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 ***Hi everyone! I'm not sure how long this story will be, I started it because I have writers block on my other story, I just couldn't get this conversation out of my head. Enjoy!*** 

At first it hadn’t been too strange; the castle was in shambles, and everyone was needed to help piece it together. Her dormitory was the same, except she was now sharing a room with Ginny, who was now a seventh year as well. The rest of the castle was so changed by the battle, that she didn’t recognize it as the place she spent most of her life. But as the repairs were completed, and decor restored, she began to feel as though she didn’t belong at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. She was constantly turning to say something to Ron or Harry, and instead finding Luna or Ginny.

It confused her, to find things out of place. So she spent increasing amounts of time in the Library. Without the boys getting her off track, she always finished her studying well ahead of any deadlines, and found herself with a lot of spare time. Time she filled with books. Hermione thrilled to have the luxury of reading anything she wanted: literature, and arts, and science, and all manner of spellbooks.

It was one of these nights, when she had just finished a fantastic Wizarding fairy tale, that she noticed him sitting in a corner, also with a book. Malfoy. Her mind spat, as she took the book back to Madame Pince. Madame Pince removed a card from her desk writing the date that Hermione had returned it, before placing it inside the front cover, and dropping it onto a stack of books to be returned.

“Do you want me to shelve those?” Hermione offered, there were only a few books on the stack, and she often found interesting titles in the books discarded by her classmates.

“That would be most helpful Miss Granger.” Madame Pince said, with an approving nod.

Hermione scooped up the stack of books, reading the spine of each as she went along replacing them to their rightful shelf. Nothing struck her fancy, so she went to gather her book bag and return to Gryffindor tower, when Madame Pince called her back to the desk.

“That novel you were inquiring about last week has just been returned.” She said, passing the book to Hermione. Hermione was quite excited, it was a popular book, and she hadn’t been able to get her hands on it. She quickly took the card out of the front of the book, and signed her name. As she passed it to Madame Pince, she noticed the person who had just returned it was Draco Malfoy. 

Well, it’s not the book’s fault. She thought, tucking it into her bag, and hurrying out the door and running directly into Malfoy’s back. She let out an inadvertent yelp of surprise, dropping her book bag, and scattering it’s contents. 

“I’m not that frightening, am I Granger?” Malfoy said with a smirk, watching her scramble to collect her belongings. 

“I’m not afraid of you Malfoy, I just wasn’t expecting you to be blocking the door.” Hermione snapped, shoving her things back into her bag, and pushing past the tall boy in front of her. 

“Maybe ever’body in the whole damn world is scared of each other.” Malfoy muttered, as he stalked the opposite direction, into the dark.

Hermione blinked in surprise. Did he just quote “Of Mice and Men?” He couldn’t have read it, it’s a muggle book. Shaking off her encounter, she made her way back to Gryffindor to settle in for a good read by the fire.

Hermione finished her book quickly, and returned it for another, settling in to an obscure window in a tower near the top of the castle to read. It was the first Hogsmede weekend of the term, and Hermione didn’t expect to be disturbed. Wearing a comfortable pair of track pants and an old jumper, she reclined back in the rounded window, with her feet resting on the opposite sill. Time slipped away from her, as she turned the pages, until she was interrupted by an unexpected voice, “That’s not a particularly dignified position, is it?” 

Hermione startled, and found Malfoy staring down at her from on the stairs. “I would always rather be happy than dignified.” She responded, returning her gaze to her book.

“It is in vain to say human beings ought to be satisfied with tranquility: they must have action; and they will make it if they cannot find it.” Draco replied. 

Hermione gaped at Draco, who had continued down the stairs away from her. “You know Jane Eyre?” She called after him. 

“Of course.” He replied, simply, and without emotion. “Brontë is one of the greats.” He had not turned around to look at her.

“But, that’s a muggle book.” Hermione pointed out, directing her clarification to the back of his blonde head.

“It doesn’t diminish the book if the author was a muggle. ‘Life appears to me too short to be spent in nursing animosity.’” Draco quoted again, and disappeared down the spiral staircase.

Hermione was shocked; who would have thought that Malfoy would be familiar with any of the Muggle classics. She pushed him out of her head, Don’t waste any time thinking about that git.

Below her, just out of view, Draco sat at the bottom of the staircase with his head in his hands. So much for no one knowing about this tower. While he didn’t think Hermione would mention to anyone that she had spoken to him, he needed to find a new place to hide. Switching sides at the end of the battle may have kept him out of Azkaban, but it hadn’t endeared him with his fellow Slytherins. Jinxes were being sent his way with increasing strength and frequency, and Madame Pomfrey had started asking questions when he sought out her assistance, so it was just easier to hide. 

He hadn’t planned on returning to Hogwarts, but the Wizengamot had given him a choice: school or jail. He could either finish his education on probation and keep his nose clean, or join his parents for an extended stay in the Wizard Prison. He’d opted to finish school, thinking that a year at Hogwarts was a small enough stint in purgatory. Despite being of age, the trace was put back on him, as part of the terms of his probation was refraining from any dark magic. It didn’t stop him from from disillusioning himself and heading for the library, which was becoming his most common place of sanctuary. 

Author's Note:

 The quotes mentioned are from the the book Of Mice and Men written by John Steinbeck, and Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë!

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