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Chapter Two

A/N- I apologize for the wait time… my husband is on holidays and we’ve been out and about, finally at home for some down time and was able to sneak onto the computer for a while to update this story.

Also… I don’t own Harry Potter. At all…. Sucks, I know.

Hermione went to the gym early, no later than six AM every morning, and ran on the treadmill for at least 45 minutes before doing her weight work. She opened her shop at nine, so she had to be home by at least 7:30 AM in order to get ready, but sometimes she cut it close.

Hermione dressed extra carefully that morning, but she wasn’t about to ditch her sassy shirts for Draco Malfoy. If she could wear it to her store, then she could wear it to Malfoy Manor, and he would just have to deal with it.

Today she thought her shirt was extra appropriate, since she didn’t want to go out of her way to let Draco know that she worked out daily as well, but still wanted him to know. It was a black wife beater (she liked to show off her arms) that said ‘act like a lady, lift like a boss’ in a light dusty rose.

She laughed to herself, and paired her shirt with a grey pair of leggings that had black and dark grey stripes all over them, making them look like they couldn’t really decide what shade they wanted to be. She also decided to wear cute pink sandals that strapped around the toes and ankles, flowers crawling up her feet so the straps could meet; the colour of her sandals matched the words on her shirt perfectly.

Hermione applied make-up sparingly, because she never wanted to cover up her freckles too much. She stuck with mascara, eyeliner and lipstick more than anything else, just dusting a powder cover-up over her face to take away the shine, and she decided to put her hair into a sock bun, since it was easy and she had to open her store soon.

She worked, as well as received complements from many customers on her ‘cute’ outfit that day. It seemed as though everyone was always looking forward to her clothes, and she was so happy that the wizarding world opened itself up enough to allow muggle things. One of her favourite things to do on her days off was watch comedy movies in her flat. Whoever figured out how to get electricity to work in the wizarding world deserved a kiss on the lips.

She didn’t watch horror movies alone.

She had enough horror in her nightmares, thanks.

Freya showed up at ten minutes to noon and gushed over how gorgeous Hermione was, even going so far as to ask her who she was dressing up for.

“It’s not like I’m wearing a ball gown,” Hermione said, irritated, because she wasn’t dressed much differently than she usually was. She had added a new bright pink lipstick that morning, so maybe that’s why everyone thought she looked special.

At two minutes to twelve she groaned, realizing that Freya would see Draco when he came to get her, assume that Hermione had dressed up in order to impress him, (which she didn’t!) and probably be embarrassing about the fact that he was in their store.

At one minute to twelve, Hermione’s life got a little bit worse. Clementine came into the shop because she had forgot something the last evening she had worked, and Hermione cursed the fates for her rotten luck and Clementine’s even worse timing.

Hermione swung her purse over her shoulder at the exact same moment there was a loud ‘Crack’ behind one of the stacks, causing Freya and Clementine’s eyes to immediately lift; Hermione wanted to actually shake her fist at the sky.

“Oh. My. God!” Freya said loudly, adopting the muggle term, as Draco’s platinum head and black-clad body came out from behind a shelf.

“Draco. Effing. Malfoy.” Clementine said immediately after her, and both girls were suddenly squealing like three year olds at a birthday party.

Hermione thought they were being a little bit over the top, it wasn’t as though the Prince of Wales had just walked through the door.

Or maybe it was.

She wasn’t sure, anymore.

“Granger,” he said, making a beeline to her and trying to ignore the piercing sounds in the air.

“Do you know him?!”

“Can I please get your autograph?!”

Hermione was tempted to Avada herself on the spot.

“Did you have to apparate directly into the store?” she asked him, annoyed beyond belief.

“Yes,” he said, and left it at that.

Freya approached with a pen and a pad of paper and Hermione felt her cheeks heating up with embarrassment.

“Why?!”

“This is two witches, could you imagine if I had just apparated outside the door.”

Draco gestured to the windows and Hermione turned, noticing all of the people walking by.

She rolled her eyes at the poor misfortunes of Draco Malfoy, and he grinned at her, letting her know that he knew exactly what she was thinking.

“Annoying ponce,” she said audibly, and Clementine gasped and actually looked scandalized by her words.

“Know-it-all bitch,” he said in retaliation, still grinning while reaching out and plucking the pen from Freya’s hand.

“You’re a prat.”

“You’re a bint.”

“Manky tosser!”

“Bloody trollop!”

“Can we just go?”

“Are you dating?”

Freya looked to be at a complete loss by their words toward each other, but she noticed that none of their insults were said with much heat.

“No!” they both yelled at the same time, turning away from each other and toward Hermione’s employees, they were both looking at them a little bit too knowingly.

“Before we leave,” Draco started, and then stopped because Freya and Clementine were still watching them closely. “Don’t you have jobs to be doing?” he asked them snarkily, and Hermione was going to reprimand him for talking to her employees that way, but before a word could get out of her mouth he grabbed her by the arm and pulled her into a back room.

Like he owned the place, or something.

“Before we leave, I need to tell you to hold onto me as tightly as you can. There are extra wards around the manor so that visitors can’t really apparate in, but if one is apparating with me, it should be fine. But you need to ensure you’re holding on very tightly. It’s like this so that if someone was to grab me as I was apparating away they would be shook off before they had the chance to retighten their grip.”

All signs of joking had left Draco’s person, and Hermione knew that he was being dead serious about this and figured that something bad would probably happen if she didn’t listen.

“Why all the wards? All the secrecy?”

“Just because You-Know-Who was murdered doesn’t mean there’s no more evil in the world,” Draco said, and he said it so seriously that Hermione felt a small shiver pass through her body, goosebumps raising on her bare arms.

Draco moved forward and Hermione jumped a little when he suddenly had his arms around her.

“Hold me tight,” he said, and she tentatively reached out and held him around his waist. He turned with her in his arms and she felt the claustrophobic feeling of apparition overtake her, squeezing her through a tube. She thought it was over, and went to let go, but Draco squeezed her tighter and she felt jolted: almost like something was trying to rip her away from his body. She redoubled her grip and then suddenly it was over. She held onto Draco tightly for a few more moments, heaving for breath and trying to get her bearings.

“That was a little bit scary,” she stated, finally releasing him and backing up.

“It takes some getting used to,” Draco agreed, nodding.

“Well, I guess we should just get right down to it,” Hermione said, still a little bit shocked that Draco had willingly held her in his arms, and deciding to try and bypass any awkward moments.

Draco seemed flustered for a moment, but he composed himself quickly and started to lead Hermione to the library.

“Remember this route, you’ll be treading it often,” he commanded, annoying her immediately, “I’ll show you where everything else is today as well, and if you don’t remember it all right away, I’ll usually always be around.”

“Usually?”

“Well, if I get called out to work then I’ve got to go, but I should mostly be around.”

“I think we should start with trying to go back as far as we can in pure-blood family histories, or at least the ones we can get our hands on, and see how long this has been going on.”

“I have a few books that you may find to be useful.”

Hermione rubbed her hands together, trying with all her willpower to not clap them and jump up and down like a child getting a balloon for the first time.

Hermione loved research. She loved facts. Most of all, Hermione loved books.

Draco lifted an eyebrow and her somewhat childish act and continued to lead her through the manor.

They stepped through the doors and Hermione gasped in pleasure, looking around in awe with her eyes shining suspiciously.

“This is amazing,” she stated, looking around the cavernous library and eyeing the ladders on the balconies that led up to even more books. She owned a bookstore, and the library in Malfoy sodding Manor was enough to take her breath away.

Spoiled ponce.

“The books you will want today will be right over here,” Draco said, leading Hermione to the far wall to the left of the double doors they entered. Hermione rushed to the shelves as soon as they were near them and she reached out, running her fingers lovingly across the spines, almost as though she were caressing the cheek of a lover.

Draco laughed out loud while watching her and she almost felt as though she had been caught doing something dirty. She turned a deep shade of red before gathering books such as, “The Malfoy Family Line” and “The Pure-Blooded Families of Wizarding Britain” off of the shelves. She hurried to a desk and carefully placed the books upon it.

“There’re parchments and quills in the drawer,” Draco said, and he opened his mouth to say something else when he was cut off by a loud dinging. Hermione jumped and looked around curiously before following Draco back to the other end of the library, where there was a large fire crackling in the grate.

Draco waved his wand at the fire and said “Patitur” toward the flames.

A bearded head of an aging man popped into the fire, and Hermione realized that this was a work call for Draco. Losing interest immediately upon this realization she turned away and headed back toward her books, not seeing the man’s interest in her as she walked away and Draco’s look of curiosity.

“I’ve got to go,” Draco said, approaching Hermione after a few moments, causing her to look at him apprehensively.

“So I’m to stay here alone?”

“I trust that you won’t steal any of my things,” he said, smirking slightly as she rolled her eyes, “and I shouldn’t be too long. There was a problem in Borehamwood, apparently an underage wizard thought it would be funny to levitate a muggle in the middle of town, since he just learned that charm at school before the holidays. Kids, I tell you. We were not like this when we were younger. I guess at least ten people saw the act, so we’ve been called out to rectify the situation.”

Hermione nodded and took a deep breath, nervous about being in this large house alone.

“If you get thirsty or anything, just call Tippy, she’ll show you to the kitchens.”

“Okay,” Hermione said, trying to sound confident.

“I shouldn’t be long.”

Hermione nodded and Draco walked away, so she got immersed in her books again, scratching things haphazardly on her spare parchment whenever she came across something of interest.

She stopped paying as much attention to her research when she noticed how dry her mouth was, and she cast a quick spell to check the time. It was after four! She had been involved, and so much for Draco not being gone long. It had been hours.

Hermione was thirsty, desperately thirsty. She swallowed and it felt like she had been eating sand at some point.

She only had one more hour! She could make it.

She focused on writing again, but after checking the time another four times in half an hour, she wasn’t sure if she could. She didn’t really want to annoy a house-elf, even though she had come to terms with the fact that they enjoyed their lives years ago, but she needed something to drink.

“Tippy?” she said tentatively, her voice raspy.

“Yes missus?” The elf asked, appearing out of nowhere.

“Would it be at all possible to get a drink?” Hermione asked, eyeing the clean and very soft looking towel the elf was wearing, looking at the Malfoy Family Crest that was stamped on the front.

“What would missus like?”

“Water would be great,” Hermione said, and before the last word was out of her mouth the elf was gone. Moments later she was back, placing a goblet and large pitcher on the table near the fire, so Hermione started heading that way.

“Is that all?” Tippy asked, and Hermione just had to ask, because she was dying to know.

“Do you like Draco?”

“Oh yes!” the elf gushed, catching Hermione of guard, “Master Draco is the best Master we has ever had! He offered to pay us a galleon a month, but we is saying him no. We don’t want to be paid, and Flippy almost had a nervous breakdown just at the thought. We gets clean clothes from Master Draco and treated kindly.”

Well.

That was unexpected.

“Thank you, Tippy, I appreciate the water,” Hermione said, and the elf beamed at her before disappearing.

After four large goblets of water and tidying up her work space, Hermione was almost done for the day. Draco still hadn’t returned and Hermione wasn’t sure if it was okay for her to just leave when she was finished, but she figured it was since he wasn’t here.

She thought she knew the way to foyer since they had walked to the library from there earlier, so she decided to just leave and she would see Draco tomorrow at noon. She would just have to walk the twenty minute walk down the lane until she was off Malfoy property.

Hermione almost made it to the foyer perfectly fine, but she thought that maybe she had taken a wrong turn somewhere, because this part of the house really didn’t look familiar at all.

Damn Malfoy and his bloody confusing mansion!

There were hallways branching off from the area she was standing in all sorts of directions, and more doors than she could count. Taking a gamble, she went to the right. She walked down a few hallways, and was about to turn back or call for Tippy when she decided to try a door and see what was behind it.

She opened it slowly and her breath caught in her throat, hitched for just a moment, and she took a deep breath and looked around; this was a room she could remember very well. She moved in further, almost as though she was in a trance; running her fingers lightly over the wall; just barely touching it with her fingertips. She looked up and saw the very familiar chandelier and she reached up and touched the heavily covered scar on her neck. She could feel its rough edges beneath the makeup she used to hide it and ran her finger over it experimentally, it was a few inches long and wider than it should have been, but it was healed haphazardly at best. She honestly barely thought about it anymore.

Until now.

She could see herself laying on the floor in the center of the room, groups of people standing around her while she had a short but incredibly sharp knife held against her neck by a wild haired female, cutting into the tender flesh and drawing blood. She could vividly remember how the curses being cast on her tore through her body, causing her to shout out in unadulterated pain, pain she had never felt again since that day. The curses almost took herself out of her mind, and she tried with all of the power she possessed to keep her mind from breaking.

She would not let them break her.

She remembered being beaten the way that muggles fight, with fists and feet, magic being cast aside momentarily. Her body was being bruised and beaten, her bones were breaking beneath the assaults landing on her. Wizards descended on Hermione at this point, helping the wild haired witch attack her.

Somewhere in the depths of her brain, she thought about how she had been over these specific nightmares for almost two years, but now, she knew, they would come screaming back with a vengeance.

She remembered the blond haired boy, who was younger than her by a few months, standing above her and to the side. She knew that he was desperately trying to avoid looking at her, but failed, his eyes darting to her bloody and beaten form every few moments.

She figured, beneath the pain that she was enduring, that he was in his own kind of pain - his own kind of torture - but that didn’t stop her from resenting him and his family in that moment. His parents were also standing by while trying to pretend that this wasn’t happening in the middle of their dining room, an area where they convened as a family before these times to have meals and talk about their days.

 “Granger?!”

The blond boy was here now, she could hear his voice but it seemed as though it was coming from a significant distance, almost as though he was trying to shout at her through a window.

“Granger?! What…”

He was closer to her now, but he seemed hazy and she wanted to tell him that he was too late, the damage had already been done and he wouldn’t be able to save her now.

“Hermione, what the hell are you doing in here?”

She snapped to attention and looked at an older Draco Malfoy, the boy she had been seeing moments before was replaced by this man, and she was surprised to find him standing right in front of her. Tears were pouring down her face unchecked, and she hadn’t realized that until now, either. She touched her fingertips to her face, feeling the wetness there, before she reached out and dragged her now tear soaked fingers across the wall lightly.

“What are you doing?” Draco asked her, watching her run her fingers along the wall in his dining room, knowing full well that she was trapped in her memories of a darker time.

Draco reached out and grabbed Hermione by her strong, but delicate shoulders, trying to shake her out of her reverie.

“What are you doing?” he shouted, getting fed up.

“I- I didn’t mean to… I was j-just walking, trying to find the foyer…” Hermione’s eyes were wandering again and landed on the chandelier once more, fresh tears overtaking her as she remembered Dobby for the briefest of moments before the crystal monstrosity came careening down. She was thrown to the floor directly below it so that Draco’s aunt could get out of the way on time, effectively causing it to land on the broken, defenseless girl. It took days for her bones to heal from that little situation.

Draco took Hermione’s arm gently in his hand and began to lead her out of the room. He knew that she had been completely broken in there, probably the only time in her entire life that something had ruined her in the worst way possible. He took her to the kitchens instead of the foyer, knowing he would feel guilty about sending her home like this, which just so happened to be a little bit farther down the hall, and ordered Tippy to bring her a big steaming mug of tea and a sandwich. He sat her down in the breakfast nook and took a seat across from her.

Hermione had controlled her crying now, but she was touching the large scar on her neck, running her fingertips over the rough edges gently; stroking it almost. Draco could do nothing but stare at that scar, remembering how awful and helpless it felt to stand there and watch her receive it.

“I’ve never noticed that before,” he said, his voice rough.

Hermione dropped her hand quickly and added her preferred lump of sugar and small splash of cream to her tea before taking a delicate sip to try and distract her mind.

“It’s usually covered,” she admitted, “and I’ve broken the habit of touching it. Apparently I’ve rubbed off the makeup now, though.”

“You shouldn’t have gone in there,” Draco said quietly, having a hard time looking away from her neck.

“I didn’t know that’s where I would end up.”

Draco took a deep breath and looked away from her, and Hermione drank some more tea and took a tentative bite of her sandwich.

“I never apologized to you for that whole thing, and I do want you to know I’m sorry.”

“Its fine,” Hermione said shortly, really trying to avoid the topic. She didn’t want to bring it up and lose her temper, because truth be told, she resented Draco and his parents for a very long time for allowing that to happen to her in their home, while they stood by and watched.

“We’ll talk about it another time,” Draco said, understanding immediately that now was not a good time for such a discussion. He sighed and accepted the sandwich that Tippy brought over for him, eating it slowly, trying to avoid looking at the scar that adorned Hermione’s neck almost as desperately as he had tried to avoid watching her receive it.

“How did the research go?”

“Good, actually,” Hermione answered, perking up a bit, “I’ve decided to pick five families for now, I had to or I would have been just looking in the past for weeks. As far as I can tell, it all started in the generation before your parents’. I’ve decided to go with your family, since I’ll have even more information because of you, the DeMont family, the Longbottom family, the Nott family, and the Cunningham family. I’ve chosen these ones because they have such long lines, and other than yours they’ve had members who have branched off and married half-blood or even muggle-borns.”

“My aunt married a muggle-born!” Draco said vehemently, almost as though he’s daring her to disagree with him.

“On your mother’s side though, not your father’s.”

“Right,” he said, sounding annoyed by that fact.

“I’m still using your family for research, nothing to get upset about.”

He sneered.

She tried to sneer back, but she didn’t think it was effective since he almost smirked.

**

A week passed in a flurry of note taking and researching with Draco, every day he would pick Hermione up at noon and take her home in the evenings. Draco was called away to work a lot, but he was never gone as long as he was the first day and he always helped her research. Draco was just as thorough as Hermione, and she found herself appreciating all of the effort he put into it.

Even if he was an annoying git.

On the weekend Hermione was lazy and slow and did nothing, which was wonderful, but by Sunday morning she decided to drop by and see if Harry was home. She replied to the letter she had received from Ron the week before she started working with Draco, congratulating him on his engagement, and then got showered and dressed.

After perusing her large closet and packed full second bedroom she finally decided on mint green skinny jeans and a loose shirt that, of course, showed her arms, but it didn’t say anything. It was flowy and black and a little longer than was necessary, but she loved it. She threw on a pair of black leather flats to complete the outfit, the jeans standing out in an adorable way amidst all the dark tones.

Hermione apparated to the woods surrounding Harry’s small cottage and scrunched up her nose at the sight before her. There were no other houses around his, not even close; just woods and a small dirt road that led away from the house. She knew a person would have to walk quite a ways down the dirt lane before they came across any busier streets, and Hermione wondered about Harry’s seclusion every time she stepped foot on his property.

She took in the unkempt gardens and overgrown lawns, and for the first time in a long time felt a sudden pang of fear for her friend. It had been so long since she had heard from him, and she was suddenly afraid that she would find his body or figure out he was incredibly ill when she went inside; she wasn’t going to knock and leave today. If Harry didn’t answer the door then Hermione would be entering his house without an invitation.

She got to the door and was relieved to see that the note she had left under a rock the last time she was here was gone, so at least someone had been around.

“Harry?” she called, knocking on his door, “its Hermione.”

She heard shuffling in the house and breathed out a sigh of relief, stepping back so that the door could be opened to allow her entrance. When the door opened, Hermione held in a gasp of shock. The man before her was Harry, no doubt, but he looked… different somehow. He still looked the same but there was something about him that wasn’t quite right.

“Hermione,” he said blandly, his tone completely unsurprised to see her there, which was strange considering they hadn’t set eyes on one another in over two years.

Hermione instinctively hugged him, but he was stiff and did not lift his arms around her at all, causing her to drop hers and step away slowly.

“How have you been?” she asked, side stepping him and entering his house without waiting for him to ask her in.

“Fine,” he said, narrowing his emerald eyes at her behind his still-round spectacles.

“I’ve been trying to contact you for weeks! I was getting so worried, I’m relieved to see that you’re good.”

She thought that maybe using the word “good” was a little bit of a stretch. Harry looked thin and dirty, almost like he forgot how to cook and bathe, and his house was a disaster. She held in a shudder as she watched a rat dart out from beneath a dilapidated couch and run into the hearth of his fireplace.

“What do you want, Hermione?”

She looked at Harry and noticed his hands were balled into fists, his cheeks were sunken and his eyes were flashing warnings at her; she had no idea why he was suddenly so defensive.

“I just wanted to see you,” she answered slowly, getting a little uneasy at Harry’s blatant anger.

“You’ve seen me, so now you can leave.”

“What? Harry, I-“

“I’m busy,” he stated, cutting her off.

“Doing what?”

She could swear at that very moment his eyes flashed red.

“That’s none of your concern,” he spit harshly.

“Have you heard about Ron’s recent engagement?” she asked in a falsely cheerful voice, trying to get on level ground with the man she used to consider her brother.

“He sent me a note about it, not that I really care.”

“You don’t care?”

“No.”

“I thought you had been spending time with Ron…”

“No.”

“Oh. He made it sound like you guys still saw each other often.”

Harry moved quickly, and he was suddenly right in Hermione’s face, his eyes wide and his stance rigid. She backed up a step and realized too late that her back was directly against a wall, giving her nowhere to go to get away from the man that she no longer knew.

“Why are you here?” he asked again, anger bubbling below the surface of his entire being.

“I’ve already said, I just wanted to see you.”

His fist smashed the wall beside her face causing her eyes to widen in fear.

“Maybe I should go,” she said tentatively, waiting for him to back away from her so she could flee.

“Maybe you should.”

He didn’t move.

“Okay well… maybe I’ll see you soon then?”

She really didn’t want to resort to violence, unsure of his mental stability at this point. He had obviously spent too much time alone. He didn’t say a word, but lurched forward so his entire body was flush with hers, and Hermione started shaking and held in a whimper as Harry leaned forward so his face was in the crook of her neck, not touching her but he stopped less than an inch away from her skin.

He took a deep breath and held it in for a few moments before releasing it on a soft moan.

He was smelling her.

“Harry?” she asked, her voice an octave higher than usual.

“You smell so delicious,” he murmured, taking another deep breath, and Hermione jumped as his lips touched down on her collarbone.

“Well I should get going,” she said, trying to sound brave even though she was scared out of her wits. No one knew she was here and Harry was clearly not in the right state of mind for a visitor.

“Don’t leave,” he said suddenly, sounding almost like he was a young child being abandoned by someone he loved.

“Sorry, Harry, I have an appointment, I just wanted to drop by and make sure you were well.”

His lips were still moving along her collarbones, but she really didn’t want to shove him away. She gently touched his shoulder, trying to move him away from her in a non-threatening manner.

Harry stepped back, but not far enough for her to move. He stared at her hand for a few moments, looked around his dingy house for a few more, and suddenly yelled, “Don’t push me, Hermione!”

She jumped again, surprised at his sudden outburst since he was being so gentle minutes before, but he had stepped far enough away from her that she could slip out from between him and the wall. She backed toward the door slowly, not comfortable turning her back to him, and said, “I’ll come by another time, you said you were busy and I really do have somewhere I have to be.”

He followed her to the door in an almost gentlemanly fashion of showing her out, and she stood on his gravel walkway, looking at him for a moment.

He reminded her of someone, but she wasn’t able to place him. He looked emaciated and dirty, his cheeks hollowed out and his emerald eyes flashing dangerously in anger and… something else.

“Hermione?” he said in a quiet voice, just as she was going to turn into apparition.

“Yes?” she asked, stopping.

“You smell amazing.”

And then he grinned.

The look on his face was the most frightening thing yet, he looked almost manic and Hermione felt the hairs on the back of her neck stand on end before she turned into the compression of apparation and away from her completely terrifying ex-best friend.

**

Harry wasn’t overly surprised to see Hermione on his doorstep when he opened his door; she had left a letter beneath a rock, and he knew that if he didn’t go to her that she would come to him.

Eventually.

Harry had a more sinister side to his personality, and that side was forcing all rational thoughts and decisions out of his mind. It allowed Harry to remember Hermione in their school years and a little later, but somewhat dispassionately.

At least until her first letter had arrived, thoughts about her genuine smiles and fluttering eyelashes, the dimple that appeared in her left cheek when she was thinking hard about something; it all came screaming back to him.

He had loved her.

He had wanted to murder Ron Weasley when he saw him kiss Hermione for the first time. Instead of murdering his best mate, he started to date Ginny Weasley, nag queen extraordinaire, to pass the time until the inevitable time his two friends broke up and Harry could swoop in.

The other side of his personality didn’t allow that, unfortunately. It was too focused on other things, and dating muggle-born witches was not one of them.

Harry wanted her damn it, and she could help him rule the world. She could be his muggle-born… mistress. Okay, maybe that wouldn’t do, but he definitely wanted her at some point before he had to kill her.

And he would get her.

Harry wanted Hermione to know how he felt, but the dark side of his personality wouldn’t allow it, which resulted in his passion to come out in strange bursts.

Harry Potter was not a sane man.

His lip curled and his eyes brightened a bit when a plan came to mind, a plan to not let him out of Hermione’s thoughts anytime soon.

As some people say, ‘any attention is good attention’, and Harry fully believed that to be true. When he truly thought about it though, the sane side of him, he really didn’t think that Hermione would willingly be a part of his life. Not at this point, and that brought another idea to the surface of his mind.

He waited a few days until he knew she was at work again and slunk into her apartment building with a vial in his pocket and dastardly deeds in his mind, his cloak pulled tight around his body and his hood lowered over his face.

Harry laughed when he encountered Hermione’s wards, manically, some would say, and the old man who saw him in the hallway scurried away before being seen, the hair on his arms raising at the sound. They were… ridiculous, to say the least. Although, to be fair, Harry had a lot more knowledge about using his power than he had five years ago, so maybe they were actually strong, just weak in comparison to him.

Like most things in their world.

He entered her home and stood still for a few moments, taking in his surrounding and breathing in the smells that reminded him almost painfully of his witch. He took his time in her flat, checking out every room and pretending that he lived there as well.

He stripped down in her bathroom and jumped into her shower, lathering his body with her soap and using her shampoo three times, in hopes that the smell would last longer. He used her towel that was hanging on the back of the door and dried his body slowly, watching himself in her mirror. He wrapped the towel loosely around his waist and headed into her bedroom, throwing himself onto her bed and rolling around on her blankets and pillows, imagining sleeping with her in this bed every night. Those thoughts brought on an almost painful erection, and he had to relieve himself, exploding all over her comforter.

He cleaned up after himself and got dressed, and then found himself staring at her bedroom dresser. A pair of earrings were there, shaped like little golden snitches, and he imagined them adorning her perfect little ear lobes.

He put them in his pocket and his hand brushed the vial he brought along with him, reminding him of its presence.

Once he was totally acquainted with her house he stole a bunch of strands of hair from her hairbrush that was sitting on her bathroom sink, and they joined the earrings in his pocket. He ate some food out of her fridge and drank some milk right from the carton, revelling in the fact that she would drink that milk later and it had touched his lips. Harry laid on her couch for a while, breathing her scent that now marked his body in deeply.

He roamed around her house one last time before letting himself out and resetting the wards, making sure she wouldn’t know he had been there.

He planned on paying her flat a lot more attention in the future, hair stealing and small vials included, but at the moment he had a spell to cast in the privacy of his own home, using the strands of her hair.

Harry Potter was definitely not a sane man, and his obsession with Hermione Granger was just beginning to come to light, again, egged on by the crazier side of his personality.

That side of him believed that he was owed things from the world, the universe, and he would claim them all in due time.

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