Hermione walked into the Great Hall, her mind buzzing with thoughts of the assignments she had to complete today. Saturdays were meant for the library, she thought to herself with a smile. She headed towards the eighth year's table. Headmaster McGonagall had decided, in the name of house unity, to divide the tables up by years rather than houses. Hermione didn't mind, as there were only five eighth years returning. Their shared dorm was rather nice, herself and Hannah Abbott sharing a wing, while Draco Malfoy, Blaise Zabini, and Theo Nott shared the other wing. Hermione gathered some food on her plate, pulling out her Arithmacy book to begin studying as she ate. She vaguely noticed some stares and whispers in her direction as she ate, not paying them any attention. She knew with her newfound fame, being part of the Golden Trio, meant everyone know who she was and what she had done last year to defeat Voldemort. She barely glanced up as the rest of her year joined her for breakfast. The boys sat opposite her, with Hannah sitting beside her. Hermione spared them a quick smile, returning to her textbook. She barely noticed Blaise silently freaking out at the end of the table, thrusting the Daily Prophet into Hannah's hands, nodding his head at the door. The brunette witch jumped slightly as the blonde put a hand on her shoulder, "Hey Hermione, you mind heading back up to the dorm with me? I had a few questions about the Arithmacy essay."
"We don't have to go to the dorm, I have all my stuff here if you'd like to take a look." Hermione replied, barely looking up from the paragraph she was reading.
Hannah froze for a split second before replying, "Well, I wanted to reference my essay, and I left it upstairs, come on." The blue eyed witch motioned for her to follow and headed for the door. Hermione looked at the boys across from her quizzically, all of whom avoided her gaze. Sighing, the brunette followed the blonde back to their dorm.
"Okay, I'm sorry, but I don't actually have any questions about homework." Hannah said, her face furrowed with worry. "I just didn't want you to have to see this in front of everyone." She handed the Gryffindor the paper, her hands shaking slightly. Hermione's heart dropped as she read the headline "Golden Trio boy caught snogging". Below the bold headline, a picture of Ron snogging some witch in an alleyway filled the majority of the paper below. The witch's hands started to shake, hot tears welling up in her eyes. She felt the room begin to spin as she hyperventilated, swaying slightly. Hannah grabbed her shoulders, gently guiding her towards the closest couch. Hermione curled up in a ball, leaning her head onto the Hufflepuffs shoulder, sobbing into her jumper. Hannah's hand rubbed small circles on her back, trying to slow down her breathing as she comforted the brunette next to her. The pair barely heard the portrait swing open, the Slytherins entering the common room. They silently gathered around their classmate, supporting her the only way they knew how. Draco was the first to speak, taking a seat next to the crying witch. "You were too good for him anyways." He gently smiled at her, gently touching her knee as she sat up, wiping the tears from her eyes. Hermione stared into his kind grey eyes, her breath almost taken away from his sudden kindness and the gentleness of his gaze.
She smiled at the wizard, turning to the witch beside her. "Sorry for crying all over you," she laughed slightly as she tried to wipe the tears from her classmate's jumper.
"Don't worry about it," Hannah replied, keeping her hand on her friend's back, "I'm here for you." The blonde's eyes crinkled slightly as she smiled, which Hermione found completely adorable. Taking a deep breath, Hermione looked at the two Slytherins across from her, their hands on each other's thighs, both sporting looks of concern.
"You know," Blaise said, a slightly terrifying look flashed in his eyes, "I already have some good revenge ideas." Draco's heart suddenly pounded in his chest as he glared at his friend.
"No," Hermione laughed, wiping more tears form her eyes, "No, I'm not going to stoop to his level. I just need to move on." Blaise raised an eyebrow and nodded. Theo whispered something in his ear and the two fell into a fit of laughter. Draco felt his cheeks flush, though he wasn't sure why.
"In that case, at least let us take you to Hogsmeade today. It'll do you good to actually get out of the library." Theo teased, ruffling his brown curls as he spoke.
Hermione opened her mouth to reply to his comment, but Hannah beat her to it. "Yes! I know of just the treat at Honeyduke's that will help!" She smiled broadly at the sad witch.
"Of course the Hufflepuff would have the best food remedy." Draco teased, Hannah only stuck out her tongue in response, a glimmer of mischief flashing in her eyes before she got up to retrieve her things. The three boys quickly followed suit, leaving Hermione alone on the couch. She looked at the four of them, wondering how they all got so close so quickly. It seemed like yesterday that they were all in a war, battling with and against each other. The brunette couldn't help but feel like an outsider, she focused so hard on her studies that she never really took the time to get to know her classmates. She had spend plenty of nights in the common room with Draco, each on their separate couches, reading their own books. There was an unspoken agreement about who's turn it was to make the tea as the nights grew colder. The pair simply sat in silence, the only sounds the roaring fire and the occasional page turn. Sighing, Hermione got up, grabbing her purse and soon the five of them were off to Hogsmeade. Between the fresh, crips autumn air and the laughter of her new group, Hermione felt carefree for the first time in what felt like forever. It was exciting to get to experience Hogwarts without the constant nag of fear in the back of her mind. The two girls parted ways with the boys, promising to meet up at the Three Broomsticks in a few hours after their shopping was finished. Hannah linked her arm with Hermione's as they browsed the aisles of Honeydukes.
"So, you doing okay?" The blonde asked, not taking her eyes away from the various flavors of sugar quills.
Hermione sighed, "I'm alright." She placed her hand on the slightly taller girl's shoulder, "Thank you, for being there." Hermione smiled at the blue eyed witch in front of her, somehow, Hermione felt drawn to the witch.
"Of course," Hannah said turning to look at her new friend, "That's what friends are for." The girls smiled at each other for a split second, then both turned away, returning their attention to the sugar quills.
Soon, the five of them were together at the Three Broomsticks, each with a warm mug of butterbeer in front of them. The girls had spent a rather large amount of money on sweets, while the boys had bought more quidditch gear as well as a few school supplies.
"I say we head back to the castle," Theo said, a wicked gleam in his eyes as they finished their drinks, "I think Miss Princess here needs a little bit more of a distraction." Hermione nodded slightly, the crowded room and loud noise was a bit overwhelming, even with the company of her classmates. Blaise smirked at his friend, putting his arm across his shoulders, "What exactly do you have in mind?"
"Well, my dear Blaise," Theo said miming looking at his watch, "It appears to be an acceptable time to get drunk. I may or may not have a few unopened bottle of firewhiskey, and a new toy I'd like to try out." The girls turned and looked at each other, amused at the statement made across from them. Both of their minds went to the same place and they started giggling. "No!" Theo said, "Not like that! Something we can all use together!" His comment only made the girls laugh more as he shook his head. Draco couldn't help the smirk that crossed his face. It was nice seeing Hermione smile again. He was almost worried she wouldn't be able to smile without her small trio of friends. She didn't seem the same without them.
The five of them returned to their dorms, Theo giving Blaise his bag as he retrieved the Firewhiskey from his trunk. "Okay," Theo said triumphantly as he gathered everyone around the coffee table. "Basic Never Have I Ever rules, but with one condition." He paused for dramatic affect, "If you lie, the cup gives you a slight shock."
Hermione raised an eyebrow expectantly, "Surely a gag like that wouldn't be for sale at Hogsmeade."
"You're right," Theo winked, "I may have modified them myself. And! If you lie, you must finish what's in your glass."
Hannah moaned, "Come on Theo, I actually have stuff I need to do tomorrow."
"And that, my sweet Puff, is why I have hangover potions stoked in the bathroom." Blaise said, his cocky smirk aimed at the witches across from him.
The girls rolled their eyes at each other, but both sat down to play. Draco filled everyone's cups and passed them out. Hermione was tempted to start sipping in hers early, Lord knows she'd do anything to forget this morning.
"Draco, you go first." Theo commanded with a wicked grin.
Hermione thought she say his cheeks flush, insecurities flashed in his eyes before he spoke, "Never have I ever," his voice trailed off as he thought, "kissed someone of the same sex."
The couch exploded in an uproar, they boys yelling obscenities at the blonde wizard, who just laughed. Hannah sighed next to Hermione and took a sip.
"Hannah!" Hermione exclaimed, mildly shocked, yet intrigued. That certainly got the boys attention as they all turned to her. "I'm sorry, what?" Theo said, his outrage at Draco left behind at the new revelation.
Hannah just shrugged, a mischievous grin across her face, "A girl never kisses and tells," she said, reveling in the mystery and confusion around her.
"Damn, I thought all you Puffs were cute and innocent." Blaise murmured under his breath.
"Not all of us," Hannah replied, fiddling with her hair, "Now drink up you two." She motioned for them to drink as they playfully glared at her.
"Well, shit." Blaise said as he thought of his next question, "Never have I ever failed a test." The group all groaned, except for Hermione, who sat with her still full cup. Theo looked at her expectantly, then rolled his eyes, "Of course you haven't failed a test, little miss perfect over here." Hermione just smirked at the brown haired wizard and motioned for him to take his turn.
Theo paused, then turned to Hermione, his eyes gleaming, "Never have I ever, fallen asleep in the library."
Hermione rolled her eyes playfully at the brown eyed man across from her and took a large swig of her drink, the harshness of the alcohol causing her to cough slightly. Draco took a small sip, nodding to her in understanding. She smiled briefly at the blonde, thinking of what to say for her turn. "Never have I ever, played in a quidditch match?"
All three of the boys across from her groaned, "Come on Granger," Draco teased, "I started us off strong and now we've gone to the boring stuff. Surely you can do better?" He motioned to the blonde next to Hermione.
"Well, let's see, never have I ever, gotten caught snogging by a teacher."
Hermione blushed a brilliant shade of red as thoughts of her previous years in these halls resurfaced. Getting caught up in her thoughts, she forgot to drink and the cup zapped her, sending shivers throughout her body. "Fuck Theo! That hurt!" Hermione exclaimed. She wanted to be mad, but simply couldn't.
"Looks like you've got a lot to drink there princess," Draco teased, winking at her as he thought of his next question. The warmth of the liquor radiated throughout the witch's body. The game dragged on, slowly getting more and more edgy. Theo and Blaise had clearly gotten much more comfortable around their classmates as they were practically in each other's laps, their bodies seemingly trying to become one. The girls had scooted closer together, Hannah's arm around Hermione's shoulder, with the brunette's hand of the other girls thigh. Draco was the only one who seemed to be comfortable on his own, casually leaning back in his seat, one leg draped across the other. Hermione could feel his eyes on the two of them constantly, though he never looked away when they made eye contact. Hermione felt her eye getting heavy, the affects of the emotional day and the alcohol seemed to be getting the better of her.
Theo's voice suddenly caught her attention, "Let's make this more interesting," he said, sitting up slightly as to grab the second bottle of alcohol. "Now, you have to drink and remove an article of clothing." The girls looked like they might object, so Theo added, "You can stop whenever you feel like it, no one's saying we're all getting naked, but we can at least shed one item." Draco opened his mouth to speak but Theo cut him off, "And no, Draco, socks don't count." Draco playfully pouted at the man at the end of the couch.
"Fine," Draco said, "Never have I ever, gone camping."
Theo looked at his friend incredulously. "Things were just getting interesting, and you went with camping?" Draco just shrugged, but his eyes were immediately drawn to the girls across from him, both taking off their jumpers. The girls giggled at each other, Hermione playing with the straps of Hannah's bra.
"This is so cute!" Hermione said, looking down at her own plain red bra, slightly disappointed in herself for not wearing a cuter bra today.
"Thanks!" Hannah beamed at the brunette, "It's a muggle brand, I love their styles." The girls chit chatted for a minute before the boys had the frame of mind to interrupt them.
"Ahem!" Blaise said in his best umbrage impression, earning a roar of laughter from everybody in the room. "Never have I ever gone skinny dipping."
Everyone in the room groaned. The boys all removed their shirts, while the girls removed their pants. Hermione was thankful she wore her favorite pair of underwear today, cute, not too sexy, while still comfortable. Hermione's breath caught in her throat as she caught sight of the blonde across the room. His muscles rippled as he removed his shirt, his abs flexing as he sat up to throw his jumper down the hall towards his room. Hannah nudged her new friend, drawing her attention away from the male blonde. "He's so hot," she whispered in the brunettes ear. Hermione could only nod, her mind fuzzy from the alcohol and the closeness of her friends breasts to her arm. Hermione knew she was mildly attracted to girls, though never acted on it. Ron had always been her main focus, and it seemed weird for her to try with any of the girls her own age, especially since the ones she knew well enough to want to date lived with her. Hermione couldn't deny the attractiveness of either blonde in the room, vaguely wondering what it would be like to experience either one of them, perhaps both. Draco suddenly locked eyes with her, his cheeks flushed with embarrassment.
"Hermione," He started, pausing like he didn't know what to say, "You know I'm a Legimens, right?"
Suddenly, Hermione's cheeks got very hot as she sank down in her seat, trying to escape the curious looks of the others. "Sorry," she squeaked out, refusing to look at anyone else in the room.
"Don't be, I just didn't expect that from you. I tried not to hear, but you were practically shouting." He winked at her, trying to get her to come out of hiding. "Not that I didn't enjoy it."
Hermione's cheeks turned a darker shade of red, her mind now racing. Oh fuck me, Hermione thought to herself.
Don't tempt me, Hermione heard a voice in her head, and judging by the look Malfoy was giving her, she knew who it came from.
Shove off, Malfoy. Get out of my head. She thought back, glaring at him from her seat beside the blonde witch.
For the record, she's thinking of you too. Draco replied with a smirk.
Hermione's breath hitched as she tried to refrain from looking at the witch who's arms she was in.
She's thinking the same things you are, Draco's thoughts barely above a whisper in her head.
Fuck Hermione thought again, a warmth in the pit of her stomach growing, why am I so fucking horny when I drink, this was a bad idea
You know that's not true, this was a good escape, and could lead to something more if you're interested. Draco's thoughts momentarily disappeared from her mind and she finally was able to focus on something else. Evidently, Blaise and Theo had left the room during their talk, soft moans coming from down the hall.
Hannah snickered, "At least someone's having fun tonight."
"Don't count yourself out yet darling Puff." Draco said, walking over to the couch with the two girls. Sitting beside Hermione, he took each girls hand in his, "One night of fun, no strings, nothing crazy, little bit of drunken fun. No more, no less. If you're interested of course."
Hermione looked at the blondes on wither side of her. She noticed the fire in Hannah's eyes, "I'm in, only if she is." Hannah spoke, her voice barely above a whisper.
With a sudden burst of courage, Hermione turned Hannah's face towards hers, kissing her passionately. The brunette's hand moved from the other girl's chin to her hair, gently gripping her hair as they kissed. Hannah moaned with pleasure, Hermione seizing the opportunity to let her tongue interact with the blonde's. The brown eyed witch felt Draco's hand come up behind her, quickly unlatching her bra and sneaking his hand over to her breast. She moaned as the wizard behind her massaged her, gently tweaking her nipple between his fingers. "I want you to do what I'm doing to her," Draco whispered in her ear, sending shiver's up Hermione's spine. The brunette's hand moved from her side, reaching up to the blonde's lacy bra. Just as she touched the fabric, the portrait swung open, a familiar head of red hair barging into the common room.
"What the fuck, 'Mione!?" Ron shouted. "You fucking slut!"
Hermione quickly pulled away from the pair of blondes, confused as to how Ron got into Hogwarts, much less their common room. "Get out of here Ron!"
"No!" Ron yelled, quickly closing the gap between them, "You know, you're lucky I love you. How could anyone else love that ugly face of yours? I'm the only one who could ever love a piece of shit whore like you. You're fucking pathetic, trying to hide behind your books. We all know you'd be worthless otherwise."
"No…" Hermione's voice trailed off as she began to panic, bringing her hands up to her head. Suddenly, she was back at Malfoy Manor, laying on the floor. She couldn't see anything, but she could hear the maniacal laugh of her torturer as scorching pain rippled throughout her body. Hermione screamed, unable to contain her pain.
"Granger! Granger!" Draco's voice brought her back to reality, his face in front of hers as he crouched next to the sofa. Everyone had left the common room what looked like hours ago. The room was dimly lit, only a dying fire to light the room. "It's okay, it was just a dream." Malfoy said, placing a hand on her shoulder.
Hermione sat up, confused as to where the blanket that was covering her came from. Tears pooled in her eyes yet again as she leaned forward, placing her head in her shaking hands. Draco got up and sat next to her, placing his arm around her shoulder as she sobbed. "Do you want to talk about it?" He asked quietly. The brunette witch simply turned and cried into his chest in response. The blonde's hand moved to her hair, holding her to him as she wept.
After a moment, Hermione's breathing slowed. She sat up enough to be able to look at the man next to her. "I, well," she fumbled for words as she began to gather her thoughts. "I don't know." She admitted, pulling the blanket tighter around her.
Draco nodded, guiding the witch to lean back into the back o the sofa with him. "I have nightmares about her too." He admitted, his eyes locked onto the dwindling flames of the fire. "Assuming we're talking about the same person."
Hermione nodded, "Do you want to talk about it?" She asked, carefully leaning her head on the shoulders of the man next to her.
"No, princess, I asked you first." Draco teased. He wanted to lay his head on hers, to smell her hair, to stay in this moment forever. Now that the war was over, he finally felt like he could come to terms with the feelings he had for the brilliant witch next to him.
Hermione smiled, "Then why don't you go make some tea and we'll talk." She looked up at the blonde, staring into his soft grey eyes. Hermione had always found Malfoy conventionally attractive, but now that she was getting to see a different side of him, she found him even more attractive.
Draco smirked at the smaller witch, easing her off of him as he got up to make the tea she had requested. "Alright," he said, returning with two steaming mugs, "Earl Grey, one and a half sugars with a touch of cream for you. Earl Grey with a lightly larger amount of cream for me." Draco handed her the mug, sitting back down next to her. The pair sat in silence, both staring at the fire.
Hermione sighed, turning to face Draco. "The dreams always start out fine, then slowly get worse." She said, taking sip of her tea, unable to look at the blonde man next to her. "Then it turns into Ron when he's drunk, which seems to be more often than not. And then I'm back at the Manor." Hermione stopped, unsure of how to continue. Her fingers traced the design of the blanket as she waited for Malfoy to respond.
Draco stared at the woman in front of him. She seemed so sad and fragile, he wanted to scoop her up and hide her away. He knew from experience she could handle herself, but seeing her so broken made his heart break. He sighed, taking a sip of his tea. "Mine usually start at the Manor," he admitted, "between the lifetime fo cruelty at the hands of my father, You-Know-Who turning my home into his personal torture chamber, and what happened to you…" He paused, waiting for the stinging tears to fade away, "I never want to see that place again."
Hermione looked up at Malfoy, pleasantly surprised at his openness with her. "I'm sorry, Draco." She said sincerely, placing her hand on his thigh. "I can't imagine what that must have been like."
Draco scoffed at her lightly, "Says you, you three were literally in the run for a year. You knew what had to be done, and you did it." Draco could feel his temperature rising. If only he had been better, stronger, anything other than the coward he was.
Hermione smiled softly, "Draco, we were kids. You were fighting for your life just as fiercely as we were. We're two sides of the same coin." Hermione turned, leaning back on the blonde as they drank their tea.
"I'm sorry my family is responsible for your nightmares." Draco said softly, gently running his thumb over the witch's arm.
"Not all of them," Hermione said, taking another sip. "How did we get so fucked up?" She asked softly.
Draco laughed lightly. "Wow, I think that's the first time I've heard you curse, Granger," he teased.
The witch playfully swatted his leg, "Don't get used to it."
They pair drifted into a comfortable silence before Draco spoke again. "Is Weasel really that bad? I knew he was a right git, but for you to have nightmares?"
The brunette witch sighed, unsure of how to answer his question. "Apparently," she began, pausing in an attempt not to cry, "I am lucky to have him, how could anyone else put up with me?"
Draco shifted, turning her face to look at him, "You've got to be shitting me. He actually said that?" Hermione simply nodded in response. "Granger," he sighed, "Hermione, you are incredible. That Weasel never would have made it through first year without you. You're so intelligent, kind, brave, beautiful." Draco stopped, noticing tears falling down the witch's face. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to make you cry." He said, reaching up to wipe the tears from her face.
Hermione smiled sadly up at the man next to her, wondering how on earth this was the same boy who made her life a living hell just a few years ago. "Thank you, Malfoy. I don't know what to say." Tension hung in the air as the pair sat facing each other, both wanting to kiss each other, neither wanting to make the first move. They finished their tea in silence, avoiding each others gaze, before the witch spoke up, "Well, I guess I'd better go to bed. Thank you again Malfoy." She smiled at the wizard, slowly getting up from her seat. The blonde followed suit, reaching out to tuck a curl behind the witch's ear, "Good night."
"Good night," Hermione replied, feeling her cheeks blush. With a sudden wave fo Gryffindor courage, she leaned up on her toes, kissing Malfoy on the cheek. "I'll see you in the morning."
It was Draco's turn to blush as a grin spread across his face. "See ya," he said as they went their separate ways.