I woke up to loud banging sounds coming from Malfoy’s room. Groaning, I rolled over and looked at the clock. It was only half past eight. I slid out of bed onto the carpet, Crookshanks meowing angrily at me for leaving him. The banging sounds continued, so I opened my door, crossed the hallway in a stride and a half and barged into Malfoy’s room, an angry remark waiting on the tip of my tongue.
My anger faded into pure confusion as I watched Malfoy digging through his school trunk, wardrobe, and dresser, clearly looking for something important. I leaned on the doorframe, crossing my arms and jutting my hip out. He didn’t notice my presence at all, so after he leaned halfway into his trunk, I loudly protested, “For the love of Merlin, what are you doing?” I held in a snigger as he nearly fell all the way in.
He shot a glare at me and snapped, “I’m looking for something important. That bloody house elf must’ve stowed it somewhere!” Malfoy resumed digging in his dresser, throwing out all manner of clothing items.
“She’s a house elf, remember?” I snarkily reminded him.
Malfoy dropped his head in shame and mumbled her name. With a loud crack Starry appeared next to the window.
Starry looked incredibly happy to have been called upon. “Master Draco called?”
“Yes. Please, don’t call me that, it makes me sound too much like my father. Only call me Draco, no titles or formalities needed. The same goes for Hermione here as well,” he instructed. Starry nodded her head vigorously in understanding. “I’m looking for a certain family heirloom I brought along with me. It’s got the Malfoy coat of arms on it and holds a lot of meaning to me. I’ve looked everywhere for it and haven’t found it yet, and I’ve completely destroyed all of your hard work.”
The little house elf snapped her fingers once; all of Malfoy’s clothing, schoolbooks, and other possessions flew back into their proper places. Starry then crossed over to the bookshelf and beckoned Malfoy over. She pointed at something on one of the shelves and whispered something to him I couldn’t make out. He nodded, politely thanked her, and sauntered up to me. I raised an eyebrow in slight appreciation at his manner with her.
“Unless you’ve got something you need Starry to do for you, she can be dismissed for now,” he said.
I replied, “At the moment I don’t have anything, considering I was enjoying a good sleep before your banging about woke me up.” I turned to Starry and said, “Thanks for helping out this early in the morning, Starry. We’ll call you if we need you again.” The house elf curtsied and disappeared with a loud crack.
I was taking in Malfoy’s bedroom when he cleared his throat rather pointedly. “What?” I snapped.
“It’s only the first morning and you’re already out to get me! Look, if we can manage to survive today, I think we can handle nine months. My policy is that I’ll respect your privacy if you respect mine; oh, and civility wouldn’t be a bad thing either. Do you think you can manage that?” Malfoy proposed, his eyes searching my own questioningly.
“I suppose that’s logical,” I said slowly in an attempt to draw out the inevitable. “But I get the bathroom at night to shower, and you are not allowed in until I am completely dressed!” I stressed.
He waved a hand dismissively. “Fine, fine, whatever. Well I’m going to take a shower now but I wouldn’t mind having someone to walk down to breakfast with later, if you don’t mind being in the prolonged company of an ex-Death Eater,” he said, his tone jovial but his eyes serious.
“I don’t mind at all,” I answered, tentatively smiling.
The hardness in his eyes softened for a moment before the mask returned, concealing everything behind porcelain. Malfoy motioned me out of the doorway so he could close his door. I clumsily stepped backwards, narrowly avoiding an embarrassing trip over my own feet. He shut the door almost before I was out of the way. I harrumphed and returned to my room.
Figuring that Malfoy probably took forever to beautify himself, I got ready for the day myself. I put on a pair of jeans, a tan shirt under a black cardigan, and black ballet flats. Taming my hair with a quick spell from my wand, I did one last once-over in the full-length mirror next to the wardrobe.
Satisfied, I grabbed Hamlet and went down to the common room to get through more of it. I was just about to start the climactic Act V when I heard one door open and close, and then a second one do the same a few seconds later. Finally, Malfoy’s bedroom door opened and closed for the last time, and I listened to him walk down to the common room. Setting my book down on the coffee table, I stood and picked up my wand, stuffing it into my back pocket.
I turned around and my eyes went wide at what I saw. Malfoy was dressed neatly in a deep green shirt with his sleeves rolled halfway and dark pants and trainers.
“What, Granger, never seen expensive clothing?” he smirked.
Startled, I shook my head and smartly replied, “No, I’ve just never seen you in such casual clothing, is all. You could almost fit in to the muggle world with that.”
Apparently Malfoy wasn’t in the mood to argue, as he changed the subject. “What book are you reading now? I thought you’d already read everything in the world by now.”
I was genuinely surprised at his interest in my reading habits. “It’s Hamlet by William Shakespeare. He’s a muggle playwright from—“ he cut me off.
“I know who Shakespeare is, Granger. I’m not completely ignorant in terms of literature. Far from it, in fact,” he said, his face slowly warming up from its usual frostiness. “I like Shakespeare’s work well enough, but I believe Mark Twain’s works are more relevant in today’s world and illustrate social inequalities that are still present today in both muggle and wizarding society.”
Dumbfounded, it took me a moment to collect my thoughts to give an intelligent answer. “I would agree on that fact, but Shakespeare has some of the greatest, well-known works, ever. His comedies and tragedies alike all have lessons to be learned from the story told, and how ridiculous some things are, like Romeo & Juliet. The preposterousness of Romeo and Juliet wanting to get married after knowing each other for less than a day just to rebel against their families is a reflection of how families during that time were ridiculously worried about who their children should marry so they could get more money. An idea that is simply ridiculous, in my opinion. Shakespeare’s too, I’d like to think.”
Malfoy nodded his head, absorbing my statements. Subconsciously, we had started the walk down to breakfast, already making it out of the portrait hole and down past the seventh year dormitory. We continued our literature discussion, going all the way through classical literature and up to more recent books like Lord of the Flies and Pride & Prejudice.
We rounded the corner to go down the moving staircases, still discussing heartily. As we reached the staircase closest to us, I noticed the usual hubbub of students going to breakfast was missing. I looked down, and all of the students below, above, and around us were just staring at us, stuck in place like this was the most improbable thing they’d ever seen.
“—so you see, Granger? Mr. Darcy just could not appreciate Elizabeth in the beginning because he didn’t understand her fire and how her upbringing had given that to her, while his comfortable…” Malfoy trailed off. “Why is everyone bloody staring at us, Granger?” he murmured.
“Perhaps because we make an unusual pair,” I murmured back, hardly moving my lips.
“Oi, move along you lot! Nothing to see here!” Malfoy barked out, a smirk gracing his lips as everyone scattered immediately, afraid of losing House points before term really even began. “What were we discussing before this?” he asked politely.
“I believe you were prattling on about how Mr. Darcy didn’t deserve Elizabeth because she wasn’t ‘right’ for him,” I bantered. We finally reached the bottom of the moving staircases and joined the steady stream of teenagers in muggle clothing traipsing towards the Great Hall.
He chuckled. “Right, right. Well, as I was saying, I don’t think that Mr. Darcy should have waited so long to tell Elizabeth he wanted to marry her! It’s just cruel in my opinion. If you love someone, you should tell them immediately, not wait because it’s not proper manners or something stupid like that; it makes you seem thick. But I did enjoy that scene because she went out in the rain, where she very well could have gotten seriously ill, just to prove that she loved him and he loved her,” he shook his head. “The things people will do for love.”
I elbowed him in the ribs. “Why do you say that like it’s a bad thing? Isn’t doing anything for someone you love one of the great things humankind can do? Wouldn’t you do just about anything for your mother?” I countered.
“Yes of course, in a heartbeat,” he replied fluidly. “However, that doesn’t mean I’d put off telling the love of my life that I love her if it’s not the right moment. Once I find out it’s her, I’m going to tell her as soon as I possibly can because I want to love her and for her to love me for as long as the rest of our lives allow us to.”
A weird feeling settled in my stomach at Malfoy’s words. “Wow, I didn’t know you were the lovey-dovey sort, Malfoy! How adorable,” I said, my voice sickly-sweet, really rubbing his admission in.
“Oh bugger off, Granger. You’re the one who’s all lovey-dovey with Weasley anyway,” he gave me a smug smile.
“Considering the fact that we aren’t together, nor have we been since about a month after the Battle, I’d have to say you’re at least half-wrong with your statement,” I stated.
Malfoy gave me a baffled look. “Really? Good for you. I’d honestly pegged you as going for Potter because he seemed a little less thick, but he’s got Weaslette so that never worked out either then.”
He flinched as I swatted him on the arm. “They’re still my best friends, Malfoy!”
“All right, sorry! No need to be so punchy-feely!” he apologised.
“Why were you ever concerned about who I had an interest anyway, hmm?” I prodded.
“Well I knew how smart you were—you beat me at literally every class except Potions, remember—so if you settled for Weasley, I don’t think you would’ve been very happy because he can’t challenge you intellectually,” he said, “before you hit me again, let me explain. With what I’ve seen of Weasley, he’s not as bright as you are, so you’d be hard-pressed to have rational, in-depth discussions with him about anything besides Quidditch, something of which you have a general distaste for. You need someone who can challenge you in smarts and still has a kind heart. Potter’s got the kind heart, but he’s obviously with the Weasley girl forever and ever so that’s out of the window.”
I was surprised my mouth hadn’t dropped down to the floor in disbelief at the side of Malfoy I was seeing for the first time ever. Then his persona changed immediately as more students surrounded us.
“What happened to your Bulgarian friend, Viktor Krum, eh Granger? Hell, what about that brick McLaggen? I bet he was fun,” Malfoy said mischievously.
“Why are you asking me all of these questions about my love life, Malfoy? What’s in it for you?” I asked, somewhat aggravated at him now, but unsure why.
“Nothing is in it for me, I just enjoy pushing your buttons. We seem to get along better when we’re arguing about something,” he remarked.
I pondered that for a moment, and realized he was right. We’d been discussing the merits of classic literature all morning and had yet to get into it with each other. “I hate to say that you’re right, but it is true,” I conceded. My stomach grumbled loudly then, and I flushed pink. “Come on you prat, I’m hungry!”
We weaved our way through slow-moving bodies towards the Great Hall and the promise of a good meal.
We were blithely unaware of the looks shared between students of all ages around us. No one noticed the movement in a stone knight statue’s alcove.
A/N: And that's that! Malfoy sure did let Hermione know some stuff....what do you think it means for the future? And who is this person lurking in the dark? Let me know in a review down below! :)