Disclaimer – Anything you see that resembles anything written by JK Rowling is HERS J K? K!
A/N – I hope everyone enjoys this… it's a DM/HG fic. I am working on another piece called TWO WEEKS so if you haven't checked it out yet you should… thought I almost think I like where this one is going more… anyway… read, review (flame if you just HAVE to), and hopefully enjoy!!! Also, if the italics don't show up the sections that have -- in front of them are memories. Sections are (obviously) separated with ~*~*~*~*~*~*~Shadows From the Past
Hermione sat in one of the compartments of the Hogwart's express. It had been three years since she graduated from Hogwart's and now she was going back for a reunion of sorts. Dumbledore, who was still Headmaster of the school, decided to invite back a few choice students to come live at the school. In his letter he'd stated that 'after an allotted amount of time has passed I will decided who is best fitted to take over a few choice teaching positions. No one will know the amount of time because I myself do not yet know.'
Hermione had received the letter by owl almost a month earlier. She'd often wondered who the other people receiving the letters were and who would show up. She didn't know if Harry or Ron had made it because after they graduated they stopped speaking. She knew why they disliked her now and opened her heart and mind to remember her last days of joy…
-- She couldn't sleep that night. Only one more week at Hogwart's and she would probably never see these wonderful halls and grounds again. Dumbledore held the graduation ceremony earlier that day and they were given the rest of the week to enjoy Hogwart's for possible the last time. The thought excited and saddened her at the same time. Instead of lying in bed and staring at the ceiling she decided to take a walk.
Though the season was a warm one, the chilly night air nipped at her skin through the light cotton nightgown she wore. She decided it didn't matter, she wanted to feel everything about this place before leaving, even the air. Being Head Girl she had her own room with a balcony attached. She walked onto the balcony and mounted her old outdated broom. She knew she'd rarely used it but climbed on anyway and slowly floated to the ground below. Once there she leaned it against the wall and began to walk, letting the moisture from the grass gather on her pale feet.
She hadn't noticed Draco, who had surprisingly gotten Head Boy, standing in his room ready to walk onto the balcony that adjoined their rooms as well, and so she didn't noticed him follow her. He did follow her with, though he did so quietly so he wouldn't alarm her.
When she reached the lake she stopped. A slight breeze flew through causing her to wrap her arms more tightly to her and her long wavy brown hair to flow behind her. She closed her eyes and let the smells and sounds fill her mind, as if imprinting there as a permanent memory.
Draco watched her. All year they'd slept in rooms side by side. Occasionally, when alone, they would talk and act as if there was no rivalry or hatred between them. Other times, when Harry, Ron, or a Slytherin were near they would not speak because they knew if they did they would have to be rude to one another, and for some reason that thought sickened both of them, though they never admitted it to each other.
He only had one thought pouring through his mind as he stared at her back. 'It's now or never… don't lose your only chance.' He opened his mouth to speak, but before he could say anything she spoke.
"Why did you follow me Draco?" she asked. Her voice was not accusing or mean, but sounded almost hopeful.
"How could I not?" he answered simply. She turned and faced him. He stood there wearing black cotton pajama pants and a pair of flip-flops. His white skin shone brightly in the moonlight. She dared to take a few steps forward. Her heart was racing and she did not know why.
"You've never seemed to want to before," she said. He realized she was not only referring to tonight, but to the last seven years, particularly the past year.
"I was too scared to before," he said also stepping forward a bit. They were now only a step away from being face to face.
"What gave you the to courage now?" she asked quietly as her head dropped and she stared at their feet. Draco took this opportunity to cross the space between them as he stepped forward and lifted her chin so their eyes met. He smiled. A sight she'd only been privileged enough to see a few times in her lifetime.
"I was scared," he said truthfully. She almost asked scared of what, all though she already know, but he answered before she could ask. " I was scared that maybe after all these years you wouldn't want me to follow you… I was scared that since we are graduating soon I would never again get the chance… I was scared that if I didn't I would forever regret it…"
Her chin still rested in his hand. Her skin was pale, though compared to Draco's it was not. His platinum blonde hair, which hadn't been slicked back all year, stirred slightly in the breeze. She wanted to reach up and touch it, but she didn't dare to.
"You would regret not following me?" she asked praying he would answer her the way she wanted.
"Yes…" a little spark of hope ignited behind her eyes.
"Why?" she dared ask as her pulse quickened. At this moment she didn't care about anything except what was happening. She knew in the back of her mind that Harry and Ron would be upset with her. She knew they wouldn't understand, but she didn't care. She just wanted to stay here in the moonlight with Draco Malfoy, and the strange thing about that was, the fact that it was Malfoy didn't seem odd… it felt right.
"Why?" he repeated… "Are you sure you want to know? Because once you know there's no turning back…" he said quietly. She smiled at him sweetly, allowing her chin to lightly rise from his hand and then settle back down. She realized she loved the feel of those hands.
"I'm sure…" she said staring into his crystal blue-gray eyes as he in turn stared back into her chocolate ones. She felt his hand tremble slightly.
"Close your eyes," he said lightly. The thought to distrust him never entered her mind. She instantly obeyed and waited.
Slowly, trying to savor every aspect of this girl who stood before him, he leaned down. When he almost reached her lips he stopped and looked. He'd noticed her breath had quickened, but realized at the same time his had as well. Very slowly he closed the remaining space between them and allowed his lips the pleasure of brushing against hers. He did not deepen the kiss, nor did she. They stood there, his hand under her chin, their lips locked together. Finally he stepped back and let his hand fall away from her face.
Their eyes opened and both seemed speechless. Hermione's skin rejected the loss of his touch. He only waited. It was her move.
Without really thinking about it Hermione stepped forward and leaned up towards him. She had to stand on her tiptoes to reach, but she succeeded and once again their lips met. There wasn't as much hesitancy in this kiss as their had been the first one. Instead of only allowing their lips to meet, she opened her mouth the slightest bit and kissed only his bottom lip, capturing it between hers. Instinctively his arms went around her waist. She let him pull her close as her arms went around his neck as well.
Very slowly their kiss deepened. It never became heated, but it was passionate. The stayed like that, savoring everything about the person in their arms, for what seemed like hours.
Finally with a small final kiss she pulled away. Her arms, which had encircled his neck, now slowly slipped down to her sides. She allowed herself the luxury of feelings his tight soft skin beneath her fingers. She had not yet allowed herself to touch his hair.
Following her example he released her hold on her waist and expected her to back away. She didn't. Instead she stood there and looked up at him.
"Is that what you would've regretted not doing?" she asked with a quirky smile playing on her lips. He returned her smile.
"Partly yes…" he said. She gave him a quizzical expression, but said nothing. She knew if he wanted to tell her he would, and if not then it was not her business to know. She stayed silent, unsure of what to do next, but wanting to stay out beside the lake with him forever.
He did not speak. Instead he used his newfound confidence her kisses had inspired and slowly lifted his hand. He let it first trace the knuckles of her hand. It then soft trailed its way up her arm. When he reached the short sleeve of her nightgown it stopped. Once more her body protested the absence of his gentle touch, but it was soon replaced. His hand then found her cheek.
When she felt his hand touch her cheek she automatically leaned into it, while closing her eyes. No one had ever touched her like that. No one had ever been given the chance, but she doubted that anyone could ever touch her like this ever again and have the same effect.
He'd never felt anyone so soft before. Her skin looked like porcelain in the moonlight but felt like silk. He would have given anything to keep her there with him forever, but he knew that could not happen.
He then allowed his hand to move back into her auburn hair. It was soft and he ran his fingers through it trying to memorize every strand. Her eyes remained closed.
When his fingers became lost in her sea of hair, she noticed her hand was rising as well. She did not stop it. Instead she let it float to his platinum locks. She was not disappointed. It felt even better than she'd imagined, like the fur of a rabbit, soft and feathery. If her hand could have stayed there forever it would have. But instead of getting used to the feel of her hand there she forced it to move.
She trailed her fingers down the side of his face and neck. Her eyes remained close so she did not see his eyes close as well. His hand continued to explore the masses of wavy brown hair until he found the back of her head where it stopped to rest.
Her fingers, however, did not stop. She let them trail over his broad shoulders and down his arm. When she reached his hand she stopped. Without thinking his hand turned over and their fingers interlaced. Her other hand, which had been patiently waiting by her side, took up the job of feeling him. She put the palm of her hand right below one shoulder and slowly let it drag down his bare chest, feeling his heartbeat and rapid breath as well as his muscular physique. She stopped in the center of his chest, but kept her eyes closed. She felt his beating heart and noticed hers was beating in time with his. She never wanted to leave.
She felt a slight pressure on the back of her head and realized he was requesting she come closer, she obliged. Soon their lips met once more and she gave in to the sensation he caused in her. At first she thought it was a sexual desire, but soon realized there was more to it than that. As far-fetched as the thought sounded, even in her own mind, she was falling in love.
If he'd known this things would have been different. He'd known for quite some time he'd loved her. Not just the way she looked, but also the way she carried herself, the way she helped others, and the way she seemed to always be happy. He assumed she was here tonight solely to see how she felt and he doubted she could ever love a monster like him.
She felt he could never love her. He would never be able to be with someone who wasn't pureblooded. She didn't want to risk a broken heart, so instead she decided to enjoy his warmth and affection as long as she could.
Their kiss began to deepen dangerously. They both knew that if it continued much longer someone would happen that shouldn't. Surprisingly Draco broke the kiss off gently. Before pulling away he leaned in and kissed her forehead while her eyes were still closed. He then leaned back and smiled as her eyes opened to meet his. She smiled in return never relinquishing his hand.
It seemed that night bonded them in a way no one else would or could ever understand. They didn't need words that night. Instead, hand in hand they walked to where both of their brooms lay and mounted them. Draco let her kick of lightly first and then followed suit, both landing on the balcony three floors up. Once there Hermione laid her broom down and half expected Draco to just go to his room. He surprised her again. When she turned around to see if he was still there he was staring at her.
"What?" she asked smiling almost nervously. He only smiled and shook his head.
"Nothing…" he said and moved towards her. She made no move to stop him. Instead she longed for his touch, if only once more. He walked over to her and did something he'd never done. He wrapped his arms around her waist and hugged her. She hesitantly put her arms around his neck and slowly began to hug him in return. He buried his face in the hair, which had fallen over her shoulder and inhaled her scent. 'Raspberries,' he thought. He knew he would never forget how she smelled.
While he silently examined every aspect of her body she did the same. Her face was close to his hair. A slight breeze caused it to move and it brushed against her face. She allowed one of her hands to slowly make its way into her hair as the other moved down his bare back. She felt his muscles flex and relax with her touch and mentally told herself to memorize how he felt, in case she never got to feel him this way again.
Without realizing it she shivered. It was midnight now and it had gotten colder. He felt this and smiled. He pulled back from her. She wanted to hold onto him, tell him as long as he held her she wasn't cold. But he smiled and held up one finger.
"One second," he said as he disappeared into his room. He returned seconds later holding a bundle that appeared to be black. Upon further inspection she realized it was a hooded sweatshirt. He stood there and waited. "Well…" he said. "I'm waiting."
"For…?" She asked a little confused.
"Put your arms up," he ordered playfully. She understood and did as he asked once more. He smiled and slipped the sweatshirt over her head. As it passed over her face she caught a strong whiff of his cologne. She knew she'd never forget that smell and vowed to discover what it was. He'd worn it that day and for some reason that though sent chills down her spine again. He mistook this as shivering. "If you're still cold we can go inside," he offered unsurely
"If you want to…" she answered just as cautiously, afraid that if they went in things would happen that weren't meant to.
"Only if you're still cold," he said. She looked at him and realized he still had no shirt.
"Well, I'm the one that's clothed, you're the one who'd half naked," she said glancing at his tight stomach and chest.
"Well then let's go in so I can be fully clothed all right?" he asked with a lop-sided smile. She smiled and nodded. He took her hand and led her into his room.
Just thinking of that night sent chills down her spine. She closed her eyes and tried to remember the way his hair felt between her fingers, the way his lips had met and accepted hers so softly, the way he'd held her and kept her warm. In her mind the memories did not do it justice and she once again ached for his touch. She hadn't seen him since they graduated a week after that night, and the dull ache in her chest had never left.
The ache was doubled when she remembered how Harry and Ron had reacted. She remembered the rest of the week being blissful. She and Draco would stay up late just talking and they would occasionally allow their hands to meet and not part or a gently hug now and again. Once or twice their lips met in a sweet kiss. But Harry and Ron hadn't known about that.
The night before they were going to leave Hogwart's forever she and Draco were sitting on the balcony talking. She, once again was in her nightgown and his sweatshirt [she hadn't given it back from before and he never asked for it back], and he was in his pajama pants and tee shirt. They were probably sitting closer than was necessary and she'd just allowed her hand to drift near his when two boys on broomsticks suddenly popped up from below the balcony.
She couldn't remember their words, she wouldn't let herself, all she could remember was they way she felt afterwards… scared… ashamed… alone. They'd flown off into the night and hadn't spoken to her since. She did remember one word Harry spat down at her before taking off… "Traitor…" She remembered crying and Draco being there for through it all. She remembered him holding her and kissing her hair telling her he was sorry, but he would make it be all right. After he tears had subsided he'd walked her to her room where they shared their most passionate kiss. She didn't understand why, but the kiss had seemed desperate, almost as if he expected to never kiss her lips again. Deep down she felt the same and kissed back with as much fervor as he was.
She remembered their lips parting and their foreheads resting on one another's.
"Good night Hermione," he said quietly with his eyes closed. He'd changed so much.
"Good night Draco…" she said softly. He leaned up and kissed her forehead, squeezing his eyes shut to remember the feel of her skin against his lips and then he left. She walked into her room and fell back on the bed.
Thinking back on all this she didn't know why she could remember every action, every move Draco had made, but not even the words Harry and Ron had spoken. It baffled her, but she tried not to dwell on it. Something happened the next day that surpassed even the loss of her friendship with Harry and Ron.
-- She awoke the next morning. Her things were already packed and waiting to be taken down to the train. She was about to go take a quick shower when she saw a note on the floor. She got up, still wearing his sweatshirt, and picked up the note. It was folded and her name was neatly written on the front. Without reading it she somehow knew what it said. She closed her eyes as her heart began to beat faster. She opened her eyes along with the note and read:
I don't know where to begin.… Who would've thought you and I would share what we did… who would've thought after so many years of hatred we would form a bond that was closer than most people ever dream of having… who would've thought it would be so hard to say goodbye.
I wish I had the courage to stay and say these things to your beautiful face, but I don't. I don't think I could. I know that I have caused a rift between you, Harry, and Ron… and I know that the only way to fix that is to stay out of your life… I wish there was a way for me to at least stay and be your friend, but if that were to happen you would probably lose the two people you seem to love more than life itself and I could never ask that of you.
Before you I never had true friendship… I had people who feared my family or me… You are the only peer I've ever known who sees me as an equal and not as a superior… you don't fear me… and I respect that… you are honestly the best friend I've ever had…
I know I can never be your best friend, because that role is already taken, but I can offer you this… I want you to know that, though our paths may never cross again, you will forever be the one person who knows me, because regardless of who happens to cross my path in the future, they will never know the secret to open me up like you did… not ever.
Even as I write this I fight the urge to rip it up and wait for you to awaken so we can always stay together… even if it is nothing more than friendship… but I know I cannot do that to you. You have a wonderful happy life ahead of you… I don't want to be the one who messes that up.
Please know that you've touched me in so many ways this last week and I will forever remember every word… every touch… every glance… every breath. My only regret is that I did not realize how wonderfully amazing you are until it was almost too late.
Please don't hate me… I hope with all my might that as you read my words you don't feel betrayed, but rather you feel as I feel… You, Hermione Granger, will forever hold a place in my heart no one else has ever touched, a place I never knew was there… a place I always want to think about and feel. I want you to know that, in a way I've never experienced, I love you and I believe I always will.
The only thing I request of you is that you go to Harry and Ron and patch things up. I don't want to feel responsible for breaking up three of the best friends Hogwart's has ever seen. I know they love you and will understand. I would ask you to owl me with their response, but I know it would be too tempting to come back and find you, and that I something I cannot allow myself to do… for your sake.
We may come together in the future, but if not, please have a happy life… I know I will think of you every day… and I hope you think of me. As corny as this may sound, a part of me is forever yours… and so I end this letter to you…
Upon finishing his letter she sat in her room and she cried. She had not cried like that in a long time and was not ashamed to let her tears flow. She slowly stood and crossed the small hallway to Draco's room. The door was open and she walked inside. All his personal belongings were gone except one plain silver ring, which lay on his bedside table. She sat on his bed and as his scent drafted up to her a new wave of tears engulfed her. She reached out and without thinking took the ring and slid it on her left ring finger. It fit perfectly. She somehow knew he'd left it for her.
She stayed on his bed, trying to inhale as much of his scent as she could before leaving. When it almost time to go she hastily summoned her trunk and did a quick spell so that she was clothed and ready to leave. She went outside to wait for the carriages, which would take them to the Hogwart's Express. When Dumbledore saw her a look of knowing and sadness crossed her face. He knew Draco left, he knew what had transpired between them… he knew it all.
She didn't bother to disguise the fact that she'd been crying; she saw no point in it. When Harry and Ron saw her, not even a hint of pity or worry crossed their faces, they were like stone.
She asked to share a carriage with them, the reluctantly agreed. Once in the carriage she explained to them that she was sorry for hurting them. She explained that she loved them and didn't want to lose their friendship, though for some reason she didn't wholeheartedly believe what she was saying. As she told them they were her best friends all she could think of was Draco. She imagined him writing the letter, imagined his expression as he fought to finish it and slide it under her door. Tears welled up in her eyes.
At first Harry thought it was because she realized her mistake, but he knew she wouldn't break down like that if that were the reason. They'd had their tiffs before and never had she cried like this. And so he asked her to tell him the truth about why she was crying. So she did.
"Because he's gone Harry. He left and told me to tell you that I was sorry… to tell you that you are my best friends… but he's gone…"
She didn't know what to expect. He'd asked her for the truth and she'd given it to them. The carriage lurched to a halt. She looked up. Harry stood by Ron and both wore grim expressions.
"If you want him… then go get him… but don't come crying to us when he turns out to be a liar… we won't want you back," Harry spat. Ron merely glared. It seemed he was at a loss for words. They stomped away and did not look back.
Hermione surprised herself when she realized she did not feel as much remorse about them leaving as she did with the thought of never seeing Draco again. She gathered her trunk and Crookshanks, who she'd almost forgotten about, and boarded the Hogwart's Express. There she sat alone the entire ride home. Once she reached the station she was the first one off the train. She met her parents with feint smiles and went home with a heavy heart.
When they arrived she claimed she was tired and went to bed, though it was only 7 o'clock in the evening. She longed to owl Draco and tell him to come find her, she needed him, but she had no means of doing so. Usually she would have borrowed Hedwig after calling Harry, but she could not longer do so. Instead she was forced to be alone and wonder what he was doing.
Hermione had not seen nor heard from Draco since. Every day, as she looked at her silver ring she would remember him, she would remember his sweet words, his gentle touches, his penetrating gazes, and she would read his letter. She charmed it to never fade or rip. Those words, along with her memories and his ring, were her only gateway to sanity. She closed her eyes and remembered his scent. She was so lost in thought that she did not notice the compartment door slide open.
A/N – Okay, so it's a little lengthy for one chapter… but hey, I had to put all that in there… ESPECIALLY the memories so get over it. J I hope everyone enjoys this chapter. I am also working on a story called Two Weeks. I don't even know where it's going anymore so… yeah.