He was raised to an age-old aristocrat wizard family. Bequeathed by wealth from the generations of their clan, he had every right to stand proud. He displayed a mirror image of his father, yet it wasn't stealthy that his efforts were futile. Where his father is arrogant, powerful, wealthy, respected, and feared; Draco Malfoy stands arrogant - not of something he can boast of pride but only sheer pedigree, powerful - of the 'bully' image he portrays, and feared - only because of things his family is known to be capable of. He doesn't possess the true essence of every bit his father is and he knows it. He's only a weak image surrounded by a cloud of doubt, fear, and confusion. He was a failure; a disgrace.
Lucius has strongly impressed upon him that conscience is what weakens a person. For years his belief has slowly erected a stellar wall to leave this part of his person forever dormant. He thought that nothing can ever demolish this strong wall that he has been living by ever since. As much as he wants to believe that it's not falling down in a rapture, to his consternation, it is very much falling faster than he'd thought possible. And all this is because of one person he'd despised all his life. The person whom he has been raised to loathe. Hermione Granger; the mudblood.
When they were first acquainted in their first year, he had hated her immediately. His reasons were of course acceptable in Lucius' standards. It was because she had dirty blood, that she was arrogant, and that she was a threat because of her intelligence. But Draco had other reasons of why he hated her that he chose to keep to himself. He was jealous of Potter and Weasle for being her friend. He hated that Potter had been given another reason for more fame. He hated the fact that everything about her made him insecure. And to think she's a mere mudblood; an inferior race. He was supposed to be the best when he first stepped into Hogwarts - that at least was expected of him by his father. Draco was the dear son who was raised to become just like his father; a death eater. And maybe someone even more powerful. Although his years at Hogwarts slowly justified this dream to be a faint ambition not even close to becoming a reality. And Granger had made damn sure of it.
Their encounters often involved snide comments directed at each other. Where Dracos' arguments are keen observations and criticisms of stating the obvious, hers' was factual. Potter and Weasley were the dimwitted gits he'd always thought of but they were lucky to have her by their side. Being the one who could give a witty retort, he was often bested. Perhaps Draco always won in their verbal battles, but the weight of her words has dawned more confusion in the young man. Although he doesn't let it show and she never seems to notice.
It was during their third year when Granger had hit it hard right at his ego. It was when she showed more strength and courage than anyone ever had in his years at Hogwarts. She showed no fear of him; of his cronies; of his lineage. She confronted him, filled with rage and punched him hard and all he did was run. It was a mistake he'd forever regret for he never wanted to display weakness to her; he didn't want her to see his coward side. It was the moment he'd never forget for he was defeated by a girl. A no ordinary girl. A mudblood who has cleared his doubts and who helped him find his true self - his own self - by merely stating the truth. A witch whom despite all his principles-all the beliefs he'd grown up to stand for- has managed to break that stellar wall.
She hadn't realized that she had caused so much change in him. Not in his actions but in his beliefs. He started to see that all prejudices against lineage were rubbish and what the Dark side stands for is nonsense. Heck even the person whom his family stands for defies their rule of superiority in lineage! Although it is palpable that it all comes down to power. But power isn't the only thing this world could offer. There are a whole lot of things too. He started to see the light and it felt like everything made sense. He felt gratitude for her at first. But what he soon thought to consider as platonic gratitude became something more in depth.
He started noticing things he'd have never took time to think about. He watched her more closely, more observantly every chance he gets. He was drawn. Draco saw her for who she was by just seeing how she treats her friends, by how she stands for what she believes, and that sometimes she can be really stubborn. But it wasn't all that he noticed. He saw that over four years, much has changed in her physical appearance. She no longer had those bucked teeth - thanks to him - and her bushy mane had tamed. Her body had grown more feminine curving at the right spots. The freckles on her nose had disappeared and left the old Hermione Granger for a young lady that's breath-takingly beautiful in every aspect. And her warm chocolate-brown eyes filled him an ecstasy nothing can ever match. The way she tucks her hair behind her ear when she was in doubt made him feel a shot of electrity run through his body. All he wanted was for him to call her his and he didn't care about anything else in the world. All he knows is that he was attracted to Hermione Granger because of her exceptional intellect, her kind heart, courage, and of course her beauty that's beyond compare. But he kept this all to himself for three years; his cowardice overshadowing his desires. But he was certain of what he needs to do. What he wanted was crystal clear. And he wanted to change just for her. The girl who made him feel. The girl who opened his eyes.
At his sixth year, the question that how to have her or subtly reveal to the world of want he wants inevitably troubled his thoughts. There are a lot of things standing in his way. When he was who he was before - the son his father wanted to be, his true person was merely hiding behind that shadow. And now...now that the world knew who he is and how he is, changing it will be a challenge. There will be a whole lot of risks. His family - defying his father will cause wrath, his friends - his loyalty to his house will be questioned, and of course her rejection.
Her rejection. It seemed like he was being too pessimistic but he knew all too well. Although there is a part of him that wishes for her to accept him, to understand, and maybe to even reciprocate his feelings. Despite her understanding nature, there is a big chance that she wouldn't be soft to Draco Malfoy. Really, who would even try to understand someone that made your whole life at Hogwarts feel like hell? The first step to reach this part of her was of course, clear. He needed to befriend her. And nothing could be more perfect as they are, at present, prefects of their respective houses. There will be a lot of opportunities for him to befriend her; to show her his good side and that he can be good at all. And most importantly...that he'd change. He would tell her his feelings when he'd gain her trust and make sure that she wouldn't think of it as a joke or for manipulative reasons. This seems like a good plan. All he needs to do is put it into action.
The first step is in order. He slowly started to stop spitting rude remarks at her . Still adjusting with the instinctive reflex he's growned so used too over the years. But there are some things you couldn't change and Draco was no exception to that. He couldn't change anymore than just to strengthen his new beliefs. But his feelings toward her friends could never change. Everything was going in order as he planned. They were finally having civil conversations. Then, one day, she questioned his intentions. He had expected it and of course gave her the proper answer. She believed him. He finally got her trust.
His house didn't turn against him as he'd expect. Like her, they started to see him in a new light; that he'd grown up and matured. Although his father did not take his actions lightly, Draco soon got used to waving off his threats. He didn't care anymore what would happen to him. If he would be disowned, he didn't care. If he would die, he didn't care. He didn't care about anything that will befall him as long as it's all for her. He wanted happiness and he was selfish. Telling her how he feels is the only thing standing in his way of heavenly bliss.
It was December when he took Hermione for a stroll in the grounds. It wasn't snowing yet, but the atmosphere was cold. And he couldn't help but notice how beautiful she looked with her pink jacket and Gryffindor scarf wrapped around her neck. This wasn't the first time they took a stroll together. They talked casually about the things they always seem to discuss. Then, as they neared a big old oak tree near the lake, Draco sat down. He motioned for her to follow and she did. They sat there in comfortable silence as they admired the wonderful scenery before them. Then, he finally broke the silence.
"Hermione..." he said. They had finally come into first name basis since he gained her trust.
"Hmmm..." she replied. Her eyes were closed as she absorbed the beauty around her but slowly opened them to face Draco.
He looked at her intently, trying to convey everything he felt for her by looking into her tantalizing brown eyes. Then, before he lost the courage to do it, he closed in the distance between them. He finally kissed her and she kissed him back.
It was nothing rash or demanding. Their kiss was soft and sweet. Draco had thought that kissing her would make him feel euphoric but it wasn't like that. It was more than he could ever have imagined. It was heaven to caress her face and to drown in her warm lips. Nothing had ever felt more right as they sat there under the tree for what seemed like eternity. Everything that occupied his thoughts vanished and all he could think of was her;him;them. But all good things must come to an end and he finally let go for them to catch their breath.
She looked at him with eyes that only glint of happiness. And before he could say anything, she spoke.
"I knew this was coming you know..." she smiled, not breaking his gaze.
"But...how?" he asked, feeling confused but happy.
"It was pretty clear that everything you've done was for me. No one has ever made me feel this special. Not even my friends." she simply said.
Instead of replying to what she's said, Draco closed in for another kiss. Nothing could have ever been more perfect. His plan has gone well and he couldn't be more happier. He couldn't care less of the consequences. All he knows is that this is what he wanted. She was his happiness. She was the key to his doubts. She was his everything.
"I love you." he told her without hesitation or trepidation as he drowned in her gaze once more.
She looked at him, smiling broadly as she replied.
"I love you too."
As those wonderful words escaped her mouth, snow started to fall making their declaration of love for each other all the more wonderful. They both knew what could happen next. But it seemed like they couldn't care less. He couldn't care less. He might be a failure in his fathers' eyes and a traitor to his house and pedigree. But he didn't care at all. She was his now. In his eyes and in hers, he wasn't a failure. He wasn't a pureblood and she wasn't a mudblood. They were merely an epitome of a forbidden love and their love couldn't even be more wonderful as they'll face the world that's against them together.
A/N: R&R's are love D