The first thing Draco could recall on how it all began was the taste of Hermione’s lips on his. Sweet, reluctant and deep. Of course one cannot complain on how reluctance could be tasted, but Draco was Draco and he had afterall, forced Hermione into submission. Reluctance could be tasted much like hatred- hatred tasted like blood, and love with hatred tasted like a kiss with blood.
Some say that love knows no bounds, or people or wealth- even opposites attract. But Draco had one problem; he had all of those ‘afflictions’ aforementioned and he loved Hermione to the point of destruction.
It didn’t start out simple enough where hate turned to love. It had its tremendous upsets, marred with emotional setbacks and denial. It was their last year in Hogwarts. She was Head Girl, while he was a prefect. He had his trials that day. He had just broken up with Pansy for, say, the hundredth time in their rocky, yet overused relationship the previous night- their first night in Hogwarts; actually.
It was the first month of September, when Slytherin lad and Gryffindor lass first had a strange sort of connection that would later shock the school year and the students, and even until they had all graduated.
He wanted to cram that morning for a test in Seventh Year Herbology, a requirement for the N.E.W.T.S, since the break-up last night resulted in a very foul Draco mood. He had spent the entire night sitting on his bed, throwing darts at a picture of Pansy, across the wall, which was waving at him fervently. He had managed to hit her squarely on the forehead only once, which resulted in his foulest mood among moods. He hit her nose too many times and chest, and he grumbled and Crabbe and Goyle, his ‘still liberated’ roommates, stayed out of his way.
He had other things to be angry about but the fight only came to be when Pansy mentioned something about his father and irked Draco to the point of an argument, with Pansy sobbing her eyes out while she kept apologizing. So what if she was afraid for him and his father? Lord Voldemort was going to have his heyday soon enough. That setback the previous year was toned down, thus no large scandal on his family’s part as usual, only gossip here and there in selected circles. Draco knew his father’s name was somehow tarnished, and he hated thinking of it and Pansy mentioning it was like a single grain of rice tipping a full bowl of it.
Of course, it was considered a legendary love-hate relationship in Hogwarts, what he and Pansy shared. Everyone thought they were destined for together. She; with her dark looks and snobbish bearing, and he, with his slick blonde hair and arrogant attitude. They were made for each other and that was that.
Draco had never considered Pansy as a potential wife. He dreamed too much of something better- he wanted other things than marriage and Pansy. There were more girls to shag and snog, people to make miserable with his poisonous remarks, he had not thought of more ways to serve Lord Voldemort inconspicuously, and he knew he should, for time was running out.
Pansy went all dreamy eyed at the slightest mention of becoming the future Mrs. Malfoy, seeing Draco everyday fueled it even more. She felt she was destined to become the next Malfoy matriarch, thought she would make the perfect housewife, imagined beautiful kids who looked like them both, all the while maintaining their appearance as the quintessence of pure bloodedness. She had only wanted to mention marriage to him and casually used his father’s name to open up the topic.
“Draco, I wonder…how is your father?“ she asked as Draco lay on her lap in the Slytherin common room.
Draco frowned, suddenly feeling the discomfort from the mention of his father. “Why?“
“I just want to know, “ she said, wondering what to say next to reach her desired conversation. “ I’ve seen another printed article of him in the Daily Prophet and I’ve read that he’s going to be detained again for-“
Draco got off of her lap and stared at her for a few milliseconds. “Didn’t I tell you not to mention my father, ever?“
“Yes, I know, but as his future daughter-in-law-“
“His future- fucking-what?“ his eyes began to seethe and memories of some things he had wanted to forget, had wanted to bury, began to resurface. It was of his father being questioned, their house ransacked as part of an Auror investigation, his father and mother detained, he being detained…pride was everything.
He stood up and walked away from her, saying nothing, while the other students in the Slytherin common room looked on, knowing it was going to be another war between the two.
“Dray-“ Pansy called out, standing up to go after him. She held his shoulder and he snapped her hand away. Tears filled her eyes again and Draco felt more annoyed than ever.
“Bloody fecking Merlin!“ he shouted, his Malfoy rage slowly engulfing him. “Don’t touch me. I told you never to mention him, ever! Do you understand what that means?“ He knew the others were looking on, but he didn’t give a dram of saliva to them all. His anger today was for Pansy and Pansy alone.
“Draco, listen to me- I’m sorry, I didn’t mean that, I won’t do it again, I promise, I won’t mention his name again-“
“You know, I always thought you weren’t an intelligent sap, and this moment proves it.“
It hit her like a knife to the heart. She would live through this again, right? This was just another fight, another little ‘big’ argument that couples have, she would fix this quickly and be his again in no time…
Draco stalked for the boys’ dormitory and Pansy stopped him by holding his hand. He glared at her, a most hurtful glare, full of malice, contempt and a death wish. “Stay away from me till I think you’re good enough for me again.“
It was as simple as that. Draco left the room saying nothing else. Pansy cried. She would be good enough for him again a few days later. But while she waited, she waited with tears.
Pansy’s heartbreak ordeal was over in less than six days. Draco had been feeling cranky and thought sex would be a good way to get rid of his recent mood swing. His father had just owled him, saying how upset he was when he found out he wasn’t made Head Boy. Titles were also everything, he thought as he asked a Slytherin female schoolmate to call Pansy from the girls’ dormitory. He waited on the couch, knowing Pansy was now hurrying to look presentable, as she would be his property once more.
Pansy came down a few minutes later, with carefully made-up hair and a tinge of lipstick on her lips. Draco looked at her with his chin raised high. “I’m tired. I miss your company,“ he said simply- near callousness.
Pansy was ecstatic. Pansy knew she was needed once more. And she relished the thought. Hours later, Hermione caught them behind some bushes and she was sent away so that Draco could deal with Head Girl. Of course she didn’t mind. Draco was hers again.
Draco lost the standoff against Hermione that day. He cursed himself and hated himself for losing. She was going to be his, but at the length he was going through, Hermione becoming his property was more like a childhood dream.
He did not know how his obsession with her started. He was contemplating this, as he stood under the heat of the shower, alone and serious. She wasn’t his type, definitely not. Well, her hair wasn’t the dark color he liked- it was mudblood brown. He tired of blonde hair and had been contemplating to dye it- but he had to consider what his father thought about that too. He just had to keep this newfound liking to the mudblood to himself…and he wondered how long he could stand the pressure he was giving himself.
The mudblood was getting to him. Her scent, her intelligence, her…feistiness. She wasn’t beautiful, he saw to that fact. In fact she was so plain looking to him, he also hated why he was attracted to her in the first place. No, she wasn’t beautiful. She was not. Not. Not. Never. He had seen her and loathed her everyday for years along with her blood traitor boyfriend and holier-than-thou best friend. It wasn’t attraction, he kept telling himself…but it was becoming an unhealthy obsession and deep down, he knew it.
Today was a Saturday, Quidditch practice with his team. First game was against Ravenclaw two weeks from now. An easy strike, since the Quidditch captain had gotten a severe punch in the face from him for saying he could beat Slytherin while closing his eyes. Of course, it had gone unreported, but everyone knew it was from Draco’s ire. As soon as he was done, he took his broom and walked out of the Slytherin common room.
“Dray?“ Pansy began, watching him as she sat with her fellow female friends on the Common Room couches.
“Quidditch practice, don’t disturb me,“ he said shortly.
She nodded subserviently and watched him carefully, also eyeing girls from younger years gawking at her boyfriend as he went out. She would have to talk to them later about keeping their eyes away from him.
Draco walked alone, since the rest of his team was there earlier than him. He liked his solitary walk down the Quidditch pitch. It gave him breathing room. A rest from everything related to what he hated. He heard hushed talking and giggling even. Someone was a fan of snogging as much as he was. He smiled sardonically. Without another thought, he barged into the bushes to see Ronald Weasley and Lavender Brown all over each other, clothes intact- much to his dismay. A growing anger flicked at him all of a sudden. He wanted to do something drastic. Like kill Ronald Weasley.
“I didn’t know this room was full,“ he said, keeping control of himself. He was not going to use the Avada on him, not now. Not yet.
“Holy Merlin!“ Ron gasped while Lavender shrieked. They pulled themselves together and stood away from each other as quick as they could. Lavender had her eyes down and Draco wanted to kick some sense into the traitor…
“Morning exercise, fellow prefect?“ Draco asked, keeping his smug look as he held his broom.” You’d better work harder than with what I just saw. “
“This isn’t your business, Malfoy,“ Ron said, his ears burning red now.
“What if I make it mine?“ he said, feeling a bit too harsh now. “I could report this to Professor- I mean, Headmistress McGonagall. “
“Are you threatening me?“
“No,“ Draco replied, turning his back, all the while imagining that he was punching Ron’s face, seeing his nose bleed and- “I’m just enjoying the fact that I’ve seen you at your utmost behavior."
“If you mention this to anyone-“ Ron seethed.
“Mentioned it to Hermione Granger, the mudblood, your ex?“ he said, hating himself for mentioning her. But at that moment, he felt like sticking up for her.
Ron’s face burned and so did Lavender’s. Draco could see a twitch in Ron’s forehead, his vein was about to burst out and he wanted to laugh at how stupid the bastard was along with his girlfriend- didn’t he realize that Hermione was way better- he stopped his thoughts and raised his chin high.
“Concerned about Hermione?“ Ron spat out, much to Lavender’s dismay. She had wanted him never to mention her name when they were alone together- or with someone else.
“Why the feck should I be? But this will no doubt look good- I may become Hermione Granger’s best friend now, a replacement from you, since you were such a prick to ruin a solid looking companionship in all your Gryffindor likeness,“ he said sourly. He turned his back. “Do enjoy this place as much as you can and don’t forget to lock the door and lower your gasping and groaning.“
And he laughed aloud after he said that.
Ron took out his wand, brandishing it to Draco’s back.
“Hex me and I’ll see to it you’re expelled,“ Draco said as he left with a sneer. He suddenly felt refreshed, and ready to take on practice for the whole day. Nothing like a good verbal brawl to make his day worthwhile, he told himself.
They practiced till sundown and Draco beat his team mercilessly, imagining them to be either Ronald Weasley or Lavender Brown and sometimes Harry Potter- although he denied it again and again while having conversations all to himself.
When the practice finally ended as the sun began to set and Draco had said his last reminders, insulting their ‘pathetic’ routines in the process, he finally felt calmer. His team left him alone in the pitch and he was happy as he sat on the grass alone, waiting for the stars to come out. Mildew was forming; a mist was setting in around him.
The first thing that came into his mind was not a thing, but Hermione. He wondered what she was doing, if she was hexing Ron at the very moment and if Potter was still stupid enough to take sides with Ronald Weasel. He smiled to himself, imagining a good day of having Ron’s prefect badge relinquished to the Head Girl and Headmistress McGonagall. He imagined setting Ron and Lavender up in some room shagging, where they were to be viewed by the entire Hogwarts population without them knowing. That would be a hell of a laugh.
He heard a rustling sound and took out his wand, immediately shooting out a hex. He missed Hermione by a millimeter and he could feel his heart pounding.
“The bloody hell do you think you’re doing there!“ he shouted at her, angry and still shaking from almost hurting her.
“I- I thought nobody was here-“ she said, her voice faltering. He noted that he breathing was irregular. Near hyperventilation. Just like his breathing. Just like it…
“Well I am!“ he mustered with all the severity he could. “Weren’t you supposed to know that Slytherin’s using the pitch for today?“
Hermione rolled her eyes, finally catching herself again. “It’s not like I’m supposed to know such a trivial thing. I’m not the booker for your practices.“
“I thought you were Gryffindor’s booker- Ronald Weasley’s personal booker.“ And Draco immediately regretted saying his name. So much for a patch-up!
Hermione’s eyes darkened at the sound of Ron’s name. She felt her teeth clench, her jaw set in place. She raised her chin high, ready to retort, but was at a sudden loss for words. She felt the corners of her eyes sting and she knew they were about to come. The goddamned tears she had been keeping all this time- stop! Stop! Stop!
Draco eyed her unsympathetically. He saw the tears pooling at her eyes and he knew she was trying hard to stop them from coming out. It would be humiliation because Draco Malfoy would then make fun of her for crying at such a pathetic thing, at such a pathetic love.
She turned her back from him and made up her mind that it was time for retreat. She said nothing more and started to walk.
“You can cry,“ he said in a quiet voice.
She stopped in place. You can cry. It was as simple as that. Would he make fun of her? Goad her into having more pain? This was some trick. Some Draco Malfoy trick. She took a deep breath and faced him, tears finally spilling down her cheeks.
“I am,“ she finally said, defeat evident in her voice. “ You were the only one who said I could cry.“
Draco felt his empathy smother into her eyes as he looked at her, in all her vulnerability, all her Hermione weakness. This was the real her. Even Harry Potter had not seen this. Only he had. Only Draco Malfoy. And it was only at that moment that he understood why he had begun to fall for her in the first place. There was some unbidden sorrow in her, a suffering that made her beautiful only to the person who deserved to see that. There was this realness in Hermione that he did not have with anyone else. But he couldn’t touch her.
And she cried with all the pain she had inside. She cried for the love that had been betrayed, cried for being stupid, cried for holding everything inside for so long. She cried softly, as how it should have happened between an empathizing Slytherin and a wounded Gryffindor.
After a long while, when all that was heard was sniffing, and finally Draco fished out a monogrammed handkerchief from his pocket and gave it to her. She looked at him; her brown eyes red-rimmed and finally gave in, accidentally brushing her hand with his as she took his handkerchief. A shock fell through them both as their skins touched.
“Had enough?“ he asked her.
“Of Ron or you or all this head aching crying?“
“All of the above.“
“Then stop it.“
“That’s easy for you to say. I don’t throw away relationships that quickly, unlike you.“
“You get the hang of it.“
“I don’t want to. I don’t want to become harsh. I’m human.“
“Of course you are human. Mudbloods are so emotionally imbalanced when it comes to relationships.“
She didn’t even flinch when he called her that. “I’ll show you, you can be more than what we mudbloods are. You’ll hurt so much you would want to die in the process of trying to heal.“
“Are you referring to yourself?“
“No, not really.“
“Not really but just a bit, huh?“
“Stop loving him. Just stop. Forget he ever had a place in your heart.“
“And put you there instead of him?“
“I don’t have to ask you to do that. You will. You already have.“
“Then stop loving Pansy.“
“I don’t love her. Never loved her. She’s just there to exist for camaraderie.“
“I don’t want to be your camaraderie.“
“You’ll be more than that,“ he promised.
“Is sex with her that good?“ she asked, shocked by her impulse to ask such a question.
“Why the curiosity?“ he could feel the ends of his mouth curve.
“I won’t be had for sex.“
“Come on. Don’t tell me Ron never hit a home run with you,“ and he was a bit irritated at the fact that Ron had skimmed his ugly hands everywhere on Hermione’s body-
His eyes blinked twice for it to register. Then he grinned. This was going to be easy. Easy prey. Easy lay.
“Bleeding Merlin. He didn’t know what he was missing on. The stupid sod-“ he stopped. Ron wasn’t supposed to be in this conversation.
Hermione kept his kerchief in her coat pocket. “You’ll have this by tomorrow once it’s cleaned.“
“Keep it. “
“I don’t want anything you own with me. “
“I said keep it,“ he growled.
She said nothing more and nodded. She could deal with this at another time. She gave him a small smile and confused him with what it meant.
“Don’t thank me,“ he said, looking at her eyes.
“Because I’m still going to use you. I’m still going to have you,“ Draco said simply.
Use you. Have you. How difficult could that be? And yet it was. And Hermione knew there was no turning back once she had struck a strange sort of companionship with Draco. It was going to be painful. But she wouldn’t know how painful it would be until later. There were assumptions in her head, mostly of tumultuous days ahead of them. It had never occurred to her it would spiral out of control…and she thought she would be in control. Her control. Control over him.
He smiled at her again. Things were beginning to get quite interesting. He began to imagine undressing Hermione and he smiled, guilty with glee. He was going to have her. Oh, he was.