An: I've had one hell of a year. I will be consistently writing and posting until my stories are complete from now on. Enjoy!!
Chapter Three: Anywhere and Nowhere
Harry flopped tiredly onto his bed, Ginny crawling up next to him. His mind was unclear and strained; trying to playback the night's events as Ginny distractedly ran her fingers up and down his chest.
"I don't know what to do."
"Well, I'd be a good place to start."
"I'm sure you would be, but Ron is taking this worse than I thought," he sighed.
Ginny sat up and looked at Harry lovingly. "You did the right thing. Malfoy is going to be a great asset to our political stance and you know that. Not to mention he is a very skilled wizard as much as I hate to admit it."
"I know- I know. I just- I was hoping Ron could move forward."
Ginny sighed. "You know how Ron is. He gets a little carried away..."
"IT'S MALFOY! HAVE YOU COMPLETELY LOST YOUR MIND?!"
Hermione didn't even flinch. This was an average yelling tone- nothing she hadn't experienced. "Ron- no Ron stop it – just listen. I don't like it all that much either but Harry wants to do this and I think Malfoy will be useful-"
"How can you even-"
"Ron stop it, it's time to grow up."
Ron made a face and went to glare at Hermione. "Would you please put some clothes on I cant concentrate on yelling if I'm staring at your ass."
Hermione shook her head as she looked through the dresser. "I'm looking for a nightgown. Just squeeze your eyes tightly if it bothers you."
Ron was quiet for a moment.
"Wait what were we fighting about?"
Hermione laughed as she pulled a deep purple nightgown over her head. "I was hoping you were going to be more mature about the situation is all." Hermione sat at the foot or their bed.
"It's Malfoy, Hermione. C'mon now, did you think I'd offer to warm his bed here or something?"
Hermione sighed, "Obviously not Ron, But I was hoping for some level of maturity."
Ron continued scowling.
"For God's sake, we're not in Hogwarts anymore!"
"Yeah! Well we wouldn't be able to, would we?! The Death Eaters destroyed the castle if I remember correctly." Ron breathed heavily, "And… I recall saving his ass twice that night. That ungrateful little fucker never once said-"
Ron and Hermione looked over to the door and saw Draco leaning casually.
"Sorry to interrupt your fight-"
"We weren't fighting."
Draco smirked. "Well, sorry to interrupt your non-fight then." Draco walked into their room with no invitation and sat at Hermione's small wooden desk. "You know Weasley, you're right. I never did say thank you for saving me. So thanks."
Hermione glanced at Ron, a sudden new air of satisfaction surrounding her.
"I still don't think we need your help Malfoy," Ron said angrily.
Draco suddenly looked as angry as Ron. "You really have NO idea what's going on our there, do you? You've been shut up in here, doing the bare minimum to help Potter and there are still Death Eaters and Snatchers on the loose, kidnapping wizards and muggles- people- just people. People are still being tortured and until we do something about it nothing is going to be improved. Hogwarts is still a mess, and at this rate there's no way it will reopen for this fall. And we need an almost entire new staff at the ministry. You need me Weasley, don't even try to deny it. I can help identify snatchers and Death Eaters- not to mention I'm skilled with a wand myself. Don't say there's nothing I can do to help. You have no idea what you're talking about." And with one swift motion, Draco Malfoy exited the room.
It was almost four hours later when Hermione realized she had been lying awake for three hours. She slipped out of bed, silently and without disturbing Ron, who lay limply drooling next to her. She quietly tiptoed to the library and was surprised to see someone in "her" lovely red velvet chair. "Couldn't sleep?"
Draco jumped and the book in his lap flew across the room. "Christ Granger you cant sneak up on me like that! I coulda killed you!"
Hermione doubted this but said nothing. "Sorry. I cant sleep."
"Me neither. Thought I'd try and get a jump start for tomorrow."
"What are you doing tomorrow?"
"Taking a look at some Ministry hopefuls. Most of these idiots have no idea what their job will entail."
Hermione realized that it was not a book in his lap but a yellow filing folder filled with applications. "You should try and get some sleep."
Malfoy looked amused. "I almost never slept last year. I think I'll be ok."
Hermione swallowed a mysterious lump in her throat. "I'm sorry."
Draco looked up at her.
"You were forced into that position-"
"Please do not make excuses for me, Granger. I did some things that no wizard should ever do, should ever wish to be done. I wanted it, in the beginning at least," he seemed to trail off.
"Draco you were only sixteen there was no way-"
"Hermione were you capable of intelligent reasoning when you were sixteen?"
Hermione thought of everything she- and Harry and Ron- had gone through since they were eleven. "Well- I – yes, I suppose so."
"Well so was I. I knew what I was getting myself into."
"No Draco, of course you didn't. I'm not saying that you didn't do terrible things, because I'm sure you did," Draco looked at her darkly, "but I'm sure you were just trying to survive."
Draco smirked at her again. "Granger it amazes me that someone with your blood can be so smart."
Hermione took it as a compliment. "Draco do you feel bad for- anything?"
"Everything. Well, I mean, like I said in the beginning- getting the mark," his eyes flashed excitedly, "I wanted it so badly. I needed to show Riddle that the Malfoys are strong, that I could be as loyal as my father, that family wasn't my priority." Draco let a light laugh escape. "It's so funny really. All I wanted was respect, power - complete control. I don't belong anywhere now."
Hermione cocked her head. "How is that?"
Draco gestured towards her. "See you- you belong anywhere, where I am the exact opposite."
Hermione was still perplexed.
"You belong in the wizarding world. You are a witch. You perform highly effective spells with a wand that you attained from Ollivander at age eleven, like any other witch in Britain. You are also of muggle blood, you may come and go between worlds and be completely self-sufficient. You have loved ones on both sides and know how to handle yourself in both worlds. You belong anywhere " Draco suddenly looked very sad. "I belong no where. My family is shunned from supporters of the Dark Lord and is unwelcome by the Order- as Ron proved today. We cannot function in a muggle society, and it would be most ironic, don't you think?" Hermione did not agree. "Ah well. We truly are opposites Granger. Isn't it funny?"
"We have very different senses of humor, Draco." Hermione did not find any of what Draco said funny. It was rather sad to her. Hermione had realized half-way through Draco's speech that there was a goblet of wine sitting on the side table. It appeared to be half-full, or half-empty.
"Yes, yes we do Granger. We are opposite…"
Hermione started to feel uneasy. "I'm getting tired again. I'll see you in the morning Draco. Try and get some rest."
Draco smiled again. "Yes, sleep. Probably a good idea."
"Night Granger. Don't forget what they say about opposites now…"
Hermione pretended like she didn't hear him as she slipped out of the room.
AN: Yay!! Reviews are much appreciated :-D