A/N Hello! For all of you who know me (well, my writing anyway) then this is one of the reasons why I haven't updated my most recent story 'Three's a Crowd in Love' recently. To those of you who are reading that, I'm sorry for the long wait for the next chapter. But hopefully you saw my author's note that said I was writing two very long oneshots for my friends for christmas. This is one of them. I've written this for my most amazing friend who supports me with my writing so much. I don't usually write this pairing (because I kind of hate it,) but I did it for her. She read it and said she loved it, so I hope all of you do as well. And to those of you reading 'Three's a Crowd in Love', I hope this is good enough that you'll let me off with the long update lol!
Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters in this story, all the credit goes to JK Rowling. And just to let you know, I have used actual quotes from the Harry Potter series, but mainly Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I do not take any credit for this either, JK wrote that and I'm not deluded enough to say that it was me!
One Word to Change a Lifetime
She laughed. A laugh that didn't seem so valuable back then, but he knew now that he should have cherished it with everything he had. Made room for it in his heart somewhere. But then, perhaps it did slip into his heart, otherwise would he really remember it today?
Draco pulled the collar up on his cloak that he wore and stared into nothing. The same childish laugh ran across his mind, and a scene appeared picture perfect in front of his eyes. He heard her speak. Her voice was so different now, and he almost didn't want to hear the old one. But, without making himself, Draco was pulled back into the memory that he hadn't thought of for so many years.
"Do it again, Draco!" Hermione called loudly from across the field. The smile on her face made him laugh: her wonder at his magic was such that it made him love himself.
"I bet you can do it!" Draco called, running up to her.
Hermione shook her head, her bushy hair getting stuck on her dry lips. "I bet I won't."
"Why? You're a witch!" Draco told her again after so many times.
"I bet you're lying!" Hermione said defensively, plopping herself down on the grass.
"I'm not! I've seen you do magic, how many times have I told you?" Draco said, sitting next to her.
He saw Hermione try to hide a smile, but it didn't work. She was no good at lying. She made herself rip up grass from the ground grumpily, but Draco knew she was just trying to act.
"Well, if I am a witch…" She said slowly, "How come you've got you're Hogwarts letter, but I don't have mine?"
Draco sat in thought for a second, and then said, "Maybe they're taking their time choosing the muggles wizards, they can only choose a few after all. Maybe they're finding the best!" He said encouragingly.
At this however, Hermione's face dropped. "But what if I'm not the best?" She asked sadly.
Draco tutted and rolled his eyes. "Of course you are! You understand my father's old school books better than I do!"
"That's another thing though!" Hermione said loudly all of a sudden. "What if the headmaster is like your dad, and he doesn't like muggle-borns?"
"Well that can't be true, can it? Otherwise there would be no muggle-born wizards!" Draco smiled.
Hermione smiled weakly at him, and they sat in silence for a few minutes; leaning back on the grass and imagining the castle of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Draco couldn't wait to get there; it would be like growing up suddenly, being on his own, getting away from this dreary house and grumpy parents… And he'd be allowed to be friends with Hermione. He was only with her right now because of how naughty he was… Sneaking off out of his house to play with her.
Draco smiled a cheeky, sly smile and thought some more about Hogwarts. He was sure it was going to be amazing. He'd make a big group of friends – Crabbe and Goyle would be two of them of course, since they had already got their letters. Then, the smile on Draco's face slipped off as he thought about something Hermione had said. What if she wasn't invited to Hogwarts? And even worse… What if they weren't in the same house? Draco had told her all about the houses at Hogwarts; Slytherin (which he was bound to be in, since his whole family had been), Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff and Gryffindor. Although he had told Hermione that they would be in the same house, Draco wasn't so sure. He suspected that Hermione might be in Ravenclaw, or Gryffindor… But no. They were best friends. Best friends until the end, surely Dumbledore would understand that they wanted to be together.
"I hope I get my letter soon…" Hermione muttered quietly, making Draco jump out of his daze.
"You will," Draco replied, "I've seen you do magic. You're special. Just like me."
Hermione smiled at him and then said, "Well, if I find out that you've been lying to me all this time, and we both end up going to a normal school in September, I'll never forgive you!"
"I'm not lying!" Draco shouted sadly. "Would you really not forgive me?" He added after a moment.
Hermione eyed him suspiciously. "Well… You'd have to do something really really horrible to make me hate you that much!"
Draco smiled again and held her hand. Hermione looked down at it in what seemed to be some sort of confusion.
"What?" Draco asked, looking down at their joined hands.
"You're not allowed to hold my hand, Draco," She said, taking hers away.
"I'm not allowed to see you, but I do that!" Draco laughed. But for some reason, she did not laugh with him.
Draco's expression dropped slightly as he looked at Hermione's face: she was staring randomly at nothing. Or that's what it looked like to Draco.
"Can I kiss you?"
"What?!" Hermione screeched. Draco lowered his head quickly as he frowned; he had not expected her reaction to be that. "Why do you want to kiss me?" She asked in a slightly high pitched voice.
Draco suddenly thought of nothing he could say and stumbled over his words… "Um… Well, I thought… Just wanted to… See what it's like…"
Draco wasn't looking at Hermione, but he heard her giggle. "You can kiss my cheek if you like, but you have to wipe your lips first!"
Suddenly, Draco felt a churning in his stomach. "I think I'll go home…" He said quietly, standing up.
"Why?" Hermione asked sadly, walking behind him.
"Well it's getting late…" Draco lied, "I'll see you tomorrow maybe…"
And with that, Draco sprinted off down the hill on which they sat, not looking behind him once. He didn't know why he'd said a silly thing like that… Hermione was his best friend. And the thought of kissing was ultimately disgusting. He hated to see his parents doing it sometimes.
Quickly he arrived back at his big house and stopped outside the door. He hoped it would still be open… He'd be in big trouble if not.
Slowly, Draco pushed the huge black door open as quietly as he could, and then shut it the same way. But as he turned to run off up the stairs, he heard a loud voice shout from the room across the hall and stopped dead in his tracks.
"Draco, come in here, please."
Draco winced slightly at the sound of his dad's voice, but did as he was told quickly and walked brusquely into the room.
His father sat lazily on the dark green sofa, his mother leaning against him. Draco stood at the doorway, waiting to be told off yet again.
"Where have you been, Draco?" His father asked.
"With my friends," Draco lied.
"Which friends?" His father questioned again.
"C-Crabbe and Goyle," Draco mentally kicked himself. Now he'd done it. if he had just said it properly then his father might have believed him.
However, his dad raised and eyebrow as he said up a little straighter. "They have been around here, looking for you."
"Have you been with the mudblood?" His father asked calmly.
Draco took a deep breath, "Don't call her that, father."
Suddenly, Draco jumped back as he watched his mother get thrown off of the sofa as his father jumped up and began to shout loudly.
"What have I told you, Draco?" He yelled. "She is filth, do you hear me? You bring shame on our family name every time you lie to your mother and I to meet her!"
"But she's nice, father!" Draco shouted, albeit rather timidly.
"Nice?" Lucius repeated, "It wouldn't make a difference if she was lovely! You're not to see her again, Draco. And if I hear that when you're at Hogwarts you've been talking to her, I'll see to it that she's not allowed near you!"
Draco looked at his feet to hide the tears building rapidly in his eyes. "She hasn't got her letter yet…" He muttered.
When his father didn't reply immediately, Draco looked up to see his face and saw that he had sat back down, a nasty smile on his face.
"Well then there's hope yet," He said. "Perhaps she's not as magic as you think."
Draco lowered his head once more and ran from the room, unable to hold back the tears any longer. He ran into his room, slammed the door and kicked the first thing he could see. It wasn't fair! Hermione would get into Hogwarts. She had to. And he'd show his father that he could be friends with whoever he wanted to be.
Hermione yawned as she walked down the stairs and into the kitchen. She didn't get much sleep last night, or the night before. And it was Draco's fault.
She hadn't seen him since the day he had asked to kiss her, and even then she could tell something was wrong. It was obvious to her now that she hadn't seen him for a couple of days that he had actually been lying all along. And now that she had figured him out, Draco obviously didn't want to see her anymore.
Hermione had cried a little bit and told her parents about how horrible he had been. But they said that little boys always did horrible things to girls to get fun out of it. But surprisingly, they seemed a little upset about it as well. Since she had already told them about 'Hogwarts', they had sort of believed her – because she was 'such an intelligent young girl' as her mum put it –, and now they found out that Draco had been lying as well.
However, the thing that Hermione did not know about today was that when she walked into the kitchen this morning, she was about to get the shock of her life.
"Morning darling," Her mum said as she walked into the room, "Did you have a good sleep?"
"Not really," Hermione answered as she sat down.
"Oh, darling, I'm sure Draco wasn't lying really," Her mum said casually.
Hermione thought this rather odd after everything her parents had said about Draco's lying.
"What?" Hermione asked.
Then, Hermione knew for sure that something had changed as her mum looked at her from the sides of her eyes grinned slightly.
"There's a letter for you on the table," She said quietly.
Hermione was surprised she was still breathing. Her heart skipped a beat as her eyes widened and she ran over to the table across the room. There it was, her mother was not lying. She could see it, plain as day, propped up against the sugar pot. The writing on it was thin and slanted, and the envelope was not like normal envelopes at all. It was a more yellowish colour, and as she picked it up carefully as if it would break in her hands she felt that the paper wasn't really paper at all. It felt thicker and rougher.
Slowly, Hermione ripped it open as neatly as she could and unfolded the same material that was inside it, with her mum and now her dad standing right behind her, holding their breath…
"Draco! I've got it, Draco! I've got it!"
Hermione sprinted up the grassy hill two hours later, waving something flat in her hand.
Draco had no idea what she was doing, and considering that he hadn't been here for a couple of days it was a very strange way to greet him.
But then, as Hermione ran closer and closer, Draco felt a leap somewhere within hi as he realised that she was holding her letter for Hogwarts. He smiled and ran too. This was her ticket to the most amazing life, her ticket to magic, her ticket for a better and less secretive friendship with Draco!
Finally she reached him, and then ran together into and almighty hug filled with laughter and joy. They fell onto the ground and continued to laugh for a long while, before Hermione finally caught her breath and settled down to lie on the grass.
"I knew you weren't lying to me, Draco," She said after a few minutes of blissful silence.
"Liar," Draco laughed.
Hermione giggled in response and just changed the subject.
"Oh, but Draco, the first of September!" She cried loudly, "That's so soon! Only two weeks away! The letter said we have to go on a train. Can I sit with you on it?"
Draco smiled widely and looked at her. "Of course, and Crabbe and Goyle," He said.
But for some reason, Hermione's face dropped as he watched her.
"They don't like me," She stated, "They think the same as your dad."
"No they don't," Draco denied, knowing deep down that it was a lie, "They just don't know you that well!"
Hermione seemed to shrug a little bit and then said, "Well, as long as you don't leave me then I'll be fine!"
Draco smiled back in response and they sat there for a while. He was quite surprised that Hermione didn't have more to say now that she had gotten her letter, but maybe she had already asked all of her questions and found out what she wanted to know.
Soon, Draco's thoughts began to find their way back to his father, and how angry he'd be about this. Because he certainly seemed happy the other night when Draco told him that Hermione hadn't got a letter yet.
But now she had…
Hermione was going to Hogwarts with him. They would be together for a whole seven years without his father shouting at him every time he walked through the door…
Hermione attempted a small smile as she sat opposite Crabbe and Goyle, who had just cracked a very dim-witted joke between them. Slowly, the sun outside the Hogwarts Express was getting lower in the sky and Hermione was extremely tired. She thought that the train ride wouldn't be that long, but she'd been on here since half past ten this morning, a whole half an hour before the train left the platform, and they were still on it when the sun was setting.
"How much longer will we be on here, Draco?" She whispered quietly as the two boys in front of her continued to roar with laughter at their own joke.
Draco peered outside and then smiled back, "I don't know; I've never been on here, have I!" Hermione sighed and rolled her eyes. "Probably soon though, because the sun's going down-ish…" He added.
Hermione fought the temptation to roll her eyes once more and looked away, only to see a little chubby boy with brown hair in the small corridor outside their compartment, about to slide the door open.
As he walked in, he spoke with a high pitched voice, and Draco, Crabbe and Goyle all looked at him with some strange air of dislike. Hermione noticed this and smiled kindly up at him.
"H-have you seen a toad anywhere?" The boy asked timidly.
Hermione looked around at the others, but then merely stared at him, so she turned around and said, "No, sorry. Why? Is he yours?"
The boy nodded his head jerkily, "He's called Trevor, I've lost him!"
Draco sniggered behind Hermione and she turned to give him an evil look. Then an idea ran over her quickly. If she wanted to get out of this compartment with Crabbe and Goyle, this was her excuse.
"I'll help you look for him if you like," She said, standing up.
"Oh, Hermione, stay here!" Draco said behind her.
"I'll come back, I'll just help…" She stopped and waited for the timid boys name.
"Neville," He said shyly.
"I'll help Neville and then come right back," She said quickly. And with that she turned around and left the compartment speedily, sliding the door shut behind her.
Hermione pushed Neville slightly down the corridor as to get away from the compartment quicker, and once they were further away, she decided to be nice and talk to the boy.
"So, is Trevor your pet?" She asked shyly as they walked down the corridor.
Neville nodded quickly and replied, "Yes, but he's always getting away from me!"
Hermione laughed nervously as they carried on walking slowly, and then a silence seemed to follow them as they walked, and Hermione had no idea what to say.
"Have you met Harry Potter yet?" Neville suddenly asked.
"Harry Potter?" Hermione asked, slightly perplexed. Of course, she knew who Harry Potter was, since Draco had told her all about him – and he idolized him slightly – but it never even crossed Hermione's mind that he would be on this very train with them, right now! "What year is he in?"
"First year, like us," Neville replied. Hermione's eyes widened. How amazing would it be if she and Draco could be friends with Harry Potter?! "I'm quite scared about meeting him, because my Nan seems to like him more than me…"
Hermione gazed at him as he trailed off with a bemused smile. Neville was a strange boy.
"Oh look, there's some people our age in here," Hermione said when they reached the compartment door that had people without ties on inside it. "I'll see if they've seen your toad, you go on ahead," She offered.
Neville nodded appreciatively and sped off as Hermione slid open the door. It took the two boys sitting inside a moment to realise she was there. One was a small red-headed boy with freckles and dirt on his nose. He was holding a wand in his hand and had a rat on his knee. And the other boy was extremely thin; his clothes – not yet changed into uniform – were baggy, dirty and ripped. His hair was black and sat in a complete mess on his head. Hermione had to work very hard to stop herself from turning up her nose at them, but then something caught her eye. The boy with the black hair seemed to have something on his forehead, only just visible underneath the mess of hair.
It was a lightening-bolt shaped scar. Hermione had just walked into Harry Potter's compartment. She was sure of it.
"There you are!" Draco exclaimed as Hermione walked back into their compartment twenty minutes later.
Hermione smiled at Draco, Vincent and Gregory, and – with difficulty to contain her excitement – sat down next to Draco again.
"You've been ages! Where have you been?" Draco asked once she was seated.
Hermione looked at Vince and Greg, aware that they were listening in.
"I was helping Neville to find his toad, like I said," She replied.
Draco looked at her suspiciously and then looked away. Hermione relaxed slightly, but when Vince and Greg started to talk to each other, Draco span round again and whispered in her ear.
"What happened?" He asked so quietly that she strained to hear him.
Hermione shot a nervous glance at the two loud boys and then whispered back in response; "I met Harry Potter…"
Draco gasped so loudly that Hermione was terrified the other two would turn around, but surprisingly, they did not.
"No!" He exclaimed quietly, "Why didn't you come and get me?"
"Well, I didn't stay with them long…"
"Them?" Draco interrupted.
"Oh, yes, him and his friend," Hermione said, "Erm… Ron I think he said his name was, Ron Weasley."
Draco seemed to spit suddenly.
"What?" Hermione asked.
Draco turned his nose up, "We hate the Weasley family. Blood-traitors, the lot of them."
Hermione wanted to ask what he meant by 'blood-traitors', but then decided she thought it was best that she didn't know.
"I thought he was rather nice," She said, "Strange, him and Harry, but nice anyway."
"Well I bet Harry's not that nice when you get to know him," Draco grinned a bit.
"What do you mean by that?" Hermione asked, slightly perplexed.
"Well, come on Hermione," Draco started as if it was obvious, "If he had powers evil enough to get rid of the Dark Lord when he was a baby, think how evil he is now! I'll bet he'll be in Slytherin."
Suddenly, Hermione was slightly scared by Draco's words, the expression on his face and the tone of his voice. All his words seemed to be spat out and the way he spoke about evil powers was disturbing.
"But surely the power he used to get rid of You-know-who were good powers," Hermione stated, "Since so much good came of it." Draco scoffed slightly. "He seemed too nice to be evil, I'd like to be friends with him. And his friend."
Draco shot her a nasty glare, "You can't be friends with a Weasley!" He said.
Hermione gulped and looked out of the window. She saw street lights getting brighter and saw a few buildings getting larger. She then looked out of their compartment door and saw that some people were moving down the corridors with their trunks, ready to get off.
Then, Hermione shook her head and decided that although she was shy, she was not going to be pushed around here. Not by anyone. Not even Draco.
She held her head up high and pursed her lips together before saying, "I can be friends with whoever I like, Draco, and you have no say in it!"
With that, Hermione stood up quickly and pulled her trunk down from the carriers above them and stormed out from the little room.
Draco laid down in his bed on his first night of freedom. But he had to admit as he let out a sigh that this wasn't how he had pictured the day at all.
The welcoming feast had been terrible from before it had even started! Draco had met Harry Potter, yes, met Harry Potter! But it was strange. He had seemed to take an utter dislike to Draco as soon as Draco started talking to him. All Draco had done was tell him not to be friends with the Weasley boy, and then everything went downhill! Draco walked off with Vince and Greg, expecting Hermione to follow, but she stayed where she was, with that Neville boy, in between Harry and the Weasley. That was not a good sign. But then he thought that she was probably just trying to get her back from on the train. Fair enough, right?
As they stood there, waiting to go into the Great Hall, Draco convinced himself that he'd sort everything out once he, Hermione and Harry were sat at the Slytherin table after the sorting. But then, they went into the Great Hall, and Hermione's name was one of the first to be called for sorting, and… And…
Gryffindor. How could Draco possibly be friends with a Gryffindor? It was unheard of. But then, a flash of inspiration came over him. maybe Draco would be put into Gryffindor as well. He would be breaking his family's tradition, but he wanted to be with Hermione.
The hat, however, had other plans as he was sorted into Slytherin before the material had even touched his head. He glanced at Hermione over on the Gryffindor table before he went to sit down, and he swore he saw tears in her eyes.
And then, nearer the end of the sorting, Draco's world fell even more. Harry Potter was sorted into Hermione's house, along with that stupid red-headed Weasley.
Draco craned his neck to look over Vince and Greg's heads and saw them on the other side of the hall, Hermione, Harry, and Weasley, all talking to each other… But, maybe that was ok… If Hermione was friends with Harry, then Draco could be too. But… Gryffindor and Slytherin. Slytherin and Gryffindor…
Draco sighed and let a tear roll down his cheek as he pulled his duvet around himself.
Crabbe and Goyle – as so many people had taken to calling them already – were breathing heavily on either side of him, snoring some of the time. Is this what life would be like from now on? Would he really have no one else but two great buffoons for his friends? Would Hermione carry on her strop, and not talk to him again?
Hermione didn't know how to feel. Gryffindor, the best house, most people said. But Draco… Her best friend in the whole world was gone. He had said that people from Gryffindor and Slytherin didn't mix. Was that to mean then, that Hermione couldn't be friends with him anymore? Of course, Harry and Ron were lovely, although they didn't speak to her much. But Hermione felt like she couldn't be friends with them if she was friends with Draco, and vice versa. Harry had obviously made it known that he didn't want to be friends with Draco, so he wouldn't like her if she was friends with Draco.
Hermione sighed in bed and realised that the whole situation was a complete mess. And all to do with friends! Friends were supposed to help you out of sticky situations, not put you in them.
Slowly, as she drifted off to sleep, Hermione somehow came to the conclusion that she would just have to see what the next couple of weeks brought. If friendships would change, only time would tell.
Draco sat on the grass just outside the doors to the Entrance Hall of Hogwarts. The weather was slightly colder today, so he brought his knees up to his chin and tried to protect himself from the slight wind.
He was excited about tonight. He had no idea how real witches and wizards celebrated Halloween since his parents weren't into it. And yet, through his excitement, a horrible weight was baring down on him, and it was all he could do not to call out in rage.
Two months they had been here now, and it had been the worst two months of Draco's life. The most stupid two months as well.
Harry, or 'Potter' as he was now known to the Slytherin's, was completely out of Draco's reach for friendship. Especially after Draco had pulled that stupid stunt to try and get him into trouble in their flying lesson. And Draco hadn't spoken to Hermione properly for two months either.
Sometimes, in complete secret, they would meet in the library – since hardly anyone ever went in their – late at night. But even when they did meet, something felt different. The two would no longer laugh and run around together, and Hermione's attitude to life had completely changed. She was so serious now, like all she wanted to do was study. And whenever Draco said something that was mean in the slightest way, she would turn her nose up and leave. This made Draco angry all the time; it wasn't like he was being evil, but making fun of certain red-headed people was fun. And anyway, Hermione wasn't even proper friends with Weasley, she said so herself.
Suddenly, Draco was bought out of his reverie as someone short and bushy haired sped past him coming out of the castle.
Draco looked up as Hermione walked towards the lake, obviously not noticing him. Something was wrong. Hermione never noticed anything when she was upset. Quickly, Draco stood up and ran after her.
"Hermione!" He said loudly, and she turned round, her face slightly pinker than usual.
"Draco…" She cried. "Where did you come from?"
Draco looked around quickly to make sure no one was watching the Gryffindor and Slytherin talking and then turned back to his old friend.
"I was in the Owlery sending a letter to my father, then thought I'd get some fresh air…" He replied, "What's the matter?"
Hermione sniffed and shook her head. "Nothing," She replied.
"Liar, you're crying," Draco said.
Hermione looked like she was trying to draw herself up, but then she kind of, deflated and shook her head weakly, walking towards the edge of the Forbidden Forest.
"Ron was horrible," She said sadly after sitting down. "He basically said no one likes me…" She trailed off and started to cry.
Draco gulped. He wanted to sit down next to her and tell her that people did like her, him most of all. But what if someone came out and saw them?
He shook his head. Friends were more important.
Draco knelt next to her and hesitated to hold her hand, but in the end he did not.
"I like you," He said comfortingly, but Hermione only scoffed.
"You're in Slytherin," She said.
"It doesn't matter, and its not like I'm the only person who likes you, is it? I mean, Harry Potter likes you!" He said.
Hermione sniffed, "Ron said it to Harry!" She cried.
"Oh…" Draco had no response.
"Oh it's just horrible, Draco!" Hermione wailed slightly as Draco watched her cry. "It was difficult for me to decide who to be friends with out of the three of you, and then Ron says that, but it doesn't change the fact that you're Slytherin!"
Draco's heart was beating fast, and the letter he had just received from his father that day was near the front of his mind: 'Slytherin's don't mix with Gryffindor's, let alone mudbloods!'
But he wanted to cheer Hermione up, he wanted to be friends with her no matter what his father had to say about it because he loved her so much.
"But it doesn't matter that I'm in Slytherin!" He said quickly, not thinking about what he was saying. "Just because you're a mudblood doesn't mean…"
"What did you say?" Hermione interrupted.
Draco gasped as he looked into her tearful eyes. He hadn't meant it… It didn't mean to say it…
"Draco, what did you call me?" Hermione cried.
"I didn't mean…" Draco stuttered.
"You called me a… a…" Hermione looked away and stood up. Draco stood up after her and followed as she started to speed away from him.
"Hermione! I didn't mean to say it! It just slipped out!" He said quickly, mentally kicking himself after he had said it as Hermione stopped dead and span around to yell at him in the face.
"Slipped out?" She shouted. "So it was there, but you tried not to say it! Well I'm glad you did, Draco, because now I know who my friends are!"
Draco wasn't sure which part of her rant had done it, but he fumed up and shouted after her as she walked away, "You just said yourself you don't have any friends, Granger!"
Draco's eyes widened at his own words as he stood there, watching his best friend run away from him in tears because of a stupid word. It was his father's fault. His stupid father! And the scariest part of seeing Hermione run away was the fact that she may never turn back to him now.
So Draco stood and watched. And slowly, tears started to pour from his eyes so quickly that the outline of Hermione blurred until he could no longer see her.
Draco tried to convince himself that Hermione would come back, sooner or later. But then that same night, the story reached his ears about Harry Potter and Ron Weasley saving 'the Granger girl' from the troll that was in the castle, and everything crashed down around him. That was it; Draco was gone from her life now. He knew it even without hearing it from her own mouth. And from then on, Draco knew who his friends were as well. He no longer idolized Harry Potter, and his traditional hate for Weasley's turned more pure, and more his own. Never again would he utter the word 'Hermione', for fear of crying over wasted friendships.
Hermione sighed as she walked down the corridor of Hogwarts late one afternoon. She had been in the library for a few hours today, studying as usual. She had thought that he might come to see her, but then again, as she walked down the lonely corridor she realised; did Ron ever come to see her anymore?
No, was the short answer. Not since he was with that silly blonde Lavender Brown. Hermione had no idea what he saw in her. She was ditzy, clingy, and absolutely disgusting! She didn't even want to think about Lavender or Ron.
Slowly, Hermione rounded a corner and passed Moaning Myrtle's bathroom which no one ever went in. She rolled her eyes as, like every other time, she heard the usual crying that came from within. But as just after Hermione passed, she stopped.
That wasn't crying that she could hear.
Hermione turned her head back to look at the door that led into the bathroom. It was Myrtle talking, perhaps sometimes moaning, but she wasn't crying. It was like she was moaning to someone else.
A tiny smile crept along Hermione's lips as she realised how much of a terrible time the person Myrtle was talking to must be having, and she started to go backwards slowly to get the poor girl out of there.
At first, when Hermione opened the door, she couldn't see anyone, but the talking had stopped. She walked slowly around the large circle of sinks that stood in the centre of the room – the entrance to the Chamber of Secrets. And then, she got the shock of her life when the ghost and unexpected person came into view.
Moaning Myrtle was sitting – well, hovering – next to Draco Malfoy.
Malfoy was standing, shaking slightly with what Hermione could only presume to be anger… And then he turned and looked at her.
Hermione froze. She didn't know whether to ask what he was doing in a girl's bathroom, insult him, or leave. The look on his face terrified her; he looked as if he would pull out his wand and strike at any moment, but he merely stood there, completely still, Myrtle looking from one to the other.
Finally, Hermione took a visibly deep breath and said, "What are you doing in here?"
"I could ask the same of you, Granger," Malfoy spat back.
Hermione almost blew her fuse then and had the right mind to stride away, but she stayed still and retorted, "This is a girl's bathroom, I'm allowed in here! You on the other hand…"
"No one ever comes in here," Malfoy shot, and he indicated towards Myrtle, now hovering away slightly, "Everyone hates her."
"That's not a very kind thing to say, is it?" Hermione said, and she turned around to leave: she couldn't be bothered with the spite of Malfoy today, or any other day.
Then, as she continued to walk away, she heard movement behind her and moved her hand silently to her pocket where her wand sat waiting.
"Wait," She heard Malfoy call, but she kept walking – she had to tell Harry about this…
"Wait, Gra – Her-Hermione!"
Hermione stopped dead and gasped obviously. It shocked her so much that her legs felt like jelly – if she could feel them at all.
She had not heard her first name come with that voice for almost six years. Well, it wasn't even that voice when she had last heard it, considering how much Malfoy had grown up. And then she made herself jump again as she realised that it was suddenly strange to call him 'Malfoy'…
"Hermione, please come back," Malfoy whispered behind her.
Hermione pulled her wand out and turned around to face him, but just as she pointed it at him, she dropped it on the floor.
His face was wet. Malfoy was crying. And suddenly, the more she thought about it, the more she realised she had never seen him cry before, not even when they were small. And the more she thought, the more she wanted to go and hug him like he used to when she cried, but the most that happened was still a shock to her, and if Harry and Ron heard her say it, they'd probably disown her.
"Draco, what's the matter?" She asked quietly from across the room.
Draco shook his head. "I can't tell you…"
"I don't understand…" Hermione whispered.
Then, Draco looked up and smiled at her. Not a smirk, but a genuine smile. She hadn't seen that for almost six years either.
"I've missed you…" He said.
"Wha –" Hermione rendered herself completely confused as she said, "I haven't missed you."
Draco's expression fell as he sat down. But it was true. Ever since Draco had called her a Mudblood, he was always Malfoy, not Draco. She hated him with the same passion as Harry and Ron did. But of course, there was their second year, and Harry and Ron thought Malfoy was the heir of Slytherin. They had thought it completely odd when Hermione denied it in the strongest sense. But had she really known for certain?
Hermione sighed and thought about what she had said. She wasn't lying, since she hadn't missed his rudeness… But, she had to admit, she missed his friendship.
"You do know I'm sorry, don't you?" Draco whispered suddenly.
"No you're not," She said.
Draco turned to look at her, and with a shocking thump in her chest, she realised why she was still standing in this bathroom alone with him.
"I am, I never meant to call you that back then," Draco said steadily, "It was the worst mistake of my life. I've needed you so much."
"If it was a mistake," Hermione snapped, "Then why did you say it again in second year?"
"That was Potter's fault," Draco shrugged the comment aside like it didn't matter, and for some horrific reason, Hermione giggled.
Draco whipped his head back around to look at her and smiled as she merely looked quickly at the floor.
"I'm going to go…"
She turned to leave but heard quick footsteps behind her.
"Because we hate each other," Hermione answered.
"No, we don't…" Draco said, and before Hermione could turn around and retort, he said, "You hate me. There's a big difference."
"I don't hate you." Hermione bit her lip. She didn't mean that. It was just an automatic reaction that she would say to anyone. But then Draco's lips curled into a smirk, and hers tightly followed into some sort of embarrassed smile.
And then, the strangest thing happened. She realised that Draco was here now, alone, and seemingly very angry about something. The strange part of this was that her feelings were exactly the same. She felt totally alone. With Ron and Lavender together, and Harry was basically with Ginny now, Hermione was alone and angry too. She suddenly saw Draco as someone to talk to. And laugh with.
"Harry would kill me if he knew I was talking to you in a civilized manner," She laughed as she went to sit down.
Draco laughed with her and sat beside her. "Potter wouldn't kill anyone," He said, almost like he pitied Harry for his 'weakness'.
"Well, neither would you, Draco," Hermione replied.
She suddenly felt a strange lump in her chest when Draco did not replied to this comment and stayed completely still, not looking at her.
"So…" She said, trying not to sound like she wanted desperately to change the subject. "Why are you in here then?"
Draco looked around. "Peace and quiet," He said.
Hermione tried not to scoff, "In Moaning Myrtle's bathroom?"
Draco sniggered a bit, but then looked deadly serious. "She understands me," He said, "She knows what it's like when no one likes you."
"Draco, people do like you!" Hermione said in surprise, "People adore you!"
It then hurt Hermione to heard Draco laugh bitterly. "No, Slytherin's pretend to like me because they know perfectly well that my father's a…" He stopped, but Hermione knew what he was going to say, and she moved aside a little. "Everyone else is just scared of me," Draco finished.
"I'm not scared of you," Hermione said kindly, and then, without thinking about the words that fell from her mouth, she added, "And I like you."
Draco looked at her, his eyes slightly wider than their usual narrow split, but not wide enough to be completely shocked. Hermione wasn't sure that Draco would ever be able to make that sweet expression of wonder about anything ever again.
"Do you?" He asked.
Hermione looked into his eyes. They had turned a much more saddened shade of grey since they had last spoken in so much detail. Draco had had a troubled life.
"Of course," She replied, smiling. "Just because you're a Slytherin doesn't…"
She stopped. She had just remembered something quite remarkable.
"What?" Draco asked.
Hermione smiled inside herself, albeit weakly, but did not show Draco.
"We had this same conversation about five and a half years ago, but flipped around," She stated.
Draco seemed to be looking back into his memory, but Hermione thought that it couldn't be that hard for Draco to remember, since they were talking about the same event only minutes before.
"Yes…" He said quietly.
"I never thought I'd be talking to you again like this when you said that," Hermione said sadly.
"I didn't mean it," Draco said once more, "It was my father's fault because he says it all the time. I was young; I idolized my father back then…"
"Draco, it doesn't matter," Hermione said quickly, before Draco ran out of breath, "It's in the past now."
"But it's not!" Draco yelled suddenly, "It ruined my life!"
Hermione stared at him. It ruined his life? How was that, exactly? His father must have been so 'proud' when he learned that Draco had finally stopped talking to her, and his Slytherin friends would have loved him all the more. How could it have ruined his life?
Draco seemed to be able to see what she was thinking, and he went and sat back down next to her and held her hand. Hermione jumped a little when he did; his hands were much rougher than they had once been, and more muscular – manly even…
"You weren't just my best friend back then, Hermione," He said, looking into her eyes. "I needed you, more than you even needed me because you were in a strange new world…"
"Well, the people we need always leave us don't they…" Hermione said sadly, thinking about Harry's parents and Sirius. But Draco didn't seem to pay attention.
"It wasn't just that though," He said distractedly. "I loved you so much, I was just too young to realise."
Hermione's attention was completely on Draco again by now. Did he really just say that to her? And if he did, was he being honest? Would he really let one word like mudblood change his whole life? Well, perhaps not his whole life, but his time at school.
"I – I don't think…" This was the first time Hermione had stumbled over her words when it came to a boy. And she was astounded that someone as – horrible? – 'unfriendly' as Draco Malfoy could make her feel so nervous. "I'm going to go…" She whispered, and she stood up to leave, but felt a hand around her arm, pulling her back.
"You don't have to," Draco said calmly, "I'm not going to go mad or anything. We can stop talking about it if you want."
Hermione was completely bemused by Draco's tone of voice. It was the same as he used to use when they were young friends, but she'd gotten so used to the slimy slithering voice from the past six years that it was strange to hear him being so nice again: And so suddenly, as if he were slightly insane, and just wanted to have a friend.
Hermione sat back down nonetheless, for some reason drawn to the place next to Draco, like she didn't want to leave.
They sat in silence for many minutes. Hermione was terrified that someone might walk in on them not having a fight, but no such thing happened. And then, just as Hermione was starting to calm down, an old smile spread across her face as Draco said four words that reminded her so vividly of a field on which they once sat, she could have been back there right now.
"Can I kiss you?" He said.
"What?" Hermione replied, but she did not shriek.
"Just to see what its like," He said quietly, smirking slightly.
Hermione cocked her head to the side. "Draco, I'm sure you've kissed dozens of girls by now, and I'm sure that you have a girlfriend at this moment in time," She smiled.
"Yes…" Draco said slowly, "But I'll never be able to do this again. And… I've waited for six years. Since last time you told me not to."
Hermione laughed, "I said you could, but on the cheek!"
"Well that just wasn't good enough for me!" Draco laughed back.
"If I remember rightly, you ran away all embarrassed!" She laughed loudly.
Hermione watched Draco as he laughed, and it seemed as though he was finding it quite difficult, like his facial muscles hardly ever took to the laughing position. But then, he calmed down quickly and placed his hand on hers, which was shaking slightly.
"So, can I kiss you?" He asked again.
Hermione hesitated, but replied, "Yes…"
And then, everything seemed to happen very fast, but in slow motion at the same time. It went dark rather quickly as Hermione closed her eyes, and then she felt soft lips touch hers – a lot softer than she thought they'd be. They lingered for a moment, their lips touching, but so softly that they barely were at all. She felt air quickly come from Draco's nose, and that was it.
His lips suddenly pressed harder on hers, to which she equalled the force. And then his mouth opened – or was it hers first? – and a tongue slipped somewhere. She shuddered as she realised that her fluids were mixing with Draco's and yet she loved it.
Draco hung an arm around Hermione's back and started stroking it lightly. She did the same to him.
The kiss carried on for minutes that seemed like days to Hermione, days that were capturing back all the hate and anger between them and changing it for something else. Something like love, but not love itself.
But she did not want to think of the horrible times. Every so often an image of Harry being injured or Ron being insulted entered her mind, and made her feel horrible about what she was doing.
And then, quite suddenly, Hermione pulled away. Draco tried to pulled her back, but she stopped him and stood up, quite breathless.
"What?" Draco asked.
"This is so wrong," Hermione replied sadly.
"No it's not, we've known each other for years, I loved you once… Maybe even…"
"No, Malfoy, don't," Hermione interrupted. She felt slightly sickened from what she had just done. She felt like she had completely betrayed Harry's trust in her. He, after all, thought that something fishy was going on with Malfoy this year, and here she was, not helping him find out, but kissing him instead! "It was lovely, it really was, but we're enemies."
"No…" Draco whispered.
She was a little shocked as to how badly Draco was taking this. It was like he was actually upset.
"I'm sorry," She said honestly, "But you blew your chance a long time ago. I can't go back there. And neither can you."
She turned to walk away, and this time, did not hear footsteps behind her. She didn't really know how to feel. Whether she was happy because she had stood up to Draco, or upset because she had actually wanted to stay there and kiss him, she didn't know. But as she walked closer and closer to the door, she was surprised when she heard sobbing behind him, from a male, not female.
Hermione stopped and turned around quietly to see Draco still sat down, with his back bent, elbows on knees and hands joined together, tears falling rapidly in between his parted arms.
She sighed and turned back round and opened the door. But just before she stepped out of the room, she heard a croaking voice speak behind her:
"You're more pure than I'll ever be, Granger," Draco whispered, "Don't let anyone ever call you a mudblood again."
I stopped laughing when Harry looked pointedly over to a steamy place on the platform and I saw Draco Malfoy standing there with his wife and child. It was strange to see them, Draco and his little son, Scorpius, standing side by side. I smiled as the thought cross my mind that the poor boy would someday look like Draco. With his receding hairline and pointed chin.
"Look who it is," Harry said sneerfully.
I couldn't believe that after all these years he, Ron and Draco still had this silent war between them.
But then, perhaps I was wrong… Draco looked up and nodded curtly at my husband and Harry and turned away again. He didn't look at me. But then, I didn't mind that. I don't know if I'll ever be able to handle him looking at me.
"So that's little Scorpius," Ron said under his breath next to me. "Make sure you beat him in every test, Rosie. Thank God you inherited your mother's brains."
I rolled my eyes. "Ron, for heaven's sake!" I tried to hold back a laugh. "Don't try and turn them against each other before they've even started school!"
I watched Ron nod his head quickly in some form of agreement and heard him say, "You're right, sorry…" But then, I couldn't hear him, as all my senses were directed back to the steamy part of the platform where Draco was watching me.
I met his gaze and looked into his far-away eyes. He smiled at me.
He had nodded curtly to Harry and Ron, but he smiled at me.
I smiled back and held back the temptation to wave frantically. I don't know why I felt so utterly ridiculous. If Ron knew, heaven forbid…
But it didn't really matter, as Draco turned back to his family soon after.
Then I stood there for a moment in deep thought. It was so strange that Draco and I had once been friends. And all because of one silly word did we never speak again, only one other time in sixth year… But that was done and forgotten now.
But still, I'd often think how strange life would be if he hadn't said that horrid word to me; hadn't called me 'dirty blood'. I regret it a lot of the time. Not because I miss the friendship or think that we could have been together, but the things we could have done to history itself. If we, Draco and I, had stayed friends through the whole of our schooling at Hogwarts, then Gryffindor and Slytherin may be united, and all the hate (well, most of the hate) for Muggle-borns would be gone, and the entire wizarding world would live differently…
But of course, that didn't happen. And no one else in the entire world knows of my visions. Not even Harry knows why I begged him to save Draco in the final battle at Hogwarts nineteen years ago. But being the good friend that he is, he respected my wishes and saved him. although, I like to believe that he would have done anyway, because he's that type of person.
I was shocked out of my reverie by James, Harry's first son, running up to us all quickly. I pretended to be interested in what he was saying, but my eyes turned in the direction of Draco and his family once more. Draco turned and looked at me again. He smirked. I laughed. Just in time to laugh with James' story, so it was nicely disguised.
I feel bad about it at times, but secretly, I can't wait to come back here in the summer or at Christmas to collect Rosie and see Draco for a few moments. Just because he's my friend. A secret friend. A terrible friend. But Hermione Granger never forgets friends. Especially not Draco Malfoy.
A/N There you go everyone. I hope you all enjoyed it as much as my friend did!! I had loads of fun writing it, but now I can't wait to get back to my other fic and finish that off!!! Slash forever lol!!!