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Enemies and Lovers by browneyedgirl005

Format: Novella
Chapters: 9
Word Count: 23,424
Status: WIP

Rating: 15+
Warnings: Mild Language, Strong Violence, Scenes of a Sexual Nature, Sensitive Topic/Issue/Theme

Genres: Drama, Romance
Characters: Hermione, Draco
Pairings: Draco/Hermione, Harry/Ginny, Remus/Tonks

First Published: 05/24/2007
Last Chapter: 07/03/2008
Last Updated: 07/03/2008

Summary:




{banner by: Lerean @ TDA}
Hermione starts her year at Hogwarts without love. But when she falls in love with the enemy, her world is changed... perhaps forever...
This is my first ever fan fic. Please review!
EDIT: CHAPTER 9 IS UP!!! Thanks for waiting so long! I didn't abandon you! :)


Chapter 1: Love... sucks...
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]



Hermione Granger's eyes snapped open; she found herself laying on her side on an overly used bed with scratchy sheets and a too-big comforter. She was at the Burrow.

The end of her bed dipped and she heard the creaking of old bed springs as someone crawled onto it. She squinted in the sunlight and saw a patch of red hair make it's appearance.

"Good morning, love." Ron Weasley's deep voice said. He had gotten older over the summer; his acne had cleared up and he had gotten much taller. He towered over her at 6'0, while she was only 5'4 or so. His hair was only slightly longer, and he was thin. In Hermione's opinion, he wasn't the hottest thing on earth, but his charming personality made up for that.

"Morning..."said Hermione groggily. She propped herself up on her elbows and Ron met her halfway with a kiss. "Thanks f-f-for..." She yawned. "...that."

"You're welcome." he replied, pushing some stray curls out of her face. He sat on the edge of the bed. "Y'know, tomorrow is the wedding... You still don't have your dress. Shouldn't you--"

"I thought your mum was going to make it." said Hermione quickly. "Shit..." She started to get up hurriedly.

Ron stopped her. "I'm joking, 'Mione. Mum's got it downstairs." he laughed. Hermione pushed him off the bed and laughed sarcastically.

"Ha ha. Funny, Ronald." She shoved him playfully in the chest and he caught her around the waist to pull her into another breath-taking kiss. "Come on, stop." she giggled. She pushed her way to the door and walked down into the kitchen to see Mrs. Weasley cooking the last bit of breakfast. The redheaded Weasley clan (excluding Percy, of course, who had disowned his family to work for the Ministry and hadn't talked to them for over a year), Harry, Bill, and Fleur Delacour all were sitting around the cramped little table eating their breakfast and talking quietly.

"Oh, good, Hermione dear. You're up. Sit down and eat." said Mrs. Weasley shortly, turning to look at them as they walked in. Hermione did as she was told and seated herself between Fred and Harry.

Ron wasn't the only one who had grown over the summer. Harry was much taller, only about an inch shorter than Ron, and his black hair had become shaggy and often fell into his face. His eyes had only gotten greener and, in Hermione's opinion, he was extremely handsome. More handsome than Ron, but she wasn't going to say so out loud.

Hermione pulled a basket of crumpets towards her and placed one on her plate. "So, Mrs. Weasley, did you get the chance to finish my dress?"

"Yes, dear. It's hanging in Ginny's room. I didn't want to wake you by opening that horribly squeaky closet in your room." Mrs. Weasley grimaced.

"I told you, Molly. We really should invest in that Muggle product, W.B. 36 or whatever it's called." said Mr. Weasley, disgruntled.

"No. I can fix it." Mrs. Weasley said distractedly. "Anyway, Hermione dear, it's in Ginny's room. I just have to hem it, but I need you to try it on before I do that."

"That's fine." said Hermione. She turned to Bill. "I still can't believe that you two are getting married."

"I know." Bill Weasley said. A long, ragged scar stretched from his right temple to the left side of his chin where Greyback had slashed him. Beneath his clothes, many more scars remained and he was quite disfigured. "I still feel like I'm in a dream." He looking lovingly at Fleur.

"You are so adoreeble!" Fleur purred, kissing him lightly. Ron's face went red; he still couldn't get over Fleur and her amazing beauty. Hermione cleared her throat, staring at Ron disapprovingly. Ron's eyes dropped to his plate quickly.

"Don't do that at the table!" said George, annoyed.

"Seriously." Ginny snapped.

Hermione laughed softly. She admired Fleur and Bill's love for each other. Hermione wanted that love, and quite honestly, she didn't feel she was getting it from Ron at some points. But she wasn't about to complain; she didn't want to break up with Ron. She loved him.

When breakfast was over, she took a quick shower and put a cream coloured slip on before going to meet Mrs. Weasley in Ginny's room. She opened the door and stepped inside, closing the door behind her with a click. Mrs. Weasley was standing by a stool and had the dress drapped over her arm.

She smiled. "Come, dear. Put this on and we'll see how it fits." Hermione slipped on the dress. It was perfectly sized, but it was too long, as Hermione was fairly short. "Oh, good. It fits. Erm... Just take a step up on this stool and we'll see if we can't make it a bit shorter."

A few minutes later, Ginny entered the room. "Hey guys. Oh, 'Mione, it's so beautiful." She made a circle around Hermione and came to a stop in front of her. "Gorgeous."

"Thanks." said Hermione. "Well, actually, thank your mum. She's the one who made it. I just have to wear it."

<><><><><><><><><><><><><><>

The next day was Bill and Fleur's wedding. The whole house was in a flurry and people were starting to arrive; the wedding would take place in the small field next to the Burrow.

In Mr. and Mrs. Weasley's bedroom, Fleur, Ginny, and Hermione were getting ready.

Fleur looked amazing. Her dress was strapless and fell the the floor, but the train wasn't more that two feet long. It was simple and had very little decorations, only a bit of flower designs on the bodice and a bow in the back. She wore white stilletos that only made her slightly taller. Her long, luxurious hair had been captured in a white claw clip and her veil was short and fell over her face with light pink and blue flowers on it. She had very little makeup on, only a bit of blush to bring out her pale cheeks, and a light dash of lipstick and mascara. She was what people called 'a natural beauty'.

Ginny's dress, being the maid of honour, was long and simple as well, only it was the colour of baby rose pink. Her hair was up and a crown of pink and blue flowers adorned her brow.

Hermione's dress was baby rose pink and long. It hugged her petite frame and her every curve, and she was very curvy in the right places. Her hair was down; if fell in a cascade of brown curls across her shoulders. She could boast very little that Fleur wanted, but her curls was one of those things. She also wore a crown of flowers, being a bridesmaid. She wore no makeup, only some mascara and eyeliner.

" 'Ermione, 'ow do I look?" Fleur asked, spinning in a circle on the spot.

Hermione grinned. "Beautiful. And don't worry, everything will be fine." She paused. "You're lucky to have Bill. He loves you very much."

"I know. Eef people theenk I was going to break off this wedding because he got attacked by a werewolf, then they are sorely meestaken." said Fleur.

"You know, he's liked you every since the day he first saw you at Hogwarts, you know, during the Triwizard Tournament." Ginny commented as she put on her mascara. "He told me so."

Fleur blushed and smiled widely, but made no comment.

Later, Mrs. Weasley came into the room. "Come, dears. Everyone's here and we are waiting for you." Fleur smiled nervously down at Hermione and they rushed from the room.

Outside, a small crowd of about thirty people were sitting in chairs that had been conjured from nowhere. Among those present were Remus Lupin, Nymphadora Tonks, and many others from the Order of the Phoenix. Minerva McGonagall, surprisingly, was also present. A beautiful woman that could only have been Fleur's mother sat in the front row, and a man who was unmistakably Fleur's father was standing at the base of the white carpet that had been rolled out. But the lack of Dumbledore's presence sent involuntary shivers through Hermione.

Under a large willow tree, stood Bill, Ron, Fred, George, and Harry, who were talking quietly. Bill looked like he was going to throw up. The priest stood behind them all.

Fleur led her two bridesmaids over to her father. The crowd went quiet. Hermione felt herself blush. The music started, apparently from nowhere, and she made her way down the aisle, Ginny close behind her. When they had reached the willow, the real music began and everyone stood up. Fleur's father took her by the arm and he walked her down the aisle to give her away, looking rather teary.

And beneath the shade of that willow tree, Bill Weasley and Fleur Delacour exchanged vows and were bound together by marriage.

"I now present to you Mr. and Mrs. Bill Weasley." the priest said. He turned to Bill. "You may now kiss the bride."

Bill looked as if he had been waiting to do it forever and kissed her immediately. The crowd clapped and cheered as they made their way back down the aisle, bridesmaids and groomsmen trailing behind.

The reception followed suit. Hermione walked into the kitchen to see what she could help Mrs. Weasley with.

"Oh, hello, Hermione. Could you take that outside and set it out on that large white table?" she asked, pointing to a large plater of finger foods. Hermione nodded and lifted the plater with some difficulty and balanced it out of the door. She nearly tripped on her way through the crowd, but was distracted when she saw, out of the corner of her eye, Ron standing alone with a skanky looking 7th year she recognized as Samantha Gibson from Hufflepuff. Ron was obviously flirting with her and was standing awfully close... close enough to--

"Hey, Hermione." said Harry, startling her out of her reverie. She turned around and blinked at him. "Do you... need help with that?" he asked, almost amused.

"Yeah. Um..." Hermione handed over the plater and paused. "Harry, look at Ron over there."

Harry turned and looked at Ron and his new catch. "Who's that?" He sounded disgusted.

"Samantha Gibson. Hufflepuff." said Hermione shortly and crossed her arms.

Harry snorted. "What's he doing?" But his question was already answered: Ron leaned down and took Samantha in his arms, kissing her deeply.

Hermione felt the colour in her face drain and her body went cold. "Wha--" was all she could manage.

Harry set the plater on the nearby table of refreshments, and turned to Hermione, blocking her view of Ron. "Oh, 'Mione. Don't worry about him. He doesn't deserve you." he said guiltily.

"But... What happened to me? I thought he loved me..." she muttered, running a shaking hand through her hair. Suddenly, molten anger flowed through her. She couldn't control it. She shoved past Harry and yelled, "RON! WHAT ARE YOU DOING?"

Ron's head snapped up and he looked around to see Hermione glaring at him, tears streaming down her face. People were starting to stare."Hermione, I--I can explain. I was just--"

"How could you?" she breathed. When Ron only stared at her, she bellowed, "HOW COULD YOU?" Tears came in sheets now and she could barely keep herself from throwing herself at him.

"I wasn't--" Ron started defensively.

"Wasn't what? You never would have said a word had I not caught you, Ronald Weasley." said Hermione, her body shaking. Ron averted his gaze. "You don't love me anymore, is that it?"

Ron looked at his feet. People were starting to whisper.

"You don't..." Hermione whispered. She felt her knees go weak and before she knew it, she had collasped. Harry scooped her up before she hit the ground and pulled her into a protective hug.

"Nice going, mate." he said sarcastically, shaking his head. He carried Hermione into the empty house and set her on the couch.

"What's happened?" asked Mrs. Weasley, having seen him carry a sobbing Hermione through the kitchen.

"Ron..." he mouthed, stroking the top of Hermione's head, which was buried in his chest.

"What did he do?" Molly asked. She sounded like she was going to beat the shit out of him when she found out. And, frankly, Hermione didn't care if she did.

"He cheated on her." Harry said.

Mrs. Weasley shook her head with an expression of sheer rage deep in her eyes. "Hermione dear, do you want me to deal with him?" she asked.

Hermione shook her head and sniffed, but didn't let go of Harry.

"Maybe you--" Harry began, but was cut off when Ron came through the kitchen door, looking disheveled; apparently Samantha couldn't stop running her bony fingers through it as they played tonsil-hockey.

"How dare you, Ronald Weasley!" Molly yelled.

"Mum, can you just stay out of this?" Ron said quietly and put his hands in his pockets.

Mrs. Weasley stepped back and put her head down, taking a deep breath. "Hermione, sweetheart, would you like to talk this out now?"

Hermione nodded and looked up at Ron. "Upstairs. N-now." she hiccuped.

Ron did as he was told and followed Hermione upstairs and into her room. She sat on her bed and crossed her arms, looking at him expectantly.

"What?" he asked, sounding uncomfortable.

"What do you m-mean, 'what'? You know 'what'." snapped Hermione.

"Look... I don't know what to tell you." Ron said. "All I can say is that I'm sorry and it won't happen again."

Hermione snorted. "Yeah. I'm supposed to believe that."

"Well, yeah. You are." said Ron.

"Let me ask you this, Ron: What possessed you to cheat on me with that little--" She waved her hand around, trying to find the right word, "--whore."

"Well, first of all, she's not a whore--"

"Oh ho! Now you defend her!"

"You wouldn't have called her a whore if she wasn't all over me." Ron sneered back.

Hermione blinked back tears, pausing for several seconds. "Are you going to tell me why you're cheating on me, or are you just gonna stand there and look stupid?"

Ron didn't reply immediately. "I... You aren't... nevermind."

"What? I'm not what? I'm not giving you what you want? I'm not letting you fuck me, because I think that sex before marriage is wrong?"

Ron said nothing.

"Wow." Hermione said. "You and Samantha are just perfect for each other. You're both self-centered whores." She stood up and opened the door. "It was nice talking to you." she said with a fake smile. "Now bugger off."

Without another word, without looking back, Ron walked out the door and Hermione slammed it behind him. She flopped onto her bed and heaved a great sob that had been waiting to come out since she had first entered into the room. She could barely breathe as a fresh wave of tears made their appearance, soaking her pillowcase. Several times, Mrs. Weasley tried to coax her way in, but every time Hermione begged for her to go away.

That night she barely slept. All she could think about was Ron and how he had broken her heart. She couldn't get his voice out of her head, saying, "I love you, Hermione." It threatened to drive her mad. She couldn't even scream into her pillow for fear that she might wake everybody else up.

All she could do was wait... wait for morning to come...

Wait for love to come...

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

A/N: Not too bad? Review please!! 
Much love, Guinevere

Chapter 2: At first glance
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The train sped along the tracks, bringing them ever closer to Hogwarts. Hermione shifted in her seat, Crookshanks nestled in her lap. Ginny sat next to her with Harry and Ron sitting opposite the two girls. Ron stared out the window, sparing an occasional and quite pitiful glance at Hermione, to whom he hadn't spoken to for several days. 

A loud thump and a yell sounded outside their compartment door.

"What was that?" asked Harry. 

"Dunno." Ginny said. She got up and walked out into he aisle, the others following her closely. 

It didn't take them long to figure out what made the noise. Neville was sprawled out in the middle of the aisle, a hand over his nose, the other clutching Trevor the toad, who was struggling for freedom. People had their head sticking out of their compartments; some were laughing.

"Neville." Harry said, shaking his head. "What happened?" 

"Drevor god loose agaid." said Neville, his broken nose impairing his speech. Hermione stooped and offered Neville her hand, which he took and pulled himself up. Trevor croaked mournfully in his hand. "Tanks..." Neville said, touching his nose gingerly and groaning. 

"You're welcome." said Hermione. "The nurse's compartment is just down the hall, I think. Have Madam Pomfrey fix that nose of yours. You're getting blood all over your robes." she added with a grimace. 

Neville nodded and hobbled down the narrow hallway and out of sight. Lavender Brown and Pavarti Patil were still laughing.

"What are you laughing at? Fuck off." Ginny snapped. 

Lavender, looking taken aback, slammed the door shut. Ginny smirked and her resemblance of Fred and George became stricking. 

"Nice." Harry laughed. 

Smiling, Hermione turned to lead them back to their compartment, but ran into something hard. It didn't take long for her to realize what, or who, she had collided with. 

"Well hello, Granger." Draco Malfoy's deep, rich voice said. Hermione looked up. 

At first glance, she could already tell that this wasn't the Draco Malfoy that she remembered. Oh no. Firstly, he didn't have his blonde hair slicked back and it hung down in his face as he looked down at her, giving him a slightly rugged look. He wasn't as pale as he normally was and his facial features were harder, more defined, like they had been carved. And he was taller. Much taller than she had remembered. But what captured Hermione's attention were his eyes. His icy grey eyes were piercing and cold, yet inviting, and they seemed to draw her in. She felt like she needed to kiss him until his lips bled. 

And she had no idea why...

"Are you going to stare at me for the next year, or are you going to say something?" said Malfoy. 

Hermione couldn't speak. It was like someone had their hand clasped around her throat, preventing her from talking. 

"Shut up, Malfoy." Harry sneered, pulling Hermione away from him. "Come on."

"I'm going to have to change my robes since your mudblood touched them, Potter." Malfoy smirked. 

For the first time Hermione looked away from Malfoy's face and looked down. A blow like that snapped her back to her senses. She put a hand on Harry's arm and looked at him, shaking her head.

"Don't. Come on." she said quietly, pulling him forward and past Malfoy, who she accidently brushed her shoulder against. Involuntary shivers shot down her spine, but she ignored them and led the others past him without another glance.

When they were back in their compartment, Ginny asked, "What the hell was that about?" Hermione shrugged off her stare and scooped up Crookshanks, stroking his ginger head. "Don't ignore me." said Ginny warningly. "I saw it. That glint in your eyes. What was that about?" 

"Nothing. It was... anger. I hate him. You know that." Hermione said. 

She was lying and she knew it. All of them knew it. And yet, she didn't know why.

<><><><><><><><><>

"Welcome to another year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardy." Minerva McGonagall said loudly. The crowded Great Hall faded into silence. It was odd not hearing Dumbledore's voice at the Start of Term Feast. But it seemed that McGonagall didn't want to, or couldn't, speak of this matter. "I would like to welcome all of our first year students as well as those who have attended years past. Of course, Mr. Filch would like me to remind you off a few rules. Firstly, the Black Forest and the Restricted section of the library are, obviously, restricted to students without a teacher's permission. Secondly, no sliding on banisters. We had quite a lot of trouble with a small group of students last year, " She stared pointedly at a group of Ravenclaws, who shrunk in their seats. "and we don't intend for it to continue." She cleared her throat and smiled. "But enough of this. Let's eat." 

When everyone had had their fill of food, McGonagall stood and the Hall again went quiet. "I have only one more announcement to make before we all go off to bed. The new Head Girl and Boy." Whispers spread across the Hall. "I am happy to announce that Ms. Hermione Granger and Mr. Draco Malfoy will fill these positions this year if it is agreeable to both of them. I would ask you both to come see me after everyone is dismissed. Well, that is it. I hope you all have a good night's rest and are ready for classes tomorrow. Good night." McGonagall sat down.

Hermione felt like she had been slapped in the face. She looked around and saw that Malfoy appeared to have reacted the same way. He was staring up at McGonagall, his expression of surprise apparent. 

"Well done, 'Mione." Ginny was saying. Hermione turned to look at her. "Too bad it's with Malfoy, though. Tough luck." 

"Yeah." she said. "Thanks." She stepped around Ginny and walked up to the staff table, where McGonagall was sitting, waiting for them. Malfoy was already there. 

"Hello, Ms. Granger. Do either of you have any objections?" Hermione was surprised when Malfoy said nothing. She kept her mouth shut. "No? Good. Now, here are the badges and the passwod to your dorm is Pumpkin Juice. Oh, and by the way, I'm sorry that you weren't informed of this earlier. Because of last year's... events... the mailing systems were messed with and we were unable to inform you sooner."

"That's okay. Don't worry about it." said Hermione. 

"Good. Well, your dorm is on the 5th floor. I believe that you know where it is, Ms. Granger. Good night." 

Neither of them said a word to each other and when they reached the portrait guarding their dorm, they were both exhausted. Hermione looked up at the portrait, examining it carefully. It was of a large, older woman with crows-feet around her eyes and laugh lines around her mouth. She had long, dirty blonde hair that was tied up in a loose bun. The plaque above her read, 'Lucille Monique d'Lovre Coulmeir'. 

What a long name... Hermione thought.

"Hello, dearies." said the woman. "I'm Lucille Monique d'Lovre Coulmeir."

Hermione smiled cheerily at her, but Malfoy smirked and emitted a snort. "So I've read." he said shortly. Hermione shoved her elbow into his ribs and pasted a sickeningly sweet smile on her face. She wished that she was anywhere but here, around this shrill, annoying old woman and a snotty, yet quite handsome, guy that was on the end of his patience rope.

"It's nice to meet you." she said, keeping her foot planted on the tip of Malfoy's to prevent him from doing anything stupid.

"It's nice to meet you too, dear. What is the password that you have been given?" asked Lucille.

"Pumpkin Juice."

Lucille smiled. "Very well. Have a good night." She swung inward.

Malfoy snorted and followed Hermione in. "She's annoying." he said bluntly. She ignored him and took in the beauty of the room inside. The room was a wonderful mixture of deep reds, greens, and browns. There were candles varying in size and colour. A cheerful fire crackled in the fire place. There were no other words for it but 'romantic'.

"How romantic!!" she cried.

Malfoy rolled his eyes. "Your romanticism disgusts me. Now, which room is mine?" Hermione's eyes found a set of doors. The left door bore a plaque that read, 'Head Girl'.

"In there." She pointed at the opposite door, which too bore a plaque above it, reading, 'Head Boy'.

"Thank God. I'm going to bed." As he walked past her, his hand slipped over her hip. She shivered, wondering if it was intentional. She shot a glance over her shoulder; he was looking at her over his own shoulder, his intense grey eyes firmly fixed on her honey brown ones. She dropped her gaze and cleared her throat, looking at her feet. Those eyes... she thought, her face getting warm.

"Good night." she called over her shoulder, not daring to look up.

There was a pause. "Night."

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

A/N: I hope you liked it!! *smiles* There will certainly be more 'romance' in the next few chapters. I promise. Keep reading!!!!
~Guinevere

Chapter 3: Dangerously Right
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]




Hermione woke up the next morning, excited and energetic. She hopped out of bed and walked into the bathroom. It was huge, nearly as big as her bedroom. She wondered silently why it was so big. It had creamy coloured walls and one lone, though quite large, window was on the back wall right next to a glass doored shower. Inside the shower, instead of tiles, was stone and slate tiles. The shower itself was big enough to fit at least four people comfortably and held a rack full of shampoos, conditioners, body washes and scrubs. Two loofas were hung on the edge of the rack, one blue and one pink. At the opposite side of the room was a huge mirror and beneath it was a set of sinks. Next to them were cabinets were extra items and personal hygiene products. Fluffy white towels hung on their holders next to the door that was opposite the one that led to Hermione's bedroom. She figured it was just a closet.

She turned on the shower and tested the water before undressing and getting in. She slid the glass door shut behind her and sighed as the hot water ran down her shoulders and soaked her hair. She grabbed a bottle of shampoo and poured it into her hands, rubbing it throughout her chestnut curls. She thought she heard something outside the door, but ignored it. Seconds later, she heard the noise again and, to her horror, Malfoy walked in through the door she had assumed was a closet. Then everything made sense; the two loofas, two sinks, and the size of the room. They were to share a bathroom.

Hermione screamed. "MALFOY!! GET OUT!!" she cried, trying to cover herself with a small washcloth.

Malfoy jumped and covered his eyes. "Sorry... S-sorry." he stuttered, running from the room and slamming the door behind him. That was the first time that she had seen him embarrassed and it was an odd sight to behold. But she still couldn't believe what had just happened. Malfoy, one of her worst enemies, had just seen her naked. And she found herself not upset about it at all...

~*~*~*~

Draco slammed the door closed and slumped against it, breathing hard. He had just seen that filthy blood traitor naked. Learn to lock the door, mudblood. he thought, irritated. He looked down at his hands and was shocked to see that he was shaking. Actually shaking. And he wasn't willing to ask or even tell himself why...

~*~*~*~

Hermione quickly finished her shower and jumped out, rolling her hair up in a towel and wrapping another around herself. She rushed into her room and quickly pulled on her school uniform. She couldn't face Malfoy right now, so she went back into the bathroom and dried her hair with a flick of her wand. She pulled her curls half up and did her makeup as slowly as possible. Finally, when she had no other reason to stall, she went into the common room and saw Malfoy sitting on the couch with his head cradled in his hands, his arms propped up on his knees.

"It's safe." Hermione said. Malfoy's head jerked up and he blinked.

"Fine." He got up quickly and left the room without another word.

<><><><><><><><><><><><><>

Classes seemed to drag on for Hermione and she it was a long time before she was on her way back to her dorm.

She couldn't believe that she was so infatuated with Malfoy. Her body was screaming at the prospect of never having him, but her brain was perfectly fine with it. It was something that she couldn't help and it was tearing her apart because she knew that they would never be.

She found herself in front of the portrait hole long before she had expected to be. She smiled up at Lucille and recited, "Pumpkin Juice."Lucille nodded and swung inward. Hermione stepped inside and saw Malfoy crouched by the fire, poking it with the metal poker and tossing another small log in. He looked up at her as she slipped past him without saying anything. She walked into the small kitchen and pulled out a mug and filled it with tea with a flick of her wand.

"Tea?" she called. There was a pause.

"Sure." came Malfoy's deep voice. She filled another mug with tea and gave it to him. He took it with a nod. Hermione set her mug on the coffee table and went back into her room were she took off her school uniform, which she detested greatly, and slipped into a pair of grey spanky shorts and a grey cami. She pulled back her hair in a ponytail and grabbed her book and a blanket, taking them back out to the common room and getting cozy in the huge armchair next to the fire. Wrapping the blanket around her shoulders, she opened the book and began to read.

She was soon enveloped in her book and all reality was lost. But not long after, she shivered and the back of her neck felt tingly, like someone was brushing their fingertips along her neck...

She closed her eyes against the sensation, knowing full well that it was Malfoy. She didn't understand why he was doing this. He was teasing her. And it was so sudden and unexpected; only days before he had hated her, or so she thought. She tried to resist it, but she was unable to. Her breath caught in her throat and he must have heard it, because she soon felt his hot breath on her ear and almost lost control. Another minute of this snapped her back to her senses and she was on her feet. She didn't even know why she was doing it, but before she could stop herself, her hand was drawn back and her arm was about to contact with his face. He caught her by the wrist and jerked her closer, gazing down at her with those intense grey eyes.

He shook his head. "Ah ah ah, Granger. Don't get violent on me." he smirked.

She wrenched her arm away from him, her breathing faster than normal. She stared at him for a few seconds and gathered up her things, striding quickly into her bedroom and shutting the door behind her. She tossed her things aside and flopped onto her bed. She knew that she wouldn't be able to concentrate on her book, so she pulled up her comforter and tried to sleep. She could have sworn that she heard the door open once, but it soon closed with a click and she never heard it again. Fatigue soon took over and she was asleep.

<><><><><><><><><><>

"Please open your books to page 26." said Professor Binns loudly. The classroom went quiet and the sound of fluttering papers filled the air.

"Hermione sighed as she slowly flipped through the pages of her copy of History's Mysteries. She heard the same reactions throughout the room and, looking to her left, saw that Ron looked like he was about to fall asleep. On his left side sat Ginny, who's expression of deep annoyance made Hermione snort with laughter. Professor Binns, having not heard her, went on.

"Read from pages 26 to 40 and I will expect a 550 word report on the history of the Ministry of Magic and the first minister to ever be elected." Binns said, his voice dull and expressionless.

Hermione turned to Ginny as Binns floated to the window and stared out of it blankly. "I need to talk to you."

"Talk away," Ginny replied, putting down her book.

Hermione hesitated. "I..." She couldn't bring herself to say it.

"You.... what?" urged Ginny.

"I think I'm falling in love." she said fastly.

"With...?" When Hermione lookd at her feet, Ginny slapped her arm and whispered, "Come on, 'Mione. Tell me. It can't be that bad."

It is... Hermione thought. "Fine." She paused. "Draco Malfoy."

"WHAT?!?" Ginny cried. Everyone in the classroom jumped and Binns turned slowly on the spot to face Ginny.

"Is there something wrong, Ms. Weasley?"

"N-no. No..." Ginny stuttered, shaking her head as if to rid it of a bothersome fly. She lowered her voice to a whisper again and said, "You're shitting me, right?"

Hermione shook her head.

"How could you fall in love with that scum?" she asked incredulously.

Hermione was about to say, 'Don't call him scum!" but she cut herself off at the horrified look on Ginny's face. "I dunno." was all she could say.

"Think, think about what you're saying! This is Malfoy, Draco Malfoy, that we are talking about. You've hated him since you first met him!" She stared at Hermione for a moment. "Come on! What's not registering here?"

Again, Hermione shrugged and shook her head with a silent, 'I don't know'.

Ginny ran a hand through her bright red hair and sighed. "I don't know what to say, 'Mione. I can't honestly say that I support your... opinion... But I'm not gonna scream at you for it."

"You already have." Hermione chuckled.

Ginny rolled her eyes and laughed softly. "Well, all I have to say is: You're mad. I don't know how you could like that nasty, tiny-dicked, scum sucking asshole, but whatever."

"Who's an asshole?" Harry cut in, leaning closer from Hermione's right.

"Malfoy." Ginny said shortly.

"Tell me something I don't know. But why are you talking about him?"

Ginny looked at Hermione, then back at Harry. "This one's in love with him." she said, poking her thumb over her shoulder.

Harry blinked and shallowed. "What?"

"You heard me. I didn't believe her either." Ginny said, seeing Harry's look of disbelief.

"Guys, it's nothing. I shouldn't even have mentioned it--" Hermione started.

"But you did, so now we're involved." Ginny cut in. "So, you are going to tell us what has happened that makes you like him."

Hermione objected, but Ginny's incecent urges made her tell. She told them of the previous night's happenings in brief.

"Oh, God, Hermione." Harry said, shaking his head. "You're in deep. You know what's going on in his mind, don't you?"

"No." said Hermione and Ginny in unison.

"He's got you wrapped around his finger and he knows it. Whether or not you like him, which you obviously do, he'll make you. The Malfoys are notoriously known for their 'charming' ability to sucker anyone into doing anything that they want them to do. And trust me, he's no exception. So all I'm saying is that you need to be careful."

"Harry, I'm not going to do anything rash, you know that." said Hermione, amused.

But she had no idea that this was totally untrue and, in fact, Harry was right. Dangerously right...

<><><><><><><>

A/N: Sorry, this one's a bit shorter than the others, but read on. The next one will be really good. Trust me. ~Guinevere


Chapter 4: Surprised
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Draco laid on his back in bed that night, staring into the hazy shadows that were cast upon the ceiling of his bedroom by the flickering candle on his bedstand. He fought with unexplainable emotions that were rising within him; they were almost frightening, but he couldn't deny them nor ignore them.

He rolled onto his side and looked directly into the candle's flame until the light was burnt into the back of his eyes. He shook the hair out of his face and sat up restlessly. He couldn't get his mind off of her. His sudden infatuation with her left him bewildered, but needy. He couldn't explain it and knew, without a doubt, that she didn't feel the same way. How could she? He had been this snotty bastard to her ever since they first met.

But then again, how could he like her? She was a mudblood! His father would be disgraced if he knew of Draco's feelings. Lucius had always hated the Grangers, let alone muggles and muggleborns. He was overly prejudiced and sometimes it irritated Draco. But he had followed his father and grew up only hating them. This is what he struggled against the hardest. Hermione was so irresistable... Her honey brown eyes and perfectly curly chestnut hair... Her curves... He could feel himself getting tense. But he couldn't allow himself to love her. Maybe like her, but not love her. If he got into a serious relationship and his father's prejudice forced them apart, as he knew could very well happen, it would hurt too much. He would find a respectable pureblood young woman to marry when the time was right... not a filthy mudblood.

How can you call her that? a voice at the back of his mind cried.

Well, she is... another said indignantly.

He shook the thoughts from his mind and blew out the candle to his right, before flopping down on his pillows and struggled to fall asleep.

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Draco woke up the next morning with a groan as he heard the splash of water across the tiles on the shower floor and knew that Hermione was in the shower. He got up and shuffled into the tiny kitchen and made himself a mug of coffee with a lazy flick of his wand. He collasped into the nearest chair and yawned widely.

Crookshanks padded into the room and looked up at him, swishing his tail smoothly. Draco sneered sleepily at him, but, ignoring him, the ginger cat walked right up to him and jumped heavily onto his lap, kneading it with his paws. Draco looked down surprisedly at him and tried to shoo him off, but Crookshanks stayed. He hesitantly stroked the top of the cat's head and a deep purring sounded.

"You're not so bad." Draco said quietly. "For a cat, anyway."

"Making friends, are we?" Hermione's voice said. Draco's head shot up and he shoved Crookshanks off his lap. Crookshanks gave an indignant grunt as he hit the floor and slunk away, bottlebrush tail in the air. Hermione was standing in the doorway, leaning against the doorframe with one hand on her hip.

"That is the ugliest cat I have ever seen." sneered Draco. And it wasn't exactly a lie; Crookshanks wasn't the most beautiful cat alive, with his pushed in face and dark beady eyes. "It looks like somebody threw it head first at a stone wall."

"He," Hermione said, scooping up the cat as he passed her. "is a handsome cat. Much more handsome than you." She was lying and they both knew it.

Draco laughed lightly. "Ssuuurre." He got up and strutted past her without another word.

Later that morning, he joined his mates at the Slytherin table in the Great Hall. He seated himself and pushed the plate in front of him away. He wasn't hungry for some reason. Blaise Zabini slid down the bench to speak with him.

" 'Lo, Malfoy." he said lazily, pulling a plate of toast toward him.

"Hey mate." Draco replied.

"How's the Head position?"

"Not bad, actually. The dorms are nice..."

"No. I mean the girl. I hear she's fine, for a mudblood." Zabini said coolly, lowering his voice so that only Draco could hear.

Internally Draco winced, but showed nothing outwardly. "Ah... she's okay. Not the best thing in the world." Only he knew that this was a total lie, but he played it off well. He tried to switch subjects, but Zabini persisted.

"Malfoy... you like her." Apparently Zabini had seen right through Draco and he felt his face get warm.

"No, no I don't. She's quite annoying actually. Could you pass me the butter?" he said quickly.

Zabini smirked at him and snorted. "Stop the act. I know you fancy her." Draco averted his eyes and busied himself with the buttering of his toast. "I mean, really. You're not very convincing."

"Okay. Fine." He put down his toast and ran a hand through his hair. "I fancy her, alright?"

Zabini looked at him critically. "She's a mudblood, mate." Neither of them said anything for several seconds. "Your father would kill you if he knew--"

"I know. That's why I'm just going to try to ignore her." Draco swallowed and shot a glance at the Gryffindor table, where Hermione sat talking to Harry, Ron, and Ginny.

"You really do like her, don't you?" Zabini said quietly. Draco shrugged and looked down at his plate. "You do!" he said incredulously.

"Let it go." Draco snapped.

"Why? Honestly, I think you should give her a shot. See what happens."

Draco was surprised. "Really?" He hesitated. "You mean, ask her out?" 

Zabini nodded.

<><><><><><><><>

Luck brought Hermione a boyfriend. She had noticed and caught the eye of a handsome Gryffindor named Jesse Ryrson, and he was in the same year as her. He was tall and lean, yet muscular and dominating. He had medium sandy brown hair and deep blue eyes that sucked her in like a moth to a light. His deep voice was tantilizing.

They were set to meet in Hogsmead, in the Three Broomsticks pub, that Saturday. Days seemed to drag by as she anxiously awaited their date. But finally the day came. She got up earlier than normal and made sure that she looked perfect. She wore a simple black, cap sleeved, low cut shirt and jeans. She let her hair down and made sure that any poof or frizz that happened to appear was eliminated. It was 11:00 when she was finally finished.

She met Jesse in the Three Broomsticks at around noon. She was surprised when their subjects of conversation were few, but just enjoyed looking at him from across the table.

"Do you have any siblings?" she asked him.

"I'm the oldest of three." said Jesse, taking a gulp of firewhiskey. "Tyler is the middle, he's 13, and Rachel's the youngest. She's 6."

"So, what house is Tyler in?"

"Gryffindor. Yeah, he's brilliant in Ancient Runes." Jesse said in his heavy irish accent. "So am I."

"Really? I used to love it, but stopped taking it this year." said Hermione. She was so nervous and hoped desperately that it didn't show. Their lack of interesting topics was starting to press down on her. There was a silence.

"What's it like to be Head Girl?" asked Jesse, obviously deciding that there was nothing better to talk about.

"It's nice, but being with Draco Malfoy and having to share a common room with him isn't the most enjoyable thing." She was starting to get really good at lying about her crush on Draco, but it still was there in the back of her mind. She hadn't really seen him very much recently, and only saw him briefly before bedtime due to the fact that she spent most of her time in her bedroom thinking about Jesse. Lack of contact effected her want for him, and she found herself more focused on her relationship with Jesse.

"Ahh, it can't be that bad." The fake expression of disgust on Hermione face made him say, "Or maybe it can..."

"Yeah. But I don't see much of him, which is a perk." she replied.

"Oh, there he is now." Jesse said, taking another swig of his drink and clearing his throat. Hermione dared a glance at the door and saw Draco walking in alone. She felt an unexpected warmth crawl up her cheeks and her stomach flipped, just like when she saw him for the first time since 6th year on the Hogwarts Express.

He was gorgeous... more gorgeous than Jesse...

She liked him again...

She looked back at Jesse and slapped on a fake smile. "You okay?" he asked. She apparently looked sick or something.

"Yeah. I'm fine. Just fine." she said hurriedly.

Jesse looked right over her shoulder. "He's headed this way. Let's bail."

She fought with herself; she wanted to stay, but wanted to leave with Jesse. Before she could reply, however, Draco had reached them.

"Hey, Granger. Found a boyfriend, have we?" he said. He sounded annoyed, almost upset. His eyes sought hers and he stared deeply at her, almost longingly, without knowing it.

Hermione's stomach flipped again at his gaze, but she smirked and stood up. "We were j-just leaving. Come, Jesse." She grabbed his hand and led him out without another glance at Draco.

~*~*~*~

Draco stared after her. His plans of asking her out had been squashed completely. She had a new boyfriend and seemed happy with him. All his plans were gone and there was nothing to be done about it. He felt lost and before he knew it, he was up at the bar gulping down bottles of firewhiskey and venting to the old bartender.

"I think that's enough, son." said the bartender after Draco requested his seventh firewhiskey.

"Aww, come on. One more?" Draco said, his words slurred. He was leaning heavily on the bar and his breath smelled greatly of alcohol.

"No. That's enough. Maybe you should be getting back up to school." the man said.

"Fine." Draco got up and swayed slightly before traisping out of the pub, with many people staring after him. It wasn't long before he bumped right into Zabini, who was trailed by Crabbe and Goyle.

Zabini grabbed him by the shoulders to keep him from falling forward. "Malfoy... you alright?"

"Yeeaahhh. I'm fine." slurred Draco. He grabbed the front of Zabini's shirt as he leaned forward slightly.

"He's trashed." Zabini said quietly over his shoulder to Goyle. "Come on, Malfoy. Let's get back to Hogwarts."

"N...no. Let's go grab a firewhiskey or s...something." said Draco, turning and heading back to the Three Broomsticks.

"No no no. I have a feeling that you've had enough of those for today. Come on." Zabini grabbed Draco's arm and dragged him up the road, but only made it so far before Draco threw himself at a bush and began to retch. Once he was done, he nearly passed out and Zabini and Crabbe had to carry him the rest of the way.

"We takin' him to Pomfrey?" Crabbe asked stupidly.

"No. Just back to the Head dorms. Hopefully the mudblood's there to take care of him." Zabini said. Draco groaned and his head lifted slightly, but soon after his whole body went limp.

They reached the Head dorms and Goyle rapped sharply on the portrait. There was a rustling from within and Hermione opened the door. She looked aghast at the sight before her.

"What happened to him?" she asked, motioning them inside.

"He's drunk. We found him stumbling out of the Three Broomsticks." Zabini said shortly, dropping Draco onto the sofa. "Can you take care of him?"

Hermione's stomach dropped. "Erm, sure. Yeah." Zabini nodded a silent thanks and led Crabbe and Goyle out through the portrait hole and out of sight. She turned to Draco, who was sprawled out and unconscious, and ran a hand through her hair. She sighed and retrieved a cool cloth and a glass of ice water and set it on the coffee table next to him. His eye lids fluttered open after several minutes and before Hermione knew it, he was in the bathroom retching again. She walked in after him and said softly, "Do you... do you need anything?"

When he was able to speak, all that came out was a short, "No." He began to vomit again and waved his hand for her to leave. She walked back into the common room and sat back on the sofa. Waiting for him seemed like the only logical thing to do. She wondered why he had let himself get so drunk. The possibilities were endless, but only one seemed to click. Then a vision of those longing eyes flashed before her and her heart ached for him once more. Jesse didn't matter anymore.

It was dark by the time Hermione had gathered her senses enough to check on Draco. She found him sprawled on his bed and half awake.

"How are you?" she asked.

"I've been better." he mumbled. His hair hung down in his face and he seemed to be in a cold sweat. He was pale.

"What happened?"

He looked at her for a moment. "Do you really want to know?" Hermione nodded. "I don't think you do."

"Oh, I do." she said sharply.

He hesitated. "I saw you with that jackass that you call a boyfriend and--"

"Jackass?" she repeated breathlessly.

"He's onto you, Hermione." He paused, seemingly as surprised by the fact he had just called her by her first name as she was. "And he'll use you just like that scumbag Weasley did."

Things get around quicker than I thought... she thought briefly. "Why are you saying this?"

"Because I care about you." He couldn't believe that he was saying this. Before he knew it, he was sitting up straight and on the edge of the bed. Hermione just stared back at him, speechless. "Because I am hopelessly... illogically... madly... in love with you."

Hermione took a couple of uneasy breaths and looked away from him. She felt like she was going to pass out with such happiness. She leaned on the door and her hand was clasped around the doorknob. She didn't know why she hadn't jumped on and made out with him yet, but it seemed that Draco was going to take care of that for her, because he got up and walked right up to her. They had never been so close. The breath caught in her lungs and she couldn't breathe. But as he leaned down to kiss her, she tugged at the doorknob and the door opened. She slipped out, leaving him alone.


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A/N: Okay, this chapter didn't turn out like it was originally planned, but I hope you like it. ~Guinevere

Chapter 5: Coffee and Confessions
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Hermione laid in bed and stared at the ceiling. She could barely think. About anyone or anything other than Draco, that is.

Why did you run? she asked herself. You're ridiculous! He was right there.

She couldn't lay still. She got up and paced the length of her room, wringing her hands. All kinds of thoughts ran through her mind, like the fact that she ran out on a guy that had just confessed his love for her. And to top it off, this guy was Draco Malfoy, which was the most absurd thing for her to even consider. To be horribly honest, it was almost disturbing to a certain degree. It wasn't even an option until it happened.

But at the same time, she wasn't going to complain about it. She had been crazy about him for weeks now and couldn't seem to control her emotions. She had been waiting and hoping for some kind of rise out of him, and now she had gotten it. She felt bad that she had gotten a boyfriend and been so rude and blunt with him. And it would be horrible to sever all contact with Jesse. She liked him and he apparently liked her. She battled with herself with what was the best thing to do.

But the worst thing was she felt bad for running out on Draco. Even then, however, she couldn't face him.

Not tonight...

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"What?" Ginny whispered. Her eyes widened.

"Yeah." Hermione said, taking a sip of pumpkin juice. They were in the Great Hall for breakfast. She had come rushing down and nearly plowed over a first year in her attempt to reach Ginny. "He just said it last night. And then he tried to kiss me, but I... ran away..." she finished lamely.

Ginny snorted. "I don't blame you." she said under her breath. Hermione gave her a chiding look. "Okay, okay. So then what happened?"

"I ran to my room and spent several hours pondering the phrase, 'Love is a Battlefield'." Hermione said bluntly.

"It's true." Ginny laughed. There was a long pause. "So what're you going to do?"

"Dunno." She shrugged.

Ginny smiled knowingly at her and her resemblance to Mrs. Weasley became striking. "Know what I think you should do?"

"Flip him the bird?" Hermione suggested.

Ginny hit her on the arm. "No." she said. "I think that you should give him a chance." Hermione looked shocked, but said nothing. "From what you've told me, he seems like a good guy deep down."

"He really is." said Hermione.

"Well, then, give him a chance. Get rid of Jesse and see what happens. But you have to make sure that Malfoy knows that you've broken up with him."

"Oh, I'll make that very apparent." Hermione assured her.

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To her surprise, she arrived in the dorms before Draco did. She put on a faded blue cami and a pair of black sweats just to lounge in. She was tired and wasn't in the mood to look presentable. Grabbing a blanket and throwing it over her shoulders, she walked into the kitchen.

The scent of hazelnut coffee wafted through the dorm. She sat down restlessly at the table, a mug of coffee clutched in her hand. Distantly she heard the portrait hole open and in walked Malfoy. He looked tired and flustered, but it seemed that he had not expected to see her, because he did a double-take.

"Oh. Hi." he said quietly. Before Hermione had time to reply, he had disappeared. She blinked. He was back in minutes and apparently hadn't bothered to change. He walked in and sat down at the table opposite her.

"Coffee?" she asked. He shook his head. There was silence. Awkward silence that made Hermione's ears ring.

"Look, I--" they both started in unison. "Sorry." Again, they said it in unison.

"Go ahead." Draco said.

Hermione smiled awkwardly. "I'm sorry that I ran out on you last night. I just got... nervous."

"I don't blame you." He chose his words carefully. "I shouldn't have--"

"Oh, no. That's exactly what I needed." Before she knew what she was doing, before she could stop herself, she kissed him. And he didn't object at all. In fact, he pulled her closer. Hermione broke the kiss and pulled him into the common room by the tie, biting her lip with excitement. They were on the couch quickly, kissing wildly. Hermione's fingers fumbled over his tie excitedly, but knew that she was probably going to far. For tonight, kissing was as far as she would allow herself to go. When she felt herself on the edge, she pulled away from him, breathing heavily.

"Wow..." Draco cleared his throat.

"Sorry." she said.

"Not a problem." was all he could say. He kissed her softly again.

"I've been waiting to do that since I saw you on the train coming here." she said truthfully. Silence. "Do you love me?" She had no idea why she had asked, but didn't get the answer she had honestly expected.

Draco smiled. "I love you."

It was one of the weirdest things she had ever heard. Ever since their first year, she had had to force his insults and taunts under the table in an attempt to get by day to day. But now, it was completely different.

"How long have you liked me?" She just had to ask. She was too curious.

"Do you really want to know?"

"Uhh.... yeah."

"Since 5th year."

Hermione stared back at him. "Really?"

Draco nodded. "Yeah. But I didn't really care about it until this year. Back then, it was just a little crush, but it got bigger and bigger over the years." Again, silence. "So, what about your boyfriend?"

"I assumed that I was looking at him." said Hermione, raising an eyebrow.

Draco chuckled and pulled her closer. "I see how you work."

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She knew that she had to do it. Break up with Jesse, that is. She arranged a 'date' for them in Hogsmead the following day, which was thankfully a Sunday, and there were rides to the village. Jesse showed up, looking hotter than ever, but Hermione restrained herself and they walked together into the Three Broomsticks pub for the second time.

"Two firewhiskies, please." Hermione said to the barman. They got a seat off to the side. Again, she noticed that there was a lack of interesting topics. She figured that it just because she didn't click with Jesse like she did with Draco.

But she hadn't expected it to be so hard to break up with him. She hoped that it would be like, 'I just don't feel it, you know?' or 'We should see other people'. The classics. But no. It had to be hard. She could barely look Jesse in the eye without feeling guilty that she was, point blank, cheating on him with the man she had sworn that she loathed. At that point, she hated her conscious.

"So... Jesse. Can we talk about something?" she said, accepting the drink from the bartender with a smile.

"Yeah. What's up?" said Jesse.

"Well..." She trailed off. She didn't know what to say. "I was thinking... I mean-- We should probably..."

"You're breaking up with me." Jesse concluded, leaning back in his chair.

Her stomach lurched and she nodded slowly. "Sorry."

"I wasn't expecting it to last long. I could tell you liked him. Draco, I mean."

Hermione was taken aback. "Really? I thought I was a good liar." She was almost talking to herself.

"Not good enough. I figured it would happen soon." Jesse seemed resigned. He took a large gulp of his drink and pushed himself away from the table, standing. "I don't know what to say to you. You are a beautiful woman and I wish this could have lasted. Goodbye." Without another word, without looking back, Jesse strode out of the bar.

Hermione sat back in her seat and sighed. She hadn't expected a reaction like that. But, she told herself, it could have been worse. He could have stormed out and made a scene, and he didn't. He was mature and didn't try to win her back, like she knew most men would do.

From across the room, she saw Hagrid sitting at a table alone with a mug that he had fashioned out of a bucket clutched in his hand. She went over to join him.

"Hey, Hagrid." she said, taking a seat beside him.

" 'Lo, Hermione." Hagrid replied.

"How have you been?"

"I've been gettin' on well. Grawpy's really doin' well, too. I just went ter see him and he didn't tear up any pine trees 'r nothing. He's really learning ter behave." said Hagrid excitedly. Hermione didn't share his enthusiasm, but still she smiled. "I'm glad yeh stopped ter say hi. Yeh know, Ginny and Harry's told me about yeh and Malfoy. Yeh know what yer doing?"

Hermione closed her eyes and she felt the corners of her mouth curl into a smile. "Hagrid... He's dif--"

"He's no different than his dad, Hermione. He's not right fer yeh. Go get that boy tha' yeh jus' broke up with and make it work with him. Not Malfoy." said Hagrid, shaking his mug in the air. Hermione felt a few flecks of hot liquid hit her in the face and she wiped it away.

"Hagrid, listen--"

"No. You listen. He'll use yeh and then move on. He's a Malfoy." he said angrily. "Don't fall fer his charade."

"Hagrid--"

"How could yeh fall fer a Malfoy? Yeh've hated him since--"

"HAGRID!!!" Hermione bellowed. Hagrid fell silent, as did most of the people around them. "Sorry." she muttered and the others around them turned back to their drinks, some whispering to one another. "Hagrid, listen. Draco isn't like you think he is. He's different. Please believe me."

"How isn't he, Hermione? He's a Malfoy." He rubbed his face with a garbage bin sized hand and sighed. "He hates muggleborns. Yeh know tha'!"

Hermione wrung her hands. "No, no he doesn't. His father does, but he doesn't. Trust me, Hagrid, we've already had this discussion."

Hagrid scrutinized her for a moment. "How can yeh defend 'im?"

Hermione shrugged. "I love him."

Hagrid slammed his mug down on the table and she felt the legs of the table buckle. "Hermione!"

"What?" she said quietly.

"I dunno what ter say! How can I change yer mind?"

"You can't." Hermione said, taking a sip of her drink.

Hagrid sighed again, resigned. "Well... All I can say is that I hope yeh don't get used and I will be there fer yeh if something happens."

"Nothing's going to happen, Hagrid. I trust him." said Hermione reassuringly.

"Glad yeh do, 'cause I don't."

<><><><><><><><>

Over the next few days, Draco said nothing to Zabini about what was going on with he and Hermione. This immediately made Zabini wonder.

"What's up with you and that girl? Granger, or whatever...?" he asked. Draco had been avoiding the subject and now he cornered. Pansy was leaning on Zabini's shoulder, looking sarcastically interested.

"Do tell." she simpered. Draco sneered at her. He hesitated, looking between Zabini and Pansy, before deciding that he didn't care if Pansy heard. All she could do was pout and not talk to him, which he would actually benefit from.

"I told her of my feelings, she confessed to hers and we made out." He hated to sound like a bragging sex-hungry guy, but there was no other way to word it. He was being brutally honest. Obviously, too honest for Pansy. She looked indignant and stalked away. "Thank God she's gone."

"Yeah... Anyway, so what's going to happen with her boyfriend? Did she ditch him?"

"I guess so."

"You know that your father can't ever find out about this, right? He'd kill you." warned Zabini.

"I know. I was thinking about it last night. There really can't be any way that he'd find out, is there?"

Draco had no idea how blind he was...

Only three days later, as the mail owls swooped through the Great Hall, carrying the morning post, his eagle owl landed heavily on the table and dropped a letter in his lap. On the front was his name in what was unmistakeably his father's script. He opened it, wondering why his father would possibly write him a letter; he barely spoke to Draco when he was at Hogwarts. It read:

Draco,

Reciently, I received a letter from the Parkinson family. Pansy had written to her parents, distraught and unhappy, telling them of a young woman who had caught your special attention. This young woman, I have come to find, is Miss Hermione Granger.

I am ashamed of you. You must seriously consider what you have done and right it. Granger is a mudblood who isn't worthy of a pureblood's time and energy. She isn't deserving of you. If you are that desperate, we will find you a respectable pureblood young woman with whom you can share your love. Don't waste it on this girl.

I hope you know, Draco, that this could also be harmful to us. If the Dark Lord hears that I have allowed you to continue this relationship, I will be punished. You know of the Dark Lord's feelings toward muggleborns. This, coupled with the simple fact that you would be disgracing our family if you went any further with this woman, should hinder you from continuing this relationship. I truly hope that you consider what I have said and I hope to hear from you concerning this.

Your Father

Draco curled the letter in his fist and looked down at his empty plate. He had never thought of Pansy getting mad enough and telling his father. How could he have been so stupid? She was sitting right there and he didn't think of it.

Whatever his father said, he wasn't going to listen. He couldn't keep them apart. Standing, Draco strode out of the Great Hall and up the marble staircase, heading for the library, the only place that he figured there would be some peace for him to write a reply to his father. He passed Madam Pince, who was sitting at her desk enveloped in a book, and sat down at the nearest table. He pulled out a piece of parchment and a quill and inkpot from his bag and wrote the only thing that he could:

I am neither sorry nor ashamed of my actions. I don't mean to sound disrespectful, but what you are worried might happen is not my problem. And you cannot make it my problem. I love her.

Draco

<><><><><><><>

"Did he write back?" asked Hermione.

"Not yet, but there should be a reply soon." Draco pushed the stray hair that had fallen into Hermione's face. "You're worried."

She looked up at him. "Well, yeah."

"Why?" he asked softly, his hand still on her face.

"Just... I know that you respect him. He's your father, and I get that. But don't let what he says hold you back. I love you and I don't want him coming between us." She thought that she sounded pathetic, but that was the only way to word it.

" 'Mione, I respect him, yes, but he's not coming between us. Trust me. He doesn't control me or you and I don't really care if he is ashamed of me." he shrugged. "It's that simple."

She blinked and looked down. "Good." She picked up his hand and laid it palm up on hers and her fingers danced across his skin. "What's she like, your mother?"

This question surprised Draco, but he replied, "Beautiful. Quiet. Why?"

"Just now I felt the need to meet her. You've never really said much about her and I was just curious."

"Oh. Well, yeah. She's nice and gracious... She dotes on me, which can sometimes be annoying, but I love her. I'm her only son and she makes sure she reminds me of it. But what I love about her is that she's not as prejudiced as my father and I really respect her for that." he finished.

"Does she know about us?"

"Dunno. I doubt it." Draco said. "Dad said nothing about telling her, but I would be surprised if she hadn't found out about it by now. She's sharp."

"Do you think--?" Hermione was cut off as a loud tap on the window made them both turn around. Draco's eagle owl was sitting on the snow covered outside window ledge with a letter clamped in it's beak. It ruffled it's feathers against the cold.

Draco rushed to the window and let the owl inside. It dropped the letter and groomed its snow flecked feathers as it perched on the back of a chair. Draco opened the letter with a flourish and unfolded it, his hands clammy. And what he read shocked him...


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Chapter 6: Love and Pain
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

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Draco,

Reconsider your reply. I don't think you know how close you are to completely disgracing our family name. Granger is not worth the time and effort. If I find out that you have furthered the relationship, there will be severe consequences. Don't make me step in.

You are going to spend your Christmas break at home with your mother and I. Perhaps I can help you understand in person. And your mother misses you, as she always does when you go off to school.

I expect a reply soon. Again, Draco, please don't make me step in.

Your Father
 

Draco read it quickly and felt Hermione's eyes boring into his as she tried to read his emotions. He looked up at her and she gave him an questioning look, holding out her hand for the letter. He handed it to her and she read it slowly, dredging up the threats that Lucius was making.

"Are you going?" she asked, setting down the letter.

"Dunno." he shrugged.

Hermione sighed. "Can I do anything?"

Draco was quiet for a long time. "Yeah. You can come with me."

"What?" she said, taken aback.

"Come with me."

"Draco, I--" She cut herself off. "Are you sure?"

"Of course. Dad thinks that he's gonna get me away from you and that me not seeing you might change my mind. He's got another thing coming."

"But, think about this first. Wouldn't I just make it worse? He'd fight you harder if I was there." she said.

"No he wouldn't. He's going to fight me hard about it either way." said Draco. "I think that if you were there, mum might really start to like you and maybe help change dad's mind. It's a slim chance, but it's worth a try."

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Hermione told the others where she was going for Christmas. They were all in Hagrid's cabin; it was only a few days before the start of Christmas break.

"Hermione, don't go. Just let Malfoy deal with it. It's not your problem whether or not Lucius likes you or not, and personally, I think that you shouldn't care." said Harry.

"It's not that I care. Draco does." said Hermione.

"Then don't go!" Ron interjected. "Stay here. Malfoy's family issues aren't yours and you shouldn't worry about them."

"But I already promised that I would go. I'm not going back on my word." Hermione said quietly. She knew that they were saying this because of the fact that they all hated Draco and didn't care if she knew it. And that fact wasn't going to change soon, that was quite apparent.

"Oh, come on, Hermione!" said Hagrid. "Malfoy doesn't need yeh ter tell off his dad. And anyway, Lucius Malfoy isn' gonna change his mind tha' quickly. Yeh know how stubborn he is."

"Exactly. So don't go!" repeated Ron.

Hermione was starting to think that it might have been better had she not told them and just said she was going to her parent's house instead. "Look..." She sighed. "I'm going, okay? Nothing could happen to me, don't worry. I'll be back sooner than you think."

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"Is that her?" asked Hermione, pointing out of the window toward the platform. There, a tall, slim woman with long white blonde hair was standing, apparently waiting.

"Yep. That's Mum." said Draco. He helped Hermione with her things and they both got off the train.

Narcissa Malfoy smiled and hurried up to her son, embracing him and not noticing that Hermione was walking slowly behind him. Hermione kept her distance, letting them have space to talk. She set her luggage down beside her and waited, pulling her traveling cloak a little tighter to keep out the cold.

"Draco, my sweetheart, how are you?" Narcissa crooned, still hugging him.

"I'm fine, Mum." he said, gently disengaging himself from her. "Er... There's someone that I would like you to meet." He stepped aside and Hermione came to his side.

"Hello." she said, trying to sound friendly, though she was nervous about Mrs. Malfoy's reaction.

Narcissa looked Hermione up and down and Hermione saw a flash of Draco's old arrogance in her eyes. She didn't at all seem angry, but she wasn't friendly, either. Hermione felt very small as Narcissa kept surveying her with those icy blue eyes.

"Your father will be furious, Draco." said Narcissa, turning back to her son.

"I know." he said.

"Why did you bring her, then?" asked Narcissa; her voice was calm and quiet.

"Because I don't care if Dad hates me for it. I love her." said Draco.

Narcissa, who had been looking at her feet, returned her gaze to Draco. But instead of being angry or shocked, her lips curled into a smile. "And you would do anything for her?" She was talking as if Hermione wasn't there.

Draco put an arm around Hermione's waist and replied, "Yes."

His mother nodded. This time, she addressed Hermione. "Are you staying the whole Christmas break?"

"If that's okay." Hermione said tentatively.

"Do what you like." she said shortly. Hermione then realized that it would be a while before she would earn the trust and respect that she wanted from Mrs. Malfoy. Quite honestly, she couldn't have cared less with Lucius thought of her, but Narcissa's favor was something she wanted.

They arrived at Malfoy Manor later that day. Draco opened the door and led Hermione inside, Narcissa bringing up the rear.

"You're father must not be home, yet." said Narcissa, closing the door.

Only Hermione seemed to be amazed at the sheer size of the house. Then again, they had lived there forever and she had just stepped inside.

The Manor was beautiful. The living room alone was big enough to fit two of their common rooms inside it easily. A fire was blazing in the large stone fireplace and the mantle was covered in family pictures, most of which were of Draco when he was younger, and a very sharp and formidable dagger stood sheathed to the side. A large, age-spotted mirror hung over the mantle and next to the fireplace was hung a tapestry that was very similiar to the Black Family Tree tapestry, except it was labeled, 'The Malfoy Family tree'. A squishy loveseat and sofa where set before the fire and a high-backed chair that, in Hermione's opinion, looked quite uncomfortable, was next to a coffee table and a reading lamp that was set upon an small antique, round writing desk. On the far wall was a small bookshelf filled with dusty looking books. The room itself was dimly lit, but there were several windows that let some light in.

"Welcome to my home." said Draco softly into her ear. She smiled to herself and followed him into the dining room. "Hi, Penny."

A tiny house elf had just entered the room carrying a tray of tea and crumpets. She jumped at the sight of them and the tray was nearly knocked out of her grip. "Oh hello, Master Malfoy." she squeaked. It became immediately apparent that this particular house elf was female by the way she talked. She set the tray on the large dining table, with some difficulty of course, and bowed deeply to them. She looked up and her large green eyes surveyed Hermione. "And who is this?"

"This, Penny, is Hermione Granger." said Draco kindly. "You are to treat her as if she were one of us." He indicated himself and his mother. "You will be ordered by her, as well."

The house elf nodded and her ears flapped like wings. She smoothed out her pillowcase and bowed again before retrieving her tray and taking out into the living room. Hermione could tell that she was well cared for and didn't object, as she had with Winky, Dobby, and Kreacher only years previous.

"Draco, take Ms. Granger up to her room." said Narcissa.

"Oh, please call me Hermione." said Hermione. "Ma'am." she added.

Narcissa looked at her for a moment. "Draco, take Hermione up to her room." Her voice hid a hint of warmth.

"Okay." Draco said. He grabbed her luggage and led Hermione back through the living room and up a flight of wide marble steps that were reminiscent of those at Hogwarts. They walked down to the end of the hallway and through a door, into a large many windowed room. A queen sized bed with a huge down comforter and silky beige sheets was set at the far end of the room and a small fireplace at the opposite. The bed had a canopy. A dresser was next to the door and another small door led into a guest bathroom. The room itself smelled of vanilla candles, and sure enough, several candles were lit and burning on the dresser. "This is it." said Draco, putting down the bags.

"Wow." was all Hermione could say.

Draco put his arms around her and cuddled her from behind, his head resting on top of hers. "Was that a good 'wow'?"

"Mhmm." she said. "Where's your dad?"

"He's probably at the Ministry." said Draco. He didn't seem like he wanted to talk about his father. He pulled her closer and kissed her neck. She wiggled out of his grip and ran over to her bed, giggling. He pushed her onto it and started to tickle her. She laughed as he tickled harder.

"Draco-- Dr..aco stop!" she laughed. "S-stop! STOP!" She couldn't breathe, she was laughing so hard. She gasped for air and giggled as he stopped. He gazed down at her and kissed her deeply, propped up on his knees. Hermione's hands ran down his chest as she kissed him back.

"Master Malfoy, Mistress Malfoy would like to-- oooh..." Penny squealed in embarassment from the doorway. Draco's head snapped up and Hermione looked up as well, both mortified.

"Penny!" gasped Draco.

"Penny is very sorry, Master." She bowed so low that her nose touched her toes and her ears brushed the carpet.

"It's okay, Penny..." Draco ran a hand through his hair and got off the bed, Hermione at his heels.

Penny cleared her throat. "Mistress Malfoy would like to see you."

"Thanks." said Draco and Penny retreated back down the steps. Hermione grasped his hand and they followed the house elf into the living room, where Narcissa was seated. She looked up as they entered the room.

"Your father is here." she said, addressing Draco. She sounded slightly nervous. Just as she said it, Lucius walked in. He was dressed in a set of handsome deep green robes.

"Hey, Dad." said Draco. Lucius seated himself and said nothing. "Look, if you're mad at me, then talk. You asked me to come, so I'm here."

"We'll talk about this later." Lucius said shortly.

Narcissa, standing between them, said, "Dinner's almost ready."

Dinner didn't go as originally planned. Neither Lucius nor Draco said anything to each other and Hermione, who felt frightened, on edge, and oddly out of place, said nothing as well. Narcissa was left to make awkward conversation, to which only Draco replied in a strained manner.

As they all sat in the living room later that night, Lucius spoke for the first time in hours. "Narcissa, please take Miss Granger to her room. I must talk with Draco." Narcissa nodded silently and took Hermione upstairs, leaving Lucius and Draco alone.

"If you're going to lecture me on how ashamed you are and how pureblood women are the way to go, I'm leaving right now." Draco said at once.

"You aren't going anywhere, Draco." Lucius said. And thus started a two and a half hour fight that resulted in nothing but unnecessary anger and them not being on talking terms for the next several days. In short, the fight resulted in making Christmas not so 'jolly' after all...

Meanwhile, Draco had said nothing to Hermione about this. She assumed that everything had just gone through one ear and out the other on his part and that he was fuming because Lucius was being rude. 

It took much prodding until he told her the truth.

"What's wrong?" Hermione asked. They were sitting in her bedroom. There was silence. "Is it your dad?" Again, silence. She persisted, "Talk to me."

"He doesn't understand what it's like to love." said Draco quietly.

"Of course he does. He's married." Hermione replied, confused.

"He may be married, but he doesn't know what real love is. He married my mum because she was pureblood. Pureblood witches and wizards are running thin and had we not married other purebloods, we would have died out. That's one of the most important things to Dad: that pureblood wizards overcome half-bloods and muggleborns." Draco said. "It burns him to think that I love you beyond anything that I have ever known. He doesn't understand what it feels like to love someone. I mean, I can sit back and let anybody else laugh at us and scorn us for it, because I know that they've never felt this way, but for some reason it bothers me that Dad has a problem with it."

"You didn't care when you first came here. It shouldn't bother you now." She caught his eye. "You respect him, and I know that. You should. But he's guilting you into thinking it's wrong that you love me."

"I just don't know what to do." said Draco. He sighed again.

"Don't let it bother you. He'll get over himself someday."

"But, what if your dad did the same to you? How would you feel?" he quizzed her.

She paused. "That's different."

"How is it different, Hermione?"

"Because my dad would never do something like that... be so cruel to his child. Lucius isn't right in the head, Draco. I think you know that." she said. "I personally think that he sees nothing of himself in you, when he wants you to be exactly like him, like a little robot that is under his complete control." Draco was silent. "You know that it's a possibility."

Draco silently nodded in agreement.

<><><><><><><><><>

Late that night, something awoke Hermione. She sat up a little and squinted into the pitch-darkness, but still could see nothing. The end ot the bed dipped and the sound of creaking bedsprings issued from somewhere near her feet. It was seconds before she realized that it was probably Draco, having trouble sleeping.

"Draco?" she said quietly.

"Hey, babe." came his deep voice out of the darkness.

"Are you okay?" asked Hermione, laying back.

"Mhmm." She felt him come up and cuddle her close. "Wha--?" She was about to ask him why he was here, but that particular question was answered immediately. He captured her mouth in his, his hands running along her neck. She smiled to herself, knowing full well what his plans were...

<><><><><><><>

Narcissa walked down the hall and knocked on Hermione's door. It was the morning and neither Draco nor Hermione had responded to her call for breakfast. "Miss Granger, wake up. You've been in bed far too long. It's 11:00." She waited with her hands on her hips, tapping her foot slightly. "Hermione?" She pushed open the door and peered inside.

Hermione was asleep alright, but she wasn't alone. Her head was resting on Draco's chest and his arm was around her protectively. Narcissa was shocked; she felt like she had just fallen down a flight of stairs.

"Draco." she said softly. His eyelids fluttered open and he looked at her like he didn't recognize her for several seconds. Then, something seemed to register and he sat up, jerking Hermione awake. She winced and fell back on the sheets, pulling them up to cover herself.

"Mum!" he gasped.

"Draco, what're you d-doing... in here?" stuttered Narcissa.

"I couldn't sleep..." he said, which was half true.

They must have looked mortified, because Narcissa chuckled. "I bet you couldn't." she said under her breath.

"Ma'am, it's not--" But Hermione was cut off.

"Mum... Don't tell Dad. Please." Draco begged.

"You're damn lucky he's already left for the Ministry." said Narcissa quietly. When Draco looked pleadingly at her, she sighed. "I won't say anything."

"Thank you." he said, leaning back on his pillows and looking over at Hermione. She was looking at her hands, which were clenched in her lap. They were shaking.

"I'll let you two get dressed." said Narcissa. "Come down to breakfast when you're done." She closed the door behind her and was gone.

Hermione looked back at Draco and she looked scared. "What?" asked Draco.

"Are you sure she won't tell your father?" she asked, her voice quiet.

"Yeah. He'll never find out. Come on, let's go down to breakfast." he said. He swung his legs over the edge of the bed and pulled on his boxers. Hermione, who hesitated, decided not to worry and wrapped the sheets around her, standing up. But even before her feet hit the floor, sharp pains shot up between her legs and she gasped. Trying to ignore it, she stood and hobbled over the dresser, retrieving some appropriate attire. Draco copied her and went into his room to do the same. Once fully clothed, they headed down to the dining room, where Narcissa was seated, reading her copy of the Daily Prophet in silence. Penny the house elf bowed low at the sight of Draco and pulled out his chair for him to sit, before doing the same for Hermione. The silence icy, palpable.

Finally, Draco couldn't stand it any longer. "Look, Mum. I don't know what to say to you."
"Maybe it would be best that you said nothing." interjected Hermione nervously.

"No, no. It's quite alright." said Narcissa. There was a pause. "I just thought that you would wait..."
Both Draco and Hermione knew what she ment. Both had planned it, but the urge was too strong and it pulled them both in before they were able to resist.

"I'm sorry, Mum, but--"

"You couldn't resist. I know." said Narcissa softly, sounding slightly amused. "It happened to me and your father. That's how you came to be."

"What?" he said. Too much info, Mum! he thought desperately.

"Yeah," Narcissa said smoothely.

"Ugh..." Draco moaned, pulling the plate of pancakes toward him and proceeding to stuff his face in order to avoid further conversation.

<><><><><><><><>

Once again, sleep seemed to be evading Hermione. She sat up in bed, remembering an old bookshelf in the living room laden with interesting old books. She decided to go investigate, considering there was nothing else for her to do. Slipping silently down the hall and down the stairs, she stopped dead in her tracks. The fireplace still had a small fire burning in it and she prayed that nobody was awake.

She stood rooted to the spot, listening for th slightest sound, but heard nothing. Deciding it was safe, she strode across the room and scanned the bookshelf, running her fingers over the old spines of the books in the firelight. She saw a leather bound book that appeared to have no title. It was taller than all the other books and it looked extremely old. Interested, she pulled it off the shelf and sat in a nearby chair, running her hands over the rough, worn leather.

"Like it?" came a clear, soft voice from behind her. She felt like she had been punched in the stomach and she turned around to see none other than Lucius standing there, his head cocked in mock interest. When Hermione said nothing, he continued, "Why are you not in bed? Tired of Draco?"

Hot anger burned her throat and she swallowed. How could he have found out? she thought. He seemed to have read her mind, possibly literally.

"I have my ways, Miss Granger." he drawled. "You know," He circled her, as if interrogating her, "Never has a mudblood stepped foot in this house, until you, that is. Congratulations."

"Is that because you're intolerant, or because one of us might muddy up your precious furniture?" Hermione asked in distain.

"Both, actually." said Lucius, smirking and looking horrifyingly like Draco. Hermione couldn't even look at him. How could Draco have come from something so evil? "Tell me. What's it like knowing that you'll never have Draco--"

Hermione leapt up, her arm drawn back to slap him as hard as she could. But he was too fast for her and had her wrist clenched tightly in his strong hand. He jerked her closer; she gasped slightly. He was much too close.

"--ever." The word seemed to echo in whispers around the room.

"You're despicable." she breathed.

"Oh, I'm afraid you have no idea." He shoved her away and she stumbled and nearly fell, but caught and pulled herself up onto the sofa. Lucius surveyed her and laughed softly, hauntingly. "My powers out-weigh yours by far."

"And your point is?" she snapped. She was trying to hide her sudden feeling of vulnerability.

"My point, Granger, is that you have no chance of leaving this house alive. That is, unless you leave right now. Draco doesn't love you. You're a mudblood--" He spat the word out like something that tasted bad, "--unworthy of his time. Leave. And if you speak to him again, I will kill you." Vemon laced his smoothe voice.

"I'm not leaving. Not without him." she said. She stood and walked away; some asinine voice in the back of her mind was telling her that he would let her go, but she knew otherwise.

As if one que, a sharp pain hit her between the shoulder blades and she flew forward several feet and onto the ancient rug. She distinctly felt a few ribs break as she collided with the hard floor. Moaning in pain, she rolled over onto her back, her ribs aching.

"Fine. I'll just kill you here, then." said Lucius silkily. He watched her struggle to prop herself up on her elbows, massaging her ribs. As suddenly as his first attack, he struck down and grasped a good chunk of her hair and yanked her to her feet. She staggered, crying in pain, and he threw her into the bookcase. Stars popped in front of her eyes as books cascaded down upon her. When the heavy thumping of falling books resided, Lucius could hear her ragged breathing. He laughed and said, "Allow me to have some fun first, will you?" Knowing she couldn't respond, he pulled her up again. She struggled against his grip fiercely, trying to bite him and kick at him. The pain was blinding, but she fought on. He pushed into the wall and the wind was knocked out of her. "You're quite fun to toss, Granger." Lucius sneered. "What, Dumbles got your tongue?" White hot anger flared inside her and she found her foot colliding with his shin, though aiming for an area somewhat higher. He yelled.

"How dare y--" she snarled, but was cut off as he seized her by the shoulders and pressed her harder against the wall. Before she knew what he was doing, the top part of her nightgown had been torn to reveal her breasts. She whimpered and scrambled to cover herself up, realizing just what his plans for 'fun' really were.

The cold stone sent shivers down her spine. She thrashed against him, but his grip was much stronger... 

It was done... There was nothing that she could do... 

*

Draco jerked awake and whipped out his wand. He blinked in the darkness and wondered silently what had awoken him. Then he heard the scream again. A gut wrenching scream.

Hermione.

Leaping out of bed, he hurtled down the hallway toward the sound. He ran down the steps and knew immediately where the noise was coming from. He vaulted into the living room and saw, to his horror, Hermione pinioned against the wall with his father on her. Hermione looked close to passing out as she screamed and writhed.

"STUPEFY!" Draco bellowed, sending Lucius to the floor, panting. Hermione slid down the wall in anguish, pulling her clothing around her and weeping. Draco rushed over to her and fell to his knees, his heart racing. Her breath came in rattling, ragged gasps and she was trembling harder than ever. She didn't look up at him.

He turned to face Lucius, who was in a heap on the floor and panting with a triumphant look on his face.

"You're sick." snarled Draco. His father laughed hollowly, but said nothing. "You'll pay."

"Oh, will I? sneered Lucius. He got up and whipped out his own wand, looking exhausted but determined. They stood there for a moment, trying to calculate what the other was going to do. "Petrificus Totalus!" he shouted.

"Protego!" Draco yelled, blocking the spell. "Stupefy!" he said again. Lucius's wand flew out of his hand. He scrambled over to the mantle and grabbed the old silver dagger, holding it like a grenade. "You wouldn't." Draco said.

"At this point? I would do pretty much anything. And now, I don't think your in the position to tell me what I would and wouldn't do." Lucius hissed. He lept at Draco without warning and slashed at the air, leaving a long gash in Draco's jaw line. He yelled and his wand fell out of his hand as his eyes watered against the pain. Hot blood ran down his face and he wiped it away. Lucius charged at him again, but Draco punched him, sending his father to the ground. Draco snatched the dagger and twiddled it in his long fingers, watching as Lucius shook his head to clear the blackness. Lucius sat up and saw Draco standing there with the dagger. A hungry, malicious look spread across his face. Before Draco knew what Lucius was doing and could stop him, Lucius had vaulted himself at his son, his hands outstretched toward his throat.

Lucius was stabbed with the dagger.

Hermione screamed. It was seconds before Draco really knew what had happened. "No..." he breathed. Lucius made a gurgling noise and his face contorted with pain. Draco lowered Lucius to the ground, his brain empty. He couldn't think. Nothing seemed to fit. His father wasn't dying. He couldn't be.

Lucius's eyes closed and his raspy breathing was very audible throughout the room. A dark line of blood oozed out of his mouth. His last breath was taken from him.

Lucius Malfoy was dead.

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A/N: Like it? I know, a shocker. I live to surprise. Hope you liked it.

Chapter 7: Proposals and problems
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]



Draco had never experienced anything harder than trying to explain what had happened to his mother, who was unconsolable. She wouldn't speak to him, or anyone for several days. And the worst thing was, it was totally his fault that Lucius had died.

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Hermione was taken to St. Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries to be treated. She had sustained some nasty cuts and a few broken ribs. Not only that, but she had fallen into an ever-downward spiraling bout of depression which her healer, Healer Marlow, blamed on the rape. Even Draco was finding it hard to get a rise out of her.

She suffered from loss of energy, depression, a pressing sense of vulnerability, and difficulty relaxing. She was afraid of being in the presence of certain people, though thankfully Draco wasn't one of them. The only other people were her own parents and Healer Marlow. Though she was afraid of some people, she had a horrible fear of being completely alone as well. She seemed to be in a state of shock and wouldn't talk much; days of silence had reduced her voice to a rasp. Exhaustion seemed to pull at her, but she refused to sleep, especially in the dark. Draco had only managed to get her to sleep for about 8 hours the night after she arrived, which was about four days previous. Sleep evaded her due to the nightmares she had. As she slept, Draco watched her writhe and whimper in her sleep, her eyes searching blindly under her eyelids. Once she woke up, she wouldn't go back to sleep.

Healer Marlow had also tried to heal the long cut on the side of Draco's face, but some magical quality in the dagger that he was slashed with inhibited any healing that could be done. Draco was left with a thin, ropy scar along his jaw, a testament to his father's death. He would have it forever.

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Marlow traipsed in after a long afternoon of sleep on Hermione's part, which was induced by a sleeping potion in a desperate attempt at relieving least some of her fatigue.

"Just me, Miss Granger." said the young healer when Hermione looked around at the door from her book. Draco was at an odd angle in his chair next to her bed, with his cheek resting on the edge of it and one arm underneath his head, one resting on Hermione's leg. He jerked awake with a snort.

"Wha--"

"Hello, Mr. Malfoy. Sleep well?" Draco blinked the sleep from his eyes and nodded. "Well, I just came in to tell you, Miss Granger," -- she looked over at Hermione -- "that we have done all that we can for you. Now only time will heal you. If you consent, you will be released tomorrow morning around noon-ish. And, if you feel the need or want, we could arrange for you to meet regularly with one of our counselors. I think it might do you some good."

"Oh." said Hermione quietly.

"I think that would be a good idea." said Draco at once.

Hermione looked at him. "Where will we go, though? I'm not going back to the Manor." She shook her head.

"Uhh... Weasel's?"

"His name is Ron." said Hermione sternly.

Draco rolled his eyes. It was apparent that he still hated Harry and the Weasleys, and that probably wasn't going to change anytime soon.

"Is this agreeable?" asked Marlow.

"Yeah, I guess." said Hermione. "Good. I'll check on you in a while, then." Marlow left the room silently, closing the door with a click behind her.

Hermione immediately looked at Draco. "The Weasley's can't know. I can't stay with them. And it's still Christmas break, so Harry, Ginny, and Ron will be home."

"Hermione, we have nowhere else to go. I'm not going to make you do anything, especially go back to the Manor. But I think that you should go to Weasley's house. I won't go, so it doesn't look suspicious. And you don't have to say anything. They won't make you. Just say you're sick of me and wanted to spend some time with them."

"Are you sure it will work?" Hermione asked, skeptical.

"I don't see why not."

<><><><><><><><>

Hermione was released the next morning at 11:30. She had previously asked Mrs. Weasley if she could stay with them, the answer being a squeal of delight and a happy 'yes'. She and Draco planned to Apparate to the Burrow.

"Ready?" Draco asked her quietly, pulling his traveling cloak off the hanger and draping it over her shoulders. She nodded, seemingly nervous to leave the room. They walked out into the Atrium of the hospital and Apparated. Hermione's lungs constricted and darkness pressed down on them, but just as she thought she would suffocate, her feet hit the hard ground and she nearly fell with the impact. She was weak enough as it was and Draco had to grab her by the waist to keep her steady. The sound alerted Mrs. Weasley, who was apparently waiting for Hermione to arrive.

She came hurrying out of the door, a blue apron flapping at her waist, her wavy red hair pulled half-back to keep it out of her eyes. "Oh, Hermione dear! I was just--" She cut off at the sight of Draco, who was steadying Hermione with his hands on her waist. The older woman's face dropped from it's smile, but she tried to keep her voice pleasant. She pulled Hermione into a hug and whispered in her ear, "Hermione, why is he here?"

"He's helping me." Hermione didn't want to say too much. "We're currently seeing each other as well."

Mrs. Weasley's eyes widened. "What?" she croaked. "Sweetheart, do you have a fever? What's wrong with you? This is Draco Malfoy we're talking about."

"Give him a chance, Mrs. Weasley. You must. When Ron, Ginny, and Harry found out, they were the same way. They may still feel this way, but surely, you of all the people, I thought you would be able to handle it."

Molly looked apprehensive, but Draco stepped forward. "I won't stay here, if I am unwelcome. I won't take it personally."

"He just wanted to get me here safely." said Hermione. She turned to Draco. "Maybe you shouldn't stay--" she began, putting her hands on his chest.

"No. Mr. Malfoy, you may stay. But if you do anything to offend my family, you will be chucked out. Do you understand me?" said Mrs. Weasley.

"I appreciate your offer, Mrs. Weasley, but I don't think--"

"No, stay." said Hermione.

"That was a sudden change of mind." said Draco, smirking. "Okay. Well, thank you again, Mrs. Weasley. I really do appreciate it. And please, call me Draco."

Molly nodded and took Hermione by the hand, leading her through the back door of the Burrow. She plonked her young charge down in a kitchen chair and pulled out the kettle, filled it with water with a flick of her wand and levitated it to the stove, where it commenced it's boiling. She sat down across the table from Hermione and looked at her critically. Just then, it seemed, did she really take in Hermione's sickly appearance.

"Are you sick?" she asked, concerned.

Hermione averted her eyes. "No." she said.

"What's wrong? Hermione, what's happened to you? Is it him?" She poked her thumb over her shoulder at Draco, who was now walking through the door awkwardly with his and Hermione's suitcases in tow. "If it is, I'll--"

"I know. I know what you'd do." said Hermione, slightly amused, yet concerned for Draco if Molly decided to attack. "And no, its not him. He didn't do anything bad. I have... I have the f-flu. A bad cold, that type of flu." she invented wildly.

"I have potions for that, dear." said Mrs. Weasley.

"No no no. That isn't necessary. I--" She was cut off as Ginny came pelting into the room, closely followed by Ron and Harry. Ginny threw herself at Hermione in a rib-cracking hug.

"Hermione! When did you get here? We missed you! Are you sick?" Her expression of delight changed to that of worry.

"I have a cold." she repeated. But she stared pointedly at Ginny and winked. Ginny seemed to understand and changed the subject.

"So..." She looked around and saw Draco standing there. "What the hell are you doing in my house?" she asked, angry.

"I was wondering the same thing." Ron snarled.

"Easy, chimeras. He's staying with us for the rest of Christmas break, so you'll just have to deal with it." said Mrs. Weasley sternly.

"Where should I put this stuff?" asked Draco, trying to ignore Ron, who was giving him the glare of death.

"Ronald, Harry, take Draco upstairs and give him Charlie's old room. Drop Hermione's suitcase off in Ginny's room. I've set up a cot for her." said Mrs. Weasley.

Ginny took Hermione's hand firmly and smiled cheekily at her mother before yanking Hermione upstairs and into her room. She slammed the door behind her and sat down on her bed. "What's going on?"

"I... Nothing."

"Tell me." she demanded.

Hermione hesitated. "Don't tell anyone. Promise?"

"I promise. Now tell me!!!" Ginny said loudly.

"Shh. Okay." Hermione took a deep breath. "I... Oh God... How am I going to put this? Okay... I got raped."

"WHAT?!" Ginny shrieked.

The three boys, who had apparently been traipsing through the hall, peeked inside the room, having heard Ginny's shriek. "What happened?" asked Harry.

Ginny motioned for them to come inside. She glared at Draco suspiciously as he closed the door behind them and leaned against it. "Hermione's been raped."

Harry went white and Ron's eyes locked with Hermione's. "What?" he breathed.

Hermione nodded and wrung her hands, feeling slightly calaustrophobic with all those eyes upon her. She couldn't meet anyone's gaze. "What? Don't just stare at me." she said.

"Who...?" was all Harry could manage. He looked like he was going to be sick.

"My father." Draco said softly, guiltily.

"WHAT?" Ron repeated, jumping up. He pinioned Draco to the wall by the throat and snarled, "If I find out--"

"Ron, no!" Hermione cried.

"Calm down, Weaselbee." said Draco calmly, though he could barely breathe.

"He saved me, Ron. I wouldn't be here--" She pulled Ron off Draco and stood in front of him. "-- if it weren't for him."

<><><><><><><>

Two days passed and nobody found out about the rape, to Hermione's immense relief.

Lupin and Tonks stopped by one afternoon to hand out late Christmas presents, with the excuse that Tonks' parents had kept them longer than they intended.

"So, here's your's." said Tonks, handing a small blue parcel to Harry. "And this one to you." A red one to Ron. "And this one for you."

"So, Molly, how have you been?" asked Lupin, leaning back in his seat on two legs.

"Well. You?"

"Not bad." He looked over at Tonks, who was now handing presents to Fred and George. "I'm proposing tonight." he mouthed behind a hand.

Mrs. Weasley's eyes widened and she let out a scream of surprise. When everyone looked around at her, she tried to pass it off as a violent fit of sneezes.

<><><><><><><>

"Goodbye, dears!" said Mrs. Weasley, hugging Tonks tightly and moving on to Lupin. It was late that night and they were off to their flat. "Call tomorrow." she whispered in Lupin's ear. Lupin chuckled and led Tonks out.

"Bye guys!" she said happily.

"Ooooooo..." said Molly, anxiously wiping her hands on her apron, though they were perfectly clean. "I can't believe it!"

"Can't believe what?" asked George.

Arthur looked at his wife, then said, "Remus and Nymphadora are engaged. Or will be soon. Remus is proposing tonight. He told me at work this morning."

All the girls in the room shrieked with delight. Even Hermione was happy for the first time in over a week. She looked up and saw that Draco was smiling at her. She smiled back.

"Well, enough of that. Bed, all of you." said Mrs. Weasley, shepherding her children, Hermione, Draco, and Harry up the steps.

Hermione flopped onto her bed and waited as Ginny flitted around her room. She pulled her red hair into a ponytail and fell onto her bed, turning off the lamp.

"Night." she said, her words muffled by her pillow.

"Night." said Hermione, pulling the blankets over her. This was the first night in days that she had experienced complete darkness. It scared her, but she wasn't going to burden Ginny with her own stupid fears. Her stomach cramped up uncomfortably with what she interpreted as anxiety, but ignored it. She soon dozed into a nervous and reluctant, but forced sleep. She drempt of Lucius, hanging over her with a sick look of happiness on his pointed face. His silky, evil laugh ripped through the air and she jerked awake, drenched in sweat and shaking uncontrollably.

She must have screamed, because Ginny woke with a jolt. "Hermione?" she said groggily, squinting through the darkness.

Hermione felt like someone was stabbing her in the stomach, like horrible menstrual cramps, and she realized that she was trembling and sweating in pain, not fear. Doubled over, she let out a strangled cry and panicked as the pain shot through her body. She had no idea what it was from, but soon Ginny was by her side.

"Wha-- Hermione, what's wrong? Talk to me." said Ginny, alarmed.

"I... Aaahh, I don't know what's g-going on." Hermione moaned.

Ginny turned the light on and knelt at the edge of the cot. A dark red something was spreading across the sheets beneath Hermione and when she saw it, she panicked. She had never menstrated like this. She knew something was wrong.

"Get help." she gasped, her eyes clamped shut.

Ginny nodded and shot out of the room, returning with her family, Harry, and Draco in tow. Everyone inhabiting the house crowded somewhere near the door or in the room. Mrs. Weasley shoved her way inside first and, taking one look at Hermione, knew what had happened. She had been a nurse in earlier years.

"She's had a... a miscarriage." said Molly quietly.

"What?" breathed Hermione, still doubled in pain. She couldn't believe it. 

Molly looked around venomously at Draco, whose eyes were wide. "See what you've done?" she said angrily.

"No." Hermione groaned. "No. It w-wasn't him."

"She got raped, Mum." said Ron.

"By Lucius Malfoy." finished Ginny. "It wasn't him." She couldn't believe she was defending Malfoy.

Mrs. Weasley rounded on Hermione, who was stark white and still losing blood rapidly. "You had a cold?" she said simply, shaking her head. "Someone help me lift her."

Draco was up in an instant and scooped her up effortlessly, but Hermione protested.

"N-no." she begged. "I'm not going back to St. Mungo's."

"You must, dear." said Mrs. Weasley.

"But, why? Can't we just keep this under wraps?" said Draco, suddenly thinking the same as Hermione.

"What, trying to cover up for your dad, Malfoy?" Harry snapped.

"No." said Draco softly. "I hated that man until the day he died." This seemed to shock all in the room, for there was silence except for Hermione's moans of pain. "I didn't choose him as a father, but he's dead now." There was a pause. "Mrs. Weasley, weren't you a nurse? Couldn't you just take care of this?"

Molly considered him for a moment. "Lay her back down." she sighed. "I'll be right back." She hurried from the room and came back within a minute's time, carrying several bottles of potions and her wand. "Everyone out." she said sharply and everyone went back to bed, except for Ginny, who sat silently on the end of her bed, watching. "Okay, Hermione. Drink this. It's for the pain."

Hermione snatched up the light blue potion and gulped it down. It was quite pleasant tasting and made her body warm as the pain melted away. She sighed and flopped back on her pillows.

"Better?" Molly said, smiling. Hermione nodded, her eyes closed. "Good. Now take this one." The next potion, red, was handed to Hermione, who sniffed it and wrinkled her nose; it smelled quite nasty. She pinched her nose and gulped down the potion in one. The potion's colour was appropriate, for it stopped the bleeding when it hit her stomach. Mrs. Weasley 'mopped' up the blood with her wand. "That's all I can do for you, hun." she said quietly.

"Thanks." said Hermione quietly, slightly embarrassed.

"Why didn't you tell me?" asked Mrs. Weasley.

Hermione shrugged. "I don't know. I just... I don't know."

"Well, tell me if there is anything that you need from me. I will do anything for you. You know that, dear." said Molly, smiling kindly and kissing Hermione on the forehead.

"Thanks." Hermione repeated.

Mrs. Weasley left the room and Ginny flipped off the lamp. "You okay?" she asked quietly. She seemed nervous.

"Yeah." said Hermione, in a daze. It had just hit her: she had been pregnant with Lucius Malfoy's child. And something inside her, other than the fear and disgust, felt affection for the child. Tears made her eyes feel warm and she tried to blink them away; she couldn't even believe that she was feeling sorry for the child. But, had she been posed with the option of an abortion, she wouldn't have done it. As Draco had said, a child doesn't choose his parents. It was not it's fault and she would have cared for it as if it had been one of Draco's children.

She rolled over and let her tears overtake her. Soon sleep wrapped it's warm arms around her and she was asleep.

~*~*~*~*~*~

A/N: Sorry this one wasn't as good, but the next chapter is kinda a shocker. A little, nothing earth shattering. But review please! Tell me what you think.

Chapter 8: Unexpected
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Hermione awoke the next morning, sore and tearstained. She rolled over and saw that Ginny wasn't in bed, so she got up, pulled her hair into a messy bun, and walked down to the kitchen, where everyone sat eating breakfast.

They all looked up at her approach and Draco actually got up, hugging her gently. He led her to a seat and sat in the one next to hers.

"Good morning, Hermione." said Mrs. Weasley, setting a plate laden with food in front of her. But Hermione shook her head at the plate, not at all hungry.

"I appreciate it, Mrs. Weasley, but I'm really not hungry." she said.

"You must eat, dear." said Molly. When Hermione gave her a pleading look, she said, "Maybe later." She pulled the plate off the table and it disappeared with a flick of her wand.

"Thanks." said Hermione. She stood. "I'm gonna go take a shower."

"That's fine." said Molly.

Hermione walked back up the steps and into the bathroom. She turned on the faucet and striped down, hopping into the hot water. As the water showered down her shoulders, she could feel her muscles relaxing. She washed up and got out, wringing the excess water out of her hair. She wrapped a towel around her, gathered her old clothes, and returned to her room. As she opened the door, however, she saw that someone was sitting on her bed. Someone with red hair. It was Ron.

"Hey, Ron." she said awkwardly. "Erm..." She felt slightly out of place in nothing but a towel. "What're you doing here?" Ron sat there, an odd look on his face. She closed the door and walked over to him. "Ron?"

"Yeah?" he said huskily.

"What's wrong? What's going--" She was cut off as Ron stood and kissed her deeply. Her clothes fell out of her arms and for a moment she couldn't think. She couldn't breathe. Why was Ron all over her like this? When they were together, he cheated on her. And now he was probably cheating on some other girl that he had sworn his love to, just as he had done to her. What nerve... she thought angrily. But she didn't know why she hadn't pulled away yet, and couldn't find the strength to do it, either. She found this slightly unnerving, but couldn't unravel herself from Ron's grip. Seemingly distantly, she heard the door open. This brought her screeching back to reality. She pulled away and looked over at the door, praying that it wasn't--

Draco was standing there, leaning against the doorframe, watching in mock interest. "Done? Good." He sounded condescending, yet snarky and prideful.

Like the old Malfoy.

Hermione stepped away from Ron, whose expression was appropriate for having been clubbed over the head with a bat, and said, "It's not what it looks like." The ordinary, guilty line. Thanks Granger. Can't think of anything better to say? You've really fucked it up now. she thought bitterly.

"Oh, I'm sure it's not." he said sarcastically. "But do explain. I'm interested."

"It's not--" Ron began, but Hermione shoved her elbow into his gut and that shut him up nicely. She took advantage of his temporary muteness.

"I walked in here and he was sitting on my bed. When I asked what he was doing here, he kissed me." she said simply, being as truthful as possible.

"And...?"

"And what?" Hermione asked, her stomach in knots.

"Why didn't you pull away and slap him?" He was being blunt now.

Hermione paused. "I don't... I don't know." She seriously couldn't find an answer for it.

"Well, then. That really says a lot to me about our relationship. It must be pretty horrible when you go running back to cheater boy, here. So, I think it's over. I'll cut the cord. Put you out of your misery. Have a nice life with Weaselbee." He smirked his famous Malfoy smirk and strode away from them.

"Draco, NO!" Hermione cried, running after him. She caught him in the hallway and grabbed his arm. He turned to look down at her. "I didn't. I love you. Don't do this!"

"I thought you loved me, but I guess I can't trust you anymore." he said, his voice low. "I'm leaving."

He wrenched his arm out of Hermione's grip and walked into his bedroom, closing the door behind him. She heard him rustling inside, getting his things together. Only a minute later, he immerged carrying his trunk. He gave her a longing, sad look before turning and walkinng down the steps. Distantly she heard the door slam closed. He was gone.

Hermione ran back into her room, where Ron was still planted, and slapped him as hard as she possibly could. He withstood the blows she gave him, but with difficulty. She punched every bit of body she could get her hands on, but each one got slowly weaker as her punches were replaced with tears. She fell at Ron's feet, sobbing. Her life had just ended. Draco was gone. He didn't love her anymore.

<><><><><><><>

She laid in bed for the rest of the day, crying in intervals. Her pillow was soaked with tears and her eyes were bloodshot. Several times, people tried to enter the room, but she told them to go away and they didn't question her. She expected Ron to explain the situation and hopefully get beaten up by his mother. Once she thought she heard a crash and a yell from downstairs, but suspected that she had only imagined it.

She heard the dinner bell ring and had not one ounce of energy to get up, so she just laid there. She reached out and drew back the curtains to reveal the sunset. Down in the yard, apparently the others had been playing Quidditch and were running into the house. Ron spared a half glance up at her window, but she made sure that she couldn't be seen. She gazed out at the field and sighed, hiccupping slightly, as the high grass seemed to dance in the breeze. The willow tree under which Bill and Fleur had been married could be seen, too. She felt her eyes sting with tears again. The last time she had seen that willow was when she was still together with Ron and she had been happy. Then he had broken her heart and Draco came along, though quite unusually. But still, she had never been happier than she had been with Draco. He was her everything. Without him, she probably would have died.

She pulled the curtains closed and rolled over onto her back. The room was substantially darker. She hummed to herself, staring at the ceiling, and tried to keep herself from commencing her tears. Fatigue pressed down on her and she was soon asleep.

<><><><><><><>

"Hermione, wake up." Mrs. Weasley's voice rang through the silence. Hermione's eyes opened. "Get ready."

"Why?" Hermione asked groggily, trying to roll over and go back to sleep.

"You go back to Hogwarts today, sweetheart." said Mrs. Weasley, as if everyone knew this.

Hermione sat up. She had forgotten. "I'm up." she said quickly. Without another word, she was in the shower and out and her trunk was packed. Down in the kitchen, Mrs. Weasley had breakfast ready. Nearly everyone was there, except Ron and the twins. Hermione sat down and ate her breakfast in silence, not looking at anyone, though she could feel at least one pair of eyes upon her.

"Eat up." said Molly. "BOYS?" she called up the steps. "Come on! Hurry up! You have to eat! They should have packed last night..." she said to herself, shaking her head.

Not long after, Fred and George came banging down the steps with their trunks in tow, Ron bringing up the rear. Hermione knew that he was looking at her, but didn't even spare an upward glance in his direction. She didn't really care about him anymore.

About a half an hour later, a Ministry car appeared in the back yard, like it did every year to take them to King's Cross Station and before they knew it, they were on the Hogwarts Express. Hermione had to be reminded that she was, in fact, Head Girl and she had responsibilities.

Grudgingly, she had share a compartment with Draco, who didn't even look at her or say a word. He was in an out every couple of minutes. Doing what? Only he knew, but she couldn't stop him. All she could do was watch and long for him.

<><><><><><><>

The next few weeks were sheer torment. Draco was ignoring her, and he often left the dormitory early so as to not cross paths with her. Likewise, Hermione felt no need to talk to or be around him, and avoided contact with him at all costs. She found herself spending a lot of time in the Gryffindor common room with Ginny and Harry. Ron was also out of the picture, as he knew not to talk to Hermione at all. That would only lead to fighting.

And Hermione's nightmares were only getting worse. They got more vivid and real every time. She would wake up in a cold sweat, panting and crying. But even if she could get back to sleep, it was a broken sleep. She was exhausted every day and her role as Head Girl was slowly slipping from her grasp. Professor McGonagall was disappointed in her, but there was nothing that Hermione could do about it; she surely wasn't about to tell her that she had been raped. Only drama could come out of that, and that was the opposite of what she wanted. She wanted to keep it from the public and deal with it herself; she surely wasn't looking for sympathy.

<><><><><><><>

One night, Hermione was sitting on the sofa in their common room, reading a book, when the portrait hole opened and Draco stepped inside. He seemed unsurprised to see her, though she thought he would be, considering they had only seen each other by chance in the corridors and no where else. He normally stayed behind in the Slytherin common room, or in the Great Hall until he knew she was in bed, then he would go back to the common room.

He passed right by her and she could barely control herself when she smelled his scent. She closed her eyes and calmed herself, pretending to be completely indifferent.

She was startled to hear him call, "Tea?" from the kitchen. She hadn't heard that voice for several weeks.

"Erm... no thanks." she called back, fighting the urge to scream, "I love you! Take me back!" She found her eyes welling with tears.

~*~*~*~

Draco leaned forward on the counter, trying to calm himself. How he missed her... His hands fumbled over the mug that he was filling with tea. All he wanted was to hold her in his arms and feel her touch. But she had cheated on him with that scum Weasley and broke his heart. He found it hard to trust her anymore, but desperately wanted to. On one hand he knew she wouldn't do it and was telling the truth, but something was telling him that her old love for Weasel had rekindled and she was just playing it. After all, she didn't seem remorseful. She was just as calm as ever. But then again, he was pretending to be calm too, and thought he was doing a fairly good job, so maybe she is, too.

He kept fighting with himself and didn't realize that Hermione had come into the kitchen, her face wet with tears.

"I'm s-sorry." she wept. "I'm b-being honest. R-Ron kissed m-me and I d-didn't stop him. I sh-should have, b-but I didn't and I d-don't know why. B-But I don't l-love him, really I don't. I l-love you." She sniffed loudly.

Draco looked down at her, considering her for a moment. But even through her tears, he said nothing. He felt cruel as she gazed up and him helplessly, but couldn't embrace her, couldn't except it yet. He didn't know if he could trust her.

~*~*~*~

Hermione couldn't put into words her remorse and grief at losing him, and didn't know why he wasn't believing her. She sniffled again and shook her head, hiccupping slightly. She turned on her heel and walked to her room, closing the door behind her.

Hot tears slid down her cheeks as she fell back against the door, trembling with sobs. Her life was slowly ending. God was punishing her for something and slowly torturing her into insanity, she knew it. Everyone was out to get her. She had been cheated on, raped, had a miscarriage from an illegitamate child, and now she had lost the only thing holding her together: Draco. She might as well have died right there. She closed her eyes and almost willed death to come, but instead, sleep came.

<><><><><><><><><><><><>

A/N: Sad, huh? *sniff* Well, review please. Oh, and sorry this one was a bit short. ~Guinevere



Chapter 9: Misunderstanding
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A/N: I'm going to apologize in advanced for this chapter. It's so absurdly short it's not even humorous. Just work with me. :)
~Guinevere Lily

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~


Draco rubbed the heel of his hand into his forehead, trying to concentrate. Binns' droning was slowly boring him to sleep, but he couldn't keep his eyes from drifting to the soft chestnut curls of the woman sitting across the aisle and up two rows from him. Hermione's head was bent over a piece of parchment and she was scribbling away.

He leaned forward in his chair, studying the dents and scratches in the old desk, anything to tone out the sudden want to take Hermione in his arms and hold her.

Why was he still unsure about her? They had been through so much, and yet...

Something about the situation made him not want to let her back in. He couldn't stand the hurt anymore. Having her was more than anything he could have imagined, and even so, it had caused not only him, but mostly her an amazing amount of pain. If he took her back, what other pain could he or his family cause her? Was it worth it? Or would she be happier without him?

It wasn't so much that he didn't trust her. She had given him no reason not to trust her. After all, there was really no chance in hell that she would cheat on him, especially with Ron, who had broken her heart once before. Why had he thought she would do such a thing in the first place?

The bell rang and he was jerked out of his reverie.

"I'll see you tomorrow, then, class." Binns said in his monotone, drifting away from them.

Draco gathered up his books and stuffed them into his bag, looking up just in time to see Hermione's eyes on his briefly as she walked past. He sat up and watched her go and he could still smell the faint, but distinct feminine scent she had. That sweet, gentle scent that brushed up his neck and sent chills down his spine. Yes, that scent.

He blinked and stuffed a few random papers into his bag before hurrying to catch up with her. She was, however, stopped by Binns at the door and Draco was forced to pass her.


Damnit... he thought, shoving through the corridor.

Before he had much time to be angry he was cornered by Pansy Parkinson. Just the person he wanted to see. Or rather, watch die a slow and particularly painful death.


"Hey, Drake." she purred, twining a bony finger around his tie and pulling him down to her level.

"Draco, and what is it you want? I'm in no mood, Parkinson." said Draco smoothly.

"Oh... Feisty." Pansy crooned. "I can tame that beast, Malfoy. It won't take but a moment out of your busy schedule. If you'd just step into my office..." Pansy pulled him down further and pressed her lips against his. He refused to open his mouth to her and shoved her away, evoking many strange looks from passersby.

"What are you playing at, Parkinson?" Draco hissed, trying not to make a scene. He looked around and saw that Hermione was walking down the corridor. Her head was bowed and her stride was quick. She had undoubtedly seen him and Pansy.

Clenching his jaw and throwing Pansy a threatening glare, he slung his bag up over his shoulder and dashed after her, leaving Pansy flustered and angry.

~*~*~*~

Hermione fought to keep her cool as she quickly turned the corner. Throwing a glance over her shoulder to see that she was quite alone, she ran up the empty corridor and into an unused classroom, flinging her bag off her shoulder and sitting in a chair, running her hands through her hair and trying to keep herself from crying. As normal, it was no use and she soon was sobbing into her hands. The sound must have carried, but she didn't care.

Draco and Pansy.... She thought that he had changed. Well, obviously not. It was quite apparent that they were an item, or would soon be one, at the rate they were going.

She slammed her fist into the side of the chair angrily. How could he? He was different. Something wasn't right about the picture that was slowly being painted before her.

~*~*~*~

Draco raced down the hall and around the corner, into an empty corridor. Panting, he looked around. Nothing. She was probably already down in the Great Hall having dinner.

He raced down the corridor, but stopped abruptly when he heard a muffled sound. Crying. He knew that cry. It was Hermione. He knew it.

He checked the first unused classroom he knew of, but it was empty. The crying sounded closer. Across the way was another unused classroom. He ran up to the door and pushed it open, stepping inside.

Surely enough, Hermione was sitting in a chair, her elbows on her knees, her head cradled in her hands. Crying.

"Hermione." he panted, not moving from his place in the doorway.

Hermione looked up, her eyes swollen and red. She didn't attempt to shield her tears and, in fact, cried harder when she saw him.

"What was that about?" she gasped, wiping her face on her sleeve.

"It wasn't--"

"Don't tell me 'it wasn't what it looked like', Draco. Tell me the truth." she snapped, standing.

Draco was struck with a sudden irony. He was just placed in the same position that Hermione was placed in by Ron. He wasn't at all interested in Pansy and Hermione wasn't at all interested in Ron. It was all a huge, terrible misunderstanding.

"Listen to me." Draco said softly, striding over to her.

"No, you listen to me." said Hermione, taking a step back when he went to take her by the shoulders. She had stopped crying, but she was still worked up. "You accuse me of cheating on you and then you go on with life as if all is okay, when you know damn well that it's not okay. Nothing is okay anymore. I have contemplated suicide, Draco." She said it in a slurry of words and couldn't stop herself.

It felt like someone had punched him in the stomach.

"Life isn't worth living anymore. Don't tell me you're happy with life like it is."

"I'm not."

"So you're going to mask it all by mauling every woman who happens to cross your path?" said Hermione, tossing her hands in the air.

"No--"

"I don't want to hear it." She snatched up her bag and pushed past him, out the door into the corridor.

"Wait!" he yelled, following her. He grabbed her by the upper arm and yanked her around to face him. There were angry tears in her eyes as she stared back at him, panting slightly. "Listen to me." he repeated.

"I told you, I don't want to hear it!" she snarled, wrenching her arms out of his grip.

Why am I angry? she asked herself. I should be begging for him to take me back... Oh, wait. I already have. Even the voice in her head was sarcastic. She couldn't decide what she wanted anymore. Did she want him back and have the chance to lose him again or cause him more pain? Or was it just better to avoid him altogether and slowly heal and find someone else to love?

"Why won't you listen?" Draco asked, incredulous.

"Because..." She couldn't actually think of a reason. "Just leave me alone." Without another word, she strode away, leaving him confused and angry.

~*~*~*~

The next few days were torment. Hermione had chosen the 'avoid Draco at all costs' route and left Draco himself wondering. She figured the less he sees of her, the less pain it would cause them both. She would lock up in her room all night and leave extra early in the morning, so as to not come into contact with him. And the plan was going quite well. Not that she felt better, but he seemed happier to be rid of her. Or, at least that's what she thought...

In reality, Draco was as miserable as miserable comes and wanted nothing more than to crawl into a ditch and die. Nothing sounded more appealing. Except, of course, holding Hermione in his arms and never letting go, but that option didn't seem like it was very likely.

He couldn't understand what was happening. One night, she had begged and begged for him to take her back and now she wanted nothing to do with him. Was she going mad? Not likely. Was she really over him? Not likely. Then what was going on?

He finally decided: it was his turn to grovel.

~*~*~*~

A/N: Okay... Again, sorry for this one being so short, but I was on hiatus for the longest time and am just getting back into the swing of things as far as writing goes. I'm kinda short on plot line details at the moment and would GREATLY appreciate some ideas and advice from people who have read the story thus far. I know where I'm going with it, as far as the ending is concerned, but inner details are far and few. So, if you have ANY ideas, please don't hesitate at all to drop me a line at: roxmysox712@gmail.com

And don't forget to write a review, If you feel uncomfortable writing an email, just leave your ideas in a review. And if you do have ideas, please give details and not a brief and vague description.

Thanks so much and please stick around for the ending of the story. You guys won't be sorry.

~Guinevere Lily
PS: When leaving a review, please don't think it's necessary to comment on the length of this chapter, by the way. If you've read the apologies, you'll understand that I'm having a rough patch here and that I don't need to be told about it. Thanks!


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