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A/N:
Hey guys, this one is longer! YAY!!!! I hope you like it.


A brief Recap of events: Draco was last seen hovering before one Hermione Granger on the way to the Gryffie's common room so he could recuperate. Whjo know's what will happen next? Well...I do, but you will too!

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“Ahem.” The distinct sound of an annoying blond male clearing his throat echoed about the common room. Hermione ignored it.

“A-Hem!”

“Aaahhahahahemmm!” Hermione quirked a challenging eyebrow and looked over the top of her book. Draco met her gaze with his cool one. She shrugged an went back to reading.

“Ahem! Ahem!”

“OH MY DEAR MERLIN! WHAT?” She exploded, flinging her book at him. Too bad it wasn’t a hard cover…

Draco looked frightened, she smirked then sighed and calmly restated her question “What’s the matter Draco?”

She watched his face turn from unfriendly and deliberate to filled with anger to a look of composure. “I was just going to ask for some water.” He said earnestly, looking pale, small beads of sweat lining his brow. Hermione almost forgot she hated him then. His shallow breathing made him look more vulnerable than she’d ever seen him. But as she examined his features there, next to him mouth, was the line etched into his skin from his damn smirk. Hermione remembered why she disliked him so much.

“You know you can do magic, right?” she demonstrated by summoning her book and then bringing the it up to her face so she couldn’t see his suffering. It made the snake seem more human.

“Lacking a wand.” He said with pain audible in his voice. She closed her eyes against the urge to comfort him and ease his pain. When she opened them again she glared over at him. He still hadn’t explained how he had come to be in such a great amount of pain, which seemed to have lessened since she had deposited him on the couch.

“Alright then.” Hermione, without setting her book down, picked a chess piece from the small table in front of the fire, transfigured it into a glass and used Augamenti to fill it. She got up and after finishing her sentence, set her book down and carried the water and placed it close to him. She started to retreat back to her chair to wait out the next hour and fifty five minutes.

“Um-”

“What?” She asked exasperated.

“Well, I need your help sitting up, if it isn’t too much trouble.”

Hermione stifled a groan and turned to help him. She slid her hands behind his back to lift him. His muscles were taut and heat rolled off of them. She could tell Draco was trying to make it easier, trying to hold his weight more than what would be considered normal for his condition. Hermione placed one of the big cushions behind him, he immediately sagged into it, his muscle quivering.  She lifted the glass, offering it to him. But one look at him made her realize he wasn’t about to reach for that glass anytime soon. 

She sighed and kneeled. “Mouth open.” He did as she commanded, only hesitating once. She lifted the glass to his lips and slowly allowed him to drink. His eyes were closed as he gulped. From the angle she could monitor how fast she was pouring. However, she never thought of how close it brought her face to his. Hermione quickly disengaged herself from her position and after setting the glass back down she returned to her chair and picked her book back up.

“Ahem.” Hermione threw her book at him.

“WHAT NOW?!” She screamed, her eyes widening and her nostril flaring. Hermione could honestly not think of anything more annoying than Draco Malfoy. Nothing in the world, nothing that is or ever was could compare.

“I just wanted to thank you. But I suppose if you don’t want it then I won’t contribute it.” he smirked and turned away from her slightly.

“Oh.” Hermione blushed. How could she have been so rude when he was only trying to thank her? “Um, so…”

“Spit it out Granger we haven’t got a century.” He sneered.

“Right-” she drew out the syllables. Hermione trained her eyes on Draco. “Why does your back hurt so much anyway?” She asked bluntly.

A dark shadow passed over Draco’s face. Hermione cringed internally. His face turned to indifferent as he addressed her.

“Things happen.”

“Well that’s not vague.”  Draco looked right at Hermione and gazed levelly at her with his icy blue eyes.

“Some things happen, things you can’t control- It’s complicated.” His face contorted. He turned from her. “It doesn’t matter.”

Hermione felt sick. The look on Draco’s face, a mixture of horror and grief so tangible is physically hurt Hermione. Not ever did she once think she would feel sorry for an enemy. “Obviously it does if you could just tell me then maybe I could-”

Draco exploded. He propped himself onto one elbow and yelled, “could what, Granger?! Fix everything?! Like always? Try to make the most of a situation?! This is one thing even the marvelous Hermione Granger can’t fix!”

Draco turned over, facing the back of the couch. His breathing was the only sound that took up the silence in the room, but soon even that calmed.

There was a lifetime of stillness that seemed to pass before Hermione overcame her shock.

“I- I’m sorry.” She said quietly.

Draco turned his head a fraction to her direction. “Whatever, I should be able to leave on an hour. You’ll be rid of me then and your life will be back to perfect.” He said bitterly. He faced the back of the couch again.

“That’s not fair.”

Draco stayed silent.

“How would you know? My life isn’t perfect.” Draco scoffed. “No, it isn’t. My parents didn’t go to a convention. They went to a specialist for my mum. She’s sick. Dying, really. And Ron,” Hermione laughed ruefully through her newly formed tears.

“Weasley… He loves you.”

“Yes, I know. And I have to watch him love me. I know I hurt him by not returning it. It’s killing me. I’m not sadistic. I don’t get my jollies off of watching him suffer. But I don’t love him. I hate myself for it. For other reasons as well but let‘s not get into my issues with self image…”

Draco stayed silent.

“My life isn’t perfect.”

“Sorry about your mum.”

“Yeah. Thanks.”

Hermione, now emotionally and physically drained curled up in her chair with a blanket. Her tears dried on her face and somewhere between when the snow started to fall lazily again and midnight she fell asleep.

***

Yawing with her eyes closed and stretching a move, she belatedly thought, that should have thrown her to the ground. Instead Hermione found she was rather comfortable. Opening her eyes she found herself on a bed, not her bed, but a bed nonetheless. She sat up abruptly. Where was…?

“MORNING!”

Ah. Hermione decided not to question why he was still in her house’s dorms because he was carrying what looked suspiciously like breakfast.  Draco sat down on the edge of her bed and set a plate of food in front of her.

“Thanks, Malfoy.” She said and dug into her food.

“Thought you might be hungry.”

Hermione looked around her. All around there were quiddich posters with moving players in multicolored kits supporting a name on their backs. There were rudimentary spell books on the floor and divination maps of the brain.

“Why am I in the third year dorms?” She asked after wolfing down some eggs.

“I was going to bring you to Potter’s room but I only made it this far…” Hermione was almost offended but then Draco inched closer to her, his face so close that his breath tickled her cheeks. He smirked  at her unhappy expression and added “My back started to ache something fierce.”

He hadn’t taken the opportunity to tease her, mock her, and annihilate her self esteem. Hermione couldn’t help but smile slightly at his  playful tone. His eyes held hers for a moment, that unreadable face devoid of emotion, then in a second there was something.  she didn’t know what but Hermione saw a flicker of feeling in his eyes. Like the determination he had in the library, and it was nice.

But just like that, it ended. Malfoy made a face and swiftly moved away from her so he stood to the left of the bed. “Right, I’m going to leave before I catch some frizzy hair disease. Later, Granger. Or, hopefully, not."

He left in a hurry and loudly closed the door after him. Hermione sighed. 

“I was never meant to last.” With that she resumed eating her breakfast alone. 

 

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