Title: Helping Her

Genre: Humor/Romance

Category: Harry Potter

Summary: Draco Malfoy is always the center of attention, not the attention giver. When he and Ron Weasley accidentally turn Hermione into a five-year-old, Draco will have to give all the attention he has to the small girl.

Crys: Did I mention I love my reviewers? And my beta, Dani, is total love? TWO MORE CHAPTERS! Can you believe it? Sorry if this is late for you all.

If This Isn't Good: This is a really different storyline. I haven't seen anything like it. There's few stories that are real long that I'll take the time to read, but I'm glad this was one of them. Does the story end here? You know, when Ron stepped out I thought he was a Death Eater posing as Ron. The Death Eater could've said that he was just stuck somewhere. This is a great story, a unique one at that. (Wolfie Moon for Chapter 22)

Chapter 23: Love is Hard, But Never Jump

Ginny smiled and clasped Blaise's hand in the hallway towards breakfast.

"Don't be such a downer, Blaise." Ginny teased, before laughing. Pansy and Ron were on Blaise's left and Harry stood on Blaise's right.

"You Gryffindors. You may be stupidly brave, weird, and annoying, but you get to throw parties for no reason and not get in trouble." He grumbled.

"I agree." Pansy said, leaning her head on Ron's shoulder. "Although you're quite companionable." Laughter followed the statement. The group stopped at the Great Hall, Harry walking inside as Ginny and Blaise and Ron and Pansy said their goodbyes. It sucked being a fifth wheel. He wished Hermione was here.

--

Meanwhile, the Heads Common Room was habited by Draco, who was putting on his tie, for some odd reason, in the hallway. He was ready to go off to breakfast, his bookbag lying at his feet. When the door beside the mirror opened, Hermione stepped out. She turned him to face her and started knotting his tie for him. She was also ready to attend class. Finishing, she dropped her hands to her sides.

"I'm really sorry for what I said last night." Draco tilted his head to look at her.

"Okay." He answered.

"Look, about what you said--" Draco shook his head at her.

"Forget it, Hermione." He reached past her to pick up his bag and pulled it over his shoulder.

She grabbed his wrist and he turned to look at her curiously. "I can't forget it, Malfoy! That's the problem! I've been trying to forget that. And I've tried all night, yet all I've been thinking about was the prospect of you loving me and--me loving you back."

"You could never love me, Hermione, not with how you act." He told her. "Let me get to breakfast...please." He added.

"No! I mean--I could, and um..." Draco raised an eyebrow.

"Do you have something to say?" He asked her smoothly. She shook her head. Sighing, he turned to the door.

"Wait!" He turned again, before turning back around.

"I love you." She said quietly. Draco froze in his place and turned around. He watched her for a minute, before shaking his head.

"No, you don't." He told her defiantly.

"How would you know that?" She asked back, her eyes filled with anger.

Draco crossed his arms. "Because, I don't deserve love. Remember?"

"Go ahead and think that." She said, turning away from him.

"This just proves you don't! I know you don't, why lie about it?" She whirled around and glared at him. "Lying? How do you lie about loving someone, Hermione? I don't know..."

"The same way you lie about who you are." She said pointedly.

"But that was out of love, not because of it. Look, forget it. Forget I said anything, forget you said anything, forget this whole morning." He turned back to the door and left.

--

Hermione sat in the library, waiting for Lisa to show up. She was a little late, the time already being one fifteen. She had known the Ravenclaw to be puntcual, most of the time Lisa was there before Hermione, but not this time. She looked up to see Draco put his Ancient Rune textbooks down in front of her, before pulling out a chair and sitting down across her.

"What are you doing here, Malfoy?" She asked rudely. "My tutor will be along any time now."

"Oh, sorry about that. Tur--er, Dumbledore had to brief me exactly what to do. Oh, Turpin isn't your tutor anymore. I am." Draco could tell by the confused look on Hermione's face that she had no clue Draco was to be her tutor.

"Why would he do that? I--I can't stay here."

"You'll fail Ancient Runes, Hermione, sit down." She looked at him incredulously.

"So I'll fail if you don't tutor me?"

"Naturally." Hermione moaned and dropped her head into her hands.

"Look. It's going to be too awkward sitting here with you as my tutor--" She started.

"I tried to talk to you about everything, Hermione, but you didn't want to listen." Draco said, folding his arms.

She sighed. "It wasn't the time. So, what exactly are you playing at, Malfoy?"

"Me? I already told you what I was 'playing at' so to speak. You don't need me to repeat myself." He watched her fidget uncomfortably.

"You can't be serious. You don't know me! You befriended me when I was five and now you're in love with me at seventeen?" She asked incredulously.

"If I didn't know you, how could I spot you at the Masquerade? All of those things I said that night; I thought they would be enough for you to realize that I wasn't joking. I befriended you when you were five, yes, but I found out more about you then than you realise." He told her. She looked at him with a questioning glance.

"You don't know me at all. You think you do, but you don't."

"Oh really?" He said, standing up and then kneeling in front of her. Calmly, he pushed two fingers against her neck. "I know this makes you feel nervous." She fidgeted, but nodded nonetheless. "You like to lie down with your friends when you're scared. You've done it to me a couple of times." She blushed.

"I was a child." She looked down to meet his eyes. "I acted like I would when I was five, Malfoy. And now I'm acting like a seventeen year old, and I know what I want. What I said the other day was a lie." Draco laughed.

"But I already knew that, Hermione. You don't like me, you never could. It's just me--I'm stuck loving you and you don't care at all. I know, it's okay, whatever other bullshit you want to tell me, but I know. It'll take a while, but then you'll know too."

Hermione glanced at him weirdly. "What the hell are you talking about?" The blonde smiled to himself, standing up and grabbing his things.

"You know you love me, that's what. By the way, you can tutor yourself, Hermione." He headed towards the exit of the library, before Hermione called after him.

"You were assigned to tutor me, Malfoy! Get back here!"

"No." He responded, making Hermione furious. Running after him, she grabbed his wrist.

"Look, tutor me. I'll fail Ancient Runes, so just come on, already!" Draco shook his head.

"I want an apology." He said softly, stepping closer to her. She laced her fingers together and looked at him.

"What if I don't think I should apologize?"

"Then you'll fail Ancient Runes." He said flat out.

"I'm sorry." She said, and Draco actually believed she was sincere. Watching her for a moment more, he followed her to the table and begin reciting what he had taken notes on.

--

Lisa Turpin felt very guilty. She and Hermione were getting along great, but whenever she brought up the subject of Draco Malfoy, the brunette would freeze up and claim that their study session was over, when in fact sometimes, it was not. Sure, she only had Hermione's best wishes in mind, but it was the last thing the Ravenclaw had to do. She asked the bloody git himself if he would take over her study sessions.

She loved studying, she really did, but studying with an awkward silence and tension overhead because of a stupid comment was really getting unbelievable, and she needed a break. Sitting back on her bed, she hoped that Malfoy wouldn't mess his chance up. Inside of her, Lisa felt as if she had committed a treacherous crime.

But in his office, Professor Dumbledore awarded Ravenclaw twenty points.

--

After her study session with Draco, Hermione sat at the library table, utterly confused. Time for a self-evaluation, she thought. She thought back to the ball. Exactly then, what had she felt? What had filled her when unknowingly, Malfoy complimented her, danced with her, and kissed her? Had she been lying to herself this whole time?

Distraughtly, she pulled out a quill and ink, along with some parchment. She needed some way to gather her thoughts.

--

Draco was lounged peacefully in the Slytherin Common Room, flanked by Pansy. Sure, the two weren't as close in the beginning of term, but things had changed and somehow, their friendship had.

"What exactly did you do?" She asked from her end of the couch. She was sitting, while Draco had his feet thrown up on a table.

"I didn't do a thing! I was sitting in the Heads Common Room when Turpin knocks on the door and tells me to tutor her. I couldn't say no, it was the perfect opportunity! And then she tells me that Hermione's been quite awkward with her since she had asked about me. So, she left and that was it!" Pansy sighed.

"Draco, I mean, what did you do at the tutoring session."

"She complained about me being her tutor, then proceeded to argue against the awkwardness of tutoring with me, then I made her apologize and we went over Chapter 18 of the texts, that's what we did." Pansy eyed him suspiciously.

"No moves?"

"As if she'd let me." Draco shifted his feet to hit the floor and turned to the brunette haired witch. "Honestly, Pansy. If you were her, what would you have done?"

Pansy looked considerate before answering. "Jump on you and shag you crazy. Come on, Draco! You practically spelled out 'I fancy you, Hermione,' and she still doesn't believe you! Personally, I think she's insane or something." Draco couldn't help cracking a smile.

"Weasley would object, you know, calm down." She glared at him, but Draco knew it was only half-heartedly. "Insanity is the exact opposite of what I need to be mingling with right now."

"You've got that pinned." Pansy muttered, to which Draco sent her a dark look. "Oh calm down, Tristan." She joked.

"Oh haha, Miss Wit. But where is Isolde?" Pansy grinned at him.

"Sulking in the library where you left her." Draco smiled at her.

Interrupting the moment was an owl, the appearance matching with the school's set of owls. The owl perched at the end of the couch, staring at Draco and waiting for him to take the letter. When his hands stopped shaking at the question of ,'who sent this?' he clasped the owl's leg and untied the letter, watching it fly off.

Malfoy,

When I was little, I heard a quote, "I write because I am afraid to say things aloud." And right now, that is true. So read this knowing that this is what I could not say.

Honestly, the Masquerade was one of the best nights I have ever had, despite it being with you. I'm sorry for everything I've said to you during the time afterwards, because I know some of it was half-hearted. And honestly, again, I sat up all night thinking about what you had said about 'not being able to get me to love you right' and I realised that the reason you couldn't do that is because you can't make someone fall in love with you if they already are.

And no, I'm not lying this time. It hasn't taken me 'til now to notice, because I always have been. I just couldn't find the right way to tell you without making it seem unbelievable. I've been talking to Pansy and Ron and Harry and Blaise and Ginny, but they've all told me the same thing, to learn it for myself, but I didn't.

You made me learn it.

I didn't know until you said what you said today. That I was really shielding myself from love and that you knew I loved you. Ha, that looks so official on parchment. I love you. Altogether, I'm sorry for everything and hope you can consider this an apology and a confession. And if you know me so well, you'll know where to find me right now. You shouldn't need a hint, but I'll give you this; I won't fall asleep when you come, I promise.

Sincerely,

Hermione

Draco was truly stunned. He hadn't expected this, in fact, he expected the exact opposite when he saw the heading, 'Malfoy' to the parchment. He noted various blots from tear staining and that was what confirmed her location. Standing up, he thrust the parchment into Pansy's hands.

"Read it, I'll be back. And don't wait up, Pansy."

--

Opening the door to the Astronomy Tower, Draco spotted Hermione leaned against the window, looking out. She turned around to face him, tears running down her face. She sniffled softly, but smiled.

"Do you remember when we had this class?" Draco nodded, walking towards her slowly. "I hated you so much that night. And I never knew that I'd turn five, though. And I didn't know you'd be watching me." She sighed and chuckled lightly.

"God, all of my trust went out of the window when I became five, but I guess that's because I'm a stupid mudblood, is that it? And proceeded to make an even larger fool of myself by getting my trust back and throwing it away by sending that letter. Go on, Malfoy. You can push me out of the Tower whenever you feel like it. I've been horrible, and that's all I deserve."

Saying that Draco was shocked was an understatement. He had no idea what she was thinking; it seemed she was just rambling on about her mistakes and such. Comfortingly, he pulled her into his arms.

"Don't say that about yourself. You aren't a stupid mudblood and you aren't a fool and I won't push you off of the Astronomy Tower, Hermione. What makes you think that?" The girl sniffled again, looking up at the blonde.

"Because I've been so stupid and ignorant. I'm supposed to be the sodding Head Girl and I'm almost as bias against Slytherin as Snape against Gryffindor! And I would jump--I would jump if I wasn't so damn intricate about everything." She spoke, her voice shaking and unstable. Draco slowly pressed his lips against hers, and simply said, "Never jump."

Chapter 23: Love is Hard, But Never Jump

Quick Note: I adored this chapter. That's about all I have to say. And because I did this, my plans for ending this story with a simple kiss are blown out of the window. So, any suggestions reviewers? Again, I'm sorry, only two chapters after!

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