AN: I haven't updated in almost two years, my deepest apologies. Here you go, the second chapter. I promise it wont take another lifetime for me to update. Keep in mind this story was written before I read HPB, so ignore it and Deathly Hallows.
Chapter Two: Phase one complete
"Potter, I need your help."
"Malfoy, drop dead."
This was not going to be easy. For a solid week Draco had been attempting to recruit Harry. If Harry could convince Hermione he was worthy, Hermione would believe he was worthy. "Potter I'm fucking serious." Draco tried to keep his voice even so the cranky librarian wouldn't be offended. He sat across from Harry at a table; try to distract him from his book. "If me and Hermione are ever going to be civil I need you and Ron to help."
"You are absolutely hilarious ferret. There is no way, and I mean NO way, Hermione will ever want to be any sort of friends with you."
Draco was done trying to be nice. He grabbed the book forcefully and stared at Harry threateningly. "Listen Potter, I've had a long fucking year. You and I aren't all that different. You had no choice but to be the savior for us all, and I had to be thrown into an equally fucked-up situation because of who my family is. Neither of us asked for any of it to happen. We just did what we had to do to survive. I'm sick of surviving, I want to live. I want to try and be who I want to be, for as long as my father's in Azkaban. This is the last time I'm going to ask for your help. Please talk to Hermione."
Harry studied Draco's face. He seemed sincere, he seemed like he was different somehow. And as much as Harry hated to admit it, he was right; they had been put in drastically different, but similar, situations. "Alright Malfoy. I'll see what I can do. No promises though."
Draco's shoulders relaxed with relief. "Thanks Potter, here's your book," Draco handed it back to him gingerly and went to lunch. Phase one was complete.
"Drake, I saved you a seat," Blaise patted the bench next to him.
"Thanks mate," Draco grunted as he rested his legs and looked at the selection of food before him. "So," he took a scoop of mashed potatoes, "have you tried making any progress with Granger?"
Blaise grinned. "If I was, why would I tell you?"
"Good point. You know, it's not too late to back out."
Blaise laughed and took a sip of cider. "I dunno mate, I think your underestimating me."
"Pshh," Draco mocked.
Just then, an owl dropped over Blaise's food and he smiled excitedly. He ripped it open and read the few shorts lines and whooped. "Lookie what I got!" he tossed it to Draco and beamed.
Draco read the note quickly, and felt his insides burn.
I'm sorry to hear about the trouble you're having in charms. I'd be more than happy to help you and I'm glad you're seeking assistance. Please be at the Head Dorms at 7 tonight. Do not be late.
Draco laughed. "This is your great plan? She's going to tutor you? Your mad!"
"No, I'm strategizing. And, if it doesn't work, then at least I'll get better at charms and spend three nights a week staring at Granger's breasts."
"I love boobs!" Blaise shrugged.
Draco rolled his eyes. "I think you're forgetting something very important about all of this mate."
"That I also live in the head dorms. You really think you're literally going to be able to accomplish this from right under my nose?"
"Draco Lucius Malfoy," Blaise grabbed his shoulder as he rose from the table. "I think you are forgetting something very important."
"I'm much, much more charming than you."
"Hah. Yeah, you keep thinking that."
"And I have something you do not."
Draco raised his eyebrows. "Do you now?"
Blaise grinned stupidly. "I have tattoo-free arms." He winked at Draco as he exited the cafeteria.
Draco swallowed and rubbed the useless mark that would plague him forever. No matter how hard he tried, he knew it would always be there as an instant reminder for everything he'd seen and done against his own will. Hermione may not be able to accept his faults, but maybe he could convince her otherwise for only a few moments. He would only need an hour or two to ensure his reputation and wealth.
Draco rolled up his right sleeve and looked at the skull disgustedly. Some things from your past just never went away.
Hermione had a very long day of classes. She barely had any timefor Harry or Ron and she noticed their increasing aggravation. She flopped onto her own common room couch and felt someone's presence behind her. "Malfoy, would you please go bother someone else?"
"Hah, I don't smell that bad."
She turned and smiled, Harry beaming over her. "Sorry, I forgot I told you the password. "What's up?"
"Nothing, actually I came to talk to you about Malfoy."
Hermione furrowed her brow. "Malfoy? What about him?"
"Look Herms, I really think you should try to be more civil towards him."
"Are you ill?"
"'Mione I'm serious. You know, this is our last year here, and we're all been through a lot, and maybe he's not as bad as we think. He does seem different."
"Harry, you're tired and not thinking clearly, go take a nap before doing your homework."
"No I'm serious. Things are finally starting to settle down and Draco just wants to be a part of something good. Imagine being him for the last few years."
"Not a fan of fleas. Sorry."
Harry smiled half-heartedly. "I think he's actually changed."
"People don't change Harry."
"I know, I'm sorry, change wasn't the right word. His circumstances brought out the worst of himself, and now that they've dramatically changed, he's getting the chance to be himself. Isn't that what we were fighting for, the opportunity to be ourselves? No prejudice, no politics, no fear? C'mon Hermione, it's time to move forward. Even you could probably learn something from him."
Hermione smiled. "You give a good speech; I can't wait 'til you become minister."
"Hah, I wish."
Hermione sighed. "I guess I could try to get to know him."
"That's all I'm asking. Plus, he is very bright; we might need him once I become minister." Harry winked as he made his exit. "I'll see you later?"
"Yeah, night Harry."
Hermione watched the portrait swing shut and looked over to Draco's closed door. She begrudgingly sat up and adjusted her short shorts and tank top and knocked. Draco opened his door and seemed shocked to see her summoning him, even though they shared living quarters.
"Is everything alright Granger?"
"Yeah Draco, I'm fine."
"Draco? First name basis are we?"
"Look, I'm going to say this once and that's it. Harry thinks you might actually be a nice guy and will be useful to us in the future, and because Harry's instincts are almost always right I think- I cant believe I'm going to say this- I think we should try and be friends."
Draco stood astounded. It had worked, and Potter followed through. "Well, um, thanks I guess."
"Just promise me one thing?"
"Please do not call me mudblood ever again. Got it?"
Draco swallowed a lump in his throat. "Yeah, of course. I'm sorry for every-"
"I know. I don't want to hear another apology. I just wanted to be clear."
"Ok good." She leaned into his doorway.
Draco took notice of her curiosity and smirked. "You can come in if you'd like."
Hermioen hesitated and then stepped into the Slytherin themed room. There were quidditch posters on the walls and photos of muggle women. Hermione noticed a guitar and amp near the bed. "You play?"
"Yeah, kinda," Draco blushed. "I know it's a muggle thing but it's pretty neat."
Hermione smiled and was suddenly aware of her skimpy outfit. "Well, um, I should get ready for Blaise. He's coming in ten minutes for a tutoring session. Your friends with him right?"
"Yeah, well; sorta."
"Sorta? I was under the impression you were mates."
"Yeah well," Draco ran his fingers through his hair, "true friendship is gard to come by in Slytherin."
Hermione nodded understandingly. "Well, if you want to keep us company feel free. To be honest, he seems kinda dense; I'm probably going to need all the help I can get."
Draco laughed internally. "Yeah, sure. I'll see you in a few I'm just gonna get my charms things together."
Hermione nodded as she took her leave. This could actually work, she mused. Feeling much better than she had before, she went to her own room to change, and waited for her student to arrive.
Blaise was five minutes late, Pansy had kept him. It wasn't a great way to start, but he had wildflowers with him to compensate. Hermione took them graciously and had Blaise follow her to their study area, where Draco greeted them.
"I thought you were going to be tutoring me?"
"I am Blaise, but Draco resides here too and since you guys are mates I figured it would be even more helpful, to you know, make yourself more comfortable."
"Oh I don't know," Blaise nudged Hermione, "I'm pretty comfortable with just you."
Hermione, for once in her life, had nothing to say. It was bold, and it made her blush.
Draco rolled his eyes. "Careful how you talk about my roommate, Zambini."
Blaise smiled. "I'm sorry Drake, it's notmy fault she's stunning."
Hermione's face was very hot. She laughed nervously, "Thank you Blaise, but we really should start studying. Did you brig your charms book and homework?"
The three students sat and began their session, Blaise making remarks to Hermione through the two hour session they had. It was enough to make Draco's stomach do back-bends. Once Blaise had a legitimate grasp on that week's concept Hermione packed up her things.
"Ok, well good job. I'll see you Monday, same time?"
"Actually," Blaise paused before he swung the statue shut, " Since tomorrow is Saturday and seventh years can go into town, I was wondering if I could take you to Hogsmeade in the afternoon?"
Hermione opened and closed her mouth, taken aback. "Um , wow. I'm sorry Blaise, but I actually am already going with-"
Blaise stared at Draco. "You're going with Hermione to Hogsmeade tomorrow?" He looked over the Hermione.
"Yeah," Hermione said slowly. "Me and Draco have plans with Harry and Ron."
Blaise looked relieved. "Well, in that case, I'll just meet up with you there. Sound good?"
"Um, yeah. I'll see you there."
"Excellent!" He grinned and nodded to Draco. "See you tomorrow."
Once the portrait was shut Hermione looked over to Draco. "Nice save Drake."
Draco shrugged. "You hesitated too long. I'd thought I'd help you out."
"What if I was considering saying yes?"
Draco raised his eyebrows. "Were you?"
Hermione laughed. "No, Blaise isn't my type. He is good-looking though," she added quietly.
Draco swayed in his spot. "Really? You think so?"
"Yeah, I mean, he's dense, but attractive. And he's pretty charming."
"I'm more attractive and charming than he is."
Hermione laughed. "You think so?"
"Oh I know so," Draco smiled and flexed. He was much more muscular than she realized.
"Whatever helps you sleep at night Draco." She headed to her room. "I'm exhausted, goodnight."
"Night Hermione. Sleep tight."
"Thanks, sweet dreams Draco."
"They'll only be sweet if you're in them," he said cloyingly.
Hermione laughed before shutting her door. "OK, I take it back, you're definitely more charming."
"Yes! I have my title back now." He smiled as she shut the door and headed to his own room, where sweet dreams of Hermione Granger would, indeed, flood his mind.
An: I love reviews :)