Chapter 2 : Sneezing
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Oh, and I don't really know why I'm writing about Christmas in the middle of summer. This story has just been in my head so long I'm impatient to get it out there.
Anyways, I hope you guys like this chapter as much as I do. I own nothing but the plot. I apologize for any errors or typos. My beta is gone for the summer and can't read my story for me. So, I guess I'm taking applications for a beta reader!
And so without Further Ado... chapter 2
Updated July 31st, 2011 because I don't like how fast their relationship moves.
The following three days at Hogwarts passed by at an exceedingly slow pace for everyone. With only a handful of students staying over the holidays, Hogwarts had transformed into a dull place. Professors were bored; students were bored, even the ghosts were bored (including the mischievous Peeves). Hermione and Draco’s relationship had failed to progress; in fact, they refused to speak to each other. Hermione’s anger gave Draco little encouragement to attempt to be cordial again, and his silence only fueled Hermione’s anger as she believed it proved he hadn’t been sincere the first time.
Eating was driving Hermione crazy. There hadn’t been any owl post in days (Harry and Ron had always been terrible communicators), and every once in awhile she felt him staring at her. She’d be lifting a fork to her mouth or biting into an apple or reading a book she had brought with her when all of a sudden she just knew he was staring at her. She’d look up and meet his gaze with eyes that were surprisingly cold and hard for their warm earthy color. Every time he’d look away quickly and ignore her, as if he hadn’t been staring at her. This reaction merely caused her to become paranoid and flick her eyes to him every so often to make sure he wasn’t staring at her. Unfortunately, more often than not, he would catch her glancing at him and the trademark Malfoy smirk would grace his strong features. Walking out of the dining hall the day before he had actually had the audacity to speak to her.
“See something you like, Granger?”
“Actually, Malfoy, I had just noticed that your eyes were far wider apart than I had recalled, and your nose a bit crooked. Must have happened when I decked you third year. It’s a pity these characteristics have marred any potential you might have had to be good looking.”
This remark had at least gotten Hermione a decent scowl out of Draco and he hadn’t spoken to her since. However, this had not stopped his staring. Hermione had just begun to feel his cool eyes settle on her at lunch when the commotion of owls flying in disrupted her train of thought.
Finally! Communication from the outside world! Hermione’s eyes lit up at the thought of receiving mail from Harry or Ginny or her parents. Hell, she’d be content with a note from Ronald at this point. Unfortunately for Hermione, the only owls that flew in were ones carrying what appeared to be a large, wrapped package. They swooped in, dropped the package down on the Slytherin table in front of Draco, and were off. Hermione watched him jealously as he unwrapped the long package in front of him. Upon opening, a large grin overtook Draco’s features and she watched him bite back a yell of excitement as he lifted a very new looking broom off the table. She noticed that he didn’t finish his lunch as he carried the broom across the Great Hall, making for the exit at a surprising pace.
Draco knew Hermione was watching him as he strode across the Great Hall with his newly repaired broom. He’d been waiting weeks for it to arrive, and it seemed as if it were in perfect flying condition. He knew the weather for that afternoon was going to be prime flying weather for that time of year. Little wind, slightly overcast, and a blazing four degrees Celsius. He wasn’t going to waste time looking cool and collected walking out when he could be flying in minutes. As he passed her, his eyes bored into her. He was sick and tired of her glare, but this time he saw mere curiosity in her gaze. It stopped him for a moment.
“Care for a ride, Granger?” he asked, his tone surprisingly devoid of any maliciousness.
Needless to say, Hermione was taken a bit off guard by his offer. His eyes had momentarily distracted her. Clearly, everyone being gone was getting to her. A moment later, she registered his question and gave a quick refusal. “No… flying is dangerous. You know the moment you step on that broom your chances of injury increase by twenty-seven percent.”
Draco couldn’t help but to roll his eyes. Typical. However, he did not dismiss the fact that she had said no merely because of chance of injury, not because she disliked him, and her voice had held no spite or edge in her reply. “Whatever you say, Granger. I’ve never hurt myself, but if you’re scared…”
Hermione narrowed her eyes at him. “I’m not scared. I just don’t currently possess a death wish.”
He smirked, “Well, when you do, let me know. I’d be more than glad to help.” And with that, he resumed his exodus leaving a scowling Hermione in his wake.
Hours later, Hermione sat in the common room of the Head’s dormitories flipping through a past issue of Witch Weekly magazine. Surely there had to be some kind of spell out there that could fully straighten her hair without it beginning to curl two hours later. Despite her hesitation to admit that she had overlooked something, she was searching through the magazine again. She was so focused that she didn’t even notice a soaking, shivering Draco make his way into the common room, set his broom down, and stand in front of a roaring fire until she heard him sneeze. She looked up from her magazine and her jaw dropped. “Merlin, what happened to you?”
Draco looked at her as he held out his hands to the fire. “F- Flew across the l-lake. Didn’t s-s-see the storm c-coming…” His teeth chattered with every word. He tested his fingers, bending them slowly until he felt some blood begin to flow through them again. With the regained use of his hands, Draco undid the clasp on his cloak, exposing the dark green jumper he had been wearing earlier that day, completely soaked through. He quickly proceeded to pull the jumper over his head and tossed it to the floor, along with the black v-neck shirt he wore underneath. His pale torso glistened as the licks of light from the fire lit up his wet body. He didnt even notice Hermione’s jaw practically hit the ground.
A quick but thorough assessment was made by Hermione. His skin was pale, but not in a sickly way, more like an angel or a Greek marble sculpture. Speaking of sculptures, she hadn’t seen a body that sculpted since her parents had taken her to a Muggle Museum in London. She watched his muscles contract as he shivered. Her eyes followed the lines of his broad shoulders, down the lean sinews of his arm and then to his washboard abs, of which she counted eight. Combined with his wet, messy, white blond hair, he was suddenly transformed into the ultimate sex object.
Okay. People needed to come back. People needed to come back now.
How had she roomed with him for months and not observed this?
Oh right. Malfoy didn’t just strip off his clothes in front of her all the time.
Draco wasn't completely oblivious to Hermione’s evaluation. He was wet, he was cold, and he was sneezing. He did not want to spend his Christmas vacation sick. Being sick meant he couldn’t go flying. This would definitely appeal to Granger's maternal instincts. She couldn't resist helping him. Slowly, his body began to react to the heat it was being exposed to. He stopped shivering, his teeth stopped chattering, and he was finally regaining feeling in his toes. After a few minutes he stepped away from the fire and collapsed into a chair. He pulled off his shoes and his still soaking wet socks and wrapped his warm fingers around his icy toes. He tried to manually move some blood into his feet as he shook his hair out of his eyes. He suddenly looked up at Hermione to find her eyes already on him. He dismissed it for the moment and nodded at her wand lying on the coffee table in front of her. “Willing to cast a” he sneezed “warming charm for me?”
Hermione nodded dumbly. He was looking at her. He was there in that body and he was looking at her with those icy blue-gray eyes. Right. He asked for a warming charm. She reached for her wand and performed the simple spell. Draco gave a relieved sigh and leaned back in the chair as the charm began to take effect. He closed his eyes for a moment, reveling in the warmth. When he opened his eyes, he found Hermione looking at him again. When he caught her gaze, she blushed and looked quickly away. Smirking, he raised an eyebrow. So the high and mighty Hermione Granger was staring at him again. Interesting…
He experimentally cleared his throat and her eyes flicked back to him and quickly away once more when she saw that he was looking at her. His smirk grew as he watched her worry her bottom lip between her teeth, appearing to concentrate very hard on the worthless magazine in front of her. Without looking at him, she spoke. “You should take your pants off.”
Draco’s eyebrows shot up. That was unexpected. “Excuse me?”
“They’re wet.” Again she didn’t look at him. “You’re already sneezing. Unless you enjoy catching pneumonia while Madame Pomfrey is working at St. Mungo’s for Christmas break, I suggest you go change into something dry.”
“Oh… yeah, you’re probably right…” Draco conceded her point easily which sort of caught Hermione off guard. She looked at him through her lashes with raised eyebrows as he stood. She fought off the urge to lower her eyes to his torso once more. Brown eyes stayed on blue for a moment and in that moment, something strange happened. It was like… well, on further contemplation, Hermione would determine it was probably something akin to lightning. A bolt of white hot fire between them, connecting them. Draco would later describe it being similar to the first time he held his wand. How magic just seemed to flow from some unknown source between them. They both stared at each other, Draco looking down at her through strands of his wet hair and Hermione looking up at him through dark lashes, one of her curls escaping from where she had tucked it behind her ear to frame her face. It was fire, burning through them. It was ice, freezing them in place. It was lightning, electrifying them. It was magic, enchanting them.
Draco suddenly sneezed, breaking the tension between them. “I’ll uhm.. just go change now.” He turned and began to head up the stairs. What the hell was that?
“I’ll find a spell or potion to stop your sneezing… if you’d like.” Hermione offered as she couldn’t help but watch him walk away.
He looked at her over his shoulder and grinned, “Thanks.” He sneezed again. “I’d really appreciate that, Hermione.”
She smiled back at him kindly. “You’re welcome, Draco.”
He disappeared up the stairs and Hermione released the breath she realized she’d been holding. Her heart hammered in her chest. “Bloody hell, what’s wrong with me?” She sighed as she dropped her head into her hands. “It’s just Dra- Malf-“ She didn’t know what to call him. “Draco… He’s still the same git he’s always been. Just because he’s shaped like a Greek God and has those icy eyes and… oh Merlin. I’m attracted to Malfoy.”
Upstairs, Draco stared at himself in the mirror. “What the hell was that, Draco?” He asked himself out loud. “She’s a mudblood! It doesn’t matter that she’s brilliant and could probably outhex me any day. You can’t be attracted to her. That is not part of the plan.” He shook his head to try to snap himself out of it. “Now you’re talking to yourself. Great.” He smacked his palm against his forehead. “Bloody hell. I’m attracted to Granger.” Draco kept chanting in his head, "it's only physical. It's only physical. Stick to the plan. Use her and lose her."
A/N: Like I said, I hope you like it! I do, even though it's kind of short. Please review! I hope to have Chapter 3 up soon as well!
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