The moon was covered by thick, black clouds leaving little light for Hermione Granger to see in the already dark night. She could only guess at how long she had been up here; all she knew was that when she arrived the sun had barely set. How long had it been dark for? She had no idea. When did the sun actually set? She had barely noticed. Hermione barely noticed much these days, she got by each day aimlessly. One example; she didn’t notice that the door had just been opened.
“I had a feeling you’d still be up here.”
Hermione didn’t jump in shock or surprise like someone else might of; the cold covered her, froze her till she could have easily been mistaken for a statue. The only reason the person knew she was even alive was because she answered him, her lips seemingly the only thing that could move.
“What do you want, Draco? Why are you here?”
Draco walked up to her, “looking for you.” He stood to her left, his back to Hogwarts’ grounds, and stared at her. But she didn’t look back. Not even a glance his way.
“You shouldn’t be out here, not now. It’s almost three o’clock in the morning, you need to sleep.”
“I didn’t know you cared about me so much. I’m touched.”
Draco answered, a little angrily, “do you know how long you’ve been out here for?” she shrugged and shook her head, “six hours, Hermione. It was almost nine when you came up here. You have no charms up to keep warm and it’ll be no use putting one up now because you’ve been out in the cold way too long for it to work properly. If you don’t come inside now, you will freeze to death. Potter won’t like that.”
Hermione shivered but not because of the cold, it was because he said her name. After Draco joined their side they made a truce. One of the first things to change was name calling - from both parties. Hermione even called him by his first name and did ever since. After a few weeks Draco followed suit and started calling her by her given name. That was nearly a year ago and it still surprised her.
“Come on; we’re cold and we’re tired. We need to be ready for tomorrow.”
Tomorrow. Hermione hated the word. She hated what was to come tomorrow. What happened tomorrow was unknown and Hermione hated that. She needed to know, but she would never find out beforehand. She wouldn’t know until tomorrow. Hermione hated tomorrow.
She didn’t move and Draco didn’t know what else to do. So he talked to her. “Why do you come up here?”
She finally looked at him but she didn’t answer, “how did you know I was here?” she asked instead.
“The first time you came here, back in September, I followed you. You had been so quiet that no one had noticed you were gone besides me and Potter. He couldn’t go to see if you were alright because he was speaking at the meeting, so I went. I followed you here. I stayed a bit till I knew you would be ok then told Potter you were here and fine.” Draco paused unsure of what to say, then continued, “I do the same thing every time you come here; I make sure your fine, I tell Potter you’re fine then I go to bed. You usually come down after about an hour.
“But I have a tendency to wake up in the middle of the night and when I realized you weren’t back I came to see if you were ok then get you to come back in - which you’re making extremely difficult by the way.”
They laughed a little at the last thing Draco said, “so come on; I told you how I knew you were here, you tell me why you come here.”
“I come here to think.”
“It’s May, it’s summer, but it’s so cold. I wonder why? It’s like the world knows what’s going to happen tomorrow and is showing everyone else, like we don’t already know.”
So she comes up to think about the war, Draco thought. “It’s dark too. Are you gonna blame that one what’s gonna happen tomorrow?”
“It’s been dark for a long time Draco,” she whispered and he knew she meant it metaphorically; the war, the Death Eaters, Him.
“It has. But the light always shines through in the end. And it will again tomorrow. You’ll see.”
Hermione tried to smile but it didn’t meet her eyes, “I can’t stand it Draco.”
“Can’t stand what?”
“This! All of it! The war. Muggles dying for no reason. People we know fighting, dying for no reason!”
“No reason? They have every reason to fight!”
She glared at him, “tell me then. What are the reasons to fight?”
“To get rid of a psychopath for one. To be free of prejudice. To show Them that this world is filled with love not hate!”
Hermione laughed this time, a sarcastic laugh, and turned to face him fully, “love is meaningless to me. It means nothing and it’s worth nothing. I don’t believe in love and after everything we’ve seen, you can’t blame me. And you,” she poked him in the chest, “Draco Malfoy have no business even talking about it. Not once have I, or anyone, seen you show an ounce of love. The day you do will be the day I do.”
Draco couldn’t be angry with what she said; it was true, he had never shown love and he could see why she didn’t believe in it. But he couldn’t not believe in love. It was the only thing that seemed to keep him going. “Love is real, Hermione. I don’t have it, but I feel it and I want it and I see it everyday. It is real. It has to be,” he told her his voice getting gentler and quieter with every sentence.
“Where do you see it?”
He looked her in the eyes, “everywhere. With Tonks and Lupin. Potter and Ginny. My parents, as strange as that sounds. Muggles on the street. Boyfriends and girlfriends. Best friends. Husbands and wives. Parents and their children. I’ve seen all kinds of love and it is everywhere. And it is worth it.”
She walked over to him, with tears in her eyes, until they were almost touching, whispering she said, “that’s them, not me. They believe in love not me. If you want me to your going to have to prove it to me. Show me Draco.”
He wiped away her tears and instead of moving his hands away cupped them to her face, “I’ll show you.” Draco lifted her chin and covered her lips with his own. He started slow, scared she might push him away. She didn’t though, she responded to his kiss. Hermione wrapped her arms around his neck and pulled Draco closer. They deepened the kiss simultaneously and didn’t part until they needed the air. The pulled apart literally gasping.
Hermione smiled, “you’re getting there. It will do for now.” A huge gust of wind came at that moment making them both shiver. “Come on. Now we can go in.” she his hand in her cold one and led him to the door, opening it and closing it after them.
Harry was reminding everyone of what they had to do and giving last minute instructions. When he was done he went to the front - the front line - to Hermione and Ron. “Everyone is where they should be. They’re all ready. I’m at the front. You two then the Order and Aurors are behind me - “
“ - Then the rest of the school. Malfoy what are you doing here?”
Draco walked over to Harry, “come on did you really think I would stand at the back. That’s no fun!”
“Now is not really the time for jokes,” Harry snapped.
“I want to help.”
“You would be helping - at the back. I think it’s bad enough that Hermione and Ron are too stubborn to stay at the back. I cant risk your life too, no matter how much you annoy me.”
“I’m not going anywhere Harry. I want to help, I’m going to help and you can’t stop me. I believe in what your fighting for. I believe in what Dumbledore tells you, even though he does sound crazy, and if I have to risk my life to get it then I will because it’s worth it.”
Harry couldn’t - and wouldn’t - stop Draco from standing behind him, mainly because he was too surprised by the fact that he called him by his given name. but it didn’t stop him from asking questions. “You will risk your life for love? Because you think it’s worth it?” Draco nodded. “You really surprise me sometimes you know that. You mind teaching ’Mione that?”
Draco smirked, “I did,” then he turned and glared at Hermione, “at three o’clock in the morning.” He turned back to Harry, “I’m getting there.”
Hermione frowned at Harry but didn’t comment as she remembered something Draco said, “four? What do you mean four? You, me and Ron, that’s only three.”
“I tried to stop her, I really did, but she’s really quite frightening when she’s mad and determined.”
The three friends were confused as to who Draco was talking about and showed it on their faces. Draco didn’t need to say who though, as she came out from behind him.
“You can’t stop me from helping, none of you, I’m seventeen remember.”
Draco looked at Harry, “you’ve got your back up, your help, your friends. Now all you’ve got to do is stop him.” Draco pointed out in front of him. There in the moonlight were shadows. Shadows coming his way. Harry yelled to the others that they were coming.