Draco Malfoy liked the rain.

Whenever a big storm would come up he would make his way to the greenhouses. Rain on the glass was his favorite sound.

It was easy to get lost in the rain.

There was a certain hypnotic quality to a good, strong rainstorm. He'd stare out the glass walls of the greenhouse, the smell of wet earth hung about the air, making him feel heavy and sleepy.

It was easy to forget his worries in the rain.

They trickled away with each drop sliding down the pane. His father, his rival, his schoolwork, his team, his task…They all seeped into the ground, watered down and distant.

It was easy to be alone in the rain.

Crabbe and Goyle never said anything intelligent, Blaise never said anything serious, Pansy said quite a lot…all the time. When their voices got too loud, Draco would wish for rain. Rain was never too loud, even when it pelted the windows and thrashed the trees, it was never too much for him.

Draco glanced down at his school shoes. They were splattered with mud from his trek to the greenhouses. His socks were wet, but it didn't matter.

Nothing seemed too dirty in the rain.

Outside the window Draco could see the Black Lake splashing with raindrops, the trees were heavy and faded, everything was washed out, but it was perfect.

Everything is prettier in the rain.

Hermione Granger hated the rain.

She hid away in the library whenever it stormed. Thunder terrified her, lightening made her jumpy, and rain made the whole world sad and soggy.

It was easy to get lost in a book.

When it rained she'd pull out a muggle novel and read until the storm passed.

It was easy to worry when it rained.

She would end up with too much time to think about her problems, her schoolwork, her parents, her friends, her failures, her fears…

It was easy to be lonely when it rained.

Harry and Ron would get restless and run off to find something to keep away the boredom, so Hermione would be left alone, unwilling to go near the windows. Rain was always so loud. It beat the windows, echoed in the corridors, and pounded on the roof. It seemed to grow louder when she realized that her current "rain novel" had been carelessly forgotten in the greenhouse.

Hermione glanced at the hem of her robe. She was soaked and muddy.

Everything was dirty in the rain.

She found the door unlocked. She hadn't thought it would be. No one in their right mind would be out in this weather. Except her.

He heard the door open. It startled him. No one ever came down here when it rained. Except him.

She froze when she saw him sitting beside the window, staring calmly out across the grounds. He had never looked like this before. Peaceful. Especially not this year. As of late he'd been looking peaky and tired. Harry was suspicious, but she was worried. If he had indeed taken the Mark, it had changed him. He didn't strut about throwing insults at anyone within reach. He had been quiet, withdrawn.

He was quiet now. She held her breath.

Draco turned to see Hermione Granger, soaked to the bone, wild hair clinging to her face and head. She looked startled, and miserable. He knew he ought to insult her, and in her current state it shouldn't be difficult. But Draco didn't feel like insulting her right now. The rain had taken the cruel desire to out of him. He saw her eyeing a pale blue book that sat on the table beside his elbow. He picked it up.

Hermione watched Draco nervously. She didn't feel up to having an angry row with him in the current circumstances. She would much rather retrieve her book and return to the common room where the cozy chairs and the warm fire were calling her. But then he stood up, still holding her book, and began to advance towards her. When he was standing a half an arms length away, he met her eyes.

She looked uneasy standing there before him. There was something off about her today. She didn't glare back like a tiger ready to leap, but glanced at him timidly like a mouse ready to run. A great boom of thunder shook the greenhouse, she leapt suddenly away from the still open door, pitching forward into him.

The thunder had rattled her, but not nearly as much as her current position. She was lying atop Draco Malfoy, practically nose to nose. She could feel her hair sticking across her face, the rain from her robes soaking into his, and his breathing irregular and startled.

It didn't really occur to Draco to push her off. She was a very different person up close. She had a soft spray of light freckles dusting her nose, and her eyes were a shade darker than the rain washed earth. Right now she wasn't talking or asking a question or kissing up to a professor. Right now she was just a soaked, scared girl who only wanted her book.

Everything was prettier in the rain.

Up close his eyes were a misty gray like the storm clouded sky. It suited him. He gently pushed her off, rising to his feet. He offered her a hand. Today was an odd day indeed. They had somehow switched places. Hermione was the one out of her depth looking pale and afraid. Malfoy looked well adjusted and comfortable. It was something she had not seen on him in months. He wore the rain well. He didn't ask her what was wrong because he knew. She hadn't asked him either. She knew too.

Everything was simpler in the rain.

He bent to pick up the fallen book. He cast a quick waterproofing charm on it and held it out to her. She hesitated, but accepted it. Draco retrieved the cane the his father had given him from against the wall, giving it a firm tap with his wand. It transformed into a red umbrella. Moving towards the door, he reached the threshold and stepped out into the rain, opening the umbrella.

Hermione watched him from the doorway, still clutching her waterproofed book to her chest. When he turned to look at her again, he gave a quick little jerk of his head signaling her to join him. She did.

Draco Malfoy and Hermione Granger walked back up to the castle in comfortable silence. They parted ways with a polite nod and a fast fading smile. His umbrella dripped on the floor. Her book was still dry.

Stranger things have happened in the rain.