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The first years had gotten across the lake and to the castle safely, with only a few mishaps involving fallen students and rescues by the giant squid. But all in all things were fine. Hermione sat beside Harry and Ron in the Great Hall as the new students were Sorted into their new houses. The two boys had found her just minutes after Malfoy had left her standing in the doorway of their compartment, confused, incensed, and feeling some other emotion she wasn't quite familiar with. That other emotion was had been stirred by seeing him actually smile -not a simrk, or a smug grin, but a true smile- for the first time since she'd known him. Gryffindor had gotten quite a few new young wizards and witches, as had Hufflepuff. Ravenclaw and Slytherin hadn't gotten near as many as the other two houses.

Hermione had a massive headache pounding in her temples from the incessant shouting of Houses and the ensuing cheers from each one, and with more than 50 kids left to Sort, it wouldn't be getting any better. She winced in pain as another cheer arose, sending a knife of pain into her brain. Getting up, she hurried away from the Gryffindor table and out of the Great Hall; the girl was heading towards the Head's common room and dormitories Harry and Ron didn't notice her hurried exit as they were arguing -again- about which House would get the most students. The girl squinted her eyes against the illumination the bright torches gave off, the light seeming impossibly magnified to her. Just her luck, a migraine, on the first day back to school.

The brown-haired witch walked briskly down the corridors, one hand rubbing her throbbing temples. She stopped before a painting of a sickly looking old man wearing a kilt and beret, which spoke after a few seconds. "Gimme the password, lass."

"Unity," Hermione complied quietly, and the portrait swung forward, revealing an open entranceway. She stumbled down the short hallway as a wave of dizziness washed over her. This feeling of vertigo was another common symptom of her migraines, and from the feel, it was going to be crippling. The young witch stopped and leaned against the stone wall, head in her hands as she fought the wooziness that had rushed up with the headache.

A pair of large, warm hands clasped her shoulders and she heard someone speak through the dark haze the small hall had become. "Granger? Are you alright? Bloody hell." The male voice cursed, and she felt herself being lifted off her feet, one arm beneath her knees and the other supporting her back. Hermione draped her arms around his neck unconciously, her face pressed against the hard wall of his chest. With every breath she inhaled some of his scent; absently, she contemplated it. A very unique smell, it was a mixture of musky male, some sexy smelling cologne, and some other fragrance she'd never smelt before.

"Going to make a habit of this, are you, Granger? You must like being in my arms." When he spoke, she could hear the rumble of it in his chest with every word he said, and when he chuckled, it was absolutely delightful, even with her pounding headache.

Draco carried her through the common room they would share and up the stairs, down the hall and into her room. It was a large chamber, decorated in crimson and silver. The Slytherin boy bore his slight and dazed burden over to the queen-sized four poster bed, setting the other student's slender body atop the deep-red downy bedspread that covered the soft mattress. The girl fell asleep immediately, eyes closing slowly as she took another look at her rescuer for the second time, as though trying to memorize his face.

The Head Boy stood there beside the bed for a moment, his steely grey eyes watching her in her peaceufl slumber. Without realizing, his hand raised and very gently brushed away a tendril of brunette hair that had crossed her forehead. As soon as what he'd done hit him, he mentally slapped himself, backing away from the sleeping young woman with a stragely fierce look. He came closer again, but only to remove her shoes gently, divest her of her heavy outer robe, and very carefully pick her up enough to draw the bedclothes back. He placed her on the mattress as cautiously as possible, before tugging the blanket and sheets up over her still body.

Draco turned and retreated quickly from the room, closing the door softly behind him. The young wizard returned to the common room, throwing himself onto the couch and staring mulishly into the fire. Heavens to Merlin, what was he doing? He must be barking mad! It hadn't even been 24 hours since school had officially begun, and twice already he'd been in extremely proximity to her. Twice he'd been close enough to smell the perfume she wore that smelled of flowers. And twice, he'd been hit so hard with feelings of unusual protectiveness it had left him reeling. With a deep sigh, he raked a hand through his platinum hair, and stood, going back up the heavily carpeted stairs led up to their separate dorms.

The Slytherin creeped to her door again, opening it to look in on her. She was lying on her side facing the door, burrowed deep into her comforter. Her wavy brown hair was fanned about her head, haloing her lovely face. He sighed again, closing the door softly and going to his own room. His room was the same size as hers and identical, except it was decorated in silver, gold, and black. A yawn came from Draco's mouth as he unceremoniously dropped his robes on the floor and stripped off his shirt, stretching languidly, arms reaching above his head.

The young man drug a hand down his face, mind confused and a whole host of other emotions he didn't care to name. He quickly finished undressing and changing for bed, wanting to crawl into his comfortable, big bed as soon as possible, in the hopes of banishing these disconcerting feelings and thoughts.

It was, however, a failed attempt; while his body was weary, his mind was overactive and restless with thoughts of the witch in the next room. Hours later, when sleep finally claimed him, she was the last thing he thought about before he drifted off. Even then, he dreamed.

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