Chapter 1 : Prologue: Split-Second Decision
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She was reading Romeo and Juliet for about the fifteenth time and eating her ice cream very slowly, as she was focused on the play. Malfoy observed a few tears trickle down her cheek and felt his heart wrench a little. He didn’t know why it did that, but he did know he didn’t take joy in seeing the girl cry like he used to in their sixth year. It had been a few months since the death eater trials, of which the Golden Trio had played a major role. For Malfoy himself, Granger was the one who had made the biggest donation to acquitting him of all accusations and allowing him to return to Hogwarts to finish his education. Obviously, she had seen something in him, something that was trying to escape the grip of the darkness within him, something yearning for her to give him a second chance. He let his mind wander back to that wonderful night that would change his view of the muggle-born, never again mudblood, witch forever.
12:45 a.m., 6 March.
I was walking down a deserted corridor of Hogwarts on the sixth floor lost in my thoughts when a disturbance interrupted my train of thought. What is that noise? I thought to myself, turning the corner and stopping in my tracks, staring open-mouthed at what I had just stumbled upon. Hermione Granger was sitting against the wall, knees drawn up, head in her arms, crying her eyes out. I didn’t know whether to go up to her and try to comfort her, or just give her my usual snide comments and rude remarks. I chose the former, and cautiously sat down beside her and awkwardly put my arm across her shoulders.
“Shh, it’s okay, you’re okay. Stop crying, you don’t need to do that. There you go, Hermione,” I tried to say soothingly. Hermione, eh? You’ve outdone yourself Draco, I thought when I said her first name instead of her last. Her name. I couldn’t get it out of my head. Damn, something was really screwing with my mind. Hermione’s sobs lessened after a minute until they stopped completely.
“M…m…Malfoy? W…what are you doing here? Why are y…you here?” Hermione stammered, yet she didn’t move out from under my arm. I relaxed slightly before replying.
In truth, she actually kind of liked it; always had, the so-called Slytherin prince and sex god with his chiseled jaw and stormy grey eyes and defined muscles and that trademark smirk he threw her way so often, even in taunting.
He took a moment to reply, then said, “Because I care, Granger. Because I care.” She took a shaky breath and turned her head towards his, only to find he was already looking at her. She felt an electric current race across her skin when their eyes locked. Guided by her instincts, she leaned her head in just a little bit. Malfoy, feeling the exact same thing, leaned in the rest of the way to breach the distance between them completely and did the one thing he never thought he would.
He kissed Hermione Granger, and he liked it.