Title: Whispers
Author: Edie
Rating: PG-13
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Summary: Set during the war. Hermione has always wanted to call him Draco.

A thin shaft of moonlight escapes through a crack in the curtains and dances a pattern across Malfoy's back, somehow making his skin seem impossibly paler. Beside him, Hermione would like very much to trace it with the tip of her finger but she is hesitant to disturb him. She is exhausted herself, tired in a way she could not have imagined years ago, and if he is even half as weary as she he definitely needs his sleep. She settles on following it with her eyes instead. All the way from his hips to his shoulders she follows it; all the way up until it disappears into his hair.

Hermione would like to tell herself that Malfoy is beautiful in sleep but she fears that that is very far from the truth, indeed. She remembers reading in countless books (the silly romantic kind, stuff she only bothers pouring over secretly and on the side) how angelically innocent sleep should make you appear. Maybe she's seen too much. Maybe she's finally jaded. She thinks the war could do that to anybody but the two of them have made a pact to leave that out of the bedroom; she feels weak and pathetic for not being able to. He would never let her hear the end of it if he was awake.

But he isn't awake and that is the problem. Malfoy is not beautiful in sleep. Malfoy looks dead. She doesn't think she has ever seen anybody not breathe even a little and, while she knows he is, she wishes he might do it a little louder. If he could snore it might be just the thing so that he wouldn't be just laying there looking ever so much like everything she is trying to forget. Everything they're not supposed to talk about when it is just the two of them. She wishes with the whole of her being that the always physically perfect Malfoy didn't look quite so carved out of stone and devoid of that spark she found so essential.

The spark that had gotten her into this mess in the first place.

Sighing, Hermione gives into her first urge and touches him just a little. His back is warm under her hand and she finds that vastly reassuring. Gently so as not to wake him, she runs her fingers up his spine and over his ribcage, trying to memorize him by touch alone. Of course, she knows the name of every single muscle dancing beneath her fingers; of every single organ working their magic where she cannot touch, but for once her brain is silent. Her heart speaks a different language and every place she touches is simply Draco.

This makes her smile in that silly way she hates and she wonders abruptly what he would do if she were to ever actually call him by his first name. Be rendered speechless probably and she isn't sure that this alone wouldn't make it worth her while. He has never called her Hermione. That would be going against everything, wouldn't it? Appear normal, they'd decided. Tell no one. Meet in secret.

And no one did know, despite how long it had been (seven months, five days, and an indiscriminate amount of hours, her brain perked up). The two of them bickered like they always had. Insufferable git still liked to call her Mudblood from time to time, only bothering to couple it with a wink when it suited his fancy. Funny now that she would never ask him to stop. Wasn't she here with him because, with everything else in chaos, his insults and mockery is the closest thing to normalcy she has? Compared with her fear of losing Harry and Ron, her fear of losing Malfoy is a very close second.

Or first? Sometimes, cuddled in the dark like this with no one to know and no one to question, Hermione isn't sure. She wasn't among the top of her classes at Hogwarts not to have any commonsense. She knows an actual relationship with Malfoy is laughable, on her side now or not. She mutters Hermione Malfoy in her head and barely has time to stifle a hysterical giggle in her pillow before he is disturbed by it.

It's not like it matters to her. Malfoy doesn't love her. She has no delusions when it comes to that. He probably doesn't sit around and imagine the what ifs so why should she? It's a lot of bother to sneak around and see her but he had always been up to a challenge. Doesn't love her now and probably never will. But he's here and that's enough for her.

Despite herself and all of her brave resolutions, Hermione's eyes mist anyway. She blinks a few times resolutely, telling herself to grow a bloody backbone already. Maintains this line of thought for a few seconds too, before shriveling a little and glancing back at him.

She can hear him breathing now, faintly but there. Just a tiny whoosh of air against his pillow but it's enough to reassure her that they've been granted one more night. Tentatively, she cuddles closer, trying to sidle up without him noticing. He hates cuddling, always has. She is not deterred by this- she has already realized and pointed out on many on occasion that Malfoy thinks he hates everything. He smirks when she tells him this and she smirks now, remembering.

Don't seem to bloody hate you, Granger, now do I?

No, she thinks, you don't. But I won't tell.

Chewing absently at her lower lip, she drapes an arm around his back and presses her face into his shoulder. He makes a sleepy noise and rolls over, almost covering her entirely with his body. She is squished for a moment but that is okay. She likes it better this way.

Then, for a reason she can't explain and doubts even exists later on, Hermione scrunches her eyes shut and whispers what she has wanted to say for seven months.


Her voice is like a thunderclap in the darkness. She imagines she can feel him stiffening all down the length of her but that can't be true, can it? She hates that she's so fanciful when it comes to him; hates it almost as much as he hates the intimacy that the use of his name would imply. Of course he's sleeping and so he can't possibly know but-

But his own brows are scrunched together. His eyelashes flutter against his cheeks. She thinks for a moment that she was wrong and starts to panic. Then his face relaxes and this close to him his mouth looks so soft and-

She is so busy staring at his lips that she doesn't notice that he is staring at her for quite sometime. When she does, she tries to roll away but his grip on her tightens and he smiles at her dozily.

Hermione wants to die. What can she say to cover up the use of his name? That she said something else? What on earth even sounds like Draco?

She is too busy being alarmed to note that he is not. He laughs softly- always so flustered, his Granger, as though there are too many thoughts in her head to sort out all at once- and raises the hand that is not holding her in place to cup her cheek. Her skin is so soft that he is immediately distracted and then he can't seem to stop himself from touching her face everywhere, which won't do at all if they want to get any sleep tonight- something she seems to need badly if the bags under her eyes are any indication. It takes a large amount of willpower but he manages to behave and tucks her up all snug against his shoulder. She still won't look at him so he hooks his finger under her chin and makes her.

When he's sure he has her full attention, he whispers back, "Hermione."

Then, his mouth is on hers and he is kissing her with a careless sort of reverance that makes her toes curl in pleasant surprise. Those kisses are the type she doles out, not the practiced and flawlessly executed ones that are his variety.

Draco, she thinks.

His hands are wandering and his face is buried in her hair.

She thinks she might have been wrong about him. Wrong about his intent. Too caught up in her own fears of when it might end- or worse yet, how. Blindly, she wraps her arms around him and holds on for dear life.

Next to her ear, he is breathing her name over and over. Hermione endlessly in that voice that conveys so much power. Hermione against the darkness. Hermione to the war, to the world, to their friends...

She would like to see anybody come up against that.