Author's Note: Well, here's something new. I usually write for High School Musical, but I'm a huge fan of Draco/Hermione and I wanted to try this.
Disclaimer: I don't own any part of Harry Potter. Where's the genie with the three wishes when you need him?
Hermione Granger walked down a lonely street, watching as a streetlight flickered and struggled to stay on. Not many people were out at this hour; most were safe at home, either watching television or tucked up in their beds. It was just a chilly, brisk night, something that most people didn't care too much about.
But they didn't know that the biggest battle in Wizarding history would be taking place tomorrow.
Unfortunately, Hermione did. As well as her good friends Harry and Ron, Ginny and Luna, and other assorted Aurors and members of the Order of the Phoenix.
Years of stress, fear, and constant battling had left all of them gaunt and hardened. The Golden Trio no longer flinched when they watched someone die. An occasional tear might drift down a cheek, but it would be quickly shoved away as the person moved on to fight again. They were no longer the naïve, innocent children that they once were. Hermione herself had dark circles under her eyes, proof of long nights spent planning and trying to outwit Voldemort and his Death Eaters. Harry's green eyes no longer sparkled with mischief, instead having the fierce gleam of someone who has seen too much. And Ron was not the goofball of the group anymore. It was now rare for him to crack a joke, or even play a short game of Wizards' Chess, his favorite game. The three friends had grown up too fast, and they all hated the burden that had been placed on their shoulders at a very early age: the task of protecting the Wizarding world and defeating Voldemort.
Turning into a small park, Hermione caught a glimpse of a teenage couple, sneaking kisses beneath the moon. She couldn't but think to herself that they were huge targets, illuminated in the moonlight. But of course, they had eyes and thoughts only for each other.
A sudden, envious feeling filled Hermione's stomach. As pretty and intelligent as she was, she'd never had a real relationship in her life. She did date Ron for a few months in seventh year, seeing as they'd both needed comfort after Dumbledore's death. But they'd soon realized that it was nothing but an infatuation, and they broke up without any hard feelings. Amazingly, there was no awkwardness between them, and Hermione was grateful for that. She didn't know how she would bear life without being able to nag and yell (good-naturedly, of course) at Ron.
Harry had changed as well. He wasn't the hormonal teenager he used to be, filled with petty jealousy and shallow crushes. The emotion of love had all but left his heart, as if he had locked it up in a box somewhere. He still held a protective instinct for the people closest to him, but other than that, he could be found waving off the attempts of crazed fan girls. Harry had gotten rid of his glasses, finding that they slid down his nose too often during battle. Working together with Hermione, he placed a permanent spell on his eyes to correct his vision, thus eliminating the need for glasses. Of course, this allowed his green eyes to be seen more clearly, and his piercing orbs became a symbol of pop culture.
Hogwarts was never the same without Dumbledore. Professor McGonagall did her best as the new Headmistress, but she wasn't as widely respected as Dumbledore. In fact, nothing was ever the same anymore. Without Dumbledore as a mentor, Harry was a little delusional for some time, blatantly stating that he would skip the last year of Hogwarts in order to search for the remaining Horcruxes. It took a little convincing, but in the end, Hermione was able to persuade him that he should return to Hogwarts for one final year. In order for him to destroy the Horcruxes, meet Voldemort in a final battle and come out alive, she said, he needed all of the extra training he could get.
Hermione unknowingly drifted under a willow tree, her eyes brimming with tears as she thought of the wise old wizard that had been brutally murdered so many years ago. It was the night when Dumbledore and Harry had left to find another potential Horcrux, the locket of Slytherin. Harry told her that Dumbledore had been forced to drink a potion that weakened him in order to even touch the locket. But once they approached the piece, they found a note signed by the mysterious "R.A.B." And as they returned to Hogwarts, they found the school overrun by Death Eaters, let in through the Vanishing Cabinet by Draco Malfoy.
Her heart hardened as she thought of the man she held responsible for Dumbledore's death. Hermione was usually a forgiving person, almost incapable of holding sour feelings towards another. But Malfoy was a different situation.
He'd always put her down, told her how inferior she was because of her Muggle background. Normally, she would just walk off with Harry and Ron, refusing to let him see how much if hurt. But then, later on that day, she could often be found crying in the dormitory, absolutely confused as to why the insult hurt her so much. She even went so far as to punch him in their third year. Boy, had that felt good.
But it was no longer as simple as punching Malfoy in the face. He was now a Death Eater, one of the most prolific ones in history. He rose through the ranks even faster than his father did, becoming one of Voldemort's most trusted advisors. Hermione and her friends knew this because every time the two sides had clashed on the battle field, which was nearing a count of fifty before they had even reached the age of twenty-five, barely eight years out of Hogwarts, they had seen Malfoy standing proudly on the right side of Voldemort himself.
Hermione leaned against the strong trunk of the willow tree. Closing her eyes, she listened as the wind ruffled the graceful branches, and she heard the crickets chirping from unseen locations. Savor this moment of peace and tranquility, she said to herself. It may be the last one you ever have.
Truth to be told, Hermione was actually terrified of what could happen during the Final Battle. She and Harry had mapped out every possible strategy they could dream of, but it still didn't seem like it would work against Voldemort's massive army. Ron had taken on the responsibility of learning to use every weapon possible, from a wand to fists to Muggle guns. Mr. Weasley found the Muggle weapons very interesting, and would have taken them apart for observation had Ron not stepped in and told him that they were needed for training.
It was strange to see Hermione Granger scared. She was Hogwarts' Golden Girl, Head Girl, and the very image of the Gryffindor lion. As far as her fellow classmates knew, she never got frightened, she never backed down from a challenge, and she always threw herself into whatever task was placed before her.
But that was because she always knew what was going to happen. Everything in Hogwarts was so predictable, even the lessons and the exams and the expectations. However, now that they were in a real war, one that could affect mankind if not ended, things were suddenly jumbled and confusing. Their future was murky and unclear. Hermione and her friends lived in constant fear of losing their lives.
Behind her, a stick cracked. Being so high-strung, she jumped, whipping out her wand as a reflex. Spinning around, she held her wand out in the air, surprisingly still and unwavering. She never quivered when holding a wand and defending her life anymore.
"Who's there?" she barked, peering into the darkness. A figure stepped into the beam of moonlight that was shining between the willow leaves. It was a man, tall, lithe, and blond.
She reacted immediately, bounding up to him and pointing her wand at his throat. "What do you want, you worthless piece of filth?" she growled.
Unlike the Draco Malfoy she knew from Hogwarts, this one looked nervous and terrified. He glanced around quickly, before pulling out his wand and muttering a silencing charm around the tree, plus a spell that prevented people from Apparating within the space. Noticing her glare, he tossed his wand on the ground, kicking it out of reach.
Draco stole one last glance around the tree, then leaned forward and whispered, "Listen, your side will be at a great disadvantage tomorrow. The Dark Lord has built up a massive army, and he's thoroughly planned out his tactics in order to utilize its talents. He's recruited a lot of dementors from Azkaban, so you would be wise to place those with the strongest Patronuses in the front ranks. After that the main army wave will approach, along with the Inferi. If you have house-elves, they should be able to repel the Inferi—"
Hermione's head was spinning. "How can I trust you? Why are you telling me this?" she all but shouted.
"Shh!" Draco hissed. "I don't have much time. Do you want to hear this or not?"
Repeating her question, Hermione said, with more force, "Why are you telling me this? Why are you letting me in on the secrets of Voldemort's—" Draco flinched when she said his name, "army?"
"Because I'm sick and tired of the fighting. I'm only twenty-four, and I don't want to see another battle. Bloody hell, our sides have clashed almost fifty times!"
Hermione crossed her arms, making sure that her wand was firmly in her grasp. "Deep words coming from a Death Eater. And did I mention, the deadliest one in years?"
Sighing heavily, Draco replied, "Look, Granger, I'm not proud of the reputation I have. It's not like I had a choice either!"
"Yes you did!" Hermione had to stop herself from stomping her foot. "You did have a choice, Malfoy! You had a choice to break the expectations your family had set for you! You had the choice to join the Light side! You had the ability to choose whether or not to kill Dumbledore!" She was practically screaming now.
At the mention of the deceased Headmaster, Draco's eyes grew cold. "I didn't kill Dumbledore," he growled.
"You let the Death Eaters in through the Vanishing Cabinet. You led them through the castle, to the place where Dumbledore and Harry would return. You held a wand to Dumbledore's chest!" Hermione screamed. "You're a murderer, a cold-blooded killer. You've no mind for anyone but yourself and your precious Dark Lord!"
All of a sudden, he was advancing towards her, a frightening look on his face. The breath left Hermione's lungs, and she backed up fearfully, knowing what he was capable. Her back hit one of the branches of the willow tree, and she clung to it, willing it to disappear so that she could escape. But that didn't stop her from glaring bravely into Draco's stone-gray eyes.
He silently admired her bravery. Leaning in, he placed his face near hers, not noticing as her breath hitched. "Granger, listen to me, and listen well. I did not kill Dumbledore! I'm not proud of what I did that night, all right? There's never a day where I don't regret my part in his death. His voice comes to me every night, repeating those same words over and over again. He's telling me that I'm not a killer, that I can turn to the side of Light. But I am a murderer, I'm a Death Eater, and I hate it!" Draco was yelling now. "The Dark Lord threatened me with death if I didn't join him." His voice grew quieter, and he whispered, "I'm risking my life right now, trying to help you."
For reasons she didn't know, her temper flared up again. Hermione brought her wand up and pointed it at the center of his chest, jabbing it and pushing him away. She kept the wand level with his heart as she slowly walked towards him. "We don't need your pity," she growled.
Draco sighed exasperatedly. He ran a hand through his hair and said, "I'm not trying to give you charity, Granger! Can't you see that? I can't believe I'm saying this, but I want the Dark Lord dead and your side to emerge victorious so this stupid war can end already!"
Hermione opened her mouth to speak, but found his hand to be clapped firmly against her mouth. "Now, I'm going to give you this information, whether you like it or not." His eyes were hard, and Hermione saw that struggling would be pointless. She deflated, and Draco took that as his cue to continue.
"Alright, like I said, the main wave of Death Eaters will be accompanied by the Inferi. House elves should be able to repel the undead, seeing as they have some very powerful magic. The Death Eaters are now very powerful, as the Dark Lord has been training them himself lately. Make sure that your army is made up of the strongest witches and wizards possible. If the main wave has been extinguished, he has trolls and giants waiting in the back, ready to charge at his command. You'd best…"
Hermione tuned out after that. He seemed to be getting distracted, as his hand was slowly slipping from his mouth. She noticed this, and in one swift movement had escaped his grasp and pointed her wand at his chest yet again. "You didn't answer my first question, Malfoy. Now I'm going to repeat it one last time, and you're going to answer if you ever want to get out of this alive," she said, a dangerous tone taking over her voice.
"Fine." She blinked; shocked that he would give in so easily. But she shook off her initial surprise and steeled her nerves for whatever answer may come.
"How can I trust you?" she whispered. "After all you've done to me at Hogwarts, with all of your tormenting. That never just glanced off of me; every time you attacked me with a new insult, I would cry myself to sleep at night.
"After what you've done to our friends, our allies. Harry, Ron, and I have been forced to grow up faster than we should have. All because we've lost loved ones to your side. Harry and I lost our parents, and Ron lost Percy and Charlie. He's never gotten over their deaths, you know. Every year, when the anniversary of their death rolls around, he doesn't leave his room. He just stays there, staring at a picture of his brothers." Tears were starting to course down her cheeks.
"After all you've done and what you've been involved in, how can I trust you? For all I know, you could be feeding me false information, information that you know I would pass on to Harry and Ron, information that could make me responsible for their deaths. Your army could be way more powerful than what you've told me. I'd be responsible for so many deaths, countless lives lost…how can I trust you?" her voice was barely more than a whisper. Her wand had lowered unconsciously, something that neither of them noticed.
His cold heart melted as he watched the girl in front of him break down in a wave of emotions. This wasn't the Hermione Granger he knew from Hogwarts. That girl hardly ever cried, almost never showed fear, and was always a strong helping hand to Potter. This girl standing in front of him, with sad eyes and tear-stained cheeks couldn't be the know-it-all from his school years. Her emotional side scared him, somewhat.
And yet, he loved it. Hermione's emotional overload allowed him to see another side of her, a side that she had always hidden and protected. It was a side of her personality that he had never seen before. He watched as Hermione's eyes locked with his, searching for an answer.
Then, he did something he'd never envisioned himself doing.
In two long strides, he had pushed her up against the willow tree's trunk. Hermione barely had time to react before she felt his lips pressing down upon hers, tenderly but full of passion and desire. She stood there like a statue, unsure of how to react.
Draco wound an arm around her waist, pulling her closer to him. Slowly, Hermione started kissing him back, causing him to smile into the kiss. Her fingertips nimbly danced up his muscular chest, before snaking around his neck and burying in his hair. His other hand reached up to cup her cheek.
His tongue ran along her bottom lip, begging for entrance. Hermione decided to play with him and kept her mouth firmly shut, causing the arm around her waist to tighten in frustration. Then, he gently bit down on her lip. A groan slipped unwillingly out of her mouth, and the hand that she had buried in his hair pushed down, bringing him closer.
Draco nibbled on her lip one more time, moaning when she finally let him in. The kiss turned into something like many of their previous encounters; a battle for dominance and supremacy. Their tongues dueled one another, fighting fiercely and wanting the other to surrender, but strangely wanting it to continue at the same time.
Much to their regret, they had to pull away for air, but kept their arms wrapped around each other. Draco cursed the human lungs and their constant need for oxygen. Hermione's mind was whirring, screaming at her for kissing the enemy. But for the first time in her life, she told her brain to shut up and let her be.
Their foreheads rested together as both Draco and Hermione tried to catch their breaths. His eyes met hers, and they turned away, blushing.
"Did that answer your question, Hermione?" he whispered.
She closed her eyes and smiled, remembering the feel of his warm lips against hers. Reaching up, she touched her now-swollen mouth gingerly, and then opened her eyes to look at him again. "I'm still not sure if I can trust you," she replied regretfully. "I mean, I wish there was a technical way to find whether or not you really were telling the truth."
"No need." Draco's hands left her waist (which then felt cold without his warm touch) to fumble with something within his robes. She watched interestedly, then gasped when he pulled out a small, empty potion vial.
"What is that?" she asked, reaching out for it. He placed it gently in her hands. Hermione turned the vial over, and her eyes widened when she read the label.
Looking up at Draco, she saw that he was nodding, indicating that he had taken the potion. Still unbelieving, Hermione took her wand and muttered a simple charm, one that would show whether a person had ingested a potion or not. Waving it over Draco, her mouth dropped open when the wand glowed with a blue aura, signifying that he had indeed taken the concoction.
"Veritaserum," she breathed.
So...there it is. Sorry if Draco and Hermione were a bit OOC. Reviews are greatly appreciated!
Happy New Year everyone!