A/N: I was just watching What Women Want on Fox the other night, and I realized how similar the main character and Draco Malfoy were. So, I couldn't get the idea for a parody out of my head.
This is also I think my first attempt at a humor fic, where usually I stick with drama and angst. There's a tiny it of angst, but for the most part this is a fluffy fic, so no worries guys! And Gods, this is long. Anyway, it's a tad clichéd in parts, but when are Dramione fics not clichéd? Here it is, yet another random fit of insanity. Enjoy.
Summary: ONESHOT!With the help of his father's old journals, Draco is able to read the minds of women. And whom does he focus on? No one other than Hermione Granger. At last our hero can learn what it is that Granger wants, and possibly lose his mind in the process. DHr, fluff/romance/humor
Disclaimer: The plot belongs somewhat to the creators of the movie What Women Want, and Harry Potter and all other characters belong to JK Rowling. Sorry, nothing's mine.
What Granger Wants
Or How Draco Malfoy Lost His Mind
Draco Malfoy smirked. Such an action was not rare when it came to the pureblood, but the reason for today's smirk was much different than any that came before it. He was not gloating because he had beaten Potter and Weasley by gaining the title of Head Boy. He was not celebrating that his bastard of a father was six feet under. He was not relieved that Voldemort's terror inducing existence had expired over the summer. Oh no, this smirk was caused by something very different. This smirk was one of planning.
He really had to thank his awful father, since it was because of one of his old school journals Draco had discovered during his cleaning of Malfoy Manor, that he was now so pleased. It was because of his father's arrogant need to record every single one of his achievements that Draco had been able to perform a spell that if discovered would get his Head Boy title yanked faster than he could say illegal. If his father were not currently dead, he would have been so proud of his son's rule breaking. But as it stood, Draco could not share the news of this newly acquired talent with anyone. Not that he minded.
And why, pray tell, was Draco so elated? He had managed to make himself the greatest lady's man in the history of Hogwarts. With the help of his father's old journals, he had been able to make it so he could overhear every single thought of any woman or girl within the same room as him. Of course, it had taken him several weeks to get used to his new ability, and included several unpleasant realizations that his mother harbored a crush on Severus Snape, but in the long run, this would work to his benefit. Not only would it make him automatically sympathetic and unable to lie to, but it would also be the way for him to finally complete the Slytherin dream. To crack the Golden Trio.
It was much to his pleasure that Hermione Granger had been appointed Head Girl, and had done a very uncivilized victory dance upon reading this in his school letter. Normally, such a thought would repulse him, but because of their partnership, he would be in almost constant contact with the muggleborn, meaning unlimited access to her inner most thoughts. He could once and for all answer the question of 'Who did she fancy more: Weasley or Potter?' and 'Was she as high and mighty as everyone thought?' Of course, it would also be fun to ask what she really thought of him, underneath the blinding house rivalries.
Draco deliberately stood a few feet away from Ginny Weasley on platform 9 and ¾, so that when Granger arrived, he would know. Of course, this also meant he could hear what the infamous red headed spitfire was thinking. However, he instantly regretted even stepping near her when he did,
Oh Merlin, I do hope Harry wears the green sweater, she whined, as he realized he found her inner voice just as nasal as her normal speaking voice. Although that blue one made him look so muscular, I swear I wanted to jump him this summer at the Burrow. Draco gagged and stepped backwards into an archway, letting the Weaslette's voice get trampled by others. His grimace was replaced with an arrogant grin as the next inner monologue appeared, belonging to a 6th year Hufflepuff that he recognized as a prefect.
My god, Draco Malfoy gets hotter each year, is he still dating that Parkinson slut? He rolled his eyes as he scanned the crowd for Granger's bushy head. Honestly, he had never shown one speck of interest in Pansy, she was just a friend and a fall back date for assorted balls. Who cares, if it's not her than it's some other bimbo. Draco swung around to glare at the teenage girl, who blinked at him and walked away while flicking back her blond hair, unsure as to why he was upset. He did not go after bimbos! He liked originality in his dates!
Fortunately, he didn't have to waste anymore time on the thoughts of random girls that loitered around him on the platform, because a hassled looking teenager was pushing her way through the crowd toward the head carriage, clutching a stack of books to her chest with one arm, and dragging her trunk with the other. Resorting back to his normal smirk, Draco followed her, only a few steps behind.
Didn't even see me off, the stupid bugger. Honestly Hermione, you sure pick 'em well! She scolded herself, her steps quick and soft. He moved behind her as he tried to guess what she had been thinking before he had so rudely allowed himself passage to her thoughts.
Dumb as a rock, with no respect for school. 'Just go back late!' Does no one understand me? What a moron, just another shitty summer boyfriend. It took Draco a moment to realize that Granger had just sworn, regardless of the fact that it was inside her own head. Pure and prim Granger just swore? That was unheard of! This was going to be fun, he knew that already. Maybe the stick shoved up her bum wasn't as strong as they had all thought?
Better get used to the endless sports talk though, another year with Ron and Harry, she continued, stepping up onto the step to the carriage, before letting go of her trunk to open the doors that folded in like the doors of a phone booth. Draco stepped back a bit so she wouldn't notice he was standing directly behind her, and gave himself a pat on the back for remembering to put his things inside the train before going out Granger-stalking. He ducked inside the doors just before she closed them, and wondered how dense the girl had to be not to notice him following her.
Then again, at least Mike talked about a sport I understood, I still don't know a wink about quidditch brooms or bloody fouls. Haverwacking my arse. Draco quieted his chuckles at her poor pronunciation of Haversacking, before concluding that this Mike fellow must have been a muggle summer boyfriend of hers. It came as a surprise to realize that anyone, even a filthy muggle, would consider dating the bookworm. Then again, she wasn't hideously disfigured, he had learned that lesson at the Yule Ball in his fourth year, after gawking at her until Pansy had slapped him across the back of his head with a wad of linen napkins.
He and Dean would get along nicely, with all that West Ham nonsense. Sports should be made illegal, especially the discussion of such during a date. God, if he offered to give me his bloody jersey one more time like it was a wedding ring, I would have hexed him till kingdom come, muggle protection laws be damned. Apparently Granger had quite a temper, although Draco had known this before. Threats, law ignoring, and swearing all in one sentence! Impressive! He would have to make his presence known in a few seconds; they were only a few steps away from the door to their room. Just one more thought.
I suppose it's wishful thinking that Malfoy will be any easier to spend time with, she concluded as she reached for the doorknob, At least Mike was somewhat attractive, and didn't resemble a ferret being squeezed to death. Having heard enough, and also disgusted by being compared to a mammal with its eyes popping, Draco cleared his throat as she pulled open the door, making her flinch and turn around. He saw her face clearly for the first time that day, and was a little shocked to find she was wearing make up. Sure it was minimal and only included a spread of light bronze lotion across her cheeks and natural looking pale brown lipstick, but its mere presence was startling. Her eyebrow slanted to the side in amusement at his stare, and he quickly looked back up to her eyes, schooling his face into revulsion and pity.
"Problem, Granger?" he drawled as he placed his hand on the edge of the glass door, smirking as he realized he was still over a head taller than the girl. She sneered while thinking,
Only that you exist and are totally in my personal space, but other than that, no. He wanted to roll his eyes at her response, before realizing that she hadn't actually said anything.
"Of course not, Malfoy, unless you include the fact that I will be spending the next ten months living in a petting zoo." It took him a moment to understand that she was insinuating that he was an animal, and he leered at her before eliminating the space between her front and his.
Merlin, he's close. He smells like cinnamon.
"I would have thought you'd be used to animals, Granger, seeing as you've been at Weasley's feet for over six years," he responded, pushing against her. She blinked at him, obviously intimidated with his close contact, before he added in a snooty voice, "Would you mind moving? Here in the wizarding world, we don't just loiter under doorways." She started, before turning around and entering the compartment, tugging her worn trunk along behind her. Draco followed her and sat down under the rack that already held his trunk, and watched as she struggled to lift hers onto the other rack.
Bloody git, thinking he's so much better than me. 'In the wizarding world.' Like I wouldn't know that. He snorted as she staggered under its weight, before she gave up and dropped it onto her seat, and whipped out her wand to do it magically.
"Can I ask you an honest question, Granger?" he asked, spreading out to lie on his back across his seat. She turned around and sat down, already with a book in hand. He quickly identified it as Hogwarts: A History, and rolled his eyes. She scowled.
What, no mudblood this year? Is the Head Boy to good for that?
"Depends on the question, Malfoy." That was fair, but he wasn't exactly playing fair, was he? Draco set his head back against his elbow and twisted to his side to face her. She looked disapprovingly at his casual position, while sitting with her feet folded one behind the other at the ankle. He felt uncomfortable just looking at her ramrod straight posture. Smirking already as he imagined her answer, he asked,
"Do you think I'm sexy?" Immediately she blushed.
Despicably so. Damn, must not blush, must not blush. NO! He is an evil ferret boy, not a totally handsome blond! BAD thoughts!
"Does Professor Snape harbor a hidden love for innocent kittens?" He took that as a no, but was unbothered by her lie, as he knew the truth. She looked uncomfortable with the conversation, and fiddled with her shiny new badge, running her finger around the curve of the G in a manner that he would have considered suggestive had she been any other girl. He sat up and swung his legs over the front of the seat, so that his feet kicked hers. She looked up from the plain brown carpet to glare at him, before tucking her own feet underneath her.
"Do you really hate me?" he asked next, leaning forward in his seat so there was only about a foot of space between their faces.
No, I just pity you. You could be such a good person if it weren't for your father. But bastard is as bastard does, so it's too late now. Not that I would kill you in combat. And you're damn sexy…
"With my heart and soul," she responded in a falsely cheery voice, which sent him shivering. Pity? She pitied him? No one, least of all an ignorant mudblood, pitied a Malfoy! Scowling and ready for revenge, and also feeling the need to embarrass her, he changed tact and inquired,
"Are you still a virgin?" She gulped and blushed even more profusely. A little blip of attraction towards her routed in his brain undetected.
Don't cry, don't cry, don't cry, the git isn't worth it, She thought, narrowing her eyes at him as he watched her every action. She didn't look sad, she just looked livid. Stop, get over Ron and forget Mike and just answer before he says something lewd. What, you have nothing to be ashamed of! Not everyone loses their virginity in school! It's respectable to wait for marriage; he can't mock you for that!
"Is there a reason for the interrogation, Malfoy?" she responded coolly, her voice alarmingly even. He blinked, stunned by her ability to keep up an undaunted façade. But no matter how sharp and precise her voice remained, she couldn't prevent him from seeing the shiny luster that her pupils took on. He regretted his question almost instantly.
"Call it curiosity," he mumbled, before lying back down and closing his eyes, wishing he had memorized the counter spell for this curse. He suddenly felt like such a creep as he heard her panicking. He had no right to listen to this.
Relax, he stopped, see? He didn't realize how you felt. He doesn't know how you compare him to every guy you meet. He doesn't know anything; he's just a self-involved smug bastard. Draco stiffened as she opened her book, but her speech continued, and she didn't take in a word of the tiny script. And yet he's not a self-involved smug bastard, is he? He was on our side; he fought for us in the battle. No, stop it Hermione! He'd never be interested in you, he hates you!
His attention gained, he reopened his eyes and shifted his head slightly so he could observe her without her noticing he had moved. She was frowning now, looking blankly at her page. The little light reflected in from the station through the windows danced around her pouty lips, and he suddenly didn't really care about breaking up the Golden Trio. He'd rather seduce Hermione Granger. It seemed like a much more fun idea, and suddenly much easier than he had expected.
Draco quickly learned it was not all that easy as he had anticipated. Granger was anything if not guarded, and getting alone with her was somewhat difficult. Although they shared a common room and had adjoining bedrooms, she was never alone, either followed by Ginny (I wish Harry wasn't so busy, I wish he would make more time for me!) or Luna (But what if I can't catch a Plumby? How will I feed my Nargles?), if not by the Weasel or Potter himself. Before prefect meetings, Granger slid in just as the meeting was about to start, and left as soon as all questions were answered.
However, just because they were not alone didn't mean he couldn't listen in on her pathetic whining. After all, he had to sit next to her during Prefect meetings, and thusly got a weekly crash course on whatever wrong doings her two friends had been committing. In fact, he had to wait until October to hear anything concerning him, other than the usual ferret comments.
Did he get new cologne? She wondered, startling Draco out of his revere. She sniffed the air daintily, trying not to glance in his direction. He watched out of the corner of his eye. He smells different. She chanced a glance in his direction, meeting his gaze. He lifted a perfectly sculpted eyebrow at her, keeping his smirk away. She glared at him, before looking back down at her calendar, which charted the rounds schedule in sharp black marker. Yes, he's mintier now, instead of the usual spices. It smells like Dad's office, comforting.
Draco smiled slightly as she sighed quietly, not paying any attention to 5th year Rebecca Zabini's plea for a better shift time. Granger looked so tired, but so relaxed at the same time, as if she would nod off onto his shoulder.
I miss them, she admitted, toying with her quill. I really miss them.
Miss who? He wondered, leaning slightly in his chair towards her. She didn't notice, only began to chew on a strand of her hair.
But they're gone, stop it Hermione. Lucius Malfoy killed your parents, and Draco Malfoy killed Lucius and there is nothing else to be done. Just focus.
He hmmed under his breath, realizing that she was simply mourning her parents. It was true. His father had killed hers, and then Draco had killed him. It was all one big cycle of sex, death, and murder. But at least it was predictable. This, however, was not. He felt sympathetic almost, towards the girl sitting to his right. But he didn't show it, and he never acted on it, it was not his place to do so. Rebecca finished her tirade, and was now staring at him expectantly, knowing that a fellow Slytherin was more likely to defend and provide for her. However, just because her chances were better with him, didn't mean they were good.
"I don't care if you have a date, Zabini, deal with the shift Granger gave you," he snapped, gaining Granger's attention. She smiled appreciatively, forgetting who he was, as Zabini huffed and sat back down. Draco nodded respectfully to Granger, allowing her to close the meeting. The smile died on his lips quickly, as she thought pensively while the other packed up and left, taking with them their female rants about lip-gloss and their respective boyfriends.
Just because he defended you doesn't mean he fancies you; I thought you were getting over this! No, stop it. This is silly; he's nothing all that special. Sure he's smarter than Harry and Ron, but he's a right arse and he hates you, remember? You've been so good for so long, why do you have to start this up again now? Damn you hormones!
The poor dear fancied him; he'd pieced that together before. But what to do with this information now? Duh, seduce her! How? Bigger problem, that was.
"What are your plans for tonight, Granger?" he asked, sitting down on top of the conference table. She yelped and dropped her book bag, and he waited politely for her to get settled again. Goodness, she was jumpy wasn't she? It was kind of cute.
And he's still here. Great, act calm. Calm and unflappable! You can do it!
"Excuse me?" she asked, swinging her bag over her shoulder. Taking a chance, he extended his slender hand and gracefully curled his fingers around the strap, before pulling her closer, to sit next to him on the wooden table. She cleared her throat anxiously. Smiling coyly, he repeated,
"What are your plans for tonight?" She shifted, crossing her legs, before accidentally touching her knee to his and uncrossing them. He watched this without comment, and was simply amused at the effect he had on the mature Gryffindor.
Relax, jeez. He's not asking you out or anything! He probably just wants to mock you for having no plans for tonight.
"Because I was wondering if you'd like to have dinner with me in Hogsmeade," he added, as he slid his hand up her arm. She frowned, obviously not believing him at all. Not that she had any reason to believe him anyway. She merely blinked at him, and shrugged her shoulders to get his hand off her arm. Sneering slightly, she stood up and shifted her bag so he couldn't reach out for it again.
"Sorry to disappoint you, ferret, but I do have plans, and none of which include being poisoned. Rain check?" He laughed carelessly, before standing up next to her, moving closer so there was less than a foot between them. She glared up at him, obviously annoyed that he was so much taller. Which made sense, he cowered over her.
Damn it damn it damn it, why is he so tall? Honestly, I bet he can see right down my blouse.
Draco resisted the urge to take a peek behind her collar; the girl had practically given him permission! Yet he couldn't get distracted, so he looked back up at her face, which was still a brilliant shade of red. Raising a hand to gently push some of her bushy hair out of her eyes and behind her ear, an intimate gesture that made her shiver, he said smoothly,
"I'm sure I can appreciate your company more than your textbooks, Granger. Wouldn't you rather spend Friday night with a living, breathing person next to you?" He was making her uncomfortable, and she was obviously floundering for some excuse.
Crud, is Ginny free tonight? She's always with Harry; it's hard to tell. Ron? No, another date. Damn it, what can I say?
"I'm tutoring a fourth year tonight, I can't miss it," she responded, but her voice was unsure. Draco only looked deeply into her eyes, not moving his hand away from her cheek as she kept thinking, arguing with herself.
He's nice, Hermione, he won't do anything! Who am I kidding, he'll kill you! Or seduce you for sport and tell every Slytherin within a five-mile radius about it afterwards. Well, maybe he won't, no one would be impressed by his trysts. But what if it's not a tryst? What if he likes you? But why would he like you? But he's still touching me, and it feels sooo good.
Indeed, her eyes were drifting closed as Draco ran his finger over her chin, just under her lips. It was a classic method he often used, the whole false sense of security thing. Chuckling softly, he pulled his hand away, listening to her mew in protest.
"Surely they would understand, it's just one night, Granger. No one would miss you, they wouldn't even notice you're gone." Apparently that was the wrong thing to say, as her eyes flew open and she started to scowl again, as if someone had just flicked on a switch to 'Insufferable Prude.' Granger stepped back, pulling her bag across her chest like a shield, and began to breathe heavily, trying to regain her stability.
No one would notice. No one would notice. See, he knows it too, they just wouldn't care. No one cares, there's no one who would miss you. You're replaceable; they've all replaced you.
Draco gasped at her insecurity, having had no idea that she worried so much. She was the brain of the Golden Trio; she wasn't supposed to be scared of abandonment like a normal person! She gulped, before unsteadily snapping,
"Rest assured that they would notice, and they would be less than thrilled to find I was on a- was eating dinner with you." She still seemed horrified, glancing over his shoulder at the still open doorway. He didn't move, and only smirked, his surprise fading. So she was human, so what? That didn't change anything. He still wanted to sleep with her, then leave her hanging and ruin her day-to-day life. It would be fun. Wouldn't it?
Stay cool, untouchable. He can't scare you. Damn blond asshole, thinks he's so wonderful. Well you can't use me! Nope, you can't hurt me! I'm over you! Hah! But he's so cute, and he's so smart and witty and- NO! Not this again! Stop it, this is silly. This is immature. Are you immature? I think not! Calm and poised, Mione, calm and poised.
"If you say so, Granger. If you say they'll miss you, then I'll believe you. But if you get lonely tonight, when you're surrounded by books and when tutoring gets boring, you know where I am." He let her linger over that thought briefly, before picking up his own leather book bag and sweeping off, leaving her to her troubled thoughts. Suddenly, he wasn't sure that messing with Granger's head was the best idea. It was already screwed up to begin with.
Currently, Pansy was plotting her own seduction of Blaise Zabini, and Draco was blessed with a front row seat to her planning, amusing as it was. But he wasn't easy to distract, as he was watching Granger, sitting disturbingly on her own, over the glass rim of his goblet. She was morosely reading her textbook, an untouched plate of salad sitting before her. Neville Longbottom was yammering about some stupid plant beside her, but it was obvious that she was wishing for better company. Heck, he would have felt the same way if he were her.
After a few months with his talent, Draco had learned to focus on one person's thoughts, while blocking out everyone else's. It was now December, and he was thankful that he had learned this so that he could avoid listening to Pansy's ranting about cornering his Italian school mate under the mistletoe, as well as the alarming realization that this classmate was actually female, as Draco had learned after sitting next to Blaise during Potions and having to listen to the he/she's thoughts on Slughorn's velvet draperies. Needless to say, Draco was pleased with himself, and couldn't wait for Pansy to learn that the object of her affection was not as masculine as she thought.
However, Draco was focused alone on Granger, and wasn't listening to either of the Slytherins. Granger was not studying as the inhabitants of Gryffindor table believed, and was in fact brooding. She twirled a strand of her thick hair around her index finger, while worrying her bottom lip. It was alarmingly cute.
Why did McGonagall have to throw a Yule Ball? Why? Now I have to find a bloody date, and who wants to bring me? Harry's got Ginny, Ron's got… whatever tramp he's currently dating, and even Neville's dating Luna. Yes, you're doomed to be a lonely witch this Christmas, Hermione, better bring out the fuzzy reindeer sweater and old picture books.
Aside from wondering what reindeer were, Draco also wanted to know why she was so convinced she was ugly. Because he had to admit that she wasn't. Draco absentmindedly drummed his fingers on the tabletop, considering whom he would bring as his date. Unwanted, the image of Granger on his arm flew into his head, but he dismissed it with a scowl and decided listening to the girl's thoughts for three and a half months had done him serious damage.
Perhaps I should just blow the whole dance off, she continued, scratching her head merely because she could. It's not like anyone would care, they'll be to busy lurking around in bushes to notice the lonely bookworm hovering in the corner. Balls are places for couples, not singles. It's the unfortunate truth. Better get used to it.
Draco sighed, wishing she would change her mind. He was kind of looking forward to seeing her in her dress, with her hair all done up. She had looked really pretty in fourth year, and he couldn't deny that he wanted to see the Gryffindor bookworm with her hair down again. It was a nice change. But if no one asked her to the ball, he wouldn't get that again. Maybe he should ask her? It wouldn't be that bad, she wasn't ugly, and if she didn't snap at him every few seconds, she would actually make good conversation. Better than Pansy anyway.
If I don't get asked before Sunday night, I'm not going. And that's that. Bring out the cookie cutters.
It was Thursday night, Draco remembered, meaning he had a little over three days to ask her, or force someone else to. Technically, she would have to go to open the ball with him, being Head Girl and Boy, but that didn't mean she had to stay, or enjoy it. You could say he was growing a heart, or you could argue he'd had one all along, but he didn't care. He didn't want Granger to be alone on Christmas Eve.
She pushed her full plate away from her and tucked her book under her arm, before standing up and leaving her table. He quickly did the same, and moved swiftly so as to leave the hall directly behind her. She was heading off towards the library, but he grabbed her elbow gently and pulled her into a broom closet, causing her to yelp and try to pull away. Having done this before to numerous girls, though for different reasons, Draco was able to quickly lean his back against the wall, pull her back up against his front, and wrap his arm around her lower stomach. Automatically, she began to panic.
Shit, shit, I'm going to die! Who has me? Damn it, no one knows where I am; they're all off cramming in Gryffindor tower!
"Hello Granger," Draco purred into her ear, flattening his palm against her stomach. She stopped squirming, but her mind began to run a mile a minute. By the guilty tone her inner mind adopted, it seemed she had thought of this moment before.
Merlin, don't panic, and don't say anything stupid! Turn around and hex him! Go on! And yet she didn't move, only settled backwards into his arms, leaning her head back against his shoulder. Damn it, why aren't you moving! Run!
"What do you want, Malfoy?" she asked, although the effect was somewhat defeated by the way she was relaxed against him. He chuckled, his deep laugh echoing through both of them because of their close contact. Whispering directly into her ear, he said softly,
"I want to have dinner with you, Granger." She started, wrenching herself from his embrace to face him, stepping on a broom. He couldn't see her in the darkness, but could practically feel her nerves like static in the air. He had just terrified her. She was afraid of him!
He's joking, he's joking! He has to be! Don't believe him!
"My answer remains a firm no, ferret. Now let me go." He couldn't help but comment that it didn't sound very firm. She snarled at him. "Think what you want, just let me go." He knew that this wasn't going to be easy, but how hard could getting a date be with this girl? Honestly!
"The door's not locked, genius," he drawled, crossing his arms. She rolled her eyes and reached for the doorknob, but he caught her elbow again. "Go to the ball with me?" Her eyes were bathed with the small crack of light escaping in from the hallway, and for a second he really thought she would say yes. She wanted to, he could hear it, but she was reluctant. There was too much against it.
"Doubtful," she responded, before pushing through the door. He didn't go after her.
Soon it was Christmas Eve, and Draco was leaning against the doors to the Great Hall. All around him boys were meeting their dates, and girls were squealing over their friends dresses. He grimaced, blocking out all of the worries and exclamations of the teenagers around him. He had failed his mission of snaring Granger, and the only thing keeping him from just blowing off the ball all together was the knowledge that she was coming anyway, even though she didn't have a date. She had angsted over the decision for at least a week, but she had come to the conclusion that as an independent woman, she didn't need a man to enjoy her Christmas. At which point Draco had snorted and earned himself a scowl from the girl.
He also knew all about her dress, which she had made herself out of a fit of insanity around midnight a few days earlier, her shoes, which she had borrowed from Ginny Weasley, and her hair, which had been attacked by Lavender Brown and Parvati Patil a few hours previous. Needless to say, Draco could not wait to catch a glance at the woman who had avoided his capture.
Draco leant his head against the heavy doors, breathing out of his mouth as he waited for the witch to show up. Old fashioned as it was, McGonagall refused to let the ball start before the Head Boy and Girl 'opened' it, and they were just waiting for the latter to arrive. This was extremely boring.
Breathe, Hermione, breathe, came from the top of the marble staircase in front of him, and Draco looked up automatically to notice Granger lurking anxiously in the shadows, peering over the third floor balcony. No one else had noticed her, and he took a moment to stare openly at her. She was wearing a black dress, surprisingly, with a red ribbon that ran along the bottom around her knees. It was simple, although it fluffed out, aided by a crinoline, and was snug but not obvious. To put it simply, it was very modest, and very Christmassy, along with the simple green headband that kept her loose brown hair from fluttering into her eyes. Draco smiled as she calmed down, giving herself a private pep talk.
You're going to have a good time, aren't you? You arranged this ball; this is your time to relax. It's not impossible for you to let loose, you know. Just take it one step at a time. Let's just go find Harry and Ron.
She had no idea that she looked simply beautiful, and Draco wondered what was the last time someone complimented her on something other than her intelligence. Draco sighed, and watched her descend the stairs, her head held high. She was shivering, most likely from the cold chill of winter sneaking in from the cracks in the windows. He felt a sting of jealousy as she approached Potter and Weasley, who both did a double take upon seeing her. However, they were quickly dragged away by their dates, leaving her alone. He took this as his queue to snag her. He sauntered over; his hair slicked back with a minimal amount of gel, and tapped her on the shoulder. She yelped and spun around, wide eyed.
Bleeding hell, how does he always do that? Muffling charm on his boots? Merlin help me.
"Are you ready to open it?" he asked, tilting his head towards the doors. She sighed and nodded, answering curtly,
"I suppose so." He kept his face blank, no doubt alarming her, and offered her his arm politely. She blinked, her brow furrowing as she looked up at him in confusion. He rolled his eyes.
"Granger, honestly. Put your hand in the crook of my elbow," he drawled, allowing his nice façade to slip as she sneered at him. She did so anyway, before muttering sinisterly,
"I didn't realize I was allowed to touch you," in a nasally voice. He chuckled without meaning to, and reached for the giant door handle, the metal of which felt cool under his fingers.
Bloody hell, I'm touching Draco Malfoy. Pavi and Lavi are never going to let this go.
Throwing open the doors, Draco allowed himself to smile in pride at the sight of the Great Hall. If he could say it himself, it looked better than it had in their fourth year. Icicles hung from the ceiling beams, charmed frost was sprinkled in light layers over tables, and the dance floor looked like an ice rink, though it was spelled to be slightly sticky underfoot as a precaution. He and Granger had worked hard along with the prefects, and had done a wonderful job. Other students streamed in behind them as they walked toward the stage, on which rested random band instruments, and Granger had to let go of his arm as she followed him up the small set of steps onto the platform.
Draco watched the school look around in awe, and waited patiently for them to stop their gaping and pay him attention. She coughed quietly as she pulled the magic microphone out of its stand on the edge of the stage, and tapped on it gently.
Ok, here we go. Let's get this over with.
"Good evening, everyone, may I have your attention?" she said with a timid smile, while Draco glared at the few students who didn't look up. "Thank you all for coming to the newly reinstated annual Yule Ball!" Applause filled the room at the end of her statement, and she blushed at the attention. "We've all worked hard to make tonight as fun as we could, so feel free to relax and just have a good time." She passed the mike over to him, which he accepted with a nod of his head.
"Help yourself to the banquet table over by the wall, and do not hesitate to enjoy the decorated grounds. Just don't enjoy it too much, of course," he continued for her. He smirked as a few older students snickered, while Granger only looked down at the floor. "By the way, I would personally recommend avoiding the mistletoe in the four corners of the hall. Flitwick got to them before we could." More laughing greeted his words. "Happy holidays, everyone." They all clapped as he strolled off the stage to make room for the band filling in, with Granger scowling bitterly as she wandered off to the edge of the room. He rolled his eyes again. If she wanted to sulk, the more power to her.
He didn't even notice me.
Draco stopped in his tracks and watched the retreating figure's back as she walked away. Why was he feeling guilty? He asked her to the dance, and she'd said no. It wasn't his fault she was alone! But even so…
"Hey Granger," he called out, his moneyed drawl absent from his voice. She stopped, before turning slowly. He couldn't help but notice how much she stood out in the crowd of pinks and blues, wearing only mature black, like him. She kept eye contact, and he swore he could see her nerves, her worry, her loneliness, and her pure innocence inside her hazel eyes. Faltering slightly, he said quietly, "You look stunning." She blinked, and for a second he feared that she wouldn't believe him, but finally she smiled brightly, her eyes lighting up, and nodded.
"Thank you," she said softly, before turning around once again and walking off, her pace quickening until she was on the other side of the room. Draco groaned and leant against the wall, before knocking his head against it. He was falling for this girl, and not only that but he was losing his mind.
On New Year's Eve, Granger went to the annual Gryffindor all night party, only to get completely sozzled and wander back to the head dorms about twenty minutes before midnight. Draco had never been more shocked than to open the portrait hole on the intention of getting butter beer from the kitchens, only to find the drunk sprawled out on the ground, giggling furiously as she watched the stars floating before her eyes. Ironically, he discovered that when she was drunk, she had no thought process at all, meaning he thought he would have a quiet night, and he fearlessly scooped her up and dumped her on the couch, before sitting down across from her. Granger's giggles faded into hiccups as she watched him over the coffee table, her eyes wide in rapture. For once he really wished he could hear what she was thinking, even though he knew that she wasn't thinking anything in particular at all.
"Where are Potter and Weasley?" he asked, disgruntled and appalled that her friends would let her wander through the castle past curfew. She shrugged and continued staring at him. It made him uneasy. "How'd you get back here?"
"Walked back," she answered simply, before rolling over to stare blindly at the ceiling. He rolled his eyes.
"Duh. I meant how'd you get back here if you're piss drunk?" he rephrased, leaning forward to rest his elbows on his knees. She glared at him accusingly.
"I'm not drunk!" she protested, before exaggeratingly tapping her finger against her chin and saying, "Well maybe an itty bit. And can you keep a secret?"
Here it comes, thought Draco as he nodded, bracing himself for whatever idiotic confession was on the way. She smiled listlessly, before shifting closer to the edge of the sofa and whispering,
"I honestly have no idea." Then she mercilessly cackled, and fell off the couch. He sighed and stood up, before walking in the direction of his room. Granger peeked her head over the coffee table and rested her chin on its leaf. "Where are you going?" Draco turned around, amused to see her pouting at him.
"To bed, Granger." She frowned, before getting unsteadily to her feet, surprisingly barefoot. Granger toddled over to him, almost tripping twice, before finally falling flat on her ass by his knees. He chuckled, before grabbing her shoulders and hoisting her to her feet.
"Can I come with you?" she asked, leaning towards him as he held her up. He crinkled his brow in confusion, and she added, "I won't do anything bad, I promise." This situation was too bizarre for him to handle, but he knew if left to her own devices, she could get caught and lose her position as Head Girl. Damn Potter and Weasley would get an earful in the morning.
"Alright fine, just don't tell anyone I'm doing this." She grinned, shaking her head as she held a finger up to her lips.
"Wouldn't dream of it, Malf-, Malfroy-, Malfo-," she couldn't get her mouth around his name, and he shook his head as he took her elbow and pulled her across the room. Finally she choked out victoriously, "Malfoy!" Before exploding into more giggles.
"That's right, Granger, five points to Gryffindor," he drawled in a tired voice. This was just what he needed, babysitting a drunk Gryffindor on New Years Eve, when he had been brooding in privacy. He did that a lot, brooding. After killing your father on the battlefield it was kind of a requirement. But this made it pretty hard to brood. Granger tripped on her feet and stumbled into his back again, throwing her arm over his shoulder. Draco rolled his eyes and let her lean on him as he pushed open the door to his bedroom, wondering how on earth he was going to explain this in the morning. Could he make up a completely outlandish story to freak her out? Would she believe him if he told her she'd come to him begging for sex or something equally untrue?
"I am sooo never drinking Vodka again," she mumbled against the back of his neck, her awful smelling breath seeming to strangle him. Draco gagged and toddled over to his bed, where he let go of the girl and let her fall on her back on top of the soft green quilt. She giggled and stretched her arms above her head like a cat, before curling her knees against her chest and watching him through bloodshot eyes. He sat down on the foot of his bed, allowing his smirk/sneer to drop away, since he knew chances were she would have absolutely no memory of this in the morning. Let's just say Draco knew this from experience.
"Who on earth let you drink?" he asked, his voice hard. She smiled deliriously, halfway through a yawn, before answering,
"Dean said it would help me relax. Then there was something about removing a stick, I didn't quite follow him after that." Draco chuckled; knowing very well what stick Thomas had been referring to, more specifically where it was located. But she wasn't finished, "Then Gred- Fred- one of those twins gave me this purple thing, I dunno what it was. Some devil's drink, they were all laughing at me." Draco's eyes widened as he figured out what she was saying. Devil's Deal was the most dangerous liquor the wizarding world had to offer, was just barely legal, and was made up of a mixture of fire whiskey, Billywig sting, and Acromantula venom. It was legendary for it's influence, and a small dose of the solution was often followed by stunts that the drinker would never consider doing in their right mind. Draco regarded Granger in a new light, curious as to what had happened between the time of her dose and her return to their dorms.
"What did you do at the party, Granger?" he asked slowly, expecting her to get all huffy and refuse to answer. However, she sat up with a gleam in her eye and grinned, more so than before.
"I taught Forge- sorry, George- how to dance!" He gave her a blank look, before asking,
"What do you mean?" She giggled. It was getting annoying, and graded against his ears. Damn, how drunk was this girl?
"You know, dance! Everyone thought I was really funny, they all wanted to know who had taught me." Draco had to stifle a laugh at the idea of Granger grinding against one of the Weasleys, although a tiny side of him was a little disgusted. "They didn't know I had a boyfriend over the summer! I mean, did they think I just lived in a bookstore when I could hang out with hot guys? Am I asexual or something?"
"Of course not, Granger," he said blandly, fisting his eyes as the humor faded from the moment.
"Cause I'm not, I've dated! I dated Mike all summer, we went clubbing. But the truth is- is… I don't wanna date!" He rolled his eyes as he crawled over to lie on the other side of the bed, his back to her as she began to rant, her giggles disappearing once again. "There's only one person who I'd want to kiss at bloody midnight, and he doesn't care about me. You don't, do you?" Draco groaned and sat up again, leaning his weight on his palms, his arms extended behind him. She pouted at him, looking hopeless. He was tired and annoyed and just wanted to brood in peace, he didn't want to deal with a sniveling rejected Gryffindor on the last night of his terrible year. So he lied. Although he had to admit over the past few weeks it was more the truth than he felt comfortable with.
"Of course I care about you, Granger, but right now you need to get to sleep." Turning away from her, he snuffed all the candles in his bedroom with a flick of his wand, and lay back down. But apparently, she was not so ready to go to bed.
"Then will you kiss me at midnight? It's only a few seconds away." Granger was wide eyed, and looked like a first year that had learned she might be able to conjure a cute little puppy soon. He pinched the bridge of his nose with an irritated sigh, wondering what he had been thinking when he'd agreed to let her into his room.
"Why would you want me to, I've only been a right git to you for as long as you can remember?" he asked, hoping to divert her attention. It didn't work.
"Because you're not like Harry and Ron. You can have actual inti- intilek- smart conversations and have fights with words and wit, not hexes." She yawned again, before continuing shamelessly, "And you're really good looking." Although he always appreciated a good ego boost, this was far too creepy for him. It felt like he was using her, forcing her to share her secrets because she was intoxicated.
"Go to sleep, Granger."
But instead of closing her eyes and laying her head down on his pillows, and possibly drooling on the silver stitching, she smiled cheekily and leant over closer to him, resting her palm on his pajama covered chest. He stared up at her, a little more than just nervous, as she bent down and kissed him softly, her forehead touching his. If her mouth hadn't tasted awful, Draco might have been able to enjoy the feeling, but as it was, she had just consumed what were probably alarming amounts of Devil's Deal, as well as Fire Whiskey and normal Wizipunch, making such a thing impossible.
When she pulled away a handful of seconds later, she said simply,
"Happy New Year," before passing out on his chest, her head falling onto his shoulder. Never before had a Malfoy been so stunned.
It seemed year 1998 was off to a weird start.
The first morning of that year was a bright one. The snow that littered the grounds of Hogwarts was a milky white, still seeming fresh and untouched even though it had covered the damp grass for over a week. Ice smothered every window, meaning the sun light that seeped into the castle was distorted and sent in at odd angles. It was chilly inside the Gryffindor common room, and although the house elves had obediently created fires in every grate in every fireplace, the students still awoke cold. Ginny Weasley sat up with frown as she massaged her temple, blinking in the lighting that seemed harsh in her eyes. She untangled her legs from that of her boyfriends, with her cotton pajama bottoms seeming to stick to her skin like a glove.
Ginny looked across the full common room, taking a silent head count of all the Gryffindors. Neville was passed out head first on top of a chessboard, sleeping pieces scattered around his neck. Ron had fallen asleep in Lavender's lap on the couch, and Parvati was stretched out on the rug in front of the fire. Harry was placidly snoring next to her, and her twin brothers who had come into the school as guests to join in their celebration were sleeping on an armchair, their legs tangling off the arms.
One person was missing, and Ginny vaguely recalled Hermione grinding against her older brother. But that wasn't her problem; Hermione had probably wandered back to her own common room and fallen into the arms of Draco Malfoy. The red head smiled sleepily, wondering how sick her best female friend must be feeling. She had the most to drink the previous night by far. Good for Mione, she needed to break out for once!
So the youngest Weasley laid back down next to Harry and fell back asleep without a care, knowing her Hermione was probably puking it all up in her own tiled bathroom. Nothing could have happened to her, right?
Merlin's beard, what on earth did I do last night? Why is there an arm around me, why do I see green and silver, and why do I have a throbbing headache?
Draco blinked as awoke, a ray of sunlight streaming directly into his eyes. Of course, his vision was blocked by what appeared to be a very messy head of brown hair, and he blew a strand of it out of his mouth carelessly. The head of hair twitched anxiously, as he wondered what exactly had happened the previous night. He hadn't slept with anyone last night, had he? All he remembered was reading the paper, then Granger coming in completely hammered- oh. This would be interesting.
Wait a minute, I know that smell! That's Malfoy's cologne! Why in the name of Dumbledore's socks do I smell him? Is this his room? Is this his arm? Noooooo!
Yawning widely, Draco licked his lips and removed his arm from over Granger's shoulder, wondering if she would slap him again. He hadn't done anything wrong, and when he'd fallen asleep she'd been on her side of the bed. However, it was doubtful that Granger would believe that if he told her. He could already imagine the questions. And her accusations.
Ok, don't move. Don't move. Don't move. Must not wake him up.
Draco smiled drowsily, imagining her surprise when she realized he was already awake. Did she honestly think that she would be able to just slip out from under him and tiptoe away? Apparently, because she was turning painfully slowly, and was resting her palm on her pillow, which coincidentally was his pillow as well, to make sure that it wouldn't shift when she removed her head from it. Now that wouldn't do! Draco wanted to mess with her first! He rolled over, so that his front was pressed against her back, and threw his arm over her again like they had been originally. However this time he grunted as if he were still snoozing and tightened his hold around her waist, so that she was led to believe he was just cuddling up against her, unaware of whom she was.
Damn it, regroup. Can't exactly move now, so… plan B! There was no plan B, was there? Well, he is fairly comfortable and warm, so you could always just stay here- NO! Bad Hermione! You cannot stay here, because he is a Malferret! …But thinking hurts!
So Granger didn't move again, and rested her head back down onto their pillow. As her eyes closed, Draco realized that this was a very bad thing. This was a mudblood Gryffindor, who was bad! Very bad! He would not allow himself to be degraded like this! He would get his affairs in order and mock her for getting drunk, then go have toast in the Great Hall and go for a ride on his broom! He would not fall to her seduction and curl around her! He did not fancy her!
Eh, screw it. She was hot, smelled good, and apparently really liked him. So Draco snuggled up against her, burrowing his face into her neck, and allowed himself to nod back off into unawareness, Granger's sluggish train of thought fading to a whisper in the back of his mind that took too much energy to sort out.
I really don't want to leave.
Granger was a lot less upset when she woke up an hour later. She was used to the idea of sleeping next to her enemy now, and had found she quite enjoyed it, and didn't want to sleep anywhere else, ever again. However, she imagined telling her crush that was a death wish, so she just kissed his arm, which was still draped over her, and unearthed herself from his embrace, standing up slowly. It was with a heavy heart that Granger turned around to get one last look at the sleeping teenage boy, and she smiled sadly at his sleeping face, so innocent and unmarred by a scowl or smirk. She felt blessed in seeing this, and yet left the room quickly, not allowing herself to indulge in unattainable dreams.
After a hangover cure potion that she talked Madame Pomphrey into giving her, Hermione went to lunch in the Great Hall, and was amused to find she was the only student above fourth year at the Gryffindor table. She knew she was probably the person who had drank the most the previous night in her house, but was still the only person to reach for the coffee that morning. Well, all the better for her. It would be harder to avoid Ginny's knowing looks and Ron's suggestive grins now that the Yule Ball was over and they were no longer distracted by dresses and dancing.
Purposely keeping her mind away from Draco and waking up next to him, she argued with Madame Pomphrey for another half an hour, and was finally given a small cauldron (which she shrunk) of Hangover Cure, and delivered it to the Gryffindor Common room. Granger was disgusted to find that half of the house was spread out across the floor, their faces imprinted with the weave of the red carpet. Eventually she managed to rouse the large group and ration out cups of her potion, though she flat out refused to give any to Dean or the Weasley twins, as personal revenge. A small part of her reminded her that if she had not drank the drinks offered to her, she would have never gotten to sleep in Draco Malfoy's arms, but she silenced the thought with a reminder of the teasing she would no doubt have to endure once Draco saw her. The rumors he could start!
Fortunately, or unfortunately, Granger got stuck caring for her dizzy companions for most of the day, and did not return to her own common room until it was once again dark outside. She had wiped her brow with her sleeve; sighing in exhaustion, and assumed that Draco would be off gallivanting with his Slytherin pals, possibly nursing their hangovers as well. But since Malfoys nursed no one, Draco was instead spread out across the sofa when she crawled through the portrait hole, and was dressed in alarmingly sexy black jeans and a green sweater no doubt not made by his mother. He looked up with a blank expression as she gulped and tried to figure out whether walking ten steps to her bedroom was better than the four steps to the window. Surely jumping out of it would be faster?
Draco waited for her to move, not picking his head up off the throw pillow it was resting on. He could see her uneasiness, as well as hear it, and was determined to make her speak first. He was rather disturbed by her frequent glances towards the window to her left… but then again that was not as disturbing as hearing his best male friend think about how Harry Potter's hair was so shiny.
"Um," Granger started nervously as she shut the portrait behind her. Only when it clicked into its lock did she remember she could have just crawled back out and walked away. But it was too late now. "Hi."
Oh great, what a sophisticated thing to say, Hermione. Is that the best you can do? Now he's looking at you funny.
"Hello," he responded slowly, trying not to unnerve her. Liking someone in this manner was new to Draco, who had never had to talk to a woman about something like friendship or dating. He was more of a 'Wham, bam, thank you mam' type of guy in all honesty. Granger stopped her pondering of the distance from their tower to the ground below and stiffly walked over to sit in an armchair across from him. He watched her over the coffee table, and considered why she was breathing so quickly. On second thought, why was he breathing so quickly?
Ok, slowly Hermione. Just thank him. Or ask him what happened. Or just say something understandable. But nothing incriminating.
Draco blinked. Any second now she would say something. But she just huffed, starting to hyperventilate. He arched his blond eyebrow, wondering if she was going to be ill. Her cheeks were growing rosy, and her chest was rapidly expanding and deflating, sending her shoulders up and down quickly. It was kind of cute. In an understated, modest way.
Damn it, he really had lost his mind!
"Thankyoufortakingcareofmelastight," she finally stammered in a rush of air, fast enough so no normal man could understand her. However, Draco was not ordinary, and had the advantage of hearing what she had really meant to say.
Thank you for taking care of me last night.
She immediately blushed the color of her Weasley sweater, a dark pink that did nothing for her coloring, and began to chew on her bottom lip, her tiny white teeth looking nothing like the old beaver clompers he had seen in his first three years at Hogwarts. He sat up, swinging his legs over to the front of the sofa, and looked her dead in the eye. She predictably froze.
"You're welcome, Granger. Although you might want to pick your friends better. If McGonagall or Filch had caught you wandering about the school piss drunk after curfew, rest assured that you'd be spending the rest of the year sleeping in the normal Gryffindor seventh year girls dorms." As in fired, he added mentally. It went unsaid, and she nodded meekly. Satisfied that she had said what she had to say, and that he had proven his point, he stood up, his slightly too long sweater sleeves falling past his hands. Draco frowned; no doubt realizing that having too large clothing took away the effect from his intimidation technique. Granger giggled, her calm persona reforming now that the hard part was over. Slightly embarrassed, he sneered at her, and walked away.
Great, you ruined it Hermione. He was being pleasant, for lack of a better word, and you had to go and laugh at him.
Just as his hand rested on the doorknob, she asked quickly,
"I didn't vomit on you, did I?"
Oh, that's just so much better! WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU? Merlin, is that the least romantic thing you could think of? Avada me now. Honestly.
He smirked at her embarrassment and turned back around, sliding his hands into his pockets. She didn't look away though, and other than the red coloring in her cheeks, no one would have ever known of the self-loathing within her neat appearance. He did know her too well. Granger met his smirk with a timid smile of her own, and fiddled with the fuzzy collar of her sweater, which she now realized was not only frumpy, but also completely unflattering. Never before had Hermione Granger wished for a corset. Draco chuckled.
"No you did not vomit on me, Granger, though you did help me ring in the New Year." He winked, before opening his bedroom door and leaving her to gasp on her own. Did he mean… NO! She couldn't even remember it!
On the other side of the door Draco released a muffled groan, wishing for once that he had a giant teddy or something of the sort to hug. He needed a friend to give him advice, and more importantly to distract him from how much he wanted to go out and snog Granger.
Granger avoided Draco after New Year's Day. He wasn't sure why she would do such a thing, and could only think she was embarrassed. Of course, on the surface one would think he was glad that he didn't have to face the muggleborns witch any more than necessary, but the truth was that he was a little worried. Granger did her homework in Gryffindor Tower or in her bedroom, always left Prefect meetings with a friend, and never walked alone in the halls, most likely fearing being tugged into a closet by a stranger. It was wearing on his patience, and he found that he began to miss her.
But he still had classes with her, that was not something she could change, and he always tried to sit no more than three rows behind the Gryffindor, to ensure he could hear her thoughts clearly. The thing was, every time her train of thought drifted toward him, she would distract herself and change the subject, refusing to dwell on him any more than necessary. This was disheartening, and yet not something he could change.
January changed to February, and soon girls began to giggle over secret admirers and pink dresses, annoying Draco constantly. He began to stake out in the Head Common Room, in hopes of catching Granger and to avoid the flurries of girls who had taken to stalking him through the hallways. But he was unsuccessful at finding the bookworm, and only set himself up for disappointment.
Draco did not appreciate being disappointed.
On February 13th, Professor Slughorn amused his seventh year NEWT class by teaching them how to make a love potion, and Malfoy memorized it's appearance in case any tramps such as Pansy tried to slip him some during dinner. The extra effort proved necessary, as his water took on a pearly sheen the next day at some point during his meal. He amused himself briefly by giving the goblet to a thirsty Crabbe, who had just come back from bullying a Ravenclaw into doing his homework for him. The Slytherin leapt to his feet and ran over to propose to a mortified Hufflepuff, who had turned an alarming shade of green and ran out of the hall, only to be chased through the building to her common room. Draco rolled his eyes and sauntered out, though he did registered the fact that Granger was not dining with her friends. But Draco pegged her absence to her disgust at the male Weasel's fan of frilly pink Valentines that he had somehow gathered during the course of the day.
But when Draco entered his common room, he heard a most frightful sound, one he was not at all expecting.
Crying, soft and quiet so that if he were to swish his cloak he wouldn't even hear it. He froze and looked over to its direction.
The door to Granger's bedroom was ajar, and a small sliver of light stretched across the dark carpet, landing at Draco's feet. He bit his lip and wondered what had happened, for once concerned for someone other than himself. He gently slipped off his loafers and set them down inside the portrait hole, before tiptoeing across the ground to peer into the room, resting his hand on the doorknob to keep it from swinging open. Granger was sitting on the floor in front of the fireplace, her knees pulled up to her chin with her arms around them. He tilted his head to the side, surprised that she was bothered. He couldn't recall seeing the girl crying in years, since she never did so in public. To be fair, she was in private now, and thought she was alone, but it didn't matter to him.
Not one. Were you honestly surprised? Who would love you, you never pull your eyes away from a book and never wear more make up than subtle lipstick and blush! No guy would ever like you, not in a million years. Mike just wanted a summer fling to keep him entertained, and Ron's off trying to hook up with every blond in our year before graduation. Are you blond? No. Are you sexy? No. So what were you expecting?
Draco's face softened as he realized what he had walked in on. She hadn't gotten any Valentines, and was alone on the supposedly most romantic day of the year. His heart went out to her, and he wondered why no one liked her anyway. She wasn't sexy in an obvious sort of way, but had a subtle prettiness about her, something like that. She had terrible hair, it was true, but Draco had caught himself on multiple occasions wishing he could reach out and touch it, to see if it was as soft as it looked. Draco wished he had thought to send her a Valentine, anonymous of course, just to let her know that she wasn't as ugly as she thought. That she wasn't ugly at all.
Not that he loved her or anything. He barely liked the chick; he just wanted to bed her so that he would stop thinking about her! However, he didn't really believe himself, even. Granger wasn't just some chick; she was the girl whose thoughts he had been listening to for months now like an addictive radio show. He hadn't called her or even thought of her as a mudblood since last year, and felt like socking any Slytherin who did in his presence. He was changing, whether he liked it or not, and his opinion of her was changing too.
You know what you were expecting. You wanted Malfoy to ride up on a white horse and proclaim so everyone could hear, "I love you, Hermione Granger!" Well, he's not going to, so you can just kiss that dream goodbye. Yup, see it just fade away, completely unreachable. He hates you, as does every other single male in the school apparently.
Draco couldn't listen to her cut herself down while crying into her uniform wool skirt, he couldn't do it. He had a heart, one that seemed to have grown over the summer, and damn it, he didn't want such a lovely person to think so poorly of herself!
He sounded like a bloody Hufflepuff, didn't he?
"Lonely on prom night, Granger?" he asked, repeating something his mother had said once to a depressed cousin. It sounded good, and he hoped it was relevant. She choked on a sob and didn't look up, seemingly paying him no attention.
What a perfect way to end such a crappy day. Gods, what did I ever do to you?
Granger didn't answer, and he blinked, not used to being ignored. Taking matters into his own hands, he padded across the carpet in his socks and sunk down next to her, keeping a good foot between their shoulders for safety reasons. An upset Granger was often a violent one. Flicking his hair back out of his eyes, he leaned his weight onto his palms behind him and stretched his legs out in front of him, the polar opposite of the girl beside him, who was still curled up into a tight ball.
She didn't stop crying, and was still paying him no notice. Draco, a young adult who happened to hate awkward silences, kept talking, although he wasn't really sure what to say,
"Don't you hate this day? It's all made of pink and ignorant teenagers comparing how many Valentines they got. It's pointless really, I didn't send any. Besides, half of the Valentines sent today are from people who don't really feel strongly enough for the receiver anyway. It's just false hope. That's all this day is." No answer, although he sensed that the tears were stopping. But he might have been imagining it. Looking over at her hidden face, Draco said calmly, "Come on Granger, you know as well as I do that tomorrow everything will continue on as normal, and none of this nonsense will matter."
Great, now he's trying to comfort me. Of all people who could have sat down next to me, did you have to choose him? Huh God? Is this funny to you?
Knowing she wasn't taking him seriously, and that he probably wasn't helping, Draco scooted over towards her, before wrapping his arm around her shoulder. She shrugged it off.
"Granger, this is silly. It's just one stupid holiday created by sadistic businessmen who wanted to sell cards." She finally looked up at him, her face glistening with tears and shining pink. He bit back a gasp, surprised to see her with all her defenses down and no books to hide behind. This was the real Hermione Granger, without her bodyguards and obnoxious retorts to any insult imaginable. It was hard for him to keep his face blank at the sight of the hurt and fear and loneliness in her eyes, rimmed with a border of red. No secrets. No thoughts he couldn't already see. Her face was slick and swollen, as if she had been slapped a hundred times over. She had apparently been crying for a while. Granger sniffled, before asking in a hoarse whisper,
"Then how c-come every year i-it makes me f-feel so worthless?" She looked down, automatically regretting saying anything to her enemy. He couldn't believe she would confide anything to him, after the six years of torture he had put her through. To be honest, he wasn't exactly sure what to do now. He'd gotten her to say something, and now she was obviously waiting for him to say something. He hated situations like this, where someone depended on him to make them feel better. But it wasn't like he was a euphoric person. He was a sadist for Merlin's sake!
So he didn't say anything. Instead he leant over and wrapped his arms around her, just below her shoulders, and pulled her against him and into a hug. He set his palm against the back of her head and guided it onto her shoulder, where surprisingly she burrowed her face into the folds of his robe. A delicate smile rose on his face as he circled around her, letting her melt against him. This was new for him, but his main concern was not keeping up his brisk appearance at the moment, it was cheering her up.
"You're not worthless," he whispered in dulcet tones, surprising himself with his own gentleness. She hiccupped as he continued, "Don't ever believe you are, Granger."
I wish he would call me Hermione.
"Please, Hermione, don't cry over this," he rephrased, wondering what was happening to him. He was going soft and he didn't even care! This was the fork in the road, he could laugh at her and go back to his Malfoyish ways, or he could stay here and change his path, be with Hermione. But damn it, he had already made up his mind back over the summer when his father had stood before him, beaming manically with a job well done. 'You'll never guess who I just killed, Draco. That little mudblood Granger's an orphan, and you knew it before even she did! No need to thank me.'
"If-if I'm worth something, how c-come no one else thinks so?" she stammered, shamelessly wiping her snotty nose on the lapel of his robes. He laughed humorlessly, not believing what he was about to tell her. Not hesitating, Draco rubbed his hand on her spine lightly and responded,
"I think so. And that makes it true." She blinked, scowling. She was still skeptical, and he frowned too as he heard her doubts. Now nervous himself, he sighed and added the only thing that would convince her. "I think you're worth the world, Hermione. I think- no I know- that I love you."
Well I'll be damned. Hell has frozen over.
He chuckled, awkwardly pulling at a strand of her worn Weasley sweater. Did that girl have any other sweaters?
"And if you'll have me, I'll be your Valentine." The words sounded bitter in his mouth, because changed or not, he was still a Slytherin. Slytherins just didn't say things like that. Maybe Potter would, but not Draco Malfoy. Draco scowled. Now smiling, her eyes still watery, Hermione twisted her head so that her cheek was pressed against his shoulder, and looked up at him sheepishly.
"You don't have to say that mushy stuff, Draco," she advised with a giggle. His unpleasant expression faded, to be replaced with a smile. A full-blown smile that seemed to light up the room. A smile that Hermione had never seen before. Or perhaps she had, but thanks to a few dozen cups of Fire Whiskey, she couldn't actually remember. He shifted her in his arms so he could fish his handkerchief out of his pocket, and when he had it safely in his grasp, he swept it gently over her face, mopping up the moisture. She let him, just blinked innocently up at him.
Maybe it was worth not getting twenty thousand valentines, just to be here now.
Dropping the handkerchief on the floor, Draco placed a kiss on the tip of her nose, making her giggle like the schoolgirl that she was for the first time in her life. She bit her lip, an irritating bad habit; and intending on making her stop, he twisted his neck to kiss her soundly on the lips.
Draco Malfoy had never seen a muggle movie in his life, nor had he read any romance novels, or listened to Lavender Brown and Parvati Patil rant about the perfect kiss, but Hermione had. And for once she understood what they had all been talking about, that second of understanding, and bliss, and the click of everything just coming together. Where your mind just goes blank, and you can't concentrate or think about your popular friends or dead family or upcoming testing. For once, Hermione Granger's brain was silent, and the only thought that Draco heard during their caring, loving kiss was,
There is no problem, Malfoy.
Draco stood in front of the mirror in Hermione's bathroom, the door open a few inches so he could check his new girlfriend was still asleep. He smiled as he looked out at her, fast asleep in her rosy pink pajamas, with her cat curled up beside her. He was spending the night, and reminded himself with a playful smirk, how he would be shacking up on the couch. But that was no matter, he was content.
Which was why he held his wand in his hand, and his father's leather bound notebook in his other, and took a deep breath. It wouldn't take long, and it was the right thing to do, he knew that and didn't doubt it. Draco ran his tongue across his still swollen lips and knew that he had no more use for his ability. He glanced one final time out of the door to check that she was still asleep. Which she was, and he noted with a smug smirk that she was dreaming about him. That only furthered his point; he didn't need them anymore.
His breath spreading steam across the mirror, he whispered softly, looking directly into his own gray eyes,
"Thank you father," before going about the charms that would end his mind-reading talents.
A/N: So, did you like it? Please review, a one-shot this long deserves at least thirty, right? Anyway, please tell me what you liked, since I'm not used to writing pure fluff and humor fics like this one. And no, before you ask, I will not be doing a sequel. But anyway, tell me what you think! Laters!
Final Word Count: 13190