Chapter 1 : The Bed Problem
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It began halfway through the first night. He was awoken by the loud shrieks and screams she emitted.
All night long.
He had retched and vomited until his throat was red and sore.
It was a consecutive thing. Every single night the same thing. Over and over.
He reacted to it badly.
It was the fifth night, where her bloodcurdling cries surrounded him like a cacophony of pain and unadulterated torture, reducing him to a child-like state; he had grasped his ears in a weak attempt to block her voice, then mustered some ability to cast a weedy Silencing spell, her voice resounding in his aching head still.
It was then it hit him. Like an epiphany, it jerked him from half consciousness.
It would never end.
“Wh-what?” She mumbled tiredly, twisting her body away from his towering figure. He glowered at her.
“Get up! When I asked you to wait five minutes for me so we can go to this bloody meeting together, I didn’t say for you to start snoring on the sofa! We’re going to be late now!” He said, clearly annoyed. She rubbed her eyes before languidly sitting up on the couch.
“You go,” she murmured in a sleepy tone. “I’ll catch up in a minute.”
“No you bloody well won’t!” He retorted indignantly. “This is the third time I’ve had to wake you up so we could go to a meeting, and each of those times we’ve been late! Because of you!” He added, stuffing her bag into her arms and tapping his foot edgily. “Come on!”
“Okay, okay!” She shouted back, irritated. “I’m getting up, move out of my damn way.” Huffily, he made his way out of their shared dormitory, holding the portrait door open in a faux attempt of chivalry. Quickly, in order to avoid any more Malfoy outbursts, Hermione walked through the portrait hole, Draco following in tow.
As they descended to the usual room they held Prefects’ meetings in, Draco asked her. “Why are you always so tired nowadays?”
Tightly, she replied. “I don’t sleep much at night.” She shrugged. “I’ve been studying.”
Draco scoffed. “Right… and I’m meant to believe that? Come on Granger, I share the same space as you; therefore I know your little annoying habits and schedules. By now, all your studying and homework for the next month and probably more would have been completed. If you’re going to lie, you could try a little better.” He meant to come across as teasing, but somehow, it had sounded offensive.
And Hermione was offended. “Why do you care anyway Malfoy? Ever heard a thing called ‘mind your own fucking business’?” She sped up her walking pace as much as she could, which Malfoy met gracefully with his long strides. Damn those legs, she thought resentfully.
He tutted, a smirk on his face. “Language Granger, language. We wouldn’t want anyone thinking that the pure, innocent Gryffindor Princess was using foul words now would we?”
She glared at him, her russet coloured eyes marred with dark bags. Heaving a deep sigh to calm herself down, she said. “Can you please leave me be? If your ignorant eyes haven’t noticed yet, I’m tired and clearly not in the mood.”
Draco looked at her oddly, before saying. “If you want to go rest, I guess I could err… do the meeting alone.” He offered. After all, a content Hermione was better than a sleep-deprived, cranky Hermione.
“It’s fine,” she said tersely. “Thank you but I’d rather this meeting flew by perfectly rather than sleeping and dealing with the mess you would create. We’re here.” Before he could retort, she pushed the door open, quickly hurrying to the front of the room, quietening the boisterous Prefects' down.
Draco watched from afar as she worked on telling the Prefects what to do. He spoke whenever it was necessary but left her to instruct them. Sparing a quick glance at his watch, he sighed softly as he noticed that Hermione and he would be going to bed soon.
Two months had passed, and the same thing happened still.
He tried putting vials of Dreamless Sleep Potion on her side of the bathroom in an effort for her to drink it and sleep.
It was all in vain.
He may not be hearing her screams of pain, but he knew they were there.
And it affected him just as much.
“Malfoy! Stop leaving your potions lying around!” Hermione shouted from the bathroom. Groaning in frustration, Draco rubbed his eyes.
“Just put them away for me! You know where they go anyway!” He yelled back, returning to his homework.
The sound of a door opening was heard, but Draco did not look away from his essay. Hermione descended the stairs clumsily, holding two vials of purple liquid.
“Malfoy?” She called quietly.
“Yes?” He murmured back, refusing to look away from his work.
“Are these yours?” She asked. Sighing, Draco tore his gaze away from the parchment, his eyes widening significantly at the two distinguishing vials of Dreamless Sleep Potion in her hand, mild shock evident in his eyes.
“Well… yes.” He told her. She came and sat on the couch next to his crouched legs.
“Can I borrow some?” She tentatively questioned, looking at her nimble fingers. He watched her fidget for a minute, her fingers looking like they could break at Draco’s touch. Her thin waist hidden under a baggy hoodie, her face was still visible.
Hermione Granger is now a shell of what she used to be.
“Why?” He probed. “Why do you need DSP?”
Exasperated, she shortly told him. “I’ve been having some trouble sleeping, can I take some?”
Eying her narrowly, he shrugged. “Of course, take all you need.”
Mistake. He shouldn’t have given it to her.
Unknown doses wearing off after a while, she began wailing halfway through the night.
No Silencing spell casted, he heard it all in agonising grief.
He laid there, wand in hand, too feeble to perform the one spell he was definitively weak at.
“Hey Granger?” He said softly, coming out of the shadows he was engulfed in. She looked up from near the fireplace.
“Yes Malfoy?” She responded. He crossed the room and joined her, sitting cross-legged opposite her and gazing into the amber sparks the fireplace released. She looked at him expectantly.
“Do you know how to do strong Silencing spells?” He asked hesitantly, afraid of the emotions and truths it would spark up.
Taken aback, she stuttered. “Err… y-yeah; yeah I do know how to do them.”
“Can you teach me?” He asked tonelessly.
Tilting her head slightly and looking at him peculiarly, she agreed.
They had spent the next two hours on that one spell, though the question in Hermione’s mind never ceased to end. Why the sudden need to learn a stronger Silencing spell?
He worked hard to get it right, eager to learn the spell as some sort of comfort from her chilling cries. After a following hour and a sweaty Draco, he had finally accomplished a strong Silencing spell.
“Well done,” Hermione congratulated, smiling. “I taught you well!”
He smirked at her. “Don’t get too happy, I already knew the fundamentals.”
She shook her head, smiling softly. “So why was it so weak when we began?”
Her innocent, unknowing smile had no idea. She was so oblivious. Oblivious to what she did every night, the way she haunted him every night.
“I wasn’t trying hard.” He muttered, lame as the excuse went, she believed it and hopped off to meet her friends.
She could never know.
He faced the demons tonight, willing himself not to react so horribly. He couldn’t understand why she was able to keep up with this façade. It appeared to be getting to him more than it was her. She was able to look her friends in the eyes with her deceitful look and act normal while he was withering before his best friend’s eyes.
He removed her spell. It wasn’t strong today, he couldn’t blame her. After all, Weaselbee had as much elegance as a toad. Confessing his undying love for another in front of his ex-lover was not his best move.
Especially if the ex-lover was still in love with him.
Her screams plunged him out of his deep thoughts like a bucket of ice water. They never seemed to cease in decibels, always the same. She cried aloud and he physically shuddered. He could barely deal with it, how was she?
He heard movement inside the room. She must be thrashing around.
Tearing. Ripping. Howling.
The heart-wrenching sobs that followed after affected him worse than the yells.
“I don’t understand what you see in him.” Draco mused aloud as she sat by the fire doing homework and he watching her.
“Who?” She asked lightly, her quill scratching mercilessly away at the parchment.
“Weasel.” He said, she stiffened somewhat, putting down the quill and joining him on the settee, grabbing a pillow.
After a moment of thinking, she asked. “Have you ever been in love?” He shook his head.
“Then you wouldn’t understand,” she smiled sadly. “I’ve loved him for so long, for all that he is. I don’t care how he acts, I care for him, he’s been there in each time we risked our lives, he saved me, and he loved me too at one point… I just wasn’t good enough for him so he moved on. I’m just not quite there yet.”
“Whatever that may be, but can’t you see? Merlin did you a favour. He showed you that Weasley wasn’t good enough for you! See this as a blessing and widen your horizon! Get over Weasley, I can assure you that that ship has sailed and docked in another region, so it’s about time you start cruising as well.” He advised, she just shook her head dejectedly.
“He was the only person I’ve ever loved,” she whispered, tears gathering in her eyes. “I still do.”
“Listen Granger, I don’t see the point of you crying over him. How many litres of necessary body water have you wasted on that graceless idiot? I say no more. He’s not worth it, despite everything you both went through, it’s all over now. The Dark Lord’s gone and Weasel’s moved on so quickly, it’s about time you move on too.”
It angered him exceedingly. How could she still have feelings for that mutt? Even after he dumped her so callously and uncaringly? Didn’t she have any dignity? Why was she still pining over the loss of his love when she had bigger things to deal with? Why would she even fall for him in the first place? Hogwarts was packed with better looking men than carrot-topped Weasley and she’s in love with him? He didn’t understand how such a clever, attractive woman loved… that.
Awkwardly nearing her, he put an arm around her shoulders, attempting to comfort her. She hugged him tight, letting the tears flow onto his oxford shirt. She cried and cried and cried until her throat became raw, alongside her heart. She decided he was right.
He wanted to comfort her now. Just like he had done that day.
But he knew it was impossible.
He couldn’t do that, not when he was a mess himself.
A stronger mess though.
He looked longingly at the door, his heart dropping as he imagined the pain she was enduring.
One word ran through his brain.
She was getting better, he could see. Although not by much, but it was a start. Her days seemed happier as she gradually bypassed the yearning for Ron. Her relationship with her fellow Head continued to blossom, and she did not know how she felt about that. Neither did he.
Her friends were still blind and witless. What friends! So unconscious of Hermione. The true Hermione. She holds them in high honour, she loves them so much. Yet they are negligent of her, unfamiliar with the internal battle her emotions were having, they were heedless to her weight loss, her beloved friends, so preoccupied in their own issues they forget to lend an ear to hers.
He made no comment about it. After six months of living together, of hearing her every night and still he uttered not a single syllable about it.
He hadn’t mustered up the courage.
He was pleased with the healthy rate of their relationship though.
He was wrapped up in his thoughts about her; he didn’t notice her thin, despondent body walk into their shared living space. When she gloomily walked past him, knocking over a vase along the way did he snap out of his thoughts.
“Granger!” He exclaimed, grabbing his wand to repair the damage she had inflicted. “Reparo.” He looked at her glum face disbelievingly. “What did those idiots do now?” Her eyes snapped up to look at his. Stiffly, she walked past him and up the stairs. “Granger! Is it that time of the month or something? What’s got you pissed?” He asked, as she stopped stomping up the stairs, rounding to him and shooting the coldest glare he ever received from her.
“Fuck off Malfoy, I don’t want to talk to you.” She snapped before ascending the stairs. She slammed her room door loudly as Draco watched for a moment in surprise, then shook his head slightly, retiring to the comfy sofa and continuing to read his book, waiting for her to calm down.
After a while, soft steps were heard from above as Hermione descended down the steps. Glancing up from his Transfiguration book, a smirk flitted across his face as he noticed the ashamed look on her face.
“Coming to apologise are you? Took you long enough.” He said smugly, she shot him a withering look.
“What makes you think I’m coming to apologise for?” She said sharply. “I could be coming to pick up my books or—or going to the kitchens! Or Gryffindor tower. Why must you be such an arrogant arse that you still can’t see the world revolves around practically anything but you?” She retorted irately.
Putting the tome down and twisting his body to face the stairs, where she was standing, he haughtily questioned. “Then why is it you have come down here?”
She looked down, a fresh blush sprouting on her cheeks. “I…maybe I— well… Okay fine!” She threw her hands up in frustration. “I came to apologise, it wasn’t fair for me to vent at you, I was just so angry.” She sighed and came and sat next to him, crossing a leg underneath her. “I’m sorry.” She mumbled, genuinely apologetic.
“Apology accepted, but I must ask this question again, what did those idiots do now?” He smiled at her when her cheeks darkened and she fidgeted with the edge of a pillow. He was right; those bumbling prats were the reason for her cranky mood.
“Promise you won’t laugh and tell me I’m pathetic?” She muttered, somewhat self-consciously. He gazed at her for a moment, before agreeing to her terms.
“Harry and Ginny are spending the Hogsmeade day together and Ron and Lavender are too. I’m naturally uninvited, despite what they say, and I don’t want to go to Hogsmeade alone.” She told him quietly, her tone miserable. He looked at her oddly.
“So the daft duo are spending the day with their significant others, leaving you out of the mix.” He said knowingly, she nodded despondently. “Just spend the day with me then.” He said. She looked up at him, a quizzical look on her face.
“You want me to spend the whole day with you? What about your friends?” She asked, her voice laced with surprise at his preposition.
“Well you are going to be alone and so will I, Theo’s come down with a nasty case of the cold so he’s not going to be out for a while and the rest of the Slytherins either view me as a traitor or aren’t worth my time, so we might as well go together.” He said reasonably, while she still looked at him in shock, a pink flush settling on her cheeks. “Why? What’s the matter Granger? Afraid to spend some time with me outside of school?” He said cheekily, fondling with a loose curl. Her eyes widened at his question, and she shook her head adamantly, her tight brown hair flying about.
“What? N—no! Why would you— we’re going as just friends. Just friends.” She said strongly, though the redness in her cheek had still not resided.
“Whatever floats your boat Granger.”
He was touching dangerous waters. His feet were tickling them.
He still imagined her screams at night, he fell asleep thinking about her, waking up with them reverberating in his head. He still hated them; he was still unable to confront her.
Worst of all, he was gradually falling for her.
What a mistake it was to return to Hogwarts!
He viewed her in a different light now; he couldn’t help but notice the beauty behind the normal-looking features of hers. Brown eyes, brown hair, pink lips, pale skin, everything was so dull! So usual! So why did he find her astoundingly beautiful?
It wasn’t dull though. Not anymore. The simplicity of her was her beauty, brown eyes that shone bright in excitement, dulled low in sadness, spewed fire when angry, brown hair that were curly and rambunctious, that flew rampantly when she made a sudden movement, so normal yet so unique, capturing her personality in few words. Pink lips, full and pert, when smiling, so astounding Draco is left speechless. This could not be happening.
He knew he had feelings for her. He could not deny the brutal fact that he was attracted to her. Her mind, her body, her looks, even her annoying idiosyncrasies! He was gradually falling deep, and he knew he could do nothing to stop it, no matter how hard he tried.
So when Dumbledore thrust the planning of a Hogwarts ball for seventh years upon the Heads, Draco was internally groaning in frustration. The old coot! Why did he have to set them a project? Especially one that would require spending lots of time and close space with her? He couldn’t do this, he just couldn’t! It would kill his self-restraint!
She was as happy as can be, and it made him smile when he saw that there was more life behind her soulless eyes. She was more active, less tired and Draco wondered whether she was sleeping better, he would have to find out. She was still so worn out, so worn out. Dead inside with a spark that she couldn’t find the will to ignite, but she was trying. Draco could see that. Oh how Draco wished he could help her! How he wished he could tell her what he knew! Why couldn’t he just come clean? Feelings included? She had the right to know. But Draco didn’t have a single brave bone in his chest.
She would have to wait.
The ball had taken up all their free time. Draco didn’t know it was this hard to organise an event, even for a group of students. He always dragged himself to bed at late hours, Hermione doing the same. He was out cold before he could register what was occurring in the adjacent room. It was so tiring, Draco couldn’t wait for it to be over, he willed it to end quickly. Then he realised.
He needed a date.
“Hey Granger?” He said, breaking the forty five minutes of blessed silence they were basking in.
“Yes Draco?” She replied, not looking up from the parchment she was furiously scribbling on. It was so odd, he called her by her last name yet she was so comfortable to address him by his first. Shouldn’t it have been the other way around? It was so confusing, but then again, this acquaintance was nothing but mind-boggling.
“Do you have a date for the ball?” He didn’t know why he asked that. He didn’t know where this conversation was leading to, but he knew that he might as well have been swimming in the pond he had been so desperate to escape. She stopped writing, what had he done?
“No, no I don’t. Why do you ask?” She asked him, turning her head to look at him. Casting a calm exterior although his conscience was screaming at him to shut the fuck up, he continued.
“No reason, it’s just… I don’t have a date either.” He told her pathetically, smiling sheepishly. What? Get it together Malfoy! You look sappy! His subconscious scolded him. Why did he just tell her that? Why? He winced at his own stupidity, mentally berating himself for making such a grave error. When will the mortification begin? When will the mocking smile spread on her lovely face and start laughing? When will she begin to humiliate him for—?
“Oh. Would you like to go with me then?” She asked brightly. He paused, looking at her as if she was insane. Her cheeks inflamed, and she ducked her head down. “A—as friends I mean, just—friends.” She finished lamely, smiling awkwardly. Why did she always drop that line on him? Doesn’t she realise his mood drops when she claims to be ‘just friends’? Didn’t she see the man who had witnessed her get tortured, heard her scream raw, fancied the pants off her and wanted to be more than that but was just too cowardly?
No, the answer was she didn’t see that.
“Heads are required to dance the first dance…” he mumbled thoughtfully, dropping his head so she wouldn’t see the defeat in his eyes. “Yeah, sure I’ll go with you. As friends.” He added, a foul tone mixed in his words, which he quickly recognised as bitterness. Thankfully, she didn’t catch on. For such an intelligent girl, she was such a naïve Gryffindor.
“Great!” She smiled brightly. “Well that’s a development. I guess I should go tell Ginny so we can go dress shopping! See you in a while.” She said happily, gathering her parchment and stacking it to the side, a spring in her step as she walked out. He dismissed that thought.
‘Just friends’ huh? Well I’ll show you more than that.
He wondered what was happening on the other side.
Sitting there, staring at the ceiling of his four-poster bed, he speculated if he could go to her room, if he could comfort her like he desired to.
Her Silencing Spells were completely impenetrable, she had inevitably strengthened them.
He would never hear if she was okay from his room.
He groaned. Will his thoughts of her ever end?
“Granger! How long does it take to put on a dress?” Draco shouted from the bottom of the stairs, tapping against it impatiently with his foot.
“A lot more time than you would think!” She yelled back from her room. “I’m coming now! Wait a minute!” A rush of footsteps and a door opening was heard from above, and Draco stood upright, clad in his finest dress robes, awaiting his date.
Soft taps were heard from above as Hermione walked downstairs. Draco swivelled around on his heel, mesmerised as his eyes hit Hermione.
Walking down the steps hesitantly, Hermione looked positively astounding. Dressed in an emerald silk green gown that flowed to her feet naturally and elegantly, Hermione looked angelic with light make-up adorning her face and her bushy hair sleeked back into a half up do. So innocent, so unaware of the torture she not only feels, but Draco feels too. His desire for her multiplied as she descended the stairs, reaching him.
He was gobsmacked. His mouth was unable to move. He just stood there, staring at the beauty before him.
She self-consciously played with her painted fingernails. “What?” She said.
He cleared his throat in an attempt to regain his speech. “N-nothing, you er… you look very…” He didn’t know what to say. ‘Beautiful’ did not skilfully describe how she looked right now. She was more than that. Way more than that.
“Umm… thanks?” She said uncertainly, an awkward chuckle escaping her tainted red lips. “Shall we go? We have to go check everything before everyone comes down.” Draco nodded, still staring at her, a feral look in his eyes. She shifted uncomfortably before walking to the portrait hole, Draco tailing behind her to get a good look at her firm behind. He smirked, slowly regaining his old posture.
Striding to walk side by side with Hermione, he clasped her hand in his gently. She looked at their intertwined hands in surprise then looked at him. “What are you doing?” She asked curiously. He chuckled.
“I’m holding your hand, promoting house unity and what not. Don’t worry; I won’t give you any cooties.” She smiled at him, once again captivating him with her attractiveness. He knew she noticed the heated look in his eyes, judging by the way she quickly looked away, suddenly flushed.
Together, they walked down to the Great Hall, which was magnificently decorated by the house elves. Hermione looked around, her eyes wide and bright, shining with excitement. The Great Hall did look wonderful, and it was theirs for the night.
Hermione dragged Draco to the kitchens, holding her dress up carefully in her hands. When she tickled the pear and entered the kitchens, she cleared her throats and thanked the house elves, gushing over the design of the Great Hall. Draco rolled his eyes, typical Hermione.
When the clock chimed six, Draco and Hermione re-entered the Great Hall, now filled with excited students, dressed specially for the occasion. This was the last ball they’d ever have at Hogwarts; the realisation hit him blindly in the face. After a few months, they’d be leaving their second home for the past eight years and joining the adults in the outside world.
Draco placed his hand at the small of Hermione’s back, guiding her to the dance floor. She smiled at him tentatively when he placed a hand on her small waist, capturing her hand with his when she laid her hand on his shoulder. When Draco noticed the significantly large amount of space between them, he pulled her closer to his chest, ignoring her surprised yelp. Slowly, they began dancing, waltzing to the music. Teachers soon began joining around them, students soon after. He twirled her around, pulling her closer, still swaying to the music. It was a wonderful moment, caught in a memory forever. Soon after, she grew more and more comfortable, leaning her head into his chest, sighing contently.
“This feels nice,” she remarked. He moved his head subtly to smell her hair. Cinnamon and lavender, she smelt amazing.
“It does,” he conceded.
“Thank you.” She whispered softly.
“Why are you thanking me?”
“Because I would’ve been alone and lonely if it wasn’t for you.” She told him.
“You asked me to go to the dance with you though.” He said, confused. Her scent muddled with his brain.
“I’m not talking about the dance.”
They fell into a comfortable silence after, moving to the music still. He was incredibly light on his feet, and was able to guide Hermione through the dance easily. They had been dancing for a while now, and Hermione’s feet were aching.
“Can we stop for some time?” She asked.
“Sure, let’s go outside,” he offered. Together they left the Great Hall, moving towards the front entrance. “Let’s go to the lake.”
When they arrived there, Draco conjured up a blanket and laid it underneath the large oak tree, sitting down and signalling Hermione to do the same. She sat closer to him than he expected, and leaned her head on his shoulder, looking out at the lake.
“At the Manor, there was a lake there just like this one,” Draco said. “It was my favourite place; I loved it more than I loved my room. When my parents used to have their friends over or were fighting, I used to hide out there. It was a bit far from the Manor, and it was truly wonderful… so serene and calm, it was my little place that no-one knew about.
“When the Dark Lord took residence up at the Manor, and I had failed his orders to kill Dumbledore, he tortured me until he found out about it, and then burnt it down. He ruined the whole landscape; dried up the water, burnt down the trees… everything was gone.” He said bitterly. She gasped silently. “I started hating him then, and it just grew slowly, then when he killed my personal house elf, I snapped.” He had never told anyone this, and he didn’t know why he was telling her. It was a personal thing, one which still hurt him as much as it did that day. His chest felt a little lighter, and he stroked her hair softly. “No-one knew. You’re the first.” It had confirmed his suspicions; those dangerous waters he was touching were now what he was swimming in.
She snuggled closer to his touch, and shivered slightly as he began stroking her arm. “You trust me enough to tell me something so private?” He nodded.
“I do.” He knew it was his feelings, betraying him into a false sense of comfortability. But he couldn’t help it, she had such a tremendous effect on him, and she was so unaware of it. It was both frustrating and endearing at the same time.
They stayed quiet for some time, enjoying the view and basking in each other’s ease. She sneaked an arm around his chest, seeking more of his warmth.
“Draco?” She said quietly.
“Yes Hermione?” She looked up at him, gazing into his grey eyes.
He stiffened up immediately, what did she know? Did she know he knew about her dreams? Did she know about his feelings?
“Know what?” He said nervously, looking at the determined look on her face.
“I know you know about my nightmares,” she said silently, looking down at her fidgeting hands. She was ashamed, he knew that.
How could she know? He never hinted out about it! He made sure he was quiet about her nights, and was adamant to remain like that until he could face up to his demons.
He was shaken. She knew he knew about what happened to her, she knew he was a coward. She knew.
“I— how?” He could barely string a sentence together; his mind was foggy, cluttered from her confession.
She scoffed. “DSP lying around? Sudden interest in my sleeping patterns? You asking me about Silencing spells? Come on Draco, you could’ve tried a little harder.” A faint smile flitted across her cheeks, but soon was washed away by weariness and looming sadness. “I notice the way you sometimes look distant when you see me in the morning, I see how you feel conflicted. I’m not stupid Draco.” She touched his cheek softly but he flinched, looking away from her. She was surprised, but inched her hand away.
“How long have you known for?” He questioned throatily.
“A while now, it took some time to figure it out.”
“And you never thought to tell me?” He said in hushed tones, but Hermione heard the anger behind it. “You never thought to let me know?”
She was momentarily speechless. He was right and she knew that. Why didn’t she tell him? He deserved to know! He was her roommate and she hid something like that from him!
“I— I don’t know why I didn’t tell you.” She sounded miserable for a moment. “I’m sorry Draco. I tried to tell you, I just… couldn’t.” A tear leaked from her eye and trailed down her cheek. Draco looked at her before brushing the tear away.
“Don’t say sorry to me.” He murmured, his hand holding her cheek. “I don’t deserve it, and you have nothing to say sorry for.”
“You don’t deserve it? Merlin Draco you deserve it more than anyone! You didn’t mention it to me for the past seven months and yet you still heard it; you were still affected by it. I can’t apologise enough.” She replied despondently, moving away.
“What? No! I was a coward! I didn’t try to help you! I didn’t calm you down like I should’ve… I was weak! Why are you— why are you blaming yourself?” He said exasperatedly. “Hermione, you’re wrong.”
“Don’t tell me I’m wrong!” She hissed fiercely. “Don’t tell me that you were weak when I still dream about the war when so many others were more affected by it than I was! Don’t call yourself a coward! Don’t you dare lie to me!”
“Hermione we were all affected by the war! And most of us are still recuperating from it! We all just handle it in different ways! You are not weak, don’t say that. You were having nightmares yet you still studied and remained top of the class, you still handled your Head duties, you still were a friend to your friends! You were still Hermione. I should’ve helped… I should’ve done something… I’m sorry. I’m so, so sorry. I could’ve helped, I wanted to, you have to believe me, I wanted to so badly, I just… couldn’t and that is my fault.” He looked at her sadly, trying to get her to look at him but she refused to. “Don’t be ashamed of it. Don’t shy away from me.”
She laughed mirthlessly. “I did all of those because it was expected of me, and you can’t help me, I can’t be helped.” She was so broken, suddenly seeming so much older than she was. “I’m so tired Draco…” She moaned, sobbing into her hands.
“I can’t begin to understand what you feel; I just want to be there for you. Please let me be there, let me make it up to you.” He begged, wanting to tell her, wishing to say what he felt. But he couldn’t, not yet.
“How can I expect comfort from you when you can barely touch me?” She whispered vulnerably.
He looked at her, perplexed. “What nonsense is this…? Oh…” Understanding dawning on him, he crept up to her back, pressing his firm chest flush up her behind. Pushing away the bundled hair there, he softly kissed her neck. “Oh you don’t understand how much I want to touch you.” He said huskily, Hermione tensed, slowly turning around to him.
“W-what?” She spluttered, looking at him wide-eyed and shocked. He smirked.
Oh no, she won’t find out just yet.
He tipped her head up and looked at her squarely, she squealed, looking at him alarmingly. “Oh come on Hermione,” he purred. “You must’ve noticed.” She shook her head.
He leaned forward, smelling her hair and whispering in her ear. “I like you.” It sounded so odd, him telling her his feelings. He knew he’d have to tell her at one point, before he began shooting his load every time he thought about her. Moreover, he wanted a chance, even if its Gryffindor’s Golden Girl, he was hers. And he wanted her for more than the superficial things like her body and features.
He wanted her mind.
Like would do fine right now, although it didn’t even come close to what he felt for her.
She shivered, and he gently bit on her ear lobe.
“I— I did not know that.” She stated, clearing her throat. She looked up at his lust-filled eyes nervously. “Draco?” She said meekly.
He did it then. He seized her lips in a passionate kiss led by him. A hand moved to her hair and a groan escaped his lips as she slowly began moving to his speed, matching his rhythm. Her hands linked around his neck and he pushed her closer, so close she was almost straddling him. He nibbled on her bottom lip, soothing it with his tongue then plunging into her mouth, not waiting for her permission. She moaned, eagerly awaiting his assault, sending her tongue to meet his. She wanted this just as much as he did.
He was absolutely ecstatic. She had replied to his advances just as fervently as he had presented it. What did it mean though? Were her dejected feelings fuelling this? Or did she feel something for him too? He was so lost in her, her scent, her soft body pressing up into his, her lips and that devious tongue…
Her hands crawled down to his chest and slowly she pulled away, gasping for air.
“Damn…” She muttered, touching her very swollen lips. He smirked at her, still holding her close. She looked delectable, puffy lips, dishevelled hair and that confused look on her face, contradicting the heat in her darkened eyes. “Why – what was that?”
“I believe that is what they call a kiss.” He answered smartly. She huffed, scowling at him.
“Draco… what was that?” She repeated, emphasizing heavily to make him understand.
“That was what I’ve wanted to do for a long time.” He admitted, stroking her hair away from her face. She softened at this, gazing at him strangely, cocking her head to a side.
“Sadly, yes.” He confirmed.
“You never thought to tell me?” She mimicked, repeating him. “You never thought to let me know?”
He frowned at her. “It’s not the same.”
“To me it is.” She answered. “When did it start?”
“A while now,” he said tartly, copying her earlier words. She smiled. “Why did you kiss me back?”
“Because,” she began, her smile widening. She kissed him softly on the lips. “I happen to like you too.”
That night had given him courage.
No longer did he shy away from her issue, but confronted it bravely.
Not immediately though.
A couple of nights had passed, and on the eve of April Fools’, he had done it.
He entered her room and faced the one thing he was afraid of.
All for love.
All for her.
And yet it still had not stopped.
“Draco? Can I speak with you?” Hermione asked when she reached the Slytherin table. Draco looked up at her, muttering a quick ‘sure’.
“I’ll see you in Potions Theo.” Draco said, grabbing his bag. Theodore nodded at him and Hermione. As they walked out of the Great Hall, Draco asked. “So what’s up Granger?”
She scoffed. “Don’t you think you should start calling me by my first name? I mean it’s only fair given I call you ‘Draco’.”
He shrugged nonchalantly, saying. “Force of habit refuses to let me do that, I’ve always called you Granger, I won’t be stopping anytime soon.”
“You didn’t call me ‘Granger’ that night.” She mumbled. He halted, turning to face her. She looked up at him in frustration. “Well we can’t just ignore it.”
He nodded slowly, drinking her words. “I know.”
She looked at him softly, calculating the conflicting feelings shown on his face, then suddenly, he straightened his back, his face cold and impassive, void of the emotions he was portraying less than a minute ago.
“Let’s talk about this in the common room,” he said stoically, and without waiting for a reply, walked off in the direction back to their shared dorm.
Stunned by his callous approach, she numbly followed in his direction, walking far behind him, watching his back as it retreated to their joint living area. She was confused, why did he act like that? Why did he so easily change his attitude towards her? One minute he was playful and nice, acting like Draco, her friend (and possibly more), then in the next, he’s icy and stoic, reverting back to Malfoy. He addled with her brains when he acted like that; it was as though he had a split personality, and Hermione was never sure when he’d change personalities.
He stormed up to their common room, saying the password and walking straight in, leaving Hermione outside. Tearfully, she repeated the password and the portrait swung open, revealing the portrait hole. Wiping the unshed tears in her eyes, she walked in slowly, where Draco was sitting on the sofa, his head in his hands.
She marched over to the sofa and towered over him, waiting for him to say something.
He stayed quiet.
“You’re insufferable you know that?” She said lowly, her voice laced with anger and hurt. “I wanted to talk about this, I wanted to understand and resolve this maturely. I wanted to –” She struggled, unsure of what to say, she glowered at his unmoving body. “Say something!” She hissed furiously, her fingers furling into curled fists. When he made no movements and did not utter a word, she pushed at his shoulders irately. Still he did not look up. “Don’t ignore me like a coward Draco! What are you so scared of, huh? Afraid of the fact that you dirtied yourself by kissing a mudblood? What? DRACO!” This time, her fury made her violent. She kneeled and pulled his hands away from his hair, pushing his head to look at his eyes roughly by the hair. “I told you to say something. Talk. Now.”
He searched her eyes frantically, an alarmed look clouding his eyes. He looked at her helplessly, and then his eyes settled on her lips. His eyes darkened when he called upon memories. He leaned forward and then did something he did before.
He kissed her.
It wasn’t like the other one. It wasn’t hot or salacious, thriving with passion and desire. It was a slow one, sweet and perfect. Simply lips and nothing else. His lips contradicted his manner, making her feel at dispute with herself and torn. A tear slid down her cheek as she danced his tango, her unsatisfied desire for him intensifying by each touch. Finally, when it became too much for her to handle, she tore away from him, sitting as far away from him as she can.
More tears fell from her eyes as she asked. “Why are you doing this? Why are you playing with my feelings like this?” She sounded so shattered, so hurt. It was his entire fault, he did this to her.
Finding his voice, he answered hollowly. “I don’t want to.”
“But you are!” She hissed fiercely, facing him. Her face was riddled with tear tracks, her caramel eyes leaking salty water. “Why can’t you just tell me?”
“I can’t!” He retorted feebly, she snorted.
“Why Draco? Why?” She demanded, coming closer to him. She touched his arm, softly questioning. “Why are you confusing me?”
He faced her, wiping away her tears, kissing her eyelids delicately. “Because I’m confused myself.” She sobbed harder, until Draco crashed her body into hers, offering his shoulder for her to cry on.
“Do you love me?” Hermione asked uncertainly after some time as he rubbed her back soothingly. He froze, completely taken aback by her question. Hermione, upon noticing this, quickly rectified her question. “Sorry I— I shouldn’t have –”
“I — I don’t know,” he said. Noticing her slumped shoulders, he continued in a murmur. “Maybe? Yes? I have no idea. It’s all new to me; I’ve never felt like this for a girl. I just – all I know is that you invade my mind all the time, you’re just there. I don’t see you as a friend or acquaintance anymore, you’re more… I don’t know how to explain myself.” He sighed forlornly, “All I want to do is kiss you and ravish you and do unholy things to you.” He smirked when he heard her gasp and watched her cheeks redden. Softly, he confirmed. “Yes, I think I am in love with you.” It was so different, he had never told someone he loved them, and he definitely didn’t think he’d be telling her. It was out in the open now, she knew, and it felt like a weight had been lifted off his shoulders. He smiled.
It was as if her shattered heart had suddenly repaired itself at his affirmation. She couldn’t believe it, she didn’t. She waited so long… he must be playing her. “You’re lying, you can’t… you love me?” It didn’t sound right, it felt completely opposite though. She didn’t… he didn’t…
Fresh tears claimed her eyes, leaking and residing on her flushed cheeks. It couldn’t be true… could it? He seemed honest, and he did kiss her twice.
“Be with me.” He said suddenly, pulling her up to look at him.
They lay together in a spooned position, finally connected.
Spiritually and physically, they were joined.
A match so wrong, but infallibly right.
It was all over. They had both finally confronted their fears.
For the first time in ten agonizingly painful months, Hogwarts was free from a young woman’s haunted screams and a young man’s silent tears.
I hope you enjoyed it! Thank you for reading and please do review, I'm really eager to know what you thought about this.