friendship.
“No feelings,” Draco stated to himself, laying down the law. Friends, and that’s it. He’d make a pact with himself. He had a gut feeling that spending this much time with Hermione and pretending to be her boyfriend might stir something inside of him, that he wasn’t sure he wanted to feel anything like that right now. And besides, Hermione would never feel anything for him. Being friends with him, as much as it hurt to admit, was pushing it already. All he wanted was to have her in his life somehow. End of story.
“No feelings,” He said again, making sure it was in his head. “No feelings.”
Hermione sat on the edge of the black lake, right where the damp shadows of the castle started to fade into rich, warm sunrays. She slumped against the tree near the waters edge and then decided just to lie down. It was 5:45 AM now, and Hermione was finally getting comfortable enough to fall asleep. And the fact that she’d gotten about two hours maximum of sleep last night was just making her want to sleep even more.
Her mind only half aware of her surroundings now, Hermione let her eyelids laze over her eyes, half covering them, giving her that half-there look. The conscious part of her brain was telling her not to go to sleep, as she probably wouldn’t wake up until way later, and would miss classes—and her first official day as Draco’s pretend girlfriend. That part made her want to go to sleep, the school part made her want to stay awake.
She had to admit, though she had acted calm and cool about it last night, and this morning when Draco kissed her, again, and the fact that she was able to accept the ‘beautiful’ comment without spazzing internally, she was definitely freaking out inside.
I have so many questions and concerns and worries… What if people see through us? What if this just makes Ron and the others want to hurt me even more? What if I can’t do it? What if I am too inexperienced? What happens if we’re supposed to kiss? I’ve never been kissed… I don’t want my first kiss to be pretend! But what if we have to kiss in front of people in order to prove ourselves? Draco wont mind because he’s kissed a million… okay not a million, but many girls before… It’s nothing new to him! But to me? I can’t throw my first kiss away! I just can’t! It has to be special, and with someone I really care about! Well, okay of course I care about Drake, but not in that way! At least, I don’t think—Ah, stop right there Hermione. Okay… But, what happens if I crack under the pressure and give us away? And worst of all… What if I… What if I fall—”
End Of POV.
“STOP!” Hermione sat bolt upright, frightened by her own voice, but startled by her own thoughts.
“No… No stay back!” She spoke out loud, but was directing the words at the thoughts that threatened to invade her mind. She would not let that happen, ever.
“No feelings.” Hermione shook her head a final time and then looked at her watch. It was now 6:35, and she decided to start walking up to the common room again, half hoping she’d see Draco, and half hoping she wouldn’t. She had mixed feelings and emotions right now. She didn’t want to get tied up in a situation that could be potentially damaging to Draco’s and her newfound friendship. She would not let anything be stirred by this adventure ahead. It’s all going to be pretend, but inside the common room, everything will be normal. Just friends. Just friends.
Hermione walked into the common room, and started up the stairs to her room, when she heard something coming from Draco’s room. She tiptoed over to his door, which was open ajar, and she looked inside.
She saw Draco sitting on his bed, staring out his window with a glazed over expression. He was softly singing to himself. His voice was melodic and smooth and deep. And unexpectedly, very good. She didn’t know what song he was singing, but he suddenly lifted his eyes from the window, and closed them. All Hermione could make out before she ran away from the door with a strange overwhelming weight in her chest, was the words “ I’ll be there forever, you will see that it’s better, our hopes and our dreams will come true…I will not disappoint you, I’ll be right here for you, Till the end, the end of time, please be mine.”
Hermione ran to her door and whispered her password before entering her room and collapsing on the floor.
“No feelings,” She whispered to the floor. “No feelings.”
The main part of lunch was over, and every single soul was outside enjoying the sun. Except for one, Hermione Granger.
Hermione really hadn’t seen much of Draco all day, except passing in the hallways between classes, where Draco would lock eyes with her, but out of habit, Hermione always broke the stare, and now she felt guilty. She hoped he didn’t take it the wrong way. She had only caught a glimpse of Draco as she was heading to lunch, but he didn’t seem to notice her, and he hadn’t showed up for the meal either.
Hermione crossed her arms on the table and laid her head down on them. She was still extremely tired, and was seriously considering skipping the rest of the day just to go back to her room and rest. She was just letting her eyes close when she thought she felt the table move. She tried to ignore the strange feeling that someone was watching her, and tried to fall asleep.
“Hey beautiful. Wake up,” smirked Draco.
Hermione’s eyes shot open and she lifted her head cautiously. Her doe brown eyes met the cool blue hues of Draco, who smiled at her. She found she couldn’t get enough of his smile. It was so contagious, and she just had to smile back at him. She sat up a little more, and Draco climbed over the table and scooted in next to Hermione,
“I’ve barely seen you today…” Hermione sighed as Draco rubbed her back softly a few times before letting his hand settle on the small of her back in a comforting—friendly—way. Hermione moaned inwardly, fighting to stay awake.
“Yes, but when we did see each other on the rare occasion, you shunned me with your eyes,” Draco half teased, half accused.
Hermione groaned and started banging her head on the table, which might I add, were solid wood.
Draco’s eyes widened in horror.
“Hey! Hey, hey, stop that! You’re going to hurt yourself!” Draco caught Hermione’s head before she managed to bang it on the table again. His hand lay palm up on the table with Hermione’s forehead resting in it. She turned her head to face him and looked up at his concerned but playful expression.
“You have nice eyes…” Hermione said without thinking. “Oh, oh no… I cannot believe I just said that…” Hermione’s voice faded and she lifted up her head and turned it away from Draco.
Draco looked down at the table, a faint pink flush rising on his cheeks. He’d never felt so embarrassed by a girl complimenting him before. Little red flags started going up in Draco’s head.
Hermione hesitantly turned back to Draco only to see a small blush covering his cheeks. He seemed to sense her looking at him and his eyes flicked upward towards her. He allowed a small smile to show before sighing and turning his whole body towards Hermione. He had a crooked smile dancing on his lips before he started leaning in.
Hermione’s breath caught in her throat and she froze up. Little voices in her head were shouting from all different directions; No feelings, no feelings, no feelings.
Draco stopped and looked into her eyes. False alarm. The intensity of his stare was too much for her and she had to look away. But Draco wasn’t having it. He gently took her chin in a loose grip and directed her head back towards him.
“I need you, to tell me what is going through your mind…” He started, and leaned in farther until his lips were next to her ear. “What are you scared of?” He whispered.
The tickle of Draco’s breath on Hermione’s ear sent shivers down her spine. He leaned back a safe distance away, and looked down at the bench.
“I need to know…” He finished.
Hermione was about to tell him, when the doors to the Great Hall opened, and in walked Ginny, Harry and Ron. They were all laughing and making jokes about something, when they spotted Draco and Hermione sitting together at the Gryffindor table.
“Oh no…” Hermione cried quietly.
Draco noticed Hermione’s apprehension and came to her rescue.
“Don’t worry about them, they can’t do anything to you.”
“What’re you two doing over there?” Shouted Ron. “You’re filth and scum are polluting our air and dirtying out table.”
“Ron…” Harry warned.
“Blimly Harry, what’s your damage? You hate them too, don’t you?” Ron spoke loud enough for the five of them all to hear.
“No… I hate… him! I am just angry at Mione…” Harry replied.
“Same…” Ginny agreed.
“Pfft. Whatever.” Ronald scowled. He turned back to Hermione and Draco who were now standing just feet away. He watched as Draco protectively stood a little in front of Hermione, and how he held out his hand to her.
And she took it.
“Ah… I see how it is now. So you lied to us then, Granger. Didn’t you?” Ron yelled.
“No, actually she didn’t. She was being completely honest with the lot of you. I, on the other hand, did not promise you or tell you anything. I’m not only a good friend to Hermione, but she’s also my new girlfriend, and like it or not, I care very deeply for her,” Draco spat.
“Oh is that so? How… touching.” Ron laughed. Harry and Ginny smiled at each other in disbelief.
Hermione whimpered. She still couldn’t believe this was happening. How could the tables have turned so forcefully? Her eyes were brimming with tears that she tried to hold back but couldn’t. Draco heard her sniff, and anger welled up inside of him.
“Awe. Look, we upset the little mudblood! Oh, oh no, she’s crying!” Ron guffawed.
Harry and Ginny shot him a look for the mudblood comment, but couldn’t help laughing a little at the fact that the headstrong-Hermione was made to cry over something so minor. Ginny stopped sooner then the others, feeling a pull of guilt in her gut though, and looked up at Hermione with sad eyes.
“Well thank God you guys aren’t her friends anymore! She’s way too good for you. You have no idea in hell what you are missing!” Draco shouted, and with those angry last words, Draco pulled Hermione to him in a tight, warm embrace and tucked her head under his chin, cradling her from side to side as her body shook with silent sobs. “You guys, especially you Weasley, better keep in mind, that Hermione isn’t a lone target anymore. You mess with her? You’re messing with me, and I’m not the type of person you want to mess with. Remember that!”
Draco pulled Hermione closer, if it was even possible, and looked back at her ex-friends from the corner of his eye, as he brushed Hermione’s fringe out of the way and kissed her tenderly on the forehead, lingering there for a few moments before pulling away and leading Hermione through a gap between Ron and Harry.
Their shocked faces were an image to remember, and as they strolled out of the Great Hall, Hermione smiled to herself. Having Draco come to her rescue like that was so sweet. And he’s also a great actor! The hug and kiss felt real, not like he was acting. It actually felt like he had feelings for me… The embrace, the kiss, the power of his words echoing throughout the Great Hall! It all felt real. Hermione frowned knowing it hadn’t all been real feelings and such that possessed Draco to do those things. He was just playing his part as the protective boyfriend. She smiled again, remembering the feel of Draco’s arms around her tightly, and the soft kiss to her forehead, the spot still tingling.
Hermione decided nothing was going to ruin that moment. It was too sweet to have ruined by the truth or everything right now. She’d spoil it all later.
Before she new it, Draco had lead her to the portrait of Judas and Amelia.
“Love and Dignity.” He spoke evenly.
“Very well. Hope you are both feeling marvellous!” Judas and Amelia said in unison.
“A little less, but not far off. Good day,” Draco countered politely, trying to avoid any further conversation. He stepped through the portrait hole, dragging Hermione by the hand. When they got inside, Draco let go of Hermione’s hand and ran over to the common room table, where a flower vase stood. He picked it up and viciously threw it across the room and it slammed into the wall, spreading water, flowers and shards of glass everywhere. Draco growled in anger and frustration, before taking out his wand and cleaning everything up.
Hermione waited a few minutes for him to calm down, not wanting to put gas on the fire. Soon Draco walked over to Hermione again and hugged her—like a friend this time—before muttering ‘sorry’ to her over and over again. She pulled back from him and ran a hand through his hair. He closed his eyes and sighed lightly with a small smile playing on his lips. She laughed and leaned back into him, giving him a big bear hug.
When they separated, Draco whispered ‘sorry’ again, just to clarify, but only succeeded in confusing Hermione.
“What are you sorry for? Defending me? Making me feel special and loved back there? Showing them up for insulting and making fun of me? Letting them rip on YOU without getting mad at that, but only mad at what they said about me?” Hermione stopped to catch her breath.
“Sorry, for being an amazing friend?” Hermione chuckled quietly. “I should be the one saying sorry, for dragging you into all of this. But I am glad you were there to help.”
“Anytime, Mione. After all, you are my girlfriend!” Draco said playfully, before running away and ducking behind the couch, grabbing a pillow then chucking it at her. It missed, and when Hermione threw it back, it hit him square in the stomach.
“Ah… Fine you win again… But just this once!” Draco teased.
“Right… Just this once.” Hermione winked playfully at him and then had to ruin the moment by saying, “Class is going to start soon…”
Draco rolled his eyes and sat down on the couch.
“Not for us! I’m sick of school for today. Besides. We’re head boy and girl, and on top of that, 7th years. It’s not a huge deal.” Draco stated.
Hermione thought about it for a few moments before giving in. She went and laid down on the couch, placing her head in Drake’s lap. He started playing with her hair, and brushing his fingers through it, and before he knew it, Hermione had fallen asleep in his lap.
Draco stared down at his new best friend, thinking about how angelic she looked and wondering how someone so terrific could have ever landed in his life. She was his angel; the only person who kept him sane, the girl who showed him what real friendship was like, but at the same time, the only girl who has ever managed to scare him so much.
“You’re so amazing, Hermione… Don’t ever leave me…” Draco said in barely a whisper, before letting himself drift off to sleep.
A few minutes later, Hermione smiled to herself lazily.
------------------------- Song: Please Be Mine – Jonas Brothers.
Hey! It’s taken me one whole day of amazing dedication to this chapter in order to write it. And even though, like I said before, this chapter was thorny? It was hard to WRITE it! It was hard to get myself to sit down and start writing it. But I am glad I did this morning. I’d say I’ve been working on it for… 7 hours or so =D I hope my hard work paid off! Let me know what you think of this chapter, and the 8th one is definitely coming out shortly! Oh and also, my longest chapter until now was chapter three, which was 8.6 pages in Microsoft Word. This one is now my longest one though! It’s 10.5 pages in MW! Yay! I hope you liked it!
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