Draco left the Leaky Cauldron in a daze. At the moment he couldn’t figure out if he hated Hermione or not. Did he despise her for what she said or was he frightened of it? Only Merlin knew how frightened he was when he woke up with her laying on him.
No. Frightened wasn't the right word. Draco had been startled and confused. He had begun running his mind over the previous day’s events; trying to distinguish those he remembered clearly and those he didn’t. He knew that he had gone to the surprise anniversary party with Hermione at the Cohens’. He knew that Angelique had put them on the spot about how they had met and that he had hoped his cheeks weren’t red. After that it all became a blur.
Draco had wondered if anything had “happened” between him and Hermione during the night. He had looked down at her in his arms and concluded that they hadn’t. And as he did, he took the time to truly take her in.
He had always considered Hermione to be a soft woman; equally a soft girl during the Hogwarts days. As she lay in his arms, the feel of her head rising and lowering slowly as he breathed, she looked it. The sun was pouring in at just the right angle to highlight her face. She looked angelic. A bit of her hair was resting on her cheek and Draco had wanted to remove it so as not to further disturb the scene he was watching. Was it…a beautiful scene? He hadn’t, and still didn’t, know what kind of scene to call it. Words like those rarely escaped his lips and were therefore difficult to come across. But it was quite the sight; he had to admit.
The reason he hadn’t moved the offending strand was because of where his hands were. Draco found that one arm lay across Hermione’s stomach, her right hand resting on it and giving it warmth. As for her other hand, its fingers were intertwined with his. Draco hadn’t wanted to move them. He felt comfortable. He felt secure. He felt like nothing could hurt or bother him so long as they stayed just as they were and then a sudden thought came.
Draco wondered what it’d be like to kiss her.
Clips of the conversation he and Hermione had came back to him in a flash. He saw them on the porch, her hand over his as she took the keys away from him. He saw them on the sofa. He heard what he’d asked. He heard what she’d wanted. He heard what he’d admitted. And he remembered what he had wanted to do before the champagne had done him in.
Right then Draco had suffered himself to move. He painstakingly detangled himself from her. Draco stood over her; the offending hair strand having now moved from her face and he could now see that her lips were gently parted.
Yes, Draco had thought about it. It hadn’t been a lingering thought, but rather one that came and went as he looked at her or when she smiled or laughed. He had thought about sneaking into her room, lying beside her, and making an advance. Just one. It only ever just took one. Maybe it would take more with her? He had only hoped that if she wouldn’t give in so easy. He knew that she wouldn’t. Maybe that was why he had never tried.
Sighing, Draco slipped himself into his favorite armchair and rubbed a tired hand over his forehead. He recalled when he and Hermione were sitting down and were waiting for the Aurors to come. He had been staring at her, turning away sheepishly when he felt she would turn her eyes to him. He had been thinking about his actions, his thoughts, and his feelings.
What was it about her? Why would thoughts filled with sexual situations and wanting her to just be near him pursue him so harshly? It couldn’t simply be as Hermione had said it was –that he was a man, that they had been stuck together for a month, and that it was in his nature? If it was, the simple thought of holding her shouldn’t be able to suffice.
She argued with him. She nagged him to death and sometimes Draco wanted to rip his hair out. She cooked for him. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner were served to him daily for the past month and Draco felt spoiled. Yes, Hermione spoiled him, and he didn’t think that she knew it. It was an innate part of her that she didn’t recognize within herself that held the drive –not to serve –but to make people happy. And yes, she made him happy. Draco had smiled more in the past month than he could ever remember. And if this was so true, then why shun her and deny everything he kept inside?
“Because we’re a subject of circumstance,” Draco admitted for the first time aloud. Had he and Hermione not been the target of a killer, would these feelings have molded and surfaced? Would Draco have come to notice that some of her best rebuttals came with a roll of her eyes or the grit of her teeth? Or that her most comfortable sitting position included folding her left leg under her? Or that she preferred subtlety to things that were ostentatious? None of that Draco would’ve been able to say had not they’d been stuck together. So why start something based on an initially unwanted event?
It was maddening. And for now Draco no longer wanted to think about it. Instead he pushed himself up from his armchair and walked over to a nearby window. As he peered through it, he was squinting at something off in the distance. From what he could tell, it looked like the shadow of a person.
Now if Hermione thought finding someone watching her property was frightening, she had no idea the heightened panic coursing through Draco’s veins. Draco had no neighbors. He was surrounded by absolutely nothing but land and a few trees. So what the hell was this person doing there?
Hermione was in Harry’s bed and she felt terrible for stealing it from him. She was going to sleep on the sofa but Harry had insisted on him being the one to do so. “Besides,” he had said. “I think you need the good night’s rest more than me.” In the morning, she had figured that he was right. It had taken her a while to fall asleep with the image of a shadowy figure hovering over her as she slept. And now she was waking up to an annoying pecking sound on the window.
It was an owl, Hermione figured, and rose from the bed to let it in. She was about to call for Harry in order to let him know that there was a letter for him, but as the owl flew back out and she saw the letter up close, she didn’t bother. Her name was written delicately on the front.
Seems like you and I have the same problem. Meet at the delicatessen in Hogsmeade once you get this.
Draco Malfoy xx
Hermione’s heart quickened. She got dressed immediately, splashed water over her face to make herself look alive and hastily thought of a way to get away from Harry. Luckily for her he gave her the great escape. His neighbor, a kindly elderly woman, wanted him to check the plumbing for her since she absolutely despised the landlord and thought he was a “good for nothing.” He didn’t want to tell her no and Hermione encouraged that he shouldn’t. She said that she’d go out for a bit of fresh air and see him later on. Before Harry could tell her that that wasn’t such a good idea with a stalker after her, Hermione had already disapparated.
She smelled the air and quickly found the petite restaurant that every Hogwarts student, past or present, called “the delicatessen” even though that wasn’t its name. Inside the restaurant there was hardly anyone there. Even so Hermione would’ve still been able to spot Draco three tables away from the back of the restaurant sitting alone. When she finally approached him he looked up with a brow raised.
“You look like you just woke up.”
Hermione rolled her eyes and took a seat. “Word of advice, Malfoy: that’s one thing you never say to a woman.”
Draco shrugged and hid his reddening face from view with his menu. Hermione smiled at that. He seemed to be doing that a lot lately. Blushing, that is.
“So, we both have the same problem do we?” Hermione referred to the letter. Draco nodded. They took a moment to order something to eat and then resumed talking once the waitress was out of earshot.
“Remember what I told you about wizards and where they choose to live? Well, with my parents’ choice of living arrangement, having spies should be impossible.”
“And the fact that it’s not anymore has got me even more paranoid. Did it look like Iverson?”
“I couldn’t tell. Whoever it was was standing too far off for me to get any clear distinction. All I saw was a shadow.”
Hermione shivered. Their food came some minutes later, but an appetite for it had been lost. “You can’t stay there anymore, you do know that don’t you?”
Draco stared at her. She nodded encouragingly and added that he should stay with someone, and he immediately felt that he was being spoon-fed the very words he had uttered the previous night. “Anywhere you recommend?” He was smirking mischievously and Hermione couldn’t help but cup her hands about her face and reply just as wickedly as he was smirking.
“Nowhere comes to mind.”
“So I’ll sleep on the street then? Thanks a lot, Granger.”
Hermione laughed. She returned to her eating after asking him if he had ever tried lasagna before. Draco replied that he hadn’t all the while in the back of his mind he was begging her to spoil him rotten.
The lasagna didn’t take long to make, especially with magical assistance. Normally Hermione refused to cook with magic, but this time she decided upon an exception. All the while in the kitchen Draco took the time to inspect the house out of security, not curiosity. By the time he was finished checking every corner of the place the meal was completed and Hermione held her breath for what Draco had to say about it.
Though the man should be grateful for being fed, not everything Hermione made elicited a “bravo” from him. More than once she had threatened to throw a pan at him for heavily critiquing what it was she had fed him with. But today was different. After one bite Draco was nodding with approval and digging in. Hermione was glad that she didn’t have to bash his brains in.
That meal however had ended several minutes ago. The dirtied dishes and silverware were washed and dried and instead of leaving, Draco had taken up space on her sofa. Hermione had followed him there and enticed him in conversation about mundane things –how she’d found her house, what kind of neighbors she had, and other things of the like. Draco listened intently, but it was obvious that his mind was elsewhere. Hermione, too, found that her mind was elsewhere. She was talking nonstop, but the words weren’t registering nor did they hold any meaning. Draco stopped her rant.
“Why aren’t you put off by me anymore?”
Hermione was awed by his question. She shrugged and gently wriggled in her seat. “I could ask you the same question. But I guess…after living with you for a solid month…you grew on me.”
Draco huffed. It wasn’t a snobby sort of huff, but rather one of comprehension, and soon he nodded. “Don’t let anyone hear you say that. Someone might lock you away for insanity.”
“…Do people have a reason to lock you away as well?” Hermione asked hesitantly. Draco stared at her and noticed how innocent she looked. She sat there in her favorite position as always, and her hands were cupped and resting on her thigh. Her face looked extraordinarily youthful; almost resembling how a child would look at awaiting a present they were dying to get.
Immediately Draco grew self-conscious. Surely he was flushed for the thousandth time around this woman and with the reddening of his face came a sudden adrenaline rush. He didn’t know what his actions would cost him, but if only for a few seconds of contentment and satisfaction, then so be it. Draco reached over and kissed her.
It was chaste. It was innocent even. His lip must’ve touched hers for a fraction of a second and soon he found himself sitting back in his original position as if he hadn’t moved. He didn’t dare look in Hermione’s direction. If he had he would’ve seen her bewildered face. Soon she stood from the sofa and Draco didn’t know where she’d gone. His eyes were heavily focused on the coffee table in front of him. When Hermione began speaking however, her voice came from behind him.
“Circumstances change, Malfoy. I stand by what I said at the Leaky Cauldron, but I have to add something to it. You may have meant what you said back at the cottage, but who’s to say that it’ll stay the same? You’re back in your natural environment; you’re proper life. So am I. It’ll do nothing but fade, I’m sure of it.”
“Tell me something. How long does it take something to fade?”
Hermione stared at the back of Draco’s head. She sighed deeply as she imagined running her hands through his hair. “I don’t know. I guess...It depends. Depends on how deep the feeling is.”
Draco stood. He walked around the sofa to where Hermione was and stood directly in front of her. He stared at her and asked firmly, “Do you think it’ll fade tonight?”
“…I don’t know.”
“I’ll take that answer.”
Draco placed a hand on the back her neck and pulled her into him. He kissed her again. Hermione reacted to him immediately and he could feel all the uncertainty she had drain from her. She kissed him back fiercely, and Draco could in no way tell if either of them was breathing through the nose. He concluded that they weren’t by the burning in his chest from a lack of oxygen, or maybe it was the fact that Hermione had gripped the collar of his shirt tightly in her hands and he enjoyed the roughness of it.
The kiss broke apart with a slow sweetness that left Draco and Hermione breathless. They stood there, his shirt clasped in her hands, his hands firmly around her waist, keeping their bodies close to one another –almost as though they were cuddling for warmth.
“Do you think it’ll fade?” Draco asked again in a whisper. Hermione stared at him and took a deep breath.
“…I hope not.”
author's note: 'ello everyone!!! and it's been about a week since the last post, so here you go! i'm completely wired from a 5-hr nap, so i thought i'd give you the gift of a post lol ^_^
and well, now you know what draco was thinking when he woke up with hermione in his arms and now they're friendlier than they were before, yey!!!! hope that you guys liked the chap and more shall be on the way as always :)