Chapter 6 : Giving
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I'm dedicating this chapter to my #1 reviewer Samantha. She asked me to incorporate a popular song written by Heart in the 80's because it fit their relationship. See if you guys can catch the lyrics. :)
December 29th had come quickly upon Draco and Hermione. They hardly noticed the passing of days at Hogwarts when they were with each other. They were always talking, laughing, getting to know each other. And the more they got to know each other, the more they genuinely liked about each other, and Draco hardly mentioned the gift Hermione got from Ginny. Hardly being the operative word.
They hadn’t kissed since Christmas Eve, hadn’t had any romantic contact whatsoever, but that didn’t mean that sexual tension didn’t hang between the two so thick that you could cut through it with a knife. Every once in a while, one of them would slip and say something uncharacteristically flirtatious. A heated stare down would then ensue, both of them mulling over in their minds whether or not this was a good decision. Both scared of rejection, of what would happen if they gave into their desires. They were alone together.
Hermione could no longer deny the fact that she was quickly developing feelings for the boy that had once been her sworn enemy. She knew that Harry, Ron, and Ginny would have her head if they knew. She’d lose all of her friends over it… and the rest of the wizarding world? Just because Voldemort was defeated didn’t mean that prejudices against muggle borns had completely died off. There were still plenty of old families who had managed to stay neutral during the war and keep their points of view, the Zabinis and the Parkinsons to name a few. If anything became of her and Draco… anything serious… She didn’t know what would happen. They could lose everything. They could be put in danger… she wasn’t going to risk hurting Draco, even if it meant her unhappiness.
Draco was falling, and falling fast. Every moment he was with her it was like truly being alive. He finally had someone he could connect with on an intellectual level, someone who shared his sense of humor, someone who just seemed to get him. And every time he looked into those honey-brown eyes of hers he felt himself surrender just a little bit more of himself to her. He was completely confused, and frustrated, and agitated. He dreamed about her almost every night now, wanted to pull her into his arms like they had the first time they had gone out to play in the snow. When he saw her stretched out on the couch with a book he wanted to go lie beside her and just breathe her in. He had determined that he had a serious problem, but he had no clue what to do about it. This was uncharted territory for him, and so he fought it. He fought it with just about everything he had. He tried to force himself to find the things that he once hated about her, but her blood no longer mattered to him and he could find no other grounds to dislike her.
She was beautiful. She was perfect.
She was off limits.
The other two members of the golden trio would never allow it. They’d come and kill him in an instant, Azkaban be damned.
Not to mention the rest of the Wizarding World.
“Can we go flying again?”
Draco dropped the book he had been reading. “Absolutely not.”
“But Draco, I-”
“No, Hermione.” Draco practically glared at her. “You nearly died last time. I’m never letting you back on a broom again.”
“Draco, I’d be more careful this time! I’d hardly leave the ground!”
“NO, Hermione.” He said again forcefully.
“Not even on the back of your broom?”
This question made Draco hesitate. He was loathe to put her in any kind of dangerous situation ever again, but at the same time he wanted so badly to feel her arms wrapped around him tightly, relying on him for warmth again… “When?”
“Now?” She asked hopefully. She had thoroughly enjoyed flying, the freedom it evoked, the wind in her hair… but she could get all of that plus Draco if she rode with him. She wasn’t too keen on flying alone ever again.
“But it’s dark,” He pointed out. It wasn’t all that late, only about nine or so in the evening, but it was darkness had already laid hold of the sky.
“Maybe I like the dark.” She shrugged a shoulder and gave him a not so innocent look.
“Looks like you’ll have to keep me warm then.” She did not hide the suggestiveness of her voice.
Draco paused for a moment. “Go get that cloak you’re so fond of. I’ll go get my broom and pick you up at your window again.”
This time Hermione was ready for the tap that sounded on her window. She quickly crossed the room and opened the panel of glass that would lead to her freedom. Draco awaited her with an expectant gaze. He had changed into heavier clothes and had donned a black cloak that looked to be dragon skin on the outside, but she was sure that it was lined with some kind of fur on the inside. Hermione too had layered up for the cold and had put on her new red cloak that Harry had given her. White rabbit fur lined the inside to keep her thoroughly warm.
“Do you remember how to get on?” inquired Draco as he steered his broom closer to her window. Hermione simply nodded and stepped up onto her windowsill. She closed her window nearly all the way and eased on to the broom behind him, wrapping her arms tightly around his torso and pressing her chest into his back. Draco silently swallowed. “Alright, let’s go then.”
Draco flew them up away from the tower that housed their dorm and around the other Hogwarts towers, climbing to the top of the astronomy tower by the end. “Hold on tight.” He whispered back at her and felt satisfied when she pressed herself further into him. He leaned forward and they dove together through the air reaching speeds Hermione never thought possible on a broom. No wonder he was a Seeker. He was a master on his broom.
Draco pointed his broom in a direction away from Hogwarts and began to fly low over the lake at a moderate speed. Hermione’s grip loosened on him as she sat back a bit, taking the opportunity to look around. Everything was beautiful and white. Hogwarts glowed behind her and the moon and stars reflected off the water making it sparkle with its gentle waves. She didn’t even feel the cold in her new cloak, especially with Draco so close to her. She could not imagine the night getting any better.
After flying over the lake for awhile, Draco steered his broom back to the shore where he brought them to a halt and back onto the ground. The ground here was not covered with snow, as the lake had washed up and cleared it when it had been windy earlier that day. Lucky for them, the wind had died down leaving a nice patch of snow free sand. Hermione looked at him inquisitively. “What are we doing?”
“We’re going to study our Astronomy.” Draco smiled at her and shrugged off his cloak. Hermione returned his smile and he laid his cloak out for them to lie back on and look at the stars. He sat down on his cloak, taking her hand and pulling her down with him. Hermione came willingly down to his level and removed her red cloak. She threw half of it over him. He grimaced. “I don’t wear red.”
“You do tonight,” Hermione replied in a dismissive voice as she leaned back to lie down on Draco’s cloak, Draco soon following her example. He certainly wasn’t complaining about the forced proximity between them due to sharing their cloaks. Hermione sighed and pointed up. “Look! That’s Aries….”
Draco focused his eyes on the sky and saw the constellation she was pointing at. “There’s Perseus,” she moved her hand to point at another constellation, “And Fornax, and Cetus, and-”
“Hey! Save some for me, Granger!” He teased her and she blushed.
“Sorry…” she mumbled and hid her face in his shoulder, embarrassed that her know-it-all streak had gotten the best of her. Draco laughed and wrapped his arm around her.
“It’s fine. Look, there’s Hydrus and Eridanus too.”
Hermione turned her face from where she had hidden it in Draco’s shoulder and once more looked up at the stars. “They’re beautiful tonight.”
“Yeah,” Draco agreed. “Yeah, they are.”
Draco and Hermione were silent for a long moment before Hermione decided to use a little bit of that Gryffindor courage she was supposed to have. “I’m cold.”
“You promised to keep me warm.”
“I made no such promise. You merely proposed that I be your heat source. I neither confirmed nor denied my acquiescence.”
Hermione huffed. “You’re so… Daft!” This evoked a lazy grin from Draco. He wasn’t naïve, especially when it came to women’s excuses to cuddle. He’d been hearing them since his fourth year. With a mock annoyed sigh, Draco pulled Hermione’s body closer to his own. Hermione snuggled up against him, letting out a contented hum against his chest.
Another contented hum. Draco rolled his eyes but did admit to himself that they were definitely warmer this way, even with all their layers of clothes absorbing their body heat.
It was around 10:45 when Draco realized that Hermione had fallen asleep on his chest. It was a bit after 11:00 when Draco decided that he should probably wake her up so that they could go back to the castle and actually get some sleep. He gently nudged her awake and the very sleepy Hermione grumbled at him.
“Fine. I’ll go back to the castle alone and you can stay here in the Forbidden Forest all by yourself.” Draco replied as he untangled himself from Hermione’s grasp and stood. He swiftly pulled his cloak out from underneath her, causing her to flip off of it onto the cold, hard ground with a squeal.
She glared at him as she stood and pulled her cloak back on. “That was completely unnecessary.”
Draco shrugged noncommittally in response and picked up his broom. “It served its purpose.”
Daggers. Daggers were shooting out of Hermione’s eyes. What was wrong with him tonight? She climbed on to the broom with him in silence. Without a word, Draco kicked off and flew them back to the castle. Hermione barely held on to him, wondering the entire time why he had suddenly become so incredibly cold.
Draco had actually done a lot of thinking while Hermione had been sleeping on his chest. He had also made a few important decisions, the first being that he could no longer continue his friendship with Hermione, especially not with the way things were progressing between them. Kissing her had been a mistake, even if it was a forced mistake. He could have stopped it far before he did. He shouldn’t have encouraged anything further between them.
This was a mistake. A horrible mistake.
Anything between them would simply hurt them both.
He had to end things as soon as possible. He just wasn’t quite sure how…
Draco dropped Hermione off at her window, making sure she was in safely before he flew back around to his own. Once inside, he picked up the nearest thing he could reach and threw it across the room in frustration. The chocolate frog inside the box never had a chance. Torn, Draco fell back onto his bed. He was selfish. There was no denying that, and there was no denying that he wanted Hermione, but that wasn’t what was best for her (or him for that matter). Theirs would be a doomed relationship. Both groups of their friends would make them choose, and Draco knew he would lose. Not to mention that it was dangerous for them to be together. If they were to become serious… If they were to get married… He would be breaking thousands of years of tradition. He would be tainting the pure blood of the Malfoy family, and his remaining relatives would not look upon that lightly.
That was it.
The decision was made.
Hermione had slept fitfully that night. She had no clue as to why Draco had acted so strangely the night before, but she fully intended on finding out at breakfast. She walked determinedly into the Great Hall only to find Draco not waiting for her at the Gryffindor table. In fact, Draco wasn’t anywhere in the Hall. With a resigned sigh she slumped into her seat and grabbed a muffin. Where could he possibly be? As she ate, every few moments she’d survey the room as if she had missed him the first time or as if he had come in and she’d not noticed.
Draco never showed.
In fact, Hermione didn’t see Draco all that day. She waited in the common room nearly all day except when she went to the Great Hall for lunch and dinner. All day he occupied her mind. Where was he? What was wrong? Was he okay? When he finally sauntered into the common room close to curfew Hermione’s head snapped up. “Where have you been?” she asked, worry coating her tone. Draco shrugged and didn’t stop walking as he made his way up to his room.
“Wherever I wanted to be.”
Hermione’s eyebrows furrowed at his words. What was that supposed to mean? “Oh… okay well…” she sighed. “I kind of missed you today.”
Draco quickly became still as death. He didn’t look at her. “That makes one of us,” he mumbled.
Hurt etched itself onto Hermione’s face. “What?”
Draco turned to face her. “Look, Granger. My friends are going to be back in a few days.” His eyes were cold and uncaring. “I don’t need you anymore to keep me entertained. So just go back to your little book and forget the past few weeks ever happened. It didn’t mean anything. It’s over.” Draco said nothing more as he walked up to his room, leaving a silent and teary-eyed Hermione in his wake.
An act. It had all been an act. Even the kiss. she reluctantly admitted to herself. He must have had a ball, watching her get comfortable with him while he planned to tear it all out from underneath her. She fled the common room, seeking refuge in the warm walls of her own room. She would never forgive him for this.
Days past. New Years came and went. The New Years kiss that Hermione had been building up in her head never happened. Draco and Hermione never spoke, Hermione never even lifted her gaze off the floor. Draco had done what the Dark Lord had been unable to do. He broke Hermione Granger. She wasn’t even reading. She showed up in the Great Hall to eat and keep up appearances, but she now ate alone and would quickly retreat back to her Head Girl’s room. Draco resumed his place at the Slytherin table and was also seen scarcely around the castle. He often went flying. It was the only time he didn’t think about how much he had hurt her.
Hermione was miserable. She couldn’t believe that he had led her on so thoroughly. She couldn’t believe that she had fallen for it. She went over the past nearly three weeks time and time again, looked for signs that he had been deceiving her, only to find none. Every body signal, every word, every touch and look had all seemed completely sincere. She went over the night that he had ended things. He hadn’t seemed like himself. He had been tense and had refused to look at her. Was it possible that he had been acting when he had said he didn’t want to be friends with her anymore?
She had to admit, based on her analysis it seemed far more likely that he had not been sincere when he said that their time together meant nothing. They had spent nearly every waking second together for over two weeks. For it to mean nothing wasn’t logical… but to pretend it meant nothing… that made more sense, but why? Why would he do something so cruel?
Hermione tried to push back her prejudices against Slytherin. A person’s house cannot explain away their motives. She concentrated and tried to look at things from Draco’s perspective… they weren’t pretty, she soon realized. She was neither Draco’s first nor closest friend. That was Blaise, from what it seemed, and of course he had other friends. What would their relationship look like to them? There was no way they would ever accept it… not to mention that Harry and Ron would kill her if they caught her hanging out with “the ferret.”
Despite Draco’s immense help as a double agent in the war against Voldemort, Harry and Ron still despised him. Draco knew as much… would he really give up their friendship so that she could keep the peace between herself and the boys?
And if things had kept going on the track that they were going… if they became involved, Draco had an entire pureblooded line resting on his shoulders.
Despite his seeming change of heart, that was a lot of pressure for a nineteen year old like Draco. Would he risk ruining the Malfoy’s pure blood for her? What kind of consequences would that entail?
Serious ones, she was sure.
Draco was not much better off than Hermione. He too was living in misery. He felt immense guilt over the fact that he had hurt her, that she would hardly leave her room. It was his entire fault. He shouldn’t have been so selfish. He shouldn’t have let her get close to him. In addition to his guilt he felt an overwhelming sense of loneliness. He had been able to connect with very few people in the way he connected with Hermione. They shared so much. She understood him, or at least seemed to… And now that was gone.
But at least it was for the best. Everyone would return to the castle in two days time and Draco would be off the hook. Well, not really, but things would be better. At least, that’s what he hoped.
Draco walked down the stairs to the Head’s common room on his way to dinner on the night of the 4th of January. He was not prepared to see a contemplative Hermione awaiting him. “We need to talk.”
Draco tried to push past her, but she wouldn’t let him. “Draco, please… I know you didn’t mean what you said that night.”
“Yes, I did.”
“I’m okay with this…” She gestured between them. “We don’t have to tell anyone. We can keep it a complete secret.”
Draco’s once hard face softened. “Hermione… I couldn’t ask you to keep a secret like that from your friends.”
“You don’t have to ask me. I’m offering.”
Draco felt his selfishness surfacing. He could keep her. Provided they not let anyone find out that they were friends… he could keep her around, not have to block her out. He fought his desires. “Hermione, you don’t need me. You’ve got the rest of your little golden trio, plus Ginny Weasley. It could be dangerous for you to be friends with me.”
“Draco, you’re wrong!” Hermione replied, frustrated. Why did he not see? She looked down at the ground. “You’re right. I have Ron, and Harry, and Ginny but…” She sighed, searching for the words. “Our relationship is different. We connect on a different level than I do with them.” She paused. “It’s not something I want to give up.” She looked up at him pleadingly. “I miss you. I miss” deep breath “us.”
Before Hermione knew it she was wrapped tightly in his arms. “I’m so sorry I hurt you,” he mumbled into her hair. Hermione exhaled and allowed herself to lean against him. She’d forgotten just how good it felt to be like this with him. They just seemed to fit.
“It’s okay. I just had to figure out the reason why and then decide that I didn’t care.”
Draco chuckled and pulled back from her, but did not release her from his arm. “You know, until now, I always got by on my own.” He took her hands into his own and looked deeply into her eyes. “I never… even cared, until I met you. And now” he looked away from her. He had never been this honest with anyone. “Hermione, it chills me to the bone to think of going on without you in my life. I can’t explain it. It’s like,” He gave her a boyish grin and looked back at her, “Magic.”
Hermione blushed with every word. This was the very last thing she had expected. She struggled a great deal to hold his gaze, willing herself to not look away. It paid off; he was the first to look away. She could have swooned when he looked back at her with that boyish grin. It was just so him. When he finished she found the only thing she could say was “I feel the same way.”
Draco let go of her hands and reached into his pocket. “I got you this last week. I was waiting to give it to you, I don’t really know why, but now seems a good a time as any.” Draco pulled a silver heart shaped locket out of his pocket that had a large amethyst stone set in it. Hermione gasped. “I was going to get you a gold and red one, but…” he grinned “I kind of figured from what Ginny got you that your favorite color was purple. Kind of a late Christmas present.”
“But, Draco, I didn’t get you anything.”
He made a motion for her to turn around so that he could put her locket on for her. She turned her back to him and pulled aside her hair so that he could wrap the necklace around her neck. He leaned forward and breathed in her ear. “Beautiful.” Hermione’s entire body shuddered when she felt his breath on her ear. Draco kissed her cheek and turned her around. “All I wanted this Christmas was you.” Hermione thought she was going to explode she felt herself blushing so hard.
“Draco, the locket… it’s beautiful. Thank you.”
“You’re welcome. It’s enchanted you know.” He replied knowingly.
“I should have figured as much. Is it going to bite me?” Hermione raised an eyebrow with a skeptic look.
He laughed. “No, it’s not going to bite you, though that’s an idea… Say my name into it like you would if we were lovers.”
“Alright, alright. SO you don’t have to say it like we’re lovers, but you do have to say my name.”
Hermione gave the locket a quizzical look as she lifted it up to her mouth. “Malfoy.”
He shook his head. “My first name too, Granger.”
“Oh… Draco Malfoy.” She said into the locket. With a small click the locket opened and Hermione laughed when she saw what was inside. A small silver snake was coiled inside.
“He’ll go away when you have a picture that you want to put in there, but for now that space is all mine.” Draco smiled and took Hermione’s hand. “Come on, let’s go to dinner.”
Draco and Hermione ate dinner together once more and had returned to the common room of their dorm. They were lying together on the couch, Draco playing with Hermione’s hair languidly. “Tomorrow’s going to be our last day alone.” she mumbled idly.
“Yeah, it will be. But we’ll still have nights alone together,” he pointed out.
“It won’t be the same.” sighed Hermione.
“No, it won’t be. But at least we’ll have some time together.” He paused momentarily. “We’re going to have to pretend to hate each other again… and I’m going to have to go on with my charade with Pansy.” She heard the distaste in his voice.
“I know,” she replied simply. What else was she supposed to say?
“This isn’t going to be easy.”
“Can we not talk about this right now? It’s really depressing.”
“Fine.” Draco conceded. “But we have to figure this out tomorrow.”
Hermione nodded. “Tomorrow.”
Silence filled the room for a few moments.
“So are you ever going to wear what Ginny got you?”
“What?!” his eyes were wide with curiosity.
Hermione flushed. “That’s really none of your business.”
Draco nuzzled her hair. “Can we make it my business?” he asked in a suggestive tone.
If it were possible for Hermione to turn a brighter shade of red, she did. She tipped her head forward and let her hair cover her face like a shield. “Draco, stop… you know we can’t do this.”
“Can’t do what?” he asked innocently as he pulled her hair to one side off of her neck.
“We can’t” his lips hit her neck and electricity shot down her spine and pooled in her lower back. “be romantically involved.” She gasped.
“And why is that?” he asked smoothly, his lips travelling along her jaw. She couldn’t help but let her head loll to the side to give him more room.
Hermione swallowed. Her mind wasn’t functioning properly anymore. “Because,” her whole body shook, “Because you’re a pureblood.”
This caused Draco to pull away. “You choose now to be prejudiced against pure bloods? Seriously?”
Hermione twisted her body around to look at him, “Draco, I don’t have flings. I have relationships. Serious relationships… I don’t date for fun. I date people I could see myself ending up with in the end and-”
For once, Draco was the one who looked hurt. “You couldn’t see yourself with me?”
Hermione sighed and dropped her head in her hands. “It’s not that I couldn’t see myself with you… Draco, we’re practically soul mates. We’re both intelligent, quick witted, we have similar interests and senses of humor… I just don’t see myself with your family.” She looked at him again. “I’m a muggleborn, Draco. A mudblood.” Draco winced at the word. “If we ever became anything, you’d be risking throwing away your entire family legacy. You think I’d ask you to do that?”
Draco didn’t answer her for a long moment as he looked at the fireplace. When he met her gaze again there were no traces of humor on his face. “Hermione, I can’t tell you right now that I’m in love with you. It’s way too soon for that, and I’ve never even said those words to anyone.” He took a deep breath, “But that doesn’t mean that I couldn’t see myself being in love with you. I could, actually. Easily. Too easily.” He ran the backs of his fingers gently over her cheek. “You wouldn’t have to ask me to risk throwing away my family legacy. I’ll deal with that on my own. And besides, look at where my family has ended up being all high and mighty purebloods. My father’s in Azkaban and my mother in the mental institution at St. Mungo’s.” He looked away. “It would take some getting used to, the idea of us dating, or getting into a relationship. And it’s something we’d have to keep a secret as well, at least until school is out. It wouldn’t be received well…”
“Draco,” Hermione stopped him, “Are you asking me to be your girlfriend?”
Draco let a gentle smile break onto his face. “I’m saying I wouldn’t mind it being a possibility.”
“Is that a good ‘hmm?’” Draco inquired.
“It’s a ‘I may or may not be interested in possibly being in a relationship with you’ hmmm.” Hermione teased him for a moment, then sobered. “I don’t know, Draco… I don’t rush into things. This is moving a little fast for me.”
“I know. I move quickly.” He grinned. “Try to keep up, Granger.” Hermione rolled her eyes and Draco took her distraction as the perfect opportunity to lean forward and press his lips against hers. He grinned against her mouth as he felt her body melt into him in response and as a slight sigh left her parted lips. Draco only kissed her for a few seconds before pulling back, a smug smirk securely on his face. “You want me.”
“You want me more.” She teased. She could see the way his eyes darkened when he looked at her and wondered what her eyes looked like. Did they match his? From the signals she was receiving from her body she assumed that they did.
Draco shrugged in a noncommittal manner at her response and pulled her back against him. “Draco?”
“What if I don’t… I mean, what if I can’t.” She tried to find the appropriate words for what she was trying to say, but it was difficult. “I’m not… experienced. If we ever get physical, chances are I’m going to be scared to death and not know what I’m doing.” Hermione blurted out the words before she could think better of it. Once more, Draco paused before responding.
“That’s not important to me. I mean, it is. My reputation isn’t completely unfounded, but don’t worry.” He nuzzled her hair again lovingly. “You’re fast learner. I’ll teach you and you’ll be making “O”s in no time.”
Hermione breathed a sigh of relief and let herself give in to Draco’s enveloping arms and warm breath. Her year was about to change. Drastically.
Lines taken from the song "Alone" by Heart. I do not claim them in any way whatsoever.
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