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Chapter Name- A New Leaf

A/N: Special thanks to my beta, teenage_firestarter, she's great.

Hermione had been out of school long enough to know that Hogwarts was a safe place compared to the real world. Physically, and emotionally. She and Ron were closer than ever, together even. With the arrival of Crystal and Harry's twins, she hadn't had time to tell Ron of her new job. She was talking to Healers at the hospital, and they wanted her to be an apprentice. But when she met her colleagues, they included Draco Malfoy. But he was different all of the sudden. His father had been killed, his mother was on the run, both by the hands of Voldemort.

He looked worn, but at the same time happy. How could he be happy after the loss of his father?

She was pondering this one day as she studied in eh hospitals lounge. He walked up to her and spoke as if it weren't difficult, kind, even. As if her blood didn't matter.

"May I sit with you, Hermione?" His voice tired, but more gentle than she had ever heard it.

"Umm, yeah, sure." She moved on of the heaps of books she was studying. They sat in silence, she read, he ate, but it soon was pressing. She needed to know. She turned her head and looked at him, eyeing his features, and his work. A curiosity fell upon her.

"What are you up to, Malfoy?"

"I.. I was hoping we could forget the past, I was an ass." She noticed that he had not so much eaten as he had moved his food around constantly.

"Yeah, not quite the right word, but we can stick with it. What changed that you are all of the sudden associating with…" she choked out the word she hated so much, "mudbloods? And why are you at Healer training. I figured you'd be a well known Death Eater by now.. So what has brought you here?"

"Don’t call yourself that. And I hope you forgive me for ever doing it. I… I actually wanted to change what everyone thinks of me. The way I acted there, I was constantly being told to act that way or threatened with my life." He looked down.

"I was secretly vying for attention, the attention of a mother and father, but was never able to receive it." Hermione could tell his words were sincere. His voice was quivering, but calm.

"I, I didn’t know. I'm sorry, Draco." She felt a pull toward the new side of him. It was a very strong feeling, prominent in her mind, but she knew that she was fine, she had not been put under any spells, that’s one of the first things they taught here, how to detect when you are under a spell, whether or not you can take it off.

"No. Don’t be sorry. I always saw the look in your eyes, the look of wanting to help. Even that day out on the grounds, when you looked me in the eye. I could tell you would never hurt me. Even when you threatened me or actually hit me, it was in the back of you mind that you couldn’t act that way. I thank you. That is why I was able to talk to you. I knew you would understand, believe me even."

"Are you telling the truth? If so, I will take your word that you are a different person. You sound sincere, but be aware, if you are telling the truth, I will still be wary of you." She did remember feeling that way, knowing something was not right about his actions.

"I am not lying. I am telling the truth. Trust me. But tell me, how are the other two?"

"They are fine, but are you just telling me this to get at them?"

"No, I truly care. I always have, but if I showed it at all, I wouldn’t be standing here today.."

"Ok. And they are fine. I'm sure you heard about Crystals pregnancy. She had her twins a while ago. Alexander Sirius and Lily Kate Potter. And I'm sure you heard about the attack on them while you were still at Hogwarts. News spreads so fast. Its hard not to find something out." She laughed at herself, speaking of Hogwarts brought her back to the safety and kindness of its walls. She had let herself down so many times when she thought of the comfort she had there. She wrapped her arms around herself at the thought that was haunting her. Would she ever see inside those walls again? She was also on the line of telling lies, but something in his eyes, the tired, worn, sad look of them, she had only seen it in Harry. And he could definitely be trusted.

Draco pulled her out of her thoughts.

"Yeah, we all heard about his kids. Are they cute?"

Something she thought shed never hear come out of his mouth, the word cute.

"Umm, yeah, they are adorable little kids. But, there is bad news. Voldemort came in and, he, well, he killed Alex." Tears threatening to break free. They weren't even her kids and she felt as though she had lost family. Now they were flowing down her face freely. Draco silently pulled his chair over to her side. He put a hand on her back. He stared at her eyes, watching the tears fall.

"You know the worst part? He left him there, in a crib beside his sister. Like nothing had happened. He signed the letter he left in blood."

She found herself crying into Draco's shoulder. He was comforting her, actually holding her.

He put his finger to her chin and lifted her head to look at him. His blond hair had fallen in his face, and he pushed it back as he leaned in to gently kiss her.

"Ive always wanted to do that. Ive liked you since the moment I laid eyes on you."

"But… but I'm with Ron."

"But I can tell you don’t love him, or you wouldn’t be here talking to me anymore, you would be long gone." He didn’t say it coldly, but he made his point. He was right. Ron was too much like a brother than a boyfriend.

She wrapped an arm around his neck and pulled him closer, she kissed him again, then pulled him close enough to hug.

"Thank you. You helped me a lot. And made me realize some things. I have to go for now, but I will be back for classes at four. Will you be?"

"Yeah, we have mostly the same classes. Ill see you later then." He took her hand and held it as she walked away, loosening the grip so that he could hold it as long as possible.

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