Disclaimer: I own everything. Every word, every aspect, and every character.

A/N: Just an idea I had... I might add more if people like it, but right now I'm working primarily on FLAMES OF ECSTASY. Check that one out; it's good... and LONG. If you don't have a lot of time, MY PRECIOUS EMPTY SPACE is worth ten minutes of your time. Real tear-jerker. ALL D/Hr. MPES has a baby Draco too... Draco Jr. He's adorable... anyway, on with the show! Review or something, would ya?





Hermione stared sadly out the window of the Hogwarts Express. It was raining; perfect, just how she liked it... but that didn't seem to matter now. She was alone; everyone had turned on her, and she had yet to discover why. Harry and Ron had become the most distant; they hadn't even waited for her on the platform.

This was their seventh year, for Merlin's sake, and they didn't even have the decency to save her a seat in their compartment. This was the first in all their seven years that they hadn't spent the train ride together. She felt as if she were totally alone; as if no one even cared that she was upset and that she was lonely. This wasn't entirely untrue. No one had come looking for her. Exactly the opposite, actually.

Hermione had tried to seek out someone who could tell her what was happening, but every person she confronted would scowl and turn away; ignoring her as if she were... a Slytherin. The Gryffindor Lion seemed to think of her as the tell-tale thorn in its guiltless paw.

Hermione couldn't exactly say that she hadn't expected this. She knew something was wrong before she had even left for summer vacation in June. Harry and Ron stood with her at the platform then, while she waited for her parents, but neither seemed to be enjoying it much.

Repeatedly she would ask what was wrong, but no... no one would even give her the time of day, much less the meaning behind their shunning. The second she had heard her parents call her name, Hermione turned to them with a smile, then turned back to bid goodbye to Harry and Ron, only to see that they were already out of ear shot. Discouraged, she frowned and moved to the grinning muggle couple whom had come to collect her.

Hermione sighed, bringing her knees up to her chest, and briefly closed her eyes. *Look on the bright side,* a voice in her head told her. *At least it can't get any worse. It's alright to be ignored; better than being tortured.* Hermione listened to the voice, and almost laughed.

"Of COURSE not. There is nothing wrong with everyone just turning away from you when you are in fact perfectly innocent in whatever misconception they may have construed. It's not like I'm the next Queen of Darkness... what the hell is everyone's problem?" she said out loud, but in a deeply sad, dead-toned voice.

"Ahem," a male voice said from the door way of her compartment and Hermione turned slowly to look to whomever it was who dare talk to her. It didn't seem likely it'd be someone she'd be happy to talk to... and of course, she was right. "Granger? Sorry to... um... interrupt... but, would you mind terribly if I were to share a compartment with you? Everywhere else is full, or believe me, I wouldn't be asking."

"Malfoy, do you seriously think I'm that stupid? How can every compartment be full? There are no where near enough students to fill this entire train," Hermione said, completely emotionless, except a slight crackle, as if she were close to crying. Draco looked a little surprised that she dare question him, but was really in no mood to do anything about it.

"Um... a lot of first years?" he suggested and Hermione blinked slowly.

"Well, if that's the case, the first year dorms will be pretty crowded with a hundred new members to each house," she said, still not showing even sarcasm in her voice. Hermione sighed. "Whatever Malfoy. I'm sure you have some twisted scheme cooked up for me, but frankly, I don't care. I don't have anything to lose anymore, so come on in, have a seat, pull up a noose, do whatever the hell you want. It's not like anyone would care if you hexed me, anyway."

Lifting an eyebrow, Draco surveyed the girl whom had, if not willingly, offered him a seat in her compartment. She was dressed entirely in black; black muggle jeans which were a bit too large for her, a baggy long sleeved sweatshirt, the cuffs of which were crumpled and held tightly in her hands, a black, punk-rocker style studded belt and black sneakers, which had obviously not been black at time of purchase.

Everything she wore, down to her shoelaces, hair-tie, and eye-liner was completely black. Something had definitely changed about Granger. And something was definitely bothering her. Not about to disregard her acceptance of his request, Draco stepped into the compartment and slid the doors slowly shut. Hermione never turned away from her window.


S~ S~ S~ S~ S~ (They're snakes, see?)


"Why all gothic, Granger?" Draco asked over an hour later. He had been simply sitting and watching Hermione as she stared blankly out the window and sighed periodically. She hadn't even acknowledged his presence the entire time he had been seated.

"Fit my mood. Made you talk to me. I like the way it clashes with my complexion," she listed absently, not even blinking as she shifted a little, hugging her knees closer to her. "And I am fucking freezing," she added with an afterthought.

"Made me talk to you?" he asked, not seeing what that had to do with anything. Hermione turned slowly to him, as if every move she made had to be perfectly planned and executed and precisely the right time.

"Not that I expect you to care, but you are the first person to speak a word to me since the end of term. I didn't even get a freaking letter. Not one. I don't know what the hell is wrong with these people, but everyone suddenly hates me. I'm not stupid, I know I'm not much to look at, and I'm boring, bookish, bossy, bitchy, and all in all rather snobbish, but they didn't seem to mind until just recently. It wasn't like one day I became super-psycho-bitch and went on a killing spree; what the fuck did I ever do to them?" Hermione explained, her voice remaining at that sad and dispassionate level. Draco was utterly confused; everyone loved Granger. Well, everyone in Gryffindor loved Granger. He definitely didn't love her. Draco loved Granger about as much as Potter loved the Dark Lord.

"Aw, I'm sorry Mudblood. Poor wittle Granger ain't got no friends. And, what's this? I see no books! No books and no friends... what has Granger left to live for?" he said sarcastically, expecting her to get angry, but Hermione did no such thing. She sighed and dropped her head the tiniest fraction, then cocked it to the side.

"You're right, Malfoy. Living just doesn't sound like a logical activity for me to participate in, does it? I don't have a broom, so I don't play Quidditch... I don't have a life, so why should I live? That's an interesting proposition," she said in the same tone she had kept throughout the conversation. Draco's eyes grew wide as he listened to her. She was insane, that was the only plausible explanation.

"What the hell are you talking about?" he asked, sounding as surprised as he was.

"How do you think I should do it? I don't think I could really drown mySELF... I'm sure the squid could help me, but I don't think that's such a good idea. I need something showier. If I'm leaving, I'm going to accomplish something first. Noosing sounds like a good plan; from the owlry window... hm... no, no, it's rather drafty up there..." she began contemplating her own death, placing a hand to her throat as she mentioned noosing. Draco listened with his eyes wide and his mouth open... she couldn't be serious, could she? Granger had to be screwing with him... but Granger never screwed with anyone; literally or metaphorically.

"I could always go for the standard blade to the wrist approach... good show, that one. Plenty of blood spatter to create sadistically interesting murals on the walls... but I don't know where I'm going to find a razor. Mine is no where thick enough, and I don't think a butter knife from the kitchens will be very useful," she continued, rubbing a thumb over the lifeline in her wrist as she thought of this. Hermione bit her lip. "Poison is definitely a no-go. Not only is it very clean, but it could be blamed on someone else. I want them to KNOW it was me who put them out of their misery. Tut, tut... so many choices, yet so many inferiorities. If only I had a guillotine. Do you think I could find a spell on how to transfigure one? Now that would be a show."

Draco just stared. This girl was absolutely, one hundred percent, no doubt about it, fucking insane. Hermione looked from her wrist to his face, cocking her head and looking innocent. Noticing the sickening expression on his face, Hermione swung her legs off the bench and let her shoes hit the tiled floor. Standing, she heard Malfoy gasp. Was he scared of her? Yes, perhaps a little... or scared of the subject of discussion. Keeping a straight and expressionless face, Hermione stepped toward him.

"What's wrong, Malfoy? Isn't that what you've wanted since first year? Been taught your whole life? Kill all muggle-borns and mudbloods. They are a disgrace to our kind. I'll be doing you a favor here. So, what do you think? Blades spill the most blood." Draco remained with a shocked expression on his face.

"What the hell happened to you, Granger?" he asked, sounding awed. Sadistically, he was impressed by her stream of possible methods of self mutilation.

"Nothing. That's exactly it. Nothing, nor no one, has happened to me. Never. I've always been quiet, controlling, know-it-all, mudblood, Granger... but suddenly, that isn't good enough. I need a new identity. Perhaps tragically lost, wasted potential, lonely, deceased, know-it-all, mudblood Granger will be taken to better... but hey, if not, I won't be here to find out," she said, cocking her hips and placing a finger to her chin. "I'm really getting turned on to this whole guillotine idea... I'll be known as Guilly Granger. That's kind of ringy, don't you think?"

Draco said nothing, just shook his head slowly.

"Come on, Malfoy, I need your help here. I can't decide by myself; you'll get the most benefit after me, it's only fair you get some of the credit. Come now, isn't this fun? Just think; two loathed enemies working together to plan the death of one of their own. It's like a fairy tale."

"You can't be serious, Granger."

"No, I'm afraid you're right. I wouldn't be able to pull of something like that, even with your help... and I doubt it would get me the desired effect. I can hear it now; 'Did you hear? A seventh year Gryffindor was found dead in the courtyard!' 'Oh my god, that's awful! Who?' 'The prefect... what's her name?' 'Oh, Granger? Whatever; did you see the new Gryffindor team captain? Is he the hottest thing you've seen since Malfoy, or what?' I would cause chaos for about five minutes, long enough for them to realize who I was and get the yells of joy out of their systems."

"Alright Granger, listen good because I don't say this often. You. Are. Fucking. Scaring. Me. Do you know how hard it is to scare me? Ask my father, he'll tell you. Hasn't quite managed to succeed yet, I might add. But you, god, Granger, what the hell are you thinking?" Hermione laughed, deep in her throat.

"You may not want to hear this, Malfoy, but you actually sound like you care. Ha... I never thought I'd see the day. Then again, I don't think I will, because this is most certainly not that day, either, is it? No, didn't think so," Hermione said, turning to move back to her seat. She said down slowly and unzipped her sweatshirt, showing a tight black T-shirt underneath; HEX written on it in large white letters. Draco swallowed. It was a very tiny T-shirt; the sleeves and mid-drift had been hand torn off, and a curled black navel ring could be seen. Granger didn't look half bad when she dressed... properly.

"I-I thought you were cold?" he asked, licking his lips and shifting a bit in his seat.

"All this talk of my future has gotten my adrenaline pumping," Hermione explained, her voice back to the slow, sad, drawling tone she had used until her little argument. "Are you going to tell me why you felt the need to infiltrate my boxcar when there are at least a dozen perfectly good others you could have graced with your presence?"

"If you must know, you are not the only one to be shunned," Draco said without missing a beat, a tiny hint of unknown grudge in his voice. He expected Hermione's head to pop up in surprise, and come up it did, but in that annoyingly slow way she seemed to constantly be moving.

"Beg pardon?" she said, not even a trace of surprise or curiosity in her voice. Granger's lack of emotion was getting to Draco more that her talk of suicide had.

"I think it was this whole death of the dark lord thing. Before this glorious defeat by Potter, everyone feared someone so close to the dark side; someone who could hire a hit-man by the name of Mr. Riddle for anyone who bothered him. You'd think they would have noticed that no one I hated ever died, but, then again, we're talking about future Hogwarts alumni here. So yes, Granger, you heard me right. I too have been shunned. I fully expected you to hex my arse for even touching your door. Speaking of which, that's an awesome band," he said, making reference to her t-shirt. As slow as ever, Hermione looked down at her shirt and back up again.

"I agree. And I have to admit, I don't blame them for hating you. You haven't exactly been the most pleasant person to live with for the last seven years. I could name a few worse, but all in all, you did a pretty good job at scaring everyone into being nice to you in public, but plotting revenge behind your back. You'd think you would have noticed that everyone you've ever picked on glared menacingly as you turned away, but, then again, we're talking about future Hogwarts alumni here," Hermione drawled in her slow tone, then turned back to the window. The rain was beginning to let up, another touch to her perfect day, but the sky remained dark; all was not lost.

"Nice one, Granger," Draco said, but Hermione made no notice of his comment, or the fact that he had complimented her.

"But you know, I think you're right. I helped with that concur, you know. Every damn time that sweet, sweet, man was after my bastard of a best friend, I helped. I went to the library, I researched for hours, I snuck into the restricted section, and I. Figured. Out. Every. Damn. Mystery. ALONE. But, what's this then? Voldemort has been defeated? So what is this bitch still doing here? Give her a cookie and leave her in that cardboard box. Better put it outside, seems to be cluttering up the common room. Who cares if it's raining? She'll live. And if not, then we'll have to find a new person to copy homework off of. Thanks Malfoy, I've finally figured out the logic behind this madness. I feel a little better now," Hermione said, a slight smile creeping onto her face. Draco smiled too as he saw this; for some reason, her tinge of happiness made him feel as if a weight had been lifted from his shoulders.

"You know, Granger... despite the talk of suicide, murder, the dark lord, un-appreciation, and fear... this has been the best conversation we've ever had.... actually, that I've ever had, period," Draco said and Hermione nodded, although slowly.

"I think so too. You know, when you're not being a total bastard, you're not so bad."

"This is where you are mistaken, Hermione. I am always a total bastard. Always have been, always will be. That won't ever change." Hermione laughed. She actually laughed. Hermione Granger; the same girl who five minutes ago had been contemplating ways of decapitating herself, laughed at a joke told by Draco Malfoy. The same Draco Malfoy she had despised, along with the rest of the world, for years.

"I guess you can't have everything. Or anything. Whichever comes first."

"You know, when you're not contemplating ways to rid the world of yourself, you're not half bad either," Draco said with a smile. Which Hermione saw, and was compelled to smile back.

"I've never seen you smile before. Sneer, yes. Smirk, hell yes. But smile? I wasn't entirely sure you were capable," she told him, leaning into the corner of the compartment.

"Never had a whole lot to smile about." Hermione sighed.

"I did. Did. Past tense."

"Alright, Granger, seriously. I can NOT see Potter and Weasley just throwing you out on the curb. Yes, maybe they've taken you for granted, and yes, maybe they'd rather talk to each other than listen to you, and yea, they most definitely used you for your study skills, but I honestly don't think it's as bad as you make it out to be," Draco said and Hermione shook her head.

"If only that were true. Watch," she instructed, sat up, took a breath, then stopped. "You might want to..." she suggested, gesturing to cover his ears. Draco was suspicious, but intensely curious, and did as she purposed. Hermione smiled and took another breath, then proceeded to scream. "AHHHH!!!! HELP, SOMEONE!!! HARRY! RON! PLEASE! AHHhhh... ::sputter:: ::gargle::!!!" she yelled, making the last scream die down as if she had been strangled. Draco winced as she did this, then removed his hands from his ears. Hermione turned again to look out the window, looking a little brighter than she had when Draco had come in. After about twenty minutes, she turned back to Draco with an increasing grin.

"Look, it's starting to rain again!" she said happily, the first emotion to enter her voice the entire trip. Hermione kept her grin, face pressed against the glass of the window.

"Honestly, Hermione, can you be any more morbid?" Draco asked, shaking his head slowly.

"This has nothing to do with my morbidity; I simply love the rain. It makes me HAPPY, which I think is the opposite of morbid... or pretty close."

"Technically, sad would be the opposite of happy or... unhappy, but yes, I see your point," Draco said with a smile and Hermione smiled too.

"Hey, can I ask you something?" Hermione asked, lifting her forehead from the glass and turning to Draco again.

"You know, I was going to say something like 'Asking if you can ask me something would technically be considered asking me something' but then I realized that that would be incredibly stupid, so I caught myself." Hermione nodded.

"You caught yourself and told me all about it. Good plan. But yes, that would have been stupid. So, anyway, can I ask you something ELSE then?" she continued once more.

"I don't see why not."

"Why did you call me Hermione? The first time I thought you were just being a smartass, but then you used it as if it were the most natural thing in the world."

"I apologize. I didn't think you'd mind," Draco said, sounding a bit put down.

"Oh, I don't mind; just curious. I could really, really, use a friend right now, and you seem like a pretty good candidate, but if you don't want my friendship, that's alright. You can go join the others in GABS." Draco raised an eyebrow. "Granger Adjacent to Burning Stake. I have my own hate- club now. It's kind of comforting, in a weird twisted way." Draco chuckled and Hermione laughed too. "What, you think I'm kidding? Harry and Ron are co-presidents. Ask them when they get here... you know, to save me and what not."

"You know, my new friend, it IS possible that they just didn't hear you. It's a rather big train."

"Yes, but I happen to know that Ron and Harry were walking down this corridor when I screamed. I saw their reflection in the window less than five minutes beforehand; they were talking to Neville Longbottom just outside our door. Imagine that. They couldn't have gotten far," Hermione said, then smiled. "So does this mean you'll consider my offer of... truce, for lack of a better word?"

"It's either that or study alone for the rest of the year, plus, I think we should stick together. If the world is going to shun us, we might as well co-conspire and shun the world. Don't you agree?"

"Yes, Draco. I agree wholeheartedly." He smiled, but it was short lived. No sooner had Hermione agreed to Draco's plan to ignore the world did they hear the footsteps and annoyingly joyful laugh of the world rolling down their corridor. Hermione held out her hand, indicating the source of the sound. "See? I told you. They'll come to satisfy their curiosity. Could it be true? Is the bitch really dead? Finally! I never thought we'd get rid of her!"

Before Draco could say anything about anything, Harry Potter and Ron Weasley burst through their compartment doors, laughing almost hysterically. When they noticed Hermione in perfect health, their laughter ceased and their faces became ashen.

"Hey, Hermione. We, uh, heard you scream... what's up?" Harry asked as if it were perfectly innocent. Hermione laughed amusedly.

"You heard me scream and you came to see what's up? Well, 'what's up' is not the death toll of this compartment, although it will be soon if I find my blasted razor. Now, have you come to collect the body? I believe the morgue is closed for the holidays; please take all deliveries to the dumpster out back. It has been cleaned especially for this inconvenience," she said and Draco snorted, but Harry looked confused.

"What?" Ron asked.

"I screamed half an hour ago, and now here you are, come to defend me against the millions of monsters who have already torn me to shreds. Pity, really. Would have been a good show. On a different note, don't even try an excuse, because I specifically saw you just down the hall and screamed, although in no danger whatsoever, just to see how long it would take you two to save your little bookworm. Might I suggest you work on clocking down your time? Running five feet in twenty minutes won't exactly win you a gold medal." Confused and obliviant, Harry and Ron looked to each other. Taking the opportunity, Hermione got Draco's attention, pointed to him, then to herself, then made a slitting motion across her throat. Draco smiled, reading her meaning loud and clear.

"Nobody knows what the hell you're talking about, Mudblood. Speak English or I'll TEACH you to speak English, and I don't mean books, Muddy. I don't mean books," Draco said and Hermione gave him a small wink before she pretended to get angry.

"Malfoy, why do you have to be such a bastard?" she asked, purposely cracking her voice to sound as if she were crying. Hermione looked pleadingly at Harry and Ron, who looked back at her.

"Yeah, Hermione; what the hell are you talking about?" Ron asked and Draco's jaw dropped. No 'Sod off, Malfoy!' No 'Shut the fuck up, ferret boy!' and no attempts at homicide. They had AGREED with him. Maybe Granger wasn't making all this up. Hermione, mastermind that she was, knitted her brows and craned her neck, pretending to look at something behind Harry and Ron. Both boys turned around to see what she had been intrigued by, and she took the opportunity to silently edge Draco on again. She pointed to him, then to Harry and Ron, then once again made a slitting motion across her neck. Draco gave a curt nod and Hermione got back into conversation.

"Did you guys seriously come to see if I was alright, or are you just here out of curiosity of what brutally beat the shit out of me?" she asked.

"I still don't see exactly what you're trying to ask here, Hermione," Ron said, looking possibly twice as confused. Draco rolled his eyes.

"My god, Weasel, are you that dense that you can't even answer a simple question? Do you even FLOAT in water?" he asked, looking exasperated.

"Hey! Sod off, Ferret-boy!" Harry said in defense of his friend and Ron nodded in agreement, sticking out his bottom lip and crossing his arms over his chest. Whoops, Draco thought. He had forgotten about that name.

"Leave it to Scarface to think of the most overused insult I've ever had the displeasure of hearing, over and over and over and over and over...." Draco said and Ron got red in the face.

"Shut the hell up, you pasty little concubine! Can I kick his ass, Harry? Please?" Ron pleaded and Draco snorted.

"Well, Weasel, I'd have to give you a little credit on that. I've never been called a concubine before. Something I think you should know though; I had to remove points due to the fact that a concubine, by definition, is a woman who screws a man she isn't married to, or a secondary wife. In case you haven't noticed, I am definitely not a woman," Draco said and Hermione perked up, raising her hand.

"I noticed," she announced, causing Harry and Ron to look at her momentarily, then turn back to their fight with Malfoy as if she were the stupidest thing they'd ever laid eyes on.

"And," Draco continued. "In light of this, I would give you kudos for a double insult, but I know for a fact that you were not thinking of it that way, therefore, I still win. When will you silly Gryffindors learn? I always win," he said. Ron got red in the face.

"Yes, Ron. You can kick his ass," Harry granted with a nod.

"Good thing you asked your Daddy first, Wheezy. Wouldn't want to be grounded," Draco managed before Ron lunged at him. Hermione stood and clapped her hands. Not expecting this, Ron, Harry, and Draco all looked to her in alarm, but not before Ron had been successful in giving Draco a black eye.

"I believe my experiment is completed, and data shows that my hypothesis is correct. In light of this," Hermione said calmly, blinked, then yelled, "GET THE HELL OUT OF OUR COMPARTMENT. Thank you for your time."

" 'OUR' compartment? What do you mean OUR compartment? What the hell IS Malfoy doing with you anyway?" Harry asked, sounding more curious than upset. Hermione looked thoughtful.

"Gee, I don't know. Why don't we ask him, then," she said and turned to the sole Slytherin in the midst of three Gryffindor, two of which were trying to kick his ass while they listened to the third. "Draco, what the hell are you doing here?" she asked sweetly and Draco smiled.

"Why, I am riding the train to Hogwarts school of Witchcraft and Wizardry to complete my seventh year of study," he said as if it were the most obvious thing in the world. Which, of course, it was. Hermione made a small nod and turned back to Harry and Ron.

"He is riding the train to Hogwarts school of Witchcraft and Wizardry to complete his seventh year of study, as am I. Now that you are equipped with this information, please get the hell out." Hermione said and Harry and Ron reluctantly stepped away from Draco and out the door.

"Um... glad to see you're alright, then, Hermione," Harry said before closing the door.

"Like hell," Draco shot back, nursing a bloody nose. Harry, fortunately for Draco, didn't hear this last comment and closed the door. Hermione watched as they walked away, then turned back to Draco, who she had forgotten had been hurt. Biting her lip, Hermione retrieved a hanky from the black shoulder back she had had on the seat beside her, which, coincidentally or not, also had an iron-on patch with the logo for the Wizard band HEX. Horded Ethereal Ecstasy (X-stasy).

"Oh, I'm sorry. I forgot that they'd probably attack you if you provoked them," she said and knelt down in front of Draco, who was still seated on his side of the boxcar.

"Don't worry about it; it doesn't even hurt," Draco said and Hermione smiled, then began to dab away the blood. Draco winced and she smirked.

"Oh it doesn't, now, does it?"

"Okay, it does, but I've felt worse," Draco admitted and Hermione smiled as she continued to prevent the blood from staining his crisp white shirt, and instead making an invisible blotch on her black hanky.

In no time, Draco and Hermione noticed the rather odd position they were in. Draco was, of course, sitting on the cushy seat of a Hogwarts Express car and Hermione, of course, was kneeling between his knees, one hand on his leg, the other supporting the hanky under his nose. Their faces were inches apart. As the blood flow slowed and Hermione let the handkerchief fall from his face, Draco smiled. He had had a spontaneous idea. And, by the look on Hermione's face, she had had the same one. Draco leaned in and their lips touched briefly in a very light kiss, but Hermione altered that a bit by kissing back. As they broke apart, she smiled.

"I feel like I just met you," she said, sounding embarrassed. Draco chuckled a bit.

"You did," he said. "Guilly Granger." Hermione giggled and Draco kissed her again. This time, he was a little less unsure, and this time, the bloody black napkin fluttered to the floor and Hermione slid her arms around his neck, kissing back with as much force as Draco was putting into it.

"You know," Hermione said as they broke apart again. "I'm glad you were shunned and decided to come sit with me." Draco smiled.

"Yeah, me too.... And I'm glad we have no guillotine."


A/N: Oh yeah, that disclaimer? Total lies, there. Think opposites. There ya go...