Confessions of Reluctant enemies

One cold, winters evening, Hermione was nestled in her favourite corner of the library re-reading Hogwarts: A history, (for the twelfth time this school year) as part of her background research for her Potions project. As per-usual, she had not only finished the project two weeks early, that it was already three pieces of parchment too long and she still felt as though she was missing major proof of research. She was practically living in the Library at the moment, (much to Harry and Ron's pleasure as it gave them more time to practice Quidditch without her glaring at them in disapproval every other time they had attempted to discuss tactics) She wanted to see if any of the Hogwarts founders had invented a potion. She didn't notice Draco Malfoy sneaking in alone, (or rather hiding from Pansy, as the pug-faced Slytherin had taken to following him around calling 'Drakie-Poo,' continuously, not giving him any time alone, and forcing him to ditch Crabbe and Goyle in a quest for the perfect hiding place) until he was right behind her. "Reading Granger?" he sneered. She quickly shut the book and turned round. "What I do is nothing to do with you Malfoy," she replied. But she couldn't help but notice how nice his hair was looking, and how his eyes shone through the dimness of the library like glass orbs, shining almost purposely into her eyes, trying to catch her attention.

"Granger, you're staring!" he smirked, as a dishevelled Hermione blinked out of her gaze and fumbled carelessly with her book. Looking away in embarrassment, she mumbled incoherently and tried to stand up; only to be pushed back down by Malfoy, his eyes gleaming and his mouth smirking wider than ever. "Mal-Malfoy," she stuttered, "let me go."

"I know you like me Granger." He said matter-of-factly. "Well I am the most handsome person in this dump of a school," he replied, beginning to smile at her, trying to coax a response from her tightly pursed lips.

"W…why would I like you?" she stuttered, "You're an evil, conniving Slytherin, and I'm…I'm a Gryffindor. Even if I were to like you…" she paused in thought and sighed, "It could never happen; it could never work". She looked down at her feet in disappointment, hiding her eyes from a curious Malfoy. Who if he could have seen her eyes, it would be obvious that her heart did not match her words. She knew that she found Malfoy horribly irresistible, and would be testing fate for her to do anything about her lov-lust for the Slytherin Prince.

"I don't get you Granger," he exclaimed in frustration, "You're all talk, always the know-it-all Gryffindor princess, scared of nothing, yet you seem to be incapable of admitting your feelings. You have still yet to deny it Granger, face it; you know you love me."

A silence prevailed as Hermione gasped and was for a moment, dumbstruck as she struggled to piece together a witty remark to prove Malfoy wrong. "N-no Malfoy, I don't know what gave y-you that idea, its ridiculous." she said, trying to regain a calm composure, but alas failing miserably as her cheeks flushed scarlet and a smile began to creep onto her face. "I assure you Malfoy; I certainly don't…don't…"

"For Gods sake Granger! Look, when was the last time you called me ferret? Let alone that you won't look me in the eye, not even mentioning the fact that you blush furiously when I'm near you and you dumped Weaselbee, supposedly because 'he wasn't the one'. What idea didn't you give me Granger?" Draco grinned victoriously.

"I….Err….Um..." she muttered, unable to comprehend everything he was stating to her.

"And," he continued, now on a roll. "You haven't complained once about being partnered for Potions together, not even behind my back."

"W-we-well, you're better at potions than Harry and Ron," she replied somewhat lamely.

He snorted ungraciously, before looking her in the eye and sighing, "Most people are, Hermione," he said softly. Hermione gasped loudly. Malfoy, Draco Malfoy, Prince of Slytherin, Mudblood hater extraordinaire and not to mention arch enemy (number two, Voldemort being number one) of Harry, had called her Hermione. Not Granger, not mudblood, not buckteeth freak, but by her given name, Hermione. Her eyes widened as she took this all in and she found that her breathing had become heavy and her heart seemed to be doing summersaults, back flips and cartwheels all at the same time. With a start, he coughed awkwardly and she realised she had been staring at him in what seemed in awe, again.

"What's wrong?" he said. "Is there something so sickening with me calling you Hermione that you loose all ability to speak and look at me in disgust? Or are you going to get your beloved twins, Scarhead and Weaselbee, the other members of 'the Golden Trio' to come and curse me into oblivion? Somehow I think not. Its common knowledge that you're better at cursing than that pair of flobberworms and heck, you're probably better than them at everything, and you haven't tried to attack me yet. Therefore I am forced to come to the conclusion that Hermione, you are desperately in love with me, and although it may come as a shock, and probably be brushed off by yourself in disgust, I had to let you know…I love you too."

Hermione's face went blank as she struggled to take in exactly what he had told her. Malfoy loved…her? How…why…but… No, he couldn't…could he?

Slowly Hermione looked up, a look a realisation dawned upon her face as she sighed, "Oh," she said inaudibly as she looked up to his face and saw his eyes closed peacefully as he bit his lip nervously like a puppy cowering before its master. Noting the sincerity in his tone, and the innocent look upon his face, she had made up her mind. Drawing her wand slowly from her pocket she gulped and whispered soothingly, "Malfoy." His head rose up to meet her gaze and as their eyes met, he could sense her nervousness, and frowning slightly he eyed her wand held tightly in her hand. "Petrificus Totalus," she froze him and wiping her teary eyes she sat down on the floor beside his unmoving body. His eyes were the only moving thing, which were blinking furiously at her, questioning her antics in sadness and defeat. She bent down, breathing into the side of his face, and whispered, "Draco, I love you too."