A/N: I would really like reviews because I know this is more than a little confusing. Please let me know if this chapter or story plot is unsatisfactory, because I've been exceedingly frustrated with my writing capabilities lately =(
“If this is going to work, Malfoy, you’re going to have to walk a little faster than that!” Hermione called behind her, amused at the sight of the struggling blond boy. “I know you’re hungry, but I’m not going to carry you!”
“Ha, ha, very funny,” Draco spat, running to catch up from about fifteen yards away.
No clever comeback or insult? Hermione was surprised. Maybe he was just too tired…or hungry, and I’m the only one who knows where food is, she thought. In any case, I like this change in disposition.
She turned back to check on his progress. “We’re almost there,” she said encouragingly, this time with less of a vindictive tone. From the look on Draco’s face, he was just as surprised as she that they were getting along adequately well. If this kept up, soon they might even be able to work together without wanting to claw each other’s eyes out.
Behind her, Draco walked a little faster to catch up with her. They trudged along in companionable silence for a little farther before Draco stopped.
“I need to roll up my pants before they get any more sand in them,” he explained.
As he sat down in the sand, Hermione saw that at second glance, he looked more than a little travel-worn. He seemed to have fallen asleep with half of his school uniform on the previous night: he was void of tie, sweater, and robes, but still wore the crisp white shirt and heavy grey pants that was standard Hogwarts boys clothing. His usually immaculately combed hair was ruffled with wind and neglect; his clothes were wrinkled and had lost all neat creases; his face looked paler than usual, and drawn with worry. The heat had made him roll up his sleeves and unbutton his shirt. Only the decorum of being in the presence of a lady kept him from taking it off altogether in favor of his thin white undershirt, which was undoubtedly much cooler.
“Is it always so hot here?” Draco asked wearily as he got back to his feet and they began walking again.
Hermione chuckled. “It was definitely worse when the sun was up,” she remarked. “Don’t you think so?”
“I didn’t notice. I was already half-delirious,” Draco admitted, remembering vaguely that he had crushed a significant amount of vegetation in anger earlier.
“Well, we don’t have much longer before dawn,” Hermione said, gesturing to the horizon, which was slightly lit with the earliest of false dawns. She didn’t know if that was necessarily true, since in this climate it could very well still be winter.
“In any case, maybe it’s better if we sleep during the peak of day and wake up in late afternoon,” she reasoned. “That way we won’t get as dehydrated.”
Draco ran a hand through his hair in despair. “You talk like your planning on staying here,” he observed softly.
“Do you have any ideas on how to leave?”
“So, isn’t it smarter to figure out how to survive first?”
“…yeah. You’re right.”
Hermione paused and stared at him like he had sprouted another head. “Did I hear correctly? Did you just agree with me, Malfoy?”
Chuckling, Draco shrugged. “I guess…Hermione.”
Hermione raised an eyebrow. “Are we on first name terms now? Or just forced to be by our dire plight?” Draco laughed outright, and strangely, it made Hermione smile. It was nice to have someone who was quick enough to keep up with her. Harry and Ron were nice, but not quick, precisely. Besides, Harry was always preoccupied with something or another.
She bit her lip. “Do you prefer I call you Draco?” she asked politely.
“No,” Draco said. To her questioning look, he explained, “Draco is such a pansy name.” Hermione burst out laughing. “I’m serious. At least Malfoy sounds important…if you don’t say it as spitefully as you did before.”
“Oh, like the way you said ‘Granger’ before wasn’t both spiteful and degrading,” Hermione said disbelievingly.
“Yeah…well, that was before we got stuck on this damn island.”
In the distance, Hermione could hear the stream running. She thought she could smell ripe bananas as well, but then again, the scent could very well just be ingrained in her nose.
“Does this mean we’re agreeing to get along?” she asked him as they entered the clearing, careful not to slip on wet rocks in the semi-darkness.
Draco reached up and picked some fruit off of the trees. “Uh huh,” he mumbled through a mouthful. Hermione smiled to herself and shook her head as she went to get a drink. Boys always would be boys, she thought to herself, whether they were Gryffindor or Slytherin; Weasley or Malfoy.
Soon after Draco was done eating, they walked back out to the beach. Hermione had informed him that sleeping on rock resulted in severe discomfort and stiffness, and Draco had suggested that they try sleeping on the sand. Getting sand all over was a small price to pay for a soft place to sleep.
Before they settled down under a large tree, Draco shrugged out of his shirt and offered it to Hermione for a pillow.
The tree’s leaves kept them shaded after the sun rose and throughout the day, so they slept comfortably until Hermione, who had slept more the previous day, awoke. Judging by the position of the sun, it was about mid-afternoon.
She was hungry, so she returned to the clearing and ate, then cleaned up by using water from the spring, careful not to get sand into their only source of clean water.
The sun had dried her and her clothes completely by the time Draco joined her in the clearing.
He shook sand out of his hair and rubbed his eyes tiredly. “Why don’t I feel like I’ve slept at all?” he asked, squinting up at the sky. “It’s nearly been half a day, hasn’t it?”
Hermione shrugged. “I don’t feel that great either, but what do you expect?” She paused, and remembered his shirt, which she had shook out, washed, and laid in the sun to dry. She ran over to retrieve it, smoothing the wrinkles, and handed it back to Draco shyly.
Draco muttered his thanks, then turned to head toward the rocks to wash up, before halting mid-step and turning back around to face Hermione. She felt her cheeks flush pink as she realized his problem.
“You get clean,” she said hurriedly. “I’ll—I’ll be by the water when you’re done.”
Cursing her suddenly inept conversational skills—usually she talked way too much—and fighting her way back through the underbrush, Hermione was soon gone from Draco’s sight. In relief, he began to wash away the sand that now made his scalp and skin itch. It was a while before he was able to get acceptably clean and head out in search of Hermione.
Strangely, the beach where they had slept before was now empty. She had said she would be near the water, after all, and Draco assumed that this is where she had meant.
She couldn’t have gone far. Walking to the very edge of the water and peering up and down the beach both ways for a girl, Draco saw nothing. How strange.
He was suddenly beginning to feel quite faint and incredibly sleepy. His head bobbed on his neck, twice as heavy as normal. His last thought was that perhaps Hermione had just been a heat-induced figment of his imagination, before he sighed and crumpled to the ground.
After they had sent a bewildered and disheveled Hermione down to the Great Hall to eat supper, McGonagall and Snape stood by her bed awkwardly for a moment before Snape asked, “So why were you in such a hurry to see Albus earlier? Other troubles?”
“No,” McGonagall said. She hesitated before continuing, “I thought Miss Granger was missing. She hadn’t been to classes in almost two days, you see, and—”
“You were getting worried because Granger never misses a class,” Snape finished dryly.
“I never thought to look in her dormitory,” McGonagall confessed.
Instead of laughing at her as McGonagall expected him to do, Snape looked decidedly surprised. He had just remembered that he had a missing student of his own.
“You say she had been gone for more than a day? And she was just sleeping, right?” he asked urgently. When McGonagall nodded, regarding him oddly, Snape turned away. “Perhaps…” he mused, heading toward the door.
“Perhaps what?” McGonagall asked sharply.
It was Snape’s turn to feel uncomfortable. “I…went to see Albus about a missing student today as well,” he admitted. “Whoever did that to Granger could have done that to Draco as well.”
“Mister Malfoy?” McGonagall raised her eyebrows. “They’re hardly in the same friendship clique, Severus.”
Snape frowned. “It’s worth a try, Minnie,” he replied before turning on his heel and heading down the stairs, presumably back through the portrait door and across the castle to the dungeons where the Slytherin dormitories were located.
“A prank, indeed,” McGonagall muttered. “It doesn’t have the touch of a student.”
Hermione had been extremely confused about where she had been when she first woke up. She had seemed not to accept, even, that she was lying in her own bed. When Hermione had finally agreed to go downstairs for supper, McGonagall thought she’d heard her murmur, “Perhaps it was all a dream,” as she walked past her. It would’ve taken an exceptionally strong Confunding spell to produce such bewilderment in a mind like Hermione’s.
McGonagall forced herself to push the strangeness of it all out of her head. She didn’t have time to mull over such foolishness. She had found her missing student unharmed, and it was a disaster averted.
She descended the stairs, this time remembering to hike up her robes so she did not stumble over the hems.
Meanwhile, across the castle, Severus Snape yanked open the doors to the Slytherin boys’ dorm and launched himself inside. Once out of McGonagall’s sight, he had been free to express the vague panic he felt because of Draco Malfoy’s disappearance. All of this panic drained out of him the moment he saw a platinum blond head poking out from under the covers of the bed opposite the door.
Momentarily Snape remembered what Dumbledore had told him earlier that day: “Have you checked his dorm?”
He cursed under his breath before striding across the room to shake the young man in the bed by the shoulder. As expected, this disturbance did nothing to rouse Draco. Snape then pulled out his wand.
“Ennervate,” he said once again. And immediately Draco began to stir.
Scrubbing his eyes and struggling to sit up, the usually cool and collected Slytherin king flailed in bed. He moved his mouth, but no words came out. Finally Snape opened Draco’s jaw, aimed his wand, and muttered, “Aguamenti.”
Spluttering a little, Draco swallowed. He stared at Snape, as if registering who he was for the first time. “What—what happened? Where am I…?” he asked frantically.
He looked around. Upon seeing his own dormitory, he grew visibly more upset. “Where’s Hermione?” he burst out.
Snape’s eyes widened in shock, but he quickly recovered. Perhaps it was just a coincidence, he assured himself. “Miss Granger is in the Great Hall with the rest of the students, enjoying her meal,” he said shortly. “If you would like to join them, please do.”
“I’m really at Hogwarts again?” Draco asked him, seeming unconvinced. “And Hermione’s back too?”
Snape sighed. “Yes, really. Whatever you’re talking about, it was just a dream. Probably induced by that plum pudding—I keep telling those house elves they make it too rich. Now, if you please, I have essays I need to get back to grading.”
“A dream?” Draco said slowly as Snape propelled him out of the room. “Yes…that makes sense…”
“What ecstatic news,” Snape muttered. “Now off you go!”
As Hermione entered the Great Hall, slightly late for the meal, she suddenly felt ravenous, despite the multitude of bananas she had consumed earlier. The only sensation that beat out her piercing hunger was confusion, and she wandered about for several moments before remembering her seat and heading over to the Gryffindor table.
And as she ate, her brain began to whiz about again in its normal fashion. She did not stop to speak to anyone, despite the concerned looks Harry and Ron kept shooting at her.
Her thoughts only went around in circles. While she was on the island, sleep could not satisfy her, yet food could. Now back at Hogwarts, she felt as if she had not eaten for days, but was not tired in the least. How did that make sense at all?
And Malfoy—Draco, actually…how could she explain that?
She ran her gaze up and down the Slytherin table, looking for a shock of blond among the green and silver. Nothing. Draco was not at supper.
She bent her head back down to concentrate on her plate, but a bang that issued from the double doors made her look up. When she saw who stood there her heart stopped for a moment.
It was Draco, his hair tousled and clothes crinkled with sleep. His eyebrows were scrunched against the bright light in the room.
Slowly, looking as confused as Hermione felt, he trudged to his place at the Slytherin table without looking at anyone. Not all conversation stopped, but a hush fell on the entire Great Hall as students craned to see the absent Slytherin king’s return. There were vague mumblings, theories of where he had been. But nobody called outright to him. When Draco finally sat down, Hermione let out a breath she had not remembered holding.
That was it, then. They were both back, drugged and placed back into their beds, released from whatever reason they were held captive.
Hermione cast her eyes down at her food again, mind racing.
They were both back, but things were different now. She and he, two of the most dissimilar people to be found at Hogwarts, had formed a bond. At the least, they had agreed to put aside their differences and work together. Heart pounding, she remembered that Draco had given her his shirt as a pillow. So, she thought with a slight smile, the boy was not only tolerable, but he also had a chivalrous streak.
Suddenly Hermione was not hungry anymore. She had eaten enough to feed a small army, anyway. She could not let this opportunity slip by.
It was so clear, so simple. She needed to talk to Draco, so that together, they could show Gryffindors and Slytherins that it was not so hard to get along. There would be no food fights tonight.
Dazedly she rose from her seat and started across the Great Hall towards the Slytherin table. The walk felt alien and unfamiliar, and along the way students stared at her like she was insane. Gryffindors rarely decided to pay a visit to the Slytherins.
Most Slytherins were dark-haired, Hermione realized as she noticed Draco’s platinum blond head glimmering closer and closer to her with each step. She kept her eyes on her target, feeling her face heat up as the Slytherin boys and girls turned to look at her. They said nothing, and in the silence Hermione could hear her own tense breathing.
At the sound of Hermione’s footsteps, Draco looked up from his own food, which he had been shoveling in at such an alarming rate that Hermione knew he must have been hungry as well.
At first his eyes widened, and Hermione saw vulnerability in them that she’d never noticed before. But with a blink of an eye, he glanced around the table at the Slytherins who surrounded him. And then it was gone, and his eyes became as cold as ever.
It was like always, how he decided not to show weakness for sake of his pride.
But Hermione would not be deterred. “Draco,” she started, drawing a deep breath. She ignored the incredulous stares of the Slytherins around him and concentrated on the blond boy in front of her. “Do you know what—?”
“Granger?” He interrupted with a smirk. “Are you talking to me?”
“Yes,” Hermione replied, a little confused. “I was just saying, about the island, and the bananas…” She trailed off, feeling uncomfortable under the smirking scrutiny of the other Slytherins as they stared at her. They appeared to be more amused with every passing millisecond. There were even a few scattered laughs that broke the tense silence as everyone waited to see what would happen.
Draco arched an eyebrow, looking like his old self again. “Do you hear yourself, Granger? You’re raving mad.” He turned back to his plate, dismissing her.
Hermione flushed, her cheeks burning. This could not be happening.
She bent down and whispered fiercely in Draco’s ear, “I don’t know what you’re playing at, Malfoy, but stop pretending like it didn’t happen just because it’s inconvenient for your ickle pride in front of your friends!”
Draco’s back stiffened, and he refused to look at her. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he muttered under his breath. “Whatever it was, it was a goddamn coincidence…a dream.”
“A…a dream?” Hermione murmured, frowning.
It felt like her feet were rooted to the ground, but she could not stand there any longer and bear the ridicule of Draco and the Slytherins. She turned around and started back towards the Gryffindor table, feeling more dazed and confused than ever. A dream?
Absently Hermione reached up to scratch an itch on her scalp. There was sand in her hair. With a jolt, she checked her fingernails. There was sand under there, too.
It couldn’t have been a dream. Draco had been lying.
A/N: Thoughts? Don't hate me for making Draco a jerk...I just felt this is what his character would do in a situation like this. Plus, it was also Snape's fault...Please please please review, it'll make my day! =]
And an interesting tidbit...I just heard that banana trees are not found in the wild anymore. So i suppose my story is non-science-compliant. Thoughts on this?
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The Artful Fabrication of Draco and Hermione: A Friendship That Could Not Survive the Night
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