He often wonders, how he lived fifteen years without her - and how many lifetimes he'll have to live, before she'll become his.
They meet in the corridors, both flanked with their friends. And they exchange witty banter and attempt to prove themselves stronger, smarter and wiser than the other. She despises him and he hates her.
And yet, he can't help but watch as she walks away. Her head held high; a sign of pride and strength. A true Gryffindor, one might say. She never slouches and she's always on time for everything. Never once had she arrived late to Arithmacy and whenever he'd arrive at the classroom, he could always count on seeing her sitting primly in the front row, an ink pot in front of her and a fresh piece of parchment just waiting to be used.
'Don't you dare sit next to me,' her eyes almost hiss and he merely smirks and seats himself in the backrow.
They're usually the first ones to arrive for Prefect meetings and they sit there in the awkward silence, shuffling in their seats and enjoying stolen glances. They don't need words, just time. Time away from the other people in their lives. Time to realise that there's more to life than petty rivalries and age old grudges.
He watches the glares she gives Ron as he says something out of place, and he relishes her disapproval as the Weasley shifts in his seat uneasily. Her brown eyes, which are usually so warm, could contradict any wrong statement and her words could be as cold as ice. If she let them be, that is. And when he was around, they always were.
She doesn't care what others think, or what their opinions are. Not when she thinks she's right. And she usually is. But she won't admit defeat, not to him, not to her friends, not to her teachers. But still, she's empty inside and he can sense it. The lonliness he can sense whenever she's sitting down in front of him, waiting for a lesson to commence or for someone to address her, he sees it whenever she's near.
But she's too strong to let anyone notice or to let them care. She's too independent to have someone suddenly start guarding her from the world and all its torments. She doesn't want to be cuddled and kissed and to lay in front of a roaring fireplace, in the arms of her beloved. She's smart enough to not get her hopes up.
They'll meet by the lake sometimes - sometimes being too much a coincidence. It doesn't matter what they say, or whatever new insult they have ready for the other. He'll climb a tree and watch her from above as she reads and occasionally, she'll read outloud. For her own amusement, of course. She'd never do anything for him, for he is the enemy; the Slytherin.
The words roll off her tongue so easily and he's mesmerised by her voice as she reads of heros, swords, dragons and evil. Evil, isn't that what she believes him to be? With every movement of her body, his eyes light up. She's naturally graceful, even if she won't acknowledge of believe so. She doesn't care about looks, boys or magazines. Her heart lies in the very pages of the most ancient texts and the most challenging of mysteries.
Eventually, he'll climb down from the tree and sit next to her. He'll watch intently as her face follows the story. She smiles with every triumph, she frowns with every loss and she laughs with every jest. He'll ask what something means, for he doesn't understand muggle concepts, and she'll look at him in surprise, but won't question him. Because she doesn't need to question him; she already has all the answers. Her explanations are short, yet precise, so that she doesn't bore him and in the end, he'll insist on reading the rest of the chapter.
And she'll let him.
It's not always about fighting, families and friends. At least not with them. And not when they're alone. She likes being the only one out of the Gryffindors who has ever seen his nicer side and he likes knowing she does. There are no real secrets between the two and if there were, they wouldn't matter. She's smart enough to know why he's still beside her and he's doesn't care. He just wants to hear her tale.
"We'll have to go back," she says, looking mournfully at the castle as he silently closes the book. "We can't stay out here forever."
"And why not?" he asks stubbornly. "Why can't we just sit here, by the lake, under the sun and read on?"
He looks down at the book in his hands, the brown marker holding their place until they should return once more and continue on with the adventure.
"Because, it'll be getting dark soon."
She slowly stands up and pats down her robes, brushing leaves out of her bushy brown hair and watching him closely as he attempts to hide his disappointment. He slowly stands and folds his arms, enjoying the curious look on her face.
He was wrong. She doesn't have all the answers. She doesn't know all the mysteries of the universe. She isn't perfect and certain about everything. When it comes to books, she can know all that she needs to and still go back for more. When it comes to friends, she'll never understand why they seemed to think she was always so wrong, except for when she was proven right.
But when it came to him... she didn't know why she was still there, standing next to him. She doesn't understand why she returns, day after day, with a book in her hand, waiting for him to arrive and listen to the tales which are woven so neatly and whispered so softly.
"There's always tomorrow, Malfoy," she says, hoping to part on good terms. She doesn't want their little adventure to end.
"One can hope, Granger," he says with a deep sigh. "One can hope."
A/N - It's become rather apparent as of late that I've been toying with different writing styles, this being one of them. 'Hope' was inspired by Liebling's amazing writing style and I recommend that you all go and read her beautiful one-shots.
In the meantime, please let me know what you thought of this fic, as any and all constructive criticism helps me greatly. Comments are welcome as well. Thanks :)