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    DISCLAIMER: I own none of the characters in this story. They all belong to JK Rowling. I own the plot. That is all.

    Author's Note: This is my first ever fanfic, so please be nice and R&R.

    Hermione sighed and put down the copy of The Daily Prophet she was reading. Usually she was engrossed, reading every article from start to finish, taking in every detail about what was happening in the wizarding world. She scowled and shook her head as if clearing it of unwanted thoughts. Crossly, she picked up her paper again, shaking it a little, as if that too would help clear her head. Hermione opened the paper and started to read. The words swam through her head, making absolutely no sense at all.

    ‘What the hell is wrong with me?’ she asked herself, irritated. A name flashed into her tired brain.

    Draco Malfoy.

    If possible, Hermione’s scowl deepened, and her mind drifted back to her last day of Hogwarts – Graduation Day.

    The ceremony was over and all the students were laughing and hugging one another, wishing each other luck for the future. Many of them, Hermione included, had jobs to go to. Only one student stood alone, outside this happy celebration. Hermione had seen Draco standing off to one side, an unreadable expression on his pale face. His blonde hair hung in his eyes and with a sigh, he pushed it away with long, slender fingers. His grey eyes were troubled, and at that moment he glanced up, as if he felt her gaze on him. He sneered at her, and she scowled.

    ‘Typcial Malfoy,’ she thought. ‘He cannot be civil, not even today.’

    She had, for some unknown reason, continued to sneak glances at him. He in turn looked at her, almost challenging her to approach. Hermione thought about the rotten year Draco had had. His father killed in the battle against Voldemort and the Death Eaters, and his mother locked away in a cell in Azkaban. Hermione had heard they were going to give her the Dementors Kiss any day now.

    Surprised at herself, Hermione realized she was feeling pity for the lonely blonde boy. Inwardly, she scolded herself. Malfoy deserved everything he got, and more. So what if he’d hardly said a word to anyone all year (not even his usual daily barrage of insults to Harry, Ron and herself)? So what is none of the Slytherin’s were speaking to him? So what if he sat alone, ate alone, walked alone? He deserved it. Didn’t he?

    With a sigh, Hermione turned back towards Malfoy, but he had gone. Her eyes did a quick scan of the room, and she saw him disappear out the front doors to the Great Hall. She put on a determined face and made to follow him.

    “Hermione! We’ve finished school!”

    A very excited Ron Weasely grabbed her in a bear hug – the tenth in an hour. Smiling weakly, Hermione disentangled herself from her friends long and rather strong arms.

    “Not now Ronald. I’ve got something to do. I’ll be back,” she said quickly, hurrying off in the direction Malfoy had gone. Ron’s voice floated through the air.

    “Bloody mad! What’s she doing?”

    and then louder,

    “Harry! Oi! Harry!”

    Hermione hurried down the stairs, her graduation gown flying behind her. At the base, she paused. Which way did he go? She thought, and shrugged, taking a few steps forwards, and then turning sharply on her heel, deciding to return to the Hall. She spun around and collided with something warm and hard. Strong hands grasped her arms, preventing her from toppling backwards.

    “Granger, you should really watch where you’re going,” a voice said softly.

    Hermione gave a small yelp and stepped away. She looked up. Draco Malfoy stood before her, grey eyes shining with amusement. He still had his hands wrapped around her forearms. She shook herself free, crossing her arms over her chest.

    “You shouldn’t sneak up behind people Malfoy,” she replied, looking him in the eye.

    He sneered. “What are you doing out here? I thought you’d be inside celebrating with Potty and the Weasel.”

    Hermione rolled her eyes. He was so childish! “I was looking for you as a matter of fact,” she said.

    “What for?” Malfoy seemed surprised.

    “I just wanted to say…” Hermione began, but he cut her off.

    “What? Congratulations? Good luck for the future? What Granger? What?” he asked, his voice rising.

    “Well, yes, if you must know, that’s exactly what I was going to say, but I’m not sure I will now,” Hermione answered, her own voice rising.

    “And what makes you think I’d want to hear anything you’d have to say anyway? You are nothing but a filthy little…” Draco ground out, stepping closer to her. A faint blush was creeping into his pale cheeks.

    Hermione whipped out her wand, pointing it at his chest. “Don’t you dare say the word Malfoy! Don’t you dare!” Her eyes flashed daggers at him.

    “How dare you draw your wand on me!” Draco spat, trying to swat her hand away. She dodged him, and he grabbed at her wrist, at the same time reaching for his own wand with his spare hand. Hermione’s free hand snaked out and went for his wand hand, clawing her fingers around his wrist at the same time he grabbed her.

    They stood that way a moment, Hermione struggling and Draco holding her immobile, using his physical strength against her. They were so close, their faces only inches apart, both breathing heavily, fury in their eyes. A strange thought flashed into Hermione’s mind.

    ‘I really do pity him,’ she realized as she stared into his eyes, so full of hate and something else. Was it pain? Loneliness? Fear?

    “It must be hard,” she said softly, not taking her eyes off his face. Malfoy frowned a little.

    “What are you on about now Granger?” he snarled.

    “I’m sorry Malfoy,” Hermione said quietly.

    “What?” Malfoy spat, his frown deepening.

    Hermione sighed. “I feel sorry for you,” she whispered. He stared at her, dropping her wrists like she was on fire. He took a shaky step backwards, never taking his eyes off her.

    “Draco…” Hermione began, but he laughed.

    “Don’t pity me Granger. Don’t feel sorry for me. Don’t talk to me and don’t ever some near me again,” he replied. She looked at him sadly and opened her mouth, but he turned and walked away into the night.

    Hermione closed the paper. That night, six years ago, had been the last time she’d seen Draco Malfoy.

    Until that morning.

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