A/N: I'm really enjoying writing this story, and can't wait to see it finished. So if you enjoy it, stick with it and I promise I will stick with the story until the end. As always, please review if you read. I love to hear your ideas!
"Granger," he called softly, keeping his gaze locked on the frame of the door, "Granger, why are you--what are you so hysterical over..?" He could almost curse himself, if he were into that sort of thing, for stumbling over that. Just because he had compassion for people didn't mean that he had to sound like an idiot.
Still there was no answer, almost as if she wasn't even there. He had the urge to say something crass, but bit his tongue, deciding that if he were going to give a new meaning to the Malfoy name, he needed to start out on the right foot. He ought to make sure that his approach wasn't as boorish as they had always come across. He decided to go for a different approach.
"Hermione..." Her name on his lips, the sound of it coming out in his own voice was so alien to him. Yet, at the same time, it felt so right. He then realized, that in almost seven years, this was the first time that he had ever said it.
Get a hold of yourself, Malfoy,
For the first time, she finally glanced up at him, her eyes, swollen, red and puffy, seemed to dig deep into his soul.
The silence was almost earth shattering, however ironic that was.
"Why are you in here? Is it too much to ask of you to leave me in peace?" she said, furiously wiping the tears from her face.
The venom in her voice was enough to strike. If it had come from a snake, he'd have been dead in mere seconds. For a moment, a hint of the old Draco was rising to the surface. However, he held back the retort that he felt coming on.
Letting his gaze fall, he stared at the floor, not sure of what to say. Then finally he whispered, "Maybe it's because I was actually worried about you." He turned and walked out of the bathroom so fast, that he may have not even have been in there at all. He didn't stop moving until he was safely inside his own private dormitory and had slammed the door behind him. It wasn't until he sat down on the bed however, that he realized how much he was shaking.
He stared out of his own private window, thinking about everything from his parent's deaths to his complete turnabout, that still had him confused. He couldn't really explain it, other than the fact that it just felt right. He knew he would never be explain it, especially to anyone else, because he couldn't even explain it to himself. There was just something about almost being hit by a killing curse that made you see life from a different perspective.
Not to mention watching his parents being cursed to oblivion by the one that they respected the most. Respected… he didn't even know if that was the best way to describe what it was. Hell, he didn't even know what it was, other than there had never been a time in his life when mention of The Dark Lord wasn't part of everyday presence. His first words had probably been "Dark Lord" rather than Mummy and Daddy like every other child out there.
He became so lost in his own thoughts that he didn't even hear the door creaking behind him. Nor the footsteps across the floor.
"Malfoy?" he heard a voice whisper, so low that it was barely audible. "Malfoy?" it was louder this time, but that wasn't saying much.
Then he heard it.
"D-Draco? I'm - I mean… I'm sorry," she blurted out, and then ran from the room.
He still didn't budge. Why should he? She hadn't seemed to appreciate it that he had come to check on her in the slightest. He couldn't understand it. Finally, though, he could stand it no longer, and started walking toward the door. To do what, he didn't know, but whatever it was, was soon gone from his mind the moment he saw the parchment laying on the floor.
Out of pure curiosity, he picked it up. Just because he had changed his ways didn't mean that he couldn't be nosy, did it?
The next morning, when Draco entered their common room and headed into their private dining area (a room was set aside off of the common room for any use, really, but was most often used by at least one of them for a private breakfast), he noticed that Hermione was already in there.
Up until that time however, Hermione had rarely used it, choosing to spend her breakfasts with Ron, and leaving Draco to himself.
That in itself was another ironic matter - she had been made prefect and now Head Girl because of her dedication to school and her studies, and would have a place where she could study without being disturbed, and now that she had the chance to do all of that, she rarely took advantage of it.
Without looking in her direction, Draco seated himself at the end of the table, as far away as he could be, while keeping to himself. He laid down the piece of parchment that he had picked up the night before on the table and slowly slid it in her direction.
She didn't even notice it was coming her way until it hit her elbow. The sudden intrusion made her look up sharply and look in his direction with disgust.
That was when she realized what it was that he had given back to her. The look on her face was indescribable. She snatched it up so tightly in her hands that her knuckles turned white.
"I supposed you couldn't resist reading, it could you?" she hissed. "No one can!"
She started to get up from the table, but this time, he wasn't going to let her get away that quickly. He reached for her hand to pull her back to a sitting position, and the warmth of his touch halted her in her tracks.
"You don't have to go," he whispered, still not letting go.
She could only stare at him.
"I mean it. Don't go."
She finally found her voice.
"Why?" she asked. They held each other's gaze for a moment.
“Why?” she asked again. “Why are you making it so hard for me to hate you?”
He had wondered that himself. Why was he trying so hard?
Then it hit him. He didn't even realize he was doing it.