A/N: Hi all! Sorry this took so long! I've been so busy I kept having to put off this chapter. It's only short, but it's all leading up to the real treat of them actually watching the show together :). Thank you all for the reviews - they absolutely make my day to read! I hope you enjoy this chapter! Love, CrazyAsACupcake x
Hermione manages to avoid Malfoy for one week. For one week she ignores the way he smirks at her across the Great Hall at breakfast, the way he raises his brows at her when they're in their lessons.
For one week she doesn't have to think about it. This terrible decision she made in agreeing for him to see the show of a lifetime with her.
For one week all she thinks about is this show.
She thinks about the images she had seen online over the summer – the ones of the pro shoot in New York, with Phillipa Soo setting the notes on fire in Burn, with Anthony Ramos (God, she adores Anthony Ramos) talking to Ariana DeBose in Blow Us All Away, with Lin Manuel Miranda – the mastermind behind it – doing that now-iconic pose at the end of My Shot.
She thinks about the soundtrack, sometimes finding herself humming her favourite songs in their lessons.
She thinks about the London cast – she knows that she's not going to see Phillipa Soo, Lin Manuel Miranda, and Anthony Ramos (she wishes she was going to see Anthony Ramos) – and she thinks about if they're going to suit the parts. Then, she curses herself for thinking that: of course they suit the parts, or else they wouldn't have been cast.
For one week, she thinks about this show, and how incredible it is going to be to be able to see it, whether Malfoy is there or not. She decides she'd prefer it to be not.
The week she goes home, on her last 'Prefect Patrol' of the term, her heart sinks as a grinning Malfoy steps out of the shadows, his teeth shining even in the darkness of the corridor.
"Malfoy," she groans, dropping her chin to her chest before looking up and glaring at him. "I thought I was patrolling with Hannah Abbott tonight."
He shrugs. "I swapped with her. She has a thing for that Ravenclaw boy so I said I'd do tonight and she can do tomorrow with him."
"'That Ravenclaw boy' is called Anthony. You've only had lessons with him for six years." She begins walking past him at a brisk pace. He walks alongside her with a lazy stride; she thinks about how long his legs are for her speed walking to match his barely walking.
He shrugs again, stuffing his hands into his trouser pockets. "Do you really think I pay attention, Granger?"
"You know my name, I would've thought you knew everyone's names."
"You're lucky I know your name, love." He smirks at the way her nose wrinkles as she frowns.
"I'm not your 'love'." She doesn't look at him.
"You wish you were."
"You are so insufferable." She peers into a dark classroom, closing the door behind her.
He raises his eyebrows. "I've never heard that before. I'm normally gorgeous, incredible, amazing, witty – I've even been called a god before." He smirks.
She rolls her eyes. "And I'm certain you're all of those things, Malfoy."
"And those are only from the people that I've f-"
"You're disgusting." She cuts him off, waving her hands about. "I don't want to hear it."
He laughs, loudly. "Come on, Granger, I'm only joking. Most of it I hear from whispers."
"Good for you."
"Anyway, that's not the thing we need to be talking about."
She sighs, rubbing her eyes. She wants to go to bed.
They keep walking.
"I need to know where this thing is, where I'm meant to meet you. And when, too." He watches her carefully. She doesn't react. She doesn't look at him.
She closes the door to another classroom. "I've decided I don't need you to go." She can practically hear his face drop.
"Why not? You're just going to let £262 go to waste?"
"Well done for remembering the number. And the currency." She tries to come off as sarcastic, but doesn't. She's far too impressed that he even remembers what pounds are.
"Thank you, I do try. Now answer the question."
"Why should I?"
"Because we're friends." He bumps her arm with his and she stops walking, turning to face him.
"Since when were we," she waves her hand back and forth between them, "friends?"
"Since I said so, like, two seconds ago."
She pinches the bridge of her nose. She wants to scream. She wants to be anywhere but here, on patrol with Malfoy, having to spell out why she doesn't want him to ruin this once-in-a-lifetime experience for her.
"Malfoy, it's fine. You don't need to come. That's all there is." She starts walking again.
"But why?" He isn't following her, and so she looks behind her. He is still stood in the middle of the corridor, watching her.
She can see the way his brows are drawn together in confusion, the way his eyes seem just a tiny bit darker from when he was joking with her before. She can see how his lips are slightly pursed, as though he's lost in thought and wants to say something. She can see his fingers tapping against the side of his leg as they watch each other, waiting for the other one to say something.
"It's difficult," she finally murmurs, dropping her eyes from his. There's a scuff on the toe of her regulation-black shoes, and she makes a mental note to polish them. "Can you please come on – I would like to go to bed at some point tonight."
He walks towards her, shoving his hands back into his pockets. She realises he doesn't put them there to be lazy; he puts them there to stop himself from fidgeting. He's probably still tapping his leg from inside the pocket.
"I just don't get it, Granger." He takes his hand out of his pocket for a second to push his hair back (even though it immediately falls back in front of his face).
"What isn't there to get, Malfoy? You've done nothing but bully me for six years, do you really think I want to sit next to you in a theatre for three hours?"
"Am I bullying you now?"
"That's not the point."
"What about the money, Granger?" His voice sounds changed, less light and joyful than it was, harder, colder.
"I'll pay my parents back."
"What if I was looking forward to it?"
Hermione scoffs. "You don't even know what it is."
"So explain it to me." His voice is getting brighter – she imagines it as a pulsing ball of energy, slowly building up to it's full potential. She hopes that one day, she'll be able to hear it when he's that happy. She doesn't know why she hopes it, but she does nonetheless.
"No." She watches him from the corner of her eye as he closes the door to another classroom (how many classrooms does this place have?).
"Don't hold that against me then." He looks back at her and smirks when he sees her eyes on him. She blushes and looks away, focusing on the end of the corridor. The tips of her ears are burning.
"I wasn't, I was making a point."
"Look, Granger," he nudges her again. "Just… Let me come see the show. I won't say a word to you. I'll sit, watch the show, then I'll go. I won't even say hello or goodbye, just please."
She looks at him now, when she hears the begging in his voice. He's stopped walking and is looking at her with wide eyes.
"I need to be out of the Manor…for at least one day. I won't be able to stand it. Please, Granger – I'll even give you the money for the ticket if I have to." He pushes his hair back again, and she focuses on how he tugs on the strands, either as an act of frustration or an effort to keep himself grounded, to keep himself from completely breaking down.
"I don't want your money."
"What do I need to do for you to let me go? Because I'll do it." The desperation in his eyes is scaring Hermione.
"Why do you want to be out of your house so bad? Can't you go out with your friends?"
"It's difficult. I can't say. I just don't want to be there."
"There's three days left of the term." She doesn't know what she's doing. "If you manage to not make a single snarky comment at me – or Harry, or Ron – for three days, then I will consider letting you go."
His face cracks. A grin splits his face, and suddenly he's grabbed her in a tight, crushing hug. "Oh, thank you, thank you, thank you," he murmurs into her hair. She's kind of just frozen there, unsure of what to do. She wants to melt into his arms , press her cheek against his chest and hear the steady rhythm of his heart. Instead, she just stands there, stiff as a board, until he pulls away.
"You have to do it. If I hear you even saying something to your friends about us, that's it."
"Granger, I could kiss you."
She wrinkles her nose. "Please don't; I don't know where your mouth has been."
He laughs and she curses herself when her head feels like it's spinning.
Stop laughing, you blond idiot! You're going to make me…
She daren't finish that thought.
He slings his left arm around her shoulder as they continue down the corridor. She suddenly doesn't feel as tired as she did.
He places his right hand over his heart. "I, Draco Lucius Malfoy, do solemnly swear that I will not make a single snarky joke at the expense of Mister Harry Potter, Mister Ronald Weasley, and – most importantly – Miss Hermione Granger."
She laughs, at this, and he laughs too. It makes her ears ring and her stomach jump and her vision go slightly blurry. It makes her heart speed up just the tiniest bit.
His eyes are bright, and as she watches him from the corner of her eye, she can see the different colours that swirl together in the grey. She thinks about how she could spend all day counting the colours in his eyes.
"I made you laugh," he says, snapping her from her thoughts. "That's got to be a point in my favour."
"You'd better keep it up, then." She murmurs, watching his smile now. The way his lips curve upwards, how perfectly straight and white his teeth are (she thinks about how his parents would love his teeth). His lips look soft, and she thinks about reaching out and touching them with the pad of her finger.
She looks away from his lips with a shake of her head, her hair bouncing wildly around her.
She thinks about his hair, she wonders if it is as downy-soft as it looks. She wants to run her fingers through it, pull on the ends like he did. She wants to make tiny braids as he protests, but lets her do it anyway because he…
"Granger?" She blinks, and realises he's staring at her. "You okay?"
She nods, yawning. "I'm so tired."
"Let's get you to bed then," he laughs.
He laughs and laughs and laughs.
Stop laughing! She protests in her head, gazing at him with wide, adoring eyes that she hopes he doesn't notice.
You're going to make me fall in love with you…