Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter nor any recognisable characters from within the series.

After spending time with Draco, reflecting on the incident with Ron, Hermione retired to her own room late last night. The next morning she woke up and went about her regular routine when she heard a knock at her door.

There were only a few people who could be on the other side and her heart pounded. Was it Harry? Or Ginny? Or perhaps someone else who felt that her life was their business since the end of the war.

She opened the door to discover her first instinct was correct. Harry.

Hermione remained silent. She wasn't sure what Ron had told him. Was he here to demand an explanation? Insist she should forgive him?

Finally he spoke. "Do you want to tell me your side of the story now?" he asked.

Hermione's breathing grew laboured as her heart pounded in relief. She surged forward and enveloped the man in a hug, which felt as though it could asphyxiated him. She withdrew and allowed him to come inside. She would be late to breakfast, but she had to explain.

"What did Ronald say?" she asked finally. They were sat on her sofa and she'd set him up with tea. There was nothing left to do but talk.

"I won't tell you the exact words, but the gist of it is that he says you chose Draco Malfoy over him. He says you ended your friendship all because he was trying to protect you." Harry hesitated. "He said some other stuff, but it will only hurt you and he didn't mean it"

"Whatever it was, I'm sure he did" she said. Part of her burned to know what it was he'd said, the other half ached with the knowledge that it would only cause her more pain.

"What happened, Hermione?"

Hermione took a breath and once again re-told her side of what happened that night. She got to the part of the evening where he'd told people that she took off instead of him.

"He what?" Harry asked, though he had no trouble hearing her. "What the bloody hell is he playing at?"

"He said that if people heard I'd stayed, then people might talk and that it might hurt me or Ginny. Apparently he was 'just trying to protect us.'"

"So that's what that was about? Christ Ron" Harry muttered to himself, shaking his head. "I can't believe- I thought we'd gotten past this insecurity of his when he defeated the Horcrux?"

Hermione only shrugged.

Harry sighed. "Okay, he's a bloody idiot. I understand you're angry. He said you ended your friendship? Are you sure, Hermione? Eight years is a long time. We've been through a war together. He's always been a bit oblivious, doesn't think before he acts, you know this"

Hermione nodded. "I do know that. I forgave him every time because that's what friends do. He betrayed my trust, he takes me for granted, he's hot-headed and he says some awful things to me sometimes and expects me to just roll over and take it-"

"Hermione, Hermione" Harry said, trying to placate her. "I know all of this. You know all of this. It's Ron, it's who he is but it's never affected how you felt about him. What changed?" he asked, though he felt he already knew the answer. Hermione remained silent. "Why did the two of you break up?"

Hermione bit her lip. She told Draco last night. She wanted to tell her best friend, but he was also Ron's best friend. Finally she summoned her courage and decided it was time. "He wanted to see what else was out there to make sure he wasn't just settling for me"

Harry's eyes widened a fraction. "He said that?"

Hermione nodded, but averted her eyes.

"Why did you never tell me?"

She felt her eyes well with tears but shoved them down. "Because he's your best friend" she said.

"So are you Hermione!" he insisted.

"Yes, but Ron-"

"Is no more important to me than you are, Hermione" she looked up at him hesitantly. Harry shuffled closer to her. "I am so sorry if I ever made you feel less than that. I'm sorry if I ever made you feel second to him. You're like a sister to me, Hermione. I love you and I will always have your back"

Hermione held her breath. "So, we're okay?"

"We're always okay" he said. This time he moved to hug her, and she returned it.

"I love you too, Harry" she said. He was like a brother to her too, and the thought of losing him terrified her.

Harry stood. "Will you be okay?" he asked. Hermione nodded. "Good. Now I have to go and teach a bunch of students, but before that I think I'll go and give Ron an earful"

"You don't have to do that" she told him, honestly.

"Yes I do" he made his way over to the door and paused. He turned back and asked "What did Ron mean about you and Malfoy?"

Hermione shrugged, in what she hoped was nonchalance. "We're friends" she said.

"You'd tell me if there was anything more than that between you, right?"

"There isn't" she insisted. She thought back to last night and the meaningful things he'd said to her. She wondered if he'd regret them now, in the harsh light of the day. Yet she couldn't stop herself from asking. "But, if there was, which there isn't, but in the future, a possibility - which there isn't-"

"I'm not blind to the changes. Maybe it's because I'm teaching him but he doesn't have the same air of arrogant superiority as he did when we were kids. I have noticed the two of you getting closer. I can't say I trust him, but I trust you and your judgement." He was about to leave once again when he left her with one last thing. "Hermione" he said. She looked up, curious as to what else he had to say. "Happy Halloween"

Despite her surprise, Harry was not wrong. In the midst of researching and her frustrations with Ron, Hermione had completely forgotten about one of Hogwarts most anticipated events. The halls were decorated with various witchy decorations however, with an extra magical element.

Cauldrons sat bubbling in the corner, filled with potions made by seventh years which the younger students could try on their way to class or during breaks. The ghosts were in their element, scaring some students and teaming up with others. Peeves in particular wreaked havoc on the school, pupils and teachers alike, this was definitely his day to shine.

Most importantly, the topic on everyone's lips, was the Halloween feast which would be held later that evening.

Hermione wandered down to breakfast, hoping to grab something before she made her way to Potions. She'd hoped to see Draco, especially after the previous evening, but he was nowhere to be found. She shrugged internally and assumed he had left for their lesson already. Down on the plate a banana had already materialised. She took it and left for class.

For the first time in one of her classes with Ron, she chose to sit away from him. He noticed this and sneered at her. Then he moved to sit beside Dean Thomas and whispered something in his ear. Dean cocked an eyebrow at whatever he said, and looked vaguely toward Hermione. She had no idea what he said and she wasn't sure she had the desire to know.

She had hoped Draco would be here however, he wasn't. He wasn't when the class started and he didn't materialise throughout the lesson.

Once it was over Ron moved to Hermione. "Your boyfriend didn't show up then?"

"I'm sure I don't know who you're speaking of, Ronald. Seeing as I'm not in a relationship" she said whilst packing away her things.

"Malfoy" Ron said.

"What about him?" Hermione looked up. She knew what he was getting at but she wouldn't give him the satisfaction of trying to corner her. He'd gathered a small crowd of eighth years who wanted front row seats to the demise of the Golden Trio.

"Where is he then? You guys are so close now. You chose him over our friendship."

"Draco has nothing to do with why you and I are no longer friends, Ronald. I told you last night, you caused that all on your own. In answer to your other question, last I checked I don't own Draco. If you're so interested in his whereabouts, you ought to ask him yourself" she suggested, and then left.

She wouldn't admit it to a crowd full of people, she also wouldn't admit it to Ron, but she was curious as to why he wasn't in class. She knew he wanted to seriously buckle down this year, and he had done that, so where was he?

Hermione had a small lunch, away with her own thoughts she didn't notice the red-headed girl sit next to her until the fingers snapping in her face pulled her back to the present. She swallowed hard and took a calming breath.

"Hermione" Ginny started, with no indication in her tone as to where this conversation would lead. "I love my brother" she said. Hermione nodded. She understood that, of course she did. "He's a bloody idiot most of the time, but he's my brother and it's kind of an unspoken agreement that we forgive our siblings for their idiocy." Hermione was puzzled, and still had no idea where this conversation was headed, but nodded again nonetheless. "I don't want to choose between the two of you"

"You're saying you want me to forgive him?"

"I'm saying that I told Ron if he uttered a bad word against you I would hurl a bat-bogey hex his way so hard that he'll be feeling the ramifications from it at the age of 30." Hermione looked surprised. "I'm telling you the same thing. I love you both. I would love if you could both move past whatever it is that's caused your rift, but if that can't happen then all I ask is that you don't bad mouth him in front of me. Vent to me if you need it or whatever, but please remember he's family. You're family too, which is why I told him that. Do we have a deal?"

Hermione blinked. "You don't hate me?"

"For a smart girl you are rather dense sometimes" Ginny replied. "Of course I don't hate you. I love you. I'm saddened. Ron thinks I should just take his side and be done with it. I know you areā€¦ or were Ron's friend first but, I grew up in a house filled with boys. When I met you it was like, getting a sister I didn't even know I wanted. Just because two people you care about have a fight, doesn't mean the rest of us should have to take sides"

"I would never ask you to do that"

"I know, you're not the one I'm worried about. So, do we have a deal?"

"We do, of course we do"

"Excellent. Then you'll met me, Luna, Neville and Greengrass at Hogsmeade and we'll go to the Three Broomsticks after the feast tonight. They're letting the seventh and eighth years out to celebrate the festivities."

"Daphne?"

Ginny eyed her as she moved to leave the circular table. "You're not the only one befriending Slytherins around here. Bring Malfoy if you wish"

Throughout the remainder of her classes Draco never showed. He merely could have skipped classes today. Some people did, it definitely wasn't unheard of however, still she contemplated what he might be doing. She didn't want to think that their conversation last night had steered him away, so she simply tried not to think about it.

She wanted to invite him to the pub. If Daphne was there then he might not feel out of place, and Ginny had suggested it. If only she could find him.

Finally she decided to go to his room and knock on his door, for the second time in two days. She waited for at least five minutes however, there was no answer. Clearly he wasn't in there.

She took some parchment from her satchel and a quill and wrote a note to him. Surely he'd have to come back here at some point? She told him there would be a gathering and she would love for him to come. She placed the quill back in the bag and folded the note in half. Looking up and down the hallway, and seeing no-one, she slid the note under his door and immediately moved away, walking hurriedly down the corner, tucking her hair behind her ear as she did.

The feast was a magnificent affair, as always. Dishes upon dishes scattered the tables, filled to the brim with various delicious foods. There was something for everyone. When the time came and everyone had had their fill, which came with sworn statements they couldn't manage another bite, the scene on the table shifted and the empty dishes were replaced and filled once again. This time with desserts. Pumpkin pies, apple pies, custards and all sorts.

The Great Hall was alive with chatter and laugher. Professor McGonagall enjoyed a rousing story told by Professor Flitwick. Neville and Hermione were chatting with Daphne Greengrass. Turns out Neville was one going around befriending other Slytherins. Ron was his loud and boisterous self however, it was almost camouflaged by the noise around them already. It was a great evening. Hermione couldn't help but look at the doors every once in a while, wondering if he would walk in. He never did.

The feast came to a close and Hermione grabbed her coat, scarf, gloves and hat to take with her out into the cold Autumn evening. It looked as if most of the seventh and eighth years had the same idea. The small pub would be crowded tonight, of that she was sure.

The group of five were on their second round of Butterbeer, none of them wanted anything more than that on a school night, but they laughed and reminisced on old times.

"You have to let me tell you this story about Draco." Daphne said. "He hates it being repeated, but he's not here so I can do what I want."

"Is that a fact?" They all looked up to see Draco Malfoy and that ever present smirk resting on his lips.

Daphne sighed. "You do like to ruin my fun, don't you?"

"Beware of this one" he said, walking around to sit in the open seat next to Hermione. "She'll spill all your secrets"

"Only if they're really really funny" she retorted.

Conversation resumed and Draco leant down so that he could speak somewhat privately to Hermione. "Thanks for your note" he said.

Hermione flushed. "I'm glad you got it. I wasn't sure, but I thought if you were free you might be interested" she rambled.

"Well, here I am" he said with a grin.

She returned it genuinely but it felt false. 'Where were you the rest of the day?' she burned to ask him.

Draco was on the verge of asking Hermione if she wanted a refill when the group was interrupted by a fourth year boy who looked remarkably like Colin Creevey.

"Do you know who I am?" he asked.

"Dennis Creevey" Neville answered on everyone's behalf. Draco and Daphne didn't have a clue, but clearly the Gryffindors and Luna did.

"I've just spoken to Ron Weasley." Hermione stiffened, she had a bad feeling about that. "What's the matter with you Gryffindors?" he asked. "Especially you, Hermione!" The specific attack caused her eyes to narrow, as well as most of the others on the table. "Ron says you're with Malfoy now. You chose the guy who had a hand in killing my brother over a war-hero! What do you have to say for yourself, huh?"

"That's enough Dennis." Hermione seethed, but she did her best to keep it out of her voice. "I am very sorry for your loss. Colin was very kind and very brave, but you have no right to speak to me or Draco like that"

"The hell I do he-" Dennis pointed to the blonde, but whatever he was about to say Hermione cut him off.

"Made mistakes. But Draco isn't Voldemort. He didn't cause the war. Colin chose to fight alongside the Order and other students and he laid down his life. It's awful and it's terrible, but to blame anyone here would dishonour him and his memory. Don't let Ronald Weasley into your head. He isn't the only war-hero here tonight."

Dennis turned away from the group, unhappy with the reaction he got. Silence surrounded the table of six.

Draco stood. "I shouldn't have come. I'm sorry to have put a damper on your evening" he said to the group, nodded once and left.

On the other side of the pub Ron smirked when Draco left, which turned to a frown as he saw Hermione rush to catch up with him.

"You don't have to leave" she said. They were outside in the cold now and walked side-by-side.

"I'm sorry for ruining your evening" he told her.

"Did you not hear me, Draco? I invited you" she said, forcing him to a stop as she stood before him, so that they could talk properly. "I don't regret that"

The area around them was deserted. Shops were closed and most people out this evening sought warmth from various evening establishments. The only light came from within the windows and few and far between street lamps.

"You shouldn't have to deal with that. Has this happened a lot since you've been hanging out with me?"

"It doesn't matter to me what they think" she insisted.

"You didn't answer the question"

"Yes" she admitted. "Alright yes. It's not often but some people do like to offer me their unwanted opinions on my life but guess what? It's my life and I want you in it. If that means I have to deal with idiotic commentary from people who know nothing of how our relationship has grown and changed then I'll do it"

"You shouldn't have to though, Hermione. Don't you see that?" he said, his hands lightly held her arms as he did. "You are a war-hero. You've already fought in so many battles, you shouldn't have to fight anymore. Especially not because of me."

"You're right, I've fought in many battles. Some of them petty, others life threatening, and do you know what?"

"What?" he asked.

She took a step toward him. "I've won every single one" she said. "A few spars here and there aren't going to keep me up at night"

"What about when those spars are with mini Weasley, Longbottom or Potter?"

"Well two of those were there tonight, if you hadn't noticed, and Harry is okay."

Draco looked surprised. "He is?"

"Well" she said. "He trusts me, he's still a bit iffy with you though" she joked. She bit her lip. "Are you saying we can no longer be in each others lives? In any capacity?" she asked.

"I'm a Slytherin" he said, almost resigned. "We're a tad selfish. I'd be absolutely off my rocker if I didn't even try to convince you that I'm worth the trouble"

"You don't have to convince me" she said.

"Perhaps you're the one off your rocker" he stated and she laughed.

"Perhaps" she agreed. They stood a bit longer out in the cold. "Shall we go back to the castle?"

"You should head back in and have a good time with your friends"

"I'm done for the night, I think" she said.

Draco eyed her but opened an arm outwards and in the general direction of Hogwarts. "Lead the way"

She did. They were chatting mindlessly as they entered the grounds of Hogwarts when she heard something in the distance.

"Did you hear that?" she asked.

"Hear what?" Draco replied. He was nervous. They stood just at one of the many entrances to the Forbidden Forrest.

"Hermione" she heard someone call her name.

"Ronald?" she asked, too quietly for anyone but Draco to hear but she wasn't entirely sure if she'd heard right.

"Hermione!" the sound came, slightly stronger than before. It was definitely Ron.

The pair looked at one another, both bewildered.

"He must have apparated back to the edge of the grounds" Draco said, resolutely.

"But what does he want?"

"HERMIONE!" Ron cried out.

Both Draco and Hermione had their wands out and they ran into the depths of the forrest. The wailing had stopped and so did they, unsure of which direction to take off next. During the pause Draco grabbed Hermione's hand.

"What are you doing?" she asked.

"Look, I'm all for finding Weasley but I'm not about to lose you to the forrest in the process" he said. Hermione nodded. It was actually kind of smart. "What the bloody hell is he doing in here anyway? Aren't there meant to be terrifyingly large Arachne living in these woods? Not to mention all the other creatures. I even heard rumours of a Ford Angila residing her, whatever the hell that is" he muttered as they kept moving.

"A Ford Angila is a car" she told him, not paying much attention.

"Ah- wait, what the bloody hell is a piece of muggle transportation doing in these woods?" he asked.

"I'll explain later" she hissed, wishing he'd be quiet so that she could hear if Ron cried out again.

"Oh, so it's your fault"

"It most certainly is not!" she replied.

"Potter and Weasley then?"

Hermione rolled her eyes, they'd continued to move forward in senseless direction.

"Hermione!" came a broken cry, which sounded somewhat closer than before.

They took off once again when Hermione stopped and turned to face Draco. "Why is he in these woods?" she asked suddenly.

"I don't know, I asked you that"

"He hates these woods. He hates the spiders, he hates the creatures, he hates that cursed car, he would never come in here willingly." Draco didn't want to say that perhaps he didn't come in here willingly, but she wasn't finished. "Ron can be incredibly dense with people but he's not completely inept at magic and he was surrounded by people"

"What are you saying?"

"Hermione!" a new voice hissed in the not so distance.

Their blood ran cold, and a bolt of fear shot down their spines. It wasn't Ron. It didn't even sound human.

Draco heard what can only be described as the sound of zips and zings in the distance. The sound of someone casting spells, one after the other relentlessly, with each one the sound got closer and closer.

"Get down!" Draco said, but didn't give her a chance to respond as he pushed her forwards and out of the way. Hermione didn't let go and so they stumbled and then ran, both deflecting spells left and right. They came to a clearing in the wood and immediately turned so they were back to back, wands facing outward they turned in a circle to ensure a defence from all sides.

Draco thrust his hand out, a spell on the tip of his tongue to reveal at least one of the attackers. However, before he could utter a word, his palm thrust out and he felt as balls of heat grew in his palm and shot outward.

The attacker jumped out of the way and one of the many trees surrounding them lit up in flames.

He must have taken everyone else by surprise too because the attacks suddenly stopped. No-one expected that. Hermione, while surprised, had her wits about her - and she took advantage.

"Let's go!" she said, and pulled him along as they ran for safety. They didn't stop running until they entered the doors of the school, where they both collapsed on the stairs.

"What was that?" Hermione asked, breathlessly.

"I have no idea" he admitted.

"All of it! We were lured into the forrest tonight, forced to defend ourselves and then.. How did you do it?"

"I really don't know" he swore to her. "They were after you, Hermione. They used Weasley's voice" Draco wondered what would have happened if she'd walked back on her own. 'She was with a group' he told himself. She would have been fine. But he hated that she may not have been.

"Do you think it's part of whatever's going on with you?" she asked.

"I guess it's all I've got to go on"

Before anymore could be said the doors opened again. Harry and Ron entered the castle.

"What happened to you two?" Harry asked, figuring there was a reason they were breathless on the stairs.

They hesitated but in the end Hermione relented and told them. She excluded the part about Draco's newfound fire power. Until they figured it out it wasn't wise to mention it. Especially not in front of Ron.

"Well, sounds like someone's trying to kill you" Ron deadpanned. "I'm going to bed" he announced, and took himself upstairs. Draco looked ready to murder the red-head but bit his tongue. 'He's drunk' he repeated to himself.

Hermione looked to Harry, who sighed. "He goes up to the Gryffindor Common Room sometimes when he's had a bit too much. I'll get him in a bit. How are you?" Hermione shook slightly still from the encounter, but she told him she was alright. There was no need to worry him more than she already had. "I'll come by and see you in the morning. We'll talk more. If this wasn't random, which it doesn't sound like it was, we will figure it out" Harry promised and trudged up the stairs to follow his other friend.

"Are you okay, Harry?" Hermione asked suddenly as she remembered where Harry was that evening.

Harry smiled, gratefully. "I'm okay. Get some rest" he instructed.

Hermione looked to Draco who had watched the scene unfold. He didn't want to make things between the pair uncomfortable.

"To bed?" Hermione asked.

Draco nodded and they walked together down the winding corridors to the eighth year dorms.

"So where was Potter tonight?" Draco asked, wanting to fill the silence.

"Godric's Hollow" Hermione told him, eventually. "His parents are buried there" she explained.

"I see" Draco said, though he still felt like he was missing a piece of the puzzle.

"His parents died on Halloween"

"Oh" he replied. Now he understood. Silence consumed them once again until they came to the usual crossroads between the male and female dorms.

"I'm just down the hall if you need me" Draco said.

She nodded. "Thanks. We'll talk tomorrow?" she asked, hopefully. She realised that, with everything that had happened, she hadn't asked him where he'd been all day.

Draco nodded and they both turned to their respective rooms.

Outside the door of his room, Draco stood in indecision. He stood there for a while, time escaped him. He was pulled out of his reverie when he heard his name being called. Specifically his last name.

Potter.

It seemed he'd done as he said he would and brought Weasley back to the right room.

"I don't know what exactly happened out there tonight, Malfoy" Harry said. "But Hermione trusts you, and you standing there at that door tells me that you want to be there for her.. Go to her."

Draco was surprised, but nodded gratefully. "Thanks Potter"

"Don't make me regret this, Malfoy. If you hurt her, just know I still remember that curse from Sixth Year" he'd tried to say it lightly, but there was an undertone of unmistakable threat.

Draco just nodded again and made his way to the cross section and down into the girls corridor.

Hermione heard a knock at the door. She'd been running tracks into the carpet as she paced around the lounge area. She'd been foolish. 'What if that wasn't Harry and Ron?' She thought, feeling sick. If the people, the creatures - whoever her attackers were - if they could disguise their voice, who's to say they hadn't disguised themselves too.

She tentatively opened the door, her wand out in front of her. She was relieved to see Draco but didn't lower her wand.

"What breakfast did you bring me in Ancient Runes at the beginning of term?" she asked.

"Croissant and pain au chocolat" he answered.

She lowered her wand and he swept her into an embrace. She wrapped her arms around him and squeezed.

"How are you feeling?" he asked

"Scared" she admitted. She couldn't quite believe she felt so comfortable telling Draco Malfoy that she was scared, but she felt as though they'd been through so much already that it was almost natural.

"Me too" he said.

Hermione was surprised to hear this. Draco throughout school was known for his dramatics when injured, but also his bravado. She almost smiled when she realised he could be as honest with her as she was with him.

"What are you doing here?" she asked.

"I couldn't even get through my door. I just need to know you're okay"

Hermione nodded. "Thank you. I'm fine, as you can see." Draco shook his head and conjured some bed clothes to sit atop the sideboard. "What are those?"

"I call them pyjamas, what do you call them?"

"I call them in the wrong room. Why did you summon them here?"

"Because I'm staying on that sofa so that I can see you're fine the rest of the night too" he told her.

"What? No. Draco really that's unnecessary, you don't need to do that"

"Are you worried about the fire?"

"No!" she replied. She actually had an inkling about that. She wouldn't tell him yet. She needed to know more, definite facts before she presented her theory to him. It would change his whole world. She had to know for sure. "That's not it at all. I'm just sure you'd rather be in your own bed rather than keeping an eye on me"

"Pfft. Did you not hear that I'm scared too? Only I'm sharing a space with Hermione Granger, brightest witch of our age. Pretty sure if anyone can protect me it's you" he shrugged with a grin.

Hermione giggled lightly. "So it's a completely selfish endeavour on your part?"

"I told you, us Slytherins can be rather selfish on occasion, and determined" he cocked an eyebrow in challenge.

Hermione opened up her palms and conceded. "Alright. Fine, have it your way"

They both went about their evening routines. Draco conjured what he needed from his own room and Hermione allowed him to change in the living room while she did so in the bedroom.

She came out to find him reading a random book he'd pulled from one of her numerous shelves. "1984" she commented.

"Is it any good?" he asked.

"It's rather well-known in the muggle world" she told him. He nodded and continued reading. "Draco?" he looked up then. "Where were you today?"

Draco placed a bookmark on his page and set the book down on his lap. "I don't know how to say this any way other than, I can't tell you yet"

"Yet?" she asked.

He nodded. "I want to tell you. I can promise you it's nothing bad but it does involve other people. I need to know they're okay with me sharing what I want to share with you." He braced himself. He wanted to tell her, he really did but he felt his hands were tied.

Instead her hand sought his and gripped it tightly in her own. "I understand" she said.

"You do?" he asked, hoping she really did.

Hermione nodded. "I can wait until you and whoever the mystery man or woman has signed off" she assured him. Thoughts whirled in her mind as to who they were, and why he spent the day with them. She couldn't find him anywhere. Had he left school grounds to meet them?

"I can tell you it's family" he said. She was confused. The family the Malfoy's associated with after the war had dwindled dramatically. Perhaps he had reunited with some of the Black family? Or perhaps there were some Malfoy relatives in other areas of the community she didn't know about? She worried about that. Were they like his mother and father?

"Don't worry so much" he said, swinging their arms back and forth. "I told you, it's nothing bad"

"Okay" she replied. Hermione conjured some sheets and pillows which appeared on the coffee table. "Right, off" she said, moving his legs to the floor.

"I thought we agreed I was staying"

"We did, but I will not allow a guest of mine to sleep on the sofa. Off to bed with you"

Draco just rolled his eyes and moved his legs back to his previous position. "Go to bed, Hermione. I'm perfectly okay out here."

"I will be too"

"Hermione" Draco said, and pinched the bridge of his nose. 'Stubborn woman' he thought.

"Draco" she replied, clearly enjoying this.

"Look either I sleep here, or we both sleep here because I'm not moving" he insisted.

Hermione pursed her lips in contemplation. "Well, if we're both so stubborn as to share a settee then we may as well both be comfortable and share the bed." She said this slowly, unsure of how he might respond. "We are both adults after all. Plus it's probably safer if we stick together" she almost started rambling, as if trying to justify her thinking.

Draco scanned her face, she made sure she looked resolute in her offer. He placed the book on top of the fresh sheets. "Alright" he said. Staying close together sounded like a good idea. There was safety in numbers.

She nodded and turned to her room. He followed. He paused once to place some locking charms on the front door and living room windows, and then closed the bedroom door behind him. Without thinking twice he did the same manoeuvre, and cast the same spell on the doors and windows in the bedroom. He heard a rustling behind him and turned his wand on the source of the noise and was met with the unamused face of a ginger fur ball.

A paw came up and the kneazle slowly pushed the wand aside, and then licked his paw. He jumped off the chest of draws and pawed at the door.

"Not tonight, Crookshanks" she told him. She'd watched the entire scene with amusement. The cat-like creature looked put out but trotted to his bed.

Hermione pulled up the covers and got into the side of the bed she normally took and Draco went to the other side.

"You sure about this?" he asked, one last time.

"Just get in here" Hermione said. He didn't need any more permission than that and he made himself comfortable on the other side.

Both still had their wands in hand, safey tucked under their pillows.

"Goodnight Hermione" he said.

"Goodnight Draco."