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A/N: Without my beta, Edenvirg, this story would have been very awful to read. Thank you so much for helping me despite your busy schedule.

Disclaimer: I am not J. K. Rowling. I am just a crazy girl with nothing to do with her life. Sadly, I do not own Harry Potter.

Chapter Two: Thanks

Hermione stared at herself in the mirror. She couldn’t remember a thing when she opened her eyes that morning. It came as a surprise at first and now it led to frustration. What had happened? Why couldn’t she remember a thing? Who was that man outside? What was she doing here in his place? And why, oh why, was she sleeping on his bed and wearing his shirt?

A blush crept up her pale cheeks, but she brushed the thought away. He handed Hermione her clothes then asked her to change before they eat breakfast. She stared at the white shirt and black trousers that she now held in her hands and at her shoes, which were on the floor. She had better change now. She definitely had a lot of questions for him.

Draco almost gasped in terror when Hermione emerged from the bathroom dressed in her clothes. He caught himself just in time and reminded himself that this was not the same Granger he met before.

Hermione looked at the man in confusion. She thought she saw fear in his gray eyes the moment he saw her. She approached him and gave him what she assumed was his shirt.

“Thanks,” she said her voice almost a whisper.

That was the first time Granger ever thanked him. It caught him by surprise and for the second time that day, he had to remind himself that this was not the same Granger he met before. He simply nodded then motioned toward the table.

“You must be very hungry,” he said after clearing his throat. “You haven’t eaten since yesterday afternoon.”

Hermione had to agree. She had never felt this hungry as far as she could remember. Since she woke up, that is.

She followed the man to the old wooden table and on it she saw plates full of eggs, bacon and toast. There was also a pot of steaming hot coffee. She reluctantly sat on the only unoccupied chair then looked at the man from across the table. She was indeed very hungry, but she had a lot of questions he had to answer first.

“Can I... um, can I ask you a question?” she asked as she watched him sip his coffee.

“Just eat,” he said without looking up from his plate. “We’ll talk later.”

Hermione stared at him again then sighed. Maybe the questions could wait. She picked up a toast then bit into it.

Draco did his best not to look up from his plate and glance at the woman seated across the table. It really was strange to be in the same room with her, much more share a meal with her. They might have been together in school for six years, yet he never shared a meal with her before. And knowing himself then, neither would he want to.

They ate in uncomfortable silence. The tension in the room was so thick that Draco could probably sink a knife into it. He dropped his fork then took a long sip of coffee.

Hermione saw this as an opportunity to start a conversation. Her mind continued to reel with questions that she felt as though it could explode.

“Um, excuse me,” she said, breaking the silence. “You said my name was Hermione Granger, right?”

Draco put down the cup on the table then nodded without looking up.

“H-how about you?” she asked again. “What is your name?”

He didn’t answer. She could be pretty stubborn. He kept his gaze on the scratched surface of the wooden table and the food on his plate. He pondered on whether to tell her the truth or not.

“Is there something wrong with my question?” she asked in frustration as she pushed her plate away.

“Nothing,” he answered calmly, then looked up to her. “It’s Draco.”

“Draco,” she echoed to herself. The name did sound familiar to her. She just couldn’t remember where she heard it before.

Draco had already lost his appetite. He pushed his plate aside then watched Granger from across the table. He might as well tell her the truth... not most of it though. She might think he was insane if he told her about the Wizarding world, and it might not be helpful for her to know of her state when she first came here.

“So we have met before?” she asked again.

“We used to be classmates in school,” he answered with a nod. “Four years ago, that is.”

“Were we close?” she asked, brushing away the thoughts she had earlier in the bathroom.

Draco thought for a while before answering her question. He could not possibly tell her that they were enemies.

“Not much,” he shrugged. “You had your own group, I got mine.”

“Oh,” she said, and a blush crept up her cheeks. “What am I doing here then?”

Draco leaned back on his chair then looked at her.

“Um... I saw you outside, unconscious, so I took you in,” he answered. He paused before continuing. “I don’t know what happened to you... I mean, we haven’t seen each other for four years... since I... since I ran away.”

“You ran away?” she asked. He saw concern in her warm brown eyes that he never saw before. Instead of comfort, however, he felt guilt and pain.

“Well, I was young and stupid,” he answered with a mirthless laugh as he looked away from her eyes.

Hermione felt bad for Draco. That explained why he was living in this place. She looked at the food on the table. Maybe he spent a lot just so he could serve her a proper breakfast. She looked down at her clothes then looked at his. The difference was pretty obvious. If she could just regain her memories, maybe she could help him.

“I don’t need your pity, Gr—Hermione,” he said when he caught her looking at him. “I chose this kind of life.”

Hermione bit her lip then stared at her lap. She shouldn’t have asked. Maybe she should just ask him another question.

“Do you know where I live?” she asked instead. Maybe if he could get her there, she could help him.

Draco, however, shook his head. He knew where to find Potter, though. He just didn’t know how they would accept him there. They might even accuse him of hurting Granger. The idea of leaving her in a public place, like Diagon Alley, for someone to discover had crossed his mind. However, he couldn’t do that now. It was clear that someone wanted her dead. If that was the case, then it would be better for her to stay here for a while. Maybe he should spy for news first then decide what to do with her later on.

Hermione massaged her temples. She already felt the beginnings of a headache as she raked her mind for any information about herself and about her past. Draco noticed this, so he stood up from his chair and held out a hand to her.

“You better take a rest,” he said. “We’ll talk again later.”

She nodded absentmindedly then took his hand. He helped her stand up from the chair and led her to the bed.

“Thanks,” she said for the second time that day. She lay on the bed then closed her eyes.

Draco brushed his hair away from his eyes and walked back to the table. He cleaned everything up the Muggle way. He thought of what to do with the girl while he was washing the plates on the sink. She wasn’t really his responsibility but he felt that she could help him in some way. Maybe if Potter discovered that he took care of his friend, he would be willing to grant a favor in return. He could bargain with him instead. It could be difficult, but it was possible. Potter was and always would be the nice guy. He couldn’t do that now, however. He decided to go to Diagon Alley and spy for news. He might discover what really happened to her. Yes, he would do just that and pretend later that he went out to get her clothes.

Hermione was still awake when Draco was done with the dishes. She just closed her eyes and tried to relax despite the turmoil she felt inside.

“Hermione?” Draco whispered.

Hermione opened her eyes then looked up to him.

“I’ll just go out for a while,” he said in a louder voice. “Do not leave this room. If someone knocks, do not answer it, okay?”

Hermione was a bit hesitant about being left alone but she was not in the mood to argue now. She simply nodded then closed her eyes again.

Draco opened his closet, grabbed his jacket and his only cloak inside, but purposely left Hermione’s wand untouched. He closed the doors of his closet. He glanced at her and seeing that her eyes were still closed, he pointed his wand at the closet then muttered a spell to lock it. Draco placed his wand inside his jacket then tucked the dark green cloak and a small sack of Wizard money inside his backpack. He grabbed the baseball cap hanging from a nail on the wall and put it on.

He gave her one last glance before he closed the door. She had already fallen asleep. Draco nodded to himself in approval. She really needed to rest. He closed the door softly then locked it using magic.

The last time Draco had done this was two months ago. He found out then that Potter had married Ginny Weasley in a grand ceremony in the Burrow where they also honored their comrades who had fallen in the war, including the bride’s father, Arthur Weasley. He also found out that some of the younger Death Eaters like Theodore Nott and Marcus Flint were still on the loose. Granger might have faced one of them.

He walked casually to a dark alley behind the old building. He looked around first and when he was sure that no one was around, he Apparated behind a store near the Leaky Cauldron. Once he was there, he looked around again and when he saw that the alley was empty, he removed his jacket and cap, stuffing them inside the backpack. He took out the cloak and the small sack of money, shrank the backpack and put it inside his pocket. Lastly, he draped the cloak around himself before walking towards the Leaky Cauldron, where he pulled down the hood of his cloak before entering.

The pub was quite full that day that he decided to sit on a table in a corner to listen to conversations. He roamed his eyes around and saw that there was no familiar face in sight. He called the attention of a young waiter who looked quite harassed and ordered a bottle of butterbeer. He had some Muggle money changed to Wizard money the last time he went to Diagon Alley. While waiting for his butterbeer to arrive, he looked at the table beside his, where a warlock in a shabby pinstriped suit was seated. He carefully folded his copy of the Daily Prophet then set it down on the table.

“Finished with that, sir?” Draco asked in a deeper voice as he eyed the newspaper.

The man gave him a suspicious look at first then he shrugged and handed Draco the paper.

“Thank you,” he said politely. The warlock ignored this and resumed with his meal.

As he was about to look at the front page, the waiter came with his butterbeer. He set the paper aside then took a long sip from the bottle. It had been a while since he had a butterbeer. He set down the now half-empty bottle on the grimy surface of the table then started to read the newspaper.

As he had expected, there was a large picture of Hermione Granger on the front page. She was reported to be missing after going out on a mission to hunt down the Death Eaters who had escaped Azkaban a few days ago. Only two of her companions, Seamus Finnigan and Padma Patil, were able to return alive though wounded. The two others, Terry Boot and Susan Bones, were unfortunately killed. Finnigan reported that he, Patil and Granger, who was also wounded, were able to escape the Death Eaters. They agreed to Apparate back to the Ministry of Magic. However, he and Patil were the only ones who arrived there. Nobody knew where Granger went.

Draco furrowed his brows. They were supposed to Apparate back to the Ministry of Magic but Granger went to his place instead... It just didn’t make sense.

He looked at the other news to see who the fugitives being hunted down were. He was about to read the next article when the man rudely asked for his paper back. He clenched his jaw in frustration but still calmly returned the paper to the man who left the pub after that. He needed to know what brought Granger to his place and if that had a connection with the Death Eaters she encountered.

He let out a sigh then finished his butterbeer. He took several coins from his sack then tossed these on the table. He stood up then took one last glance at the people inside the pub. He saw no one who could provide information. He nodded to himself then went towards the exit to Diagon Alley.

The flurry of people there caught him a bit by surprise. He had spent too much time in a small Muggle town where the chance of encountering a large crowd was one in a million. He pushed his way out of the thick crowd of people then casually walked inside Flourish & Blotts.

Inside, he instantly saw a familiar face. Pansy Parkinson stood in the Quidditch Books Section, where she was scanning the newly-arrived books. Draco stood by a nearby shelf and watched her. Since when did Pansy Parkinson, books and Quidditch come together? He smirked to himself when the thought crossed his mind. From what he heard, Pansy was one of the few Slytherins who helped Potter in the war. The reason behind her decision was beyond him.

She looked at the books with an expression of worry and doubt. She was about to take one of the books out of the shelf when somebody tapped her on the shoulder. Draco smiled when he saw that it was Potter’s wife. He walked casually to the Potions Books Section, which stood beside the Quidditch Books Section, then pretended to look at the books while he listened into their conversation.

“What are you doing here, Pansy?” Ginny asked, her voice tinged with suspicion.

“Oh, Ginny!” Pansy gasped in surprise. She bit her lip then wringed her hands. “I, um... Just looking around.”

Ginny laughed at her reaction.

“Since when have you been interested in Quidditch?” she asked, raising an eyebrow at her.

“I was just looking around, okay?” Pansy said in exasperation. “You just caught me in the wrong place.” Pansy looked at the bags the Weaslette was carrying. “Shopping?”

Ginny nodded in reply.

“I asked Harry to accompany me so he could get his mind off all these stressful things, but he refused,” she said, rather worriedly. “He’s been dead worried about Hermione, not to mention those fugitives from Azkaban still out there doing Merlin-knows-what damage.”

Pansy took several bags from one of her hands then held her free hand.

“Don’t worry, Ginny,” she said, giving her hand an encouraging squeeze. “Everything will be fine.”

Draco bit his tongue through all of these to keep himself from laughing or snorting. Pansy Parkinson and Ginny Weasley-Potter talking like they were the best of friends was just plain weird to him. Back in Hogwarts, he bet both of them sincerely wished to harm the other in whatever way possible.

“Any leads with Hermione?” Pansy asked. Draco inched closer to the two women and closely listened for the answer.

“None, as far as I know,” Ginny answered. “But you know those men. They don’t always tell me everything.”

“You’re right,” Pansy said with a sigh, then she turned to her companion with a brighter face. “Say, you want to come shoe shopping with me?”

Ginny looked a bit reluctant about the idea but she agreed. Pansy let out a squeal that used to drive Draco insane. She almost dragged the other woman out of the bookstore and into the crowded street.

Draco didn’t bother to follow them. They might suspect if he still followed them to the shoe store. Maybe he could just finish the newspaper he was reading earlier. He took some coins out of his sack then purchased a copy of the Daily Prophet. He was about to walk out of the bookstore when he came across the two other members of the Golden Trio—Harry Potter and Ron Weasley.

Draco saw this as a chance to get some information. He pretended to read the newspaper in a corner near the Potions Books Section, where Potter and Weasley now stood.

“Are you sure he has something to do with this?” Weasley asked in a low voice.

“I guess so,” Potter answered with a shrug. “Let’s not talk about it here.”

Draco clenched his fist in frustration when they started to talk about the Weasley twins and walked away after Potter found the book he was looking for. He decided to read that article about the escapees from Azkaban instead.

Ten prisoners were able to escape. Two were killed in the encounter and three others were already captured. They were still hunting down the five others who were reunited with the likes of Nott and Flint. Several of the wanted Death Eaters were named. Antonin Dolohov, Walden Macnair, Theodore Nott, Marcus Flint, Rabastan Lestrange, Lucius Malfoy and...

Draco stared at the name in dread. He blinked his eyes a couple of times but the name continued to glare up to him. His father was one of those who escaped. Maybe he was after him now...

Draco licked his dry lips then continued to read the article. He narrowed his eyes then almost tore the newspaper when he saw the last name on the list.

Draco Malfoy.

He took a deep breath then folded the newspaper before placing it inside his cloak. He did the right choice when he decided not to go to Potter. He could have been in Azkaban now, or worse — dead.

He left Flourish & Blotts and headed toward the apparition point. Being caught here in Wizarding London was twice as dangerous now. He should get back home soon.

He closed his eyes then Disapparated.

“Hi, Drake,” Tracy greeted cheerfully when she opened the door.

“Hey,” Draco said with a weak smile, then focused on the space above her left shoulder. “Is he in there?”

“Taking a nap,” the tall redhead answered. She stepped aside then motioned Draco to enter. “Come in.”

“The lazy bastard,” Draco said in amusement as he watched Tom sleeping on a large brown leather couch. His mouth was hanging open and drool was freely flowing down his mouth. “You better place a pail in there before all that drool floods this place up.”

Tracy laughed as she approached her brother.

“Why bother with a pail when you can stop the source?” she said with a giggle. She bent over the couch then tapped Tom lightly on the shoulder.

“What? Huh?” he blurted out as he abruptly sat up on the bed. He roamed his glazed eyes around the room and saw two laughing figures behind the couch. He was about to open his mouth to speak when Tracy threw a hanky on his face.

“Drool,” Tracy said with a smirk. She and Draco roared with laughter.

Tom glared at them as he wiped his face with the hanky.

He had met Tom and Tracy more than a year ago when he moved to this town. They themselves came into this town only a year ahead of him after they lost their parents in an accident. They had been very kind to him that he had learned to trust them. It was actually Tom who helped him get a job at the grocery store. To Draco, they were the first real friends he ever had; sometimes they were even more than that.

“Why are you here anyway?” he asked Draco.

“I just wanted to ask a favor from your sister, but then I saw you there so I decided to get some revenge,” Draco answered with his trademark smirk.

“What is it?” Tracy asked.

“Oh, can I borrow some of your clothes?” he blurted out, then realised that he had said exactly the wrong thing.

The two redheads looked at each other then laughed.

“Since when did you crossed over, Drake?” Tom said with a mischievous glint in his eyes.

“Shut up,” Draco said glaring at him. He walked over to a chair then sat there. “I have a friend... She’s not well. Saw her yesterday so I took her in.”

“You mean, from your old place?” Tracy asked.

Draco nodded in reply.

“And this morning, I found out that she also lost her memories,” he continued. “So she’s to stay with me till I find out what happened to her and where she should stay.”

“Wow. Some situation you got there,” Tom said in incredulity. “Gonna go to the police?”

Draco shook his head this time.

“I think I could handle it myself,” he said seriously.

Tracy and Tom exchanged worried looks then both shrugged.

“Wait, are you sure my stuff’s going to fit her?” Tracy asked somewhat worriedly.

Draco needed not to think before answering.

“She’s exactly your size, Trace,” he answered.

“Whatever you say, mate,” Tom said then he turned to his sister. “Trace, go get what she needs.”

Tracy nodded excitedly then ran to her room.

“Let’s talk in the kitchen,” Tom said, standing up and walking the kitchen.

Draco nodded then followed his lead.

Tom’s place in the second floor of the building was much larger than Draco’s. They were able to afford it since there were two of them sharing the rent, and Tom took on two jobs. It had two bedrooms, a living room, a kitchen and two bathrooms. There seemed to be an imaginary line which divided their flat into two. One side was dirty and messy, while the other was clean and organized. Tom was not only lazy — he was also a messy slob.

“Why are you smiling?” Tom asked with a suspicious look as Draco took a seat on a chair in Tracy’s side of the flat.

“Nothing,” he answered, then wiped the smile off his face.

“She’s gorgeous, isn’t she?” Tom said, narrowing his eyes at him.

Draco could not help snorting.

“Come on,” Tom said, rolling his eyes as he continued dramatically, “Admit it. You have a hot woman in your room. A hot woman you used to desire who came to you with no memories of the past.”

“Shut up,” Draco said, yet unable to control the smile that was lifting the corners of his mouth.

Tom was about to say something again, but was cut off when Tracy entered the room with two large bags in hand.

“Is this enough?” she asked with a worried look. “Good thing I’ve just done my shopping recently.”

This time it was Tom and Draco who looked at each other and laughed. She got overenthusiastic sometimes that she overdid things.

“Are you sure you still have your own clothes?” Tom asked.

“Shut up,” Tracy said with a glare. “So, Drake, is this enough?”

“That’s more than enough, Trace,” Draco said with a smile. “Thanks.”

She smiled to herself in satisfaction then set down the bags by Draco’s feet.

“Have you had lunch?” Tom asked.

Draco shook his head.

Tom smiled then walked over to the cupboard. He opened it then took out a brown bag.

“I owed you one, yesterday,” he simply said.

Draco reluctantly took the crumpled paper bag from Tom’s hand. He took a peek inside the bag then smiled.

“Thanks guys,” he said, then stood up to hug the brother and sister he never had.

Hermione was staring out of the window when he entered his room.

“Hungry?” he asked.

Hermione glanced at him and saw him throw his backpack and two large bags in a corner by the door then set down a brown bag on the table. She walked towards him then sat on a chair. Draco took out two thick chicken sandwiches inside clear plastic containers and two cans of orange juice from the brown bag and plunked these in front of him and Hermione.

“You shouldn’t have,” she said weakly as she eyed the food for lunch.

“They’re from a friend,” Draco said then he sat on the other chair. “I also got you some of Tracy’s clothes. She’s got loads of them and some she doesn’t even wear. She also gave you a pair of sneakers and slippers she had never used before. You might want to try them on later.”

Hermione watched him as he opened the plastic container then bit into the sandwich.

“It’s good, Hermione,” he said encouragingly. “Go eat.”

She bit her lip then a sob escaped her throat. Soon she was crying.

Draco swallowed the remaining food in his mouth and helplessly watched her. He didn’t really know what to do at that moment. He walked toward her then crouched by her side. He tried to pry her hands away from her face. He held them in his then squeezed them reassuringly.

“Hey,” he said softly. “What’s wrong?”

Her glassy brown eyes turned to his gray ones and she smiled through the tears.

“It’s just that... you guys are so nice to me,” she said. “So nice to me... even though I don’t even know them or remember you.”

Draco found himself smiling back.

“It’s just the right thing to do,” he said. “Don’t worry. I promise to help you until... until you get your memory back.”

He said the last part rather gruffly. He released her hands then stood up and walked back to his seat. He couldn’t believe he just did that.

“Go eat your lunch,” he ordered without looking up from his food. “We’ll talk later.”

Hermione stared at him with an expression that was a combination of confusion, amazement and disbelief. She just saw a softer side of her new friend a moment ago, and now he was back into being distant and impassive. Nevertheless, it is there and it is a part of him. Hermione smiled to herself as she thought of this.

“Thank you, Draco,” she said softly, unwrapping the sandwich and starting to eat.

It was the third time he heard this from her but it still sounded strange... so strange that he choked on his sandwich.

A/N: Like it? Hate it? Let me know. Thanks for reading. :)

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