Awakenings - Part Eight

"Hermione."

"In a minute," she said, holding a hand up.

Draco held the smile in, not that it mattered all that much. The only time she paid him any sort of attention was when he spoke, and even then he was dismissed without a glance. He quickly decided it wasn't best to aggravate her, she did have a frightful temper, and they still needed to discuss one very important subject. Blaise.

It had only been delayed earlier, and Draco wanted it to be done already. He hadn't really given much thought to how he would approach the subject, there were things that needed to be asked, he had questions he really needed answers to. It was a relief to know how Hermione felt towards him, and he wanted to be secure enough with all that it entailed. In any ordinary circumstances that would be enough, and it almost was. There was just that part of him that needed something else, someone else. Draco wasn't ready to put that label on to how he needed them. It didn't differ all that much from the capacity in which he needed Hermione.

He could talk to Hermione, explain his thoughts and feelings about certain things, but when it came down to it; there were some things that he could only talk to Blaise about. This being the perfect example, ordinarily he'd go straight to him, and talk this through with him. It was impossible to however, even if they were on normal speaking terms, how exactly did one go up to their friend and talk about fancying said friend?

That's what it was, Blaise was first and foremost his friend. A friend he would dearly love to have back in his corner, there was just that other part of him that hadn't minded kissing him on that fateful day, and wasn't at all adverse to doing it again.

If only it were that simple.

The girl beside him with her nose barely an inch from the pages of an ancient textbook, and her quill flying across parchment as she read. She complicated it. And he didn't really mind the complication, it just made things difficult.

If he were living in an ideal world, where everything he wanted came true. He'd have both of them, and all the complications, all the things that made this situation difficult would fade into oblivion.

He wasn't though, this was the real world. He would have to deal with his messes, he'd have to clean them up as best he could.

"Okay, I'm done," Hermione sighed, putting her quill down finally. Draco smiled as he watched her rub the ink from her fingertips onto her pants, "So what have you wanted to talk about for the last - hour! Oh my," she exclaimed looking at her watch. "I didn't realise it had been so long, I'm sorry."

"It's okay, it has given me some thinking time," Draco shrugged, looking around them. The bookshelves towered over them, secluding them from prying eyes, they did nothing to stop them from being heard. "Could you do that spell that Potter used to do, when he wanted no-one to hear what you lot were talking about?"

"Sure," she nodded, grabbing her wand from the table, and muttering the spell. "All private, what were you thinking about?" She asked quietly, leaning towards him.

"Everything. You, Blaise, and me. A complicated little scenario," he said sadly. "I don't want it to be so complicated."

"Then we should un-complicate it," Hermione smiled, squeezing her hand in his own.

He nodded taking a deep breath, "There is something we need to talk about first. Something I should have told you about, right at the beginning."

Hermione didn't say anything, which Draco took as a sign to continue as she looked at him steadily.

"That day, when everything started, it wasn't as simple as Blaise kissing me, and then you and I here in the library," Draco said slowly. "I saw something, and it surprised me. I was hurt, confused and it forced me to think about certain things. It brought that whole moment with Blaise and myself to fruition. It was the catalyst. You know what I'm talking about?"

"Draco it didn't mean anything. It was lovely," she smiled softly. "But as for feelings, there were none. I won't say I didn't enjoy it, and maybe entertain the possibility of something between us. But the next day, Blaise spoke to me, and pretty much told me there was nothing, and there wasn't going to be anything. So I moved on."

"He told you that?"

"Uh-huh, I didn't think all that much on it then, because of what happened with you and me. Looking back, I think we were both doing the same thing."

"What?"

"Ignoring a possible in favour of something else, something that we felt held more promise. He just didn't get his more."

"You did though."

"At his expense."

"I should have told you, right from the start. If I'd been upfront with both of you, then maybe none of this would have happened."

"You don't know that, hindsight isn't all that helpful at times."

"I should have at least told you what I saw, you should have known that I watched you and Blaise under that blasted mistletoe. Then what happened after."

"I know now."

"And you haven't run for the hills screaming just yet..."

"I won't," she said firmly.

"Give it a minute," Draco said quietly. "There's something else. In light of this honesty, and our status, you have to know."

"I'm a big fan of honesty."

Taking a deep breath, Draco looked around them. To the people passing by their quiet little spot, back to Hermione, the only one who could hear him. "It's Blaise. I think, I know, my feelings towards him aren't platonic anymore, I don't think they have for a while."

"How so?" She asked, holding his eyes, "Like they are towards me?"

"Exactly like that," Draco whispered.

Her eyes fluttered closed, a hand coming up and covering them.

"Hermione?"

"A minute, please," Draco just heard the soft whisper she let out.

He sat quietly watching her, he tried to tell himself that this was a good thing. She had to know, there was no way he could keep this from her. It would have never been an easy thing to tell someone, he should just be grateful for it being out there, right now he failed to see the benefits. A sinking feeling was settling over him, a horrible feeling that he may have just screwed everything up yet again.

"I have to go," Hermione said quickly, grabbing her bag from the floor beside her, throwing her books in without care.

"Hermione, we should talk about this."

"Not now, please not now," she stood up, pushing her chair back roughly.

"Hermione please," he said urgently, standing and grabbing her hand.

"No!" She snapped pulling her hand free. "Draco please," she whispered. "I am doing my best to remain calm, to not be judgmental, or come of as a jealous shrew. I am trying to understand, I want to be a good friend, I really do, but I can't."

"Then talk to me, I just want you to talk to me."

"I can't," she cried. "Ninety minutes ago you were happy to be my boyfriend, you made me feel that was enough for you. I thought you were happy with that, but now you are telling me that you fancy someone else. I need to wrap my head around this, you need to let me do that."

Draco nodded, stepping away from her, watching her shoulders fall as she moved away from him. All but running as she left the library, with more than a few looks heading her way.

She knows, Draco kept repeating to himself. Least she knows.

---

He couldn't be sure, but he was pretty bloody close to being sure. She was avoiding him. It was pretty clear. Hermione Granger didn't not enter the library over a weekend, nor did she not eat in the Great Hall, even Dobby had assured him that she hadn't eaten in the kitchen. Not that really pictured her doing that, she wouldn't make them prepare anything especially for her. Draco kept walking around corners hoping that she would be there, but she wasn't. The last time he'd seen her was when she was darting away from him in the library.

After several hours camped outside the portrait into the Gryffindor dormitory, where all he gained was a well placed hex, he'd left it alone. He wanted to see her, they needed to talk about everything, but it had to be on her terms. Draco had dropped quite a bundle in her lap, and it was hardly fair to push her to talk about it. He had to give her time, he just didn't like it.

He was starting to feel that maybe he'd given her enough time, and maybe now it was time to push her to talk about it. It was with that thought in mind that he was packing his bag for classes on Monday morning, when the owl tapped on his window. Draco crossed to the window, and let the school owl in. It landed in front of the fireplace, warming itself as he removed the letter. Draco,

We need to talk about it all. Meet me in the Heads office at lunchtime, the portrait will let you in.

Hermione.

Draco smiled slightly as he through the note into the fire, this was progress. And she had made the step, he hadn't needed to push her, which was a very good thing. Hermione Granger wasn't the type of witch that took well to being pushed.

---

The morning classes seemed to pass slowly, he wasn't the most patient person at the best of times, this time was really testing his patience. The professors seemed to be talking slower, the text that much harder to read through, and the little quizzes they supplied the hardest he'd ever taken. Unfortunately, he didn't have any classes with Hermione, and he didn't encounter her in the hallways. He did however have a class with Blaise, who steadfastly ignored him. Which wasn't all that unusual lately. He couldn't bring himself to be bothered today, that would be dealt with on another day.

As soon as his last class of the morning let out, he quickly made his way through the halls, heading in the opposite direction of everyone else as they went to lunch. The Head Boy and Girl having their own study area, to meet with the prefects, to carry out their duties. He'd only been there once with Blaise a couple of months ago, he remembered where it was, finding his way there easily.

The portrait looked at him warily, but opened for him as promised. Draco walked down the steps into the study slowly, noticing the bag thrown onto one of the lounges he assumed was Hermione's.

"Hermione?"

It wasn't Hermione though that came around the corner, "What the hell are you doing here?" Blaise demanded.

"I asked him to come," Draco spun around, seeing Hermione standing in the doorway behind him. "You two have to sort yourselves out, and since you can't seem to do it by yourselves, I'm helping."

"Hermione," he said quietly, walking towards her. "You don't have to do this."

"I'm not," she said, Draco as he stopped in front of her finally noticing her appearance, and the redness in her eyes, not hiding the sadness within them. "I'm not going to be here, I can't be here. This door won't let you out till you've resolved it, however you resolve it."

She quickly turned, rushing out the door, which slammed shut instantly. He turned to Blaise, who shook his head slowly, "Well, let's get this over with then."