Chapter 1 : Refusal
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"You've already said it once, I'm just asking you to repeat it."
"Oh. Well in that case- No."
Hermione sat back in her overstuffed chair and crossed her arms. After what seemed like years of being Head Girl with Draco Malfoy as Head Boy, they were finally beginning to speak to one another. "You act like you'll die if you say it, Draco."
Draco looked up from the Transfiguration essay he had been working on. "You act like you're going to die if I don't, Granger."
Hermione got up from her chair and walked over to the table Draco was seated at. She sat down across from him and stared. Her eyes bore into the top of his white-blonde hair as he bent over the parchment. Squirming underneath the weight of her gaze, Draco looked back up to her. Immediately he wished he hadn't. Hermione met his eyes and grinned. His eyes fell to her lips, the ones he had watched repeatedly in his mind's eye, saying his name. It was nearly unbearable when she actually did it. Hermione saying his first name just wasn't... natural. The scariest part was that it appeared that Hermione didn't mind one bit.
There had always been a line between them. And it seemed that the more they were around one another, the closer they got to crossing it. Starting off as not only disliking, but being the bane of one another's existence. Slowly, that melted away. Soon, Hermione was helping Draco with his homework, and he was imitating teachers when she was feeling upset, hoping to cheer her up. That's when Draco realized that they were getting in over their heads. He couldn't get closer to Hermione. His father... his entire family... what would they do if they heard that he had fallen for a "Mudblood"? They had nearly disowned him just for agreeing to share a dorm with her as Heads. No, it was impossible.
Hermione's brows knitted together, staring at Draco as he contemplated their relationship. Slightly shaking himself out of his reverie, he continued on with his essay. Hermione folded her hands together. "Why?"
"Why won't you say it anymore?" Her voice sounded thick, as if she were holding back tears- the last thing Draco wanted.
"Be- because. It's not right. There's no need to- to-"
"To what? What are you afraid of?"
Draco looked up at her, taken aback. "Afraid? I'm not afraid!"
"Then say it!"
"NO!" Draco slammed his Transfiguration book shut, making Hermione flinch. "You just don't get it, do you? That's just one step closer to where we shouldn't be. It's just best all around if we stopped where we are."
Hermione exhaled in a way that almost sounded to Draco like a laugh. She stood up and sat next to him. "You are scared. And that was practically a giveaway right there. Forget it, you don't need to say anything to me."
"What do you mean?"
Hermione ignored his question and returned to her armchair, propped open a book and began reading.
Draco turned in his chair to face her. "What do you mean? What was a giveaway?"
A small smile played on her lips. She dramatically licked her index finger and turned the page, continuing to ignore him.
"Granger! What. Do. You. Mean."
Hermione looked up from her book and looked at Draco. "You don't want to say it because you- we-"
"You know what will happen once we... once we start calling one another by their name. It scares you. It scares you that I've started calling you 'Draco'. It scares you that we don't hate each other." Hermione got back up and sat down kitty corner to Draco at the table. "It scares you that you want to say-" She stopped, looking hesitant.
Draco closed his eyes and placed his hand on top of hers. "Hermione."