This is a little fic I wrote for a competition on the Harry Potter message boards. One of the questions we were asked on the 'entry form' was what our least favourite ship was… and mine is Hermione and Draco. Sorry for all the H/D shippers out there but I honestly cannot fathom how on EARTH you could come up with such a ridiculous notion! Anywho, this is supposed to take place when they go back to school for their final year at Hogwarts… which we all now know doesn't happen, but I did write this a while ago. Enjoy!!

Oh yeah - and I don't own Harry, Hermione, Ron, Draco or any of the characters in this - they are all creation's of JK Rowling's amazing imagination!

A Change of Heart

Hermione walked down the empty halls with her arms full of books. The class bell had gone and she was already five minutes late. Shifting her books with a harassed sigh, she hurried on. Her bag had broken as she tried to stuff her heavy books for the day into it, the ragged remains now hung limply on her shoulder; not enough time to fix it now.

Turning a corner at a half run, Hermione ran straight into someone. Caught by surprise and off balance her books toppled and she fell to the floor with a smack, books strewn around her. The person she'd collided with jumped up and began to gather her books. Hermione caught a flash of white blonde hair.

"I'm so sorry," she gibbered apologetically, sitting up rather painfully, "I'm running late and my bag was broken and I wasn't really watching where I was going."

The boy had his back to her as he continued to silently retrieve the scattered books. He was obviously a boy; his white blonde hair was ruffled but well kept and his frame was small, with rather pale skin. Hermione couldn't tell what year he was, but she noticed he had on Slytherin robes and though it didn't bother her too much, she was put on her guard, as Slytherins and Gryffindors tended to hate each other on principle.

Hermione rose to her feet just as the boy turned and stood, putting there faces within inches of each other. She barely had time to register his pointed features and pale grey eyes before he had suddenly pressed his lips to hers.

Her eyes flew wide in shock and she surprised herself even more when she kissed him back. For a moment they stood there, locked to each other and Hermione forgot everything. Then, realising what was happening, she just as suddenly pushed herself away. Breathing in short gasps, her mind whirling, Hermione felt her cheeks burning.

"Draco!" she breathed, shock, horror and amazement colouring her voice.

His pallid face flushed a pale pink and he handed her the stack of books, before hurriedly continuing past her and around the corner. Hermione was still bewildered; she felt like she'd just been hit by a really strong confundment charm. Slowly coming to herself, she set off to the Gryffindor common room, completely forgetting about Transfiguration.

Still lost in thought an hour later, she was found by Harry and Ron. Both were red faced and anxious when they arrived at the common room.

"Hermione!" Harry gasped, "Where were you? When you didn't turn up to Transfiguration Ron and I thought something had happened; even McGonagall was worried!" Ron nodded fervently in agreement, staring at her from behind Harry's back.

"I'm sorry," she said slowly, still thinking about what had happened, "I just… I just realised something and I needed some time to think."

Harry and Ron exchanged a puzzled look and silently agreed to let it drop for now and just watch her.

"Well, lunch is almost over by now," spoke up Ron. "We'd better get to Potions."

The walk to the dungeons was quiet and the boys were apprehensive but Hermione hardly noticed. Professor Slughorn invited the class into the room and three sat in their usual seats near the front. A prickling in the back of her neck told Hermione that Draco was looking at her, and she felt herself blush.

The air in dungeon was soon filled with shimmering smoke and as Hermione bent down to read the next step in her textbook she felt someone brush against her, dropping something in her pocket. Her body went ridged and in the corner of her eye she saw Draco strutting past Harry, a small frown on his face.

Hermione carefully put her hand in her pocket and found a scrunched piece of parchment. She turned away from Ron and opened it carefully to read -

I'm sorry about what happened this morning. I know that you hate me, and I don't really blame you – I've treated you terribly, but I'm a different person now. You have no idea of some of the things I saw over the summer, and I've finally realised where I stand in this fight. If you are willing to give me a second chance, meet me at the Astronomy tower at midnight.

Looking around, Hermione caught his eye. His face was downcast, he looked truly repentant, and even when he had been on the wrong side she had never known him to lie. She smiled reassuringly at him before turning back to her work, ignoring the odd looks from Harry and Ron.

It was 11:45 and Hermione was finally alone in the heads common room she shared with Ron. Harry had come in and the boys had been talking about the up coming first Quidditch match against Slytherin. She wasn't really interested in Quidditch anyway so they didn't seem to notice that she didn't join them in agonising over whether Malfoy would make the team again after last year. She decided that she'd better be going.

Standing and creeping carefully to the fake wall that hid the common room entrance, she was thinking only of Draco. How did she know she could trust him? He said he'd changed, but what if this was all just a trick, some ploy to use her to get at Harry. Her deep thoughts kept her oblivious to the cold of the dark and deserted halls and in no time, it seemed, she was standing at the top of the Astronomy tower.

The chilling wind blew against her and she realised she was dressed only in her school robes, no cloak or even a scarf to ward against the chill. Hermione only had to wait a few minutes but they seemed an eternity to her, shivering in the pale moonlight.

Just as she was considering going back to bed someone brushed against her arm, and there he stood. A silence stretched between them, a nervous, scared silence. Hermione was lost, staring into his steady grey eyes and Draco seemed just as captivated.

"S-so…" Hermione broke the silence nervously, "why did you ask me to come here?" Draco looked down at his feet.

"I was sure you wouldn't, actually," he murmured.

Hermione was moved, his tone so wretched she was hard took not to cry. His small shoulders were slumped but in a fight for dignity he straightened himself and looked her in the eye. Again Hermione was lost in their smoky depths.

"I know that I haven't exactly been the nicest person in the world since we've known each other," he told her softly, "but certain…… events have changed my whole view of… everything." His eyes were pleading her to believe him, and Hermione felt her heart crying out to him.

"You have done some terrible things Draco," she said slowly, tears clinging to her eyelashes, "and there are some things that I can never forget… But, I've never known you to lie to anyone," she smiled ironically, "and I believe you."

Draco's eyes lit up. He, too, had tears in his eyes but he raised his hand and gently erased hers. His fingers were cold and his touch sent shivers up and down her already shaking body. He seemed to notice that she had no cloak, for he quickly removed his own and placed it round her shaking shoulders.

"Thank-you," she said.

"That's ok," he replied and he hesitantly reached up to stroke her wild brown locks.

She smiled at him and suddenly the distance between them seemed to have vanished. His cool breath sent pleasant ripples across her face and she lost herself in his eyes as he closed the gap, kissing her impulsively. A burning sensation spread from the centre of her chest, engulfing her entire body, right to her toes.

Caught in an ecstasy of emotion, Hermione stood up on her tip toes and her hands slithered to his hair, silver in the moonlight. Thoughts were chasing themselves in her mind – what if someone found them, how did she know she could really trust him, what would Harry and Ron think when they found out, how was she going to explain herself to everyone?

Yet still they stayed locked at the lips and Hermione felt completely at home. Her realisation made her renew her fervour and she felt Draco groan against her lips. Eventually they broke apart.

His breath came in gasps and Hermione was no longer cold. Neither moved for a long time and they revelled in the newfound passion – love out of hate, a real change of heart.

"I…" Draco was unsure of how to say what he was thinking, but he pressed on, "I think I love you Hermione Granger."

Hermione grinned at him, ran her hands through his silver hair and absorbed the comment with relish.

"I think I love you too," she replied, pulling his face to her own. "As absurd as it seems – I love you Draco Malfoy."