The castle was quiet. It was the wee hours of the morning and everyone was asleep. Everyone except two teenagers, just seventeen, about to make a decision that will change their lives for ever. And the lives of everyone close to them.

The sun was just starting to rise when Hermione awoke. She opened her eyes to see an unfamiliar setting and it took her minute to remember where she was. She was in Draco’s room. At first she was confused about why she would be lying in his bed without any clothes on, much less be in his room at all. Then all the memories of the night before came flooding back to her.

She had been sitting in the Heads Common Room crying because of a fight she had with Ron earlier that day and she heard the portrait hole open. She looked up to see none other than Draco Malfoy, the last person she needed to see. Although something didn’t seem right with him. His face looked blotchy, not its usually pale color. And his eyes looked puffy and red like he had been crying. But wait, no that couldn’t be right. Draco Malfoy would never cry. He made fun of people who cried. She imagined he hadn’t even cried as a young child.

He didn’t say anything mean to her. He just sat down next to her on the couch and stared out into space. After several moments, she realized that she had been staring at him. Just as she was about to turn her head she saw him shift his gaze from the blank wall in front of him to her face. They just stared at each other for a moment before he spoke.

“My mother died yesterday,” he said with the most emotion in his voice she had ever heard, “I just got the letter a couple of hours ago.”

“I’m sorry,” was all she had to say.

“My mother was wonderful woman. She reminds me a lot of you actually.”

“Excuse me?”

“I didn’t mean that as an insult.”

“Well that’s how it sounded. I mean your mother was terribly rude to me!” she said with indignation.

“Look, you only ever met her once and she was out in public. She couldn’t be nice to anyone, even to me. My father would have punished her severely when we got home. He usually did that anyways. She was always nice and kind around me. That is much more than I can say for my father.” He said the anger becoming more apparent in his voice with every word.

“You’re right. I’m sorry. I really did only meet her once and it wasn’t under the best circumstances that we met. I wish I could have known her. From what you say it sounds like she was wonderful woman. She just married the wrong man.” She said while placing a comforting hand on his shoulder.

“She didn’t have a choice when it came to who she married. She was betrothed to him just hours after she was born. It wasn’t her fault. It was just a mistake made by her family.”

“What do you mean?”

“Her parents both came from good families. They had well respected names but they were mostly known for their kindness and generosity. Shortly after they married he made a bad investment and they lost almost all of their money. Then she became pregnant with my mom. When my grandfather found out he promised to pay them enough money to keep them happy for the rest of their lives if they betrothed their daughter to his soon to be grandson. My parents were born within days of each other. They married two months after they left school. My mother was never happy being with my father but she would never say that. I think she would have left him if it hadn’t been for me. She wasn’t afraid he would hurt her for she was even more powerful than he was, though neither one of them ever would have said that. She was more afraid that he would hurt me. She loved me more than anything so she stayed with a man who abused her to protect me. She didn’t even fight him when he hurt her because she knew if he didn’t take out his anger on her he would just take it out on me. I was glad when my father went to Azkaban. I thought it meant that he couldn’t hurt her anymore. Instead of hurting her himself he just sent someone out to get her. I miss her a lot but, I know she would want me to move on with my life and find somebody who could love me as much as she did.”

“Mmmmmmnnnnnnn. That’s feels good.”

Without noticing it, Hermione had started to massage his shoulder during his speech. At first she was embarrassed by what she had done but then this overwhelming urge to keep touching him overcame her. She shifted herself so that she was sitting behind him on the couch with her legs on either side of him. She massaged his shoulders harder but with more passion than she had earlier. She slowly moved her hands down his back and she heard him groan in pleasure. She found her body moving but she had no control over it. He had wrapped his arms around her and was pulling her around to sit in his lap. She was now straddling him and she felt herself leaning closer until their faces were only inches away from each other. Then she felt his lips on hers and she gave herself to that kiss. She felt herself being lifted and carried up the stairs. He laid her down on the bed and lowered himself on top of her. Things had gone on from there.

She just lay there for several more minutes thinking about last night, vaguely aware that the bed next to her was empty. She was startled when she heard a voice calling her from downstairs. It was Harry. He asked her if she wanted to come down and have breakfast with him. She answered yes quickly and went to her room to change. Then she headed downstairs. As she approached Harry she considered telling him about last night but then thought better of it. She wasn’t ready to tell anybody. Not yet, maybe not ever. So she walked with Harry to breakfast, made up with Ron, and for the time bring, pretended that nothing had ever happened.

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