Figuring Out Malfoy

Disclaimer: J.K. Rowling owns all! Except for my plot. Enjoy!

Hermione Granger waited in the long line of other 18 year old girls and twirled her wavy brown locks with her finger nervously. After nearly an hour of waiting, she finally reached the ancient looking woman up front. "Name?" The lady's voice was raspy.

"Hermione Jean Granger," Hermione said in a trembling voice. 'Gryffindor courage,' she thought to herself, and stood a little taller. The woman stared at the ridiculously long piece of parchment, searching for her name and her pair, squinting through her thick spectacles. Finally, she seemed ready to speak.

"Seamus Finnigan," the old witch rasped out. Hermione sighed in relief. Then, the witch squinted even harder at the paper, then gasped. "Oh, pooh! I'm sorry, that was the wrong man. Draco Malfoy," she said, and finally looked up at Hermione. Hermione had choked on her own spit, then, after regaining control of herself, stared in shock at the wrinkly old woman.

"What?! Th-that can't be!" she cried. The witch looked at Hermione disapprovingly.

"The Ministry of Magic has issued this law and your pairs, and your pair is Draco Malfoy." The old witch looked back at the parchment. "Next!" Hermione walked glumly to the exit as another girl took her place.

Four hours later, Hermione was in a wedding gown, heels, makeup, and was waiting in another long line with her "fiancé". They were next in line, behind Seamus and Hannah Abbott. "So we're getting married," Draco drawled. He looked dashing in his black dress robes, but Hermione was too angry and annoyed to notice. She clenched her teeth and stared ahead at the wooden doors leading to the chapel room which Seamus and Hannah had just gone through.

"Yes! This is absolutely ludicrous! I hate this stupid marriage law! I hate it!" Hermione huffed. "And this dress is absolutely awful." She glared at the plain white fabric and pinched at it with hatred. Draco just looked on, barely amused, and it was once again silent. Suddenly, music started playing from the chapel room; it was their time to go in. Taking a deep breath, and with all the Gryffindor courage Hermione could muster, she walked in, head held high next to Draco. They reached the pulpit and as they were married, Hermione couldn't help but despise every minute of it. There were only a few people in assembly. There was the Minister of Magic, Professor McGonagall, the wrinkly old witch, and the rest of the other professors from Hogwarts that had survived the war. Suddenly, she felt someone grab her hand, and she looked into Draco's stormy grey eyes, at their adjoined hands, then back up to his piercing eyes, feeling a faint flutter in her chest.

"Thank you for finally joining hands. I shall now pronounce you husband and wife," the marriage wizard said with finality, and the couple walked down the aisle stiffly, their hands at their sides. Once out the exit, they were monitored as they Apparated to the place to be known as their own. It was not very big, yet not small at all. At least fifteen people could live comfortably in it. Hermione had to keep herself from rolling her eyes. It was the biggest house in the neighborhood, probably all thanks to the Malfoy fortune. She realised that all her companions from Hogwarts all lived in the same vicinity, but she could not visit them that day for she and Draco were forced to stay in the same house the whole time as their "honeymoon".

Hermione sat at the window, wondering why on earth she had to spend such a beautiful day inside, with her beloved cat and not so beloved husband. All day she was bored. She played with Crookshanks and tried to avoid her husband, who stayed in his room most of the time. They had decided to sleep in separate rooms, as none of this was by their choice. And right when Hermione was so bored she was about to curse the world to hell for such a beautiful day, it began to rain. It rained so hard and for so long Hermione began to believe the clouds were mourning for the arranged marriages done that day. Dusk came, but the rain did not leave. Hermione suddenly grew nervous as she snuggled into her warm bed that night, wishing for her cat who had escaped outside into the beloved rain. Suddenly, a tremendously loud clap of thunder seemed to shake the bed and Hermione shook with it. She gripped her covers and played in her head over and over again: Gryffindor courage, Gryffindor courage, Gryffindor… but it was to no avail as another loud clap of thunder drove her out of her thoughts.

Back at Hogwarts, whenever a bad thunderstorm had come, she would snuggle with one of the girls. She found no one to snuggle and be comforted by now; no one but Malfoy. 'No, no no,' Hermione thought to herself, and shut her eyes and plugged up her ears. She heard nothing, and was about to doze off when a loud clap of thunder penetrated through her sound barrier and her eyes flew open. Her fear of thunderstorms was greater than her distaste of Malfoy. She threw the covers to the side and nearly rushed to his room across the hall, jumping as another clap of thunder went by. Quietly and cautiously, she opened Malfoy's door, and saw him lying on the queen-sized bed looking at his ceiling in a white T-shirt, either wide awake or sleeping lightly, she couldn't tell.

"Malfoy?" she said in a quiet voice, and Draco's head drowsily lifted to look at her.

"Granger, what are you doing here?" he asked in a voice thick with sleep. Hermione hesitated, but in another clap of thunder, she had rushed to his bedside, looking down at his tousled white-blonde hair and his stormy grey eyes.

"Um, Malfoy, I'm, um, scared of…of…thunderstorms, and I was just wondering, if I could, you know…" Gryffindor courage, Gryffindor courage…Hermione took a deep breath, feeling herself redden as she told her former enemy her fear. "Can I sleep in your bed, just for tonight, as long as this bloody thunder keeps going on?" she finally asked in a huff. Draco looked at her for a moment, and Hermione knew a smirk was begging to form on his lips, but he kept his calm and emotionless demeanor.

"Sure," he said, and moved over, giving her enough space so there would be no skin to skin contact. Hermione gratefully slipped in beside him, listening to the sound of her heart pounding in her chest, and closed her eyes, but the thunder once again took control over her and she needed skin to skin contact to comfort her. She shivered and turned towards Draco's back. Did she dare? Just looking at his back comforted her, until the next thunder clap came and with it a flash of bright lightening. Hermione stifled a scream and wiggled closer to Draco, touching his foot with hers and his back with her hand. Draco turned around in surprise to find Hermione so close.

"Granger, what are you doing?" he asked suspiciously. Hermione reddened for the second time that night.

"Do you mind…" she started, but the thunder and lightening got a frightened little squeak from her. Draco suddenly seemed to understand and put his arms around her. Though they were so close, Hermione could still feel the distance between them, not physically, but mentally. He seemed so emotionless and cold although his touch was warm. His eyes closed and Hermione saw him sigh as she shivered again.

"It's just a sound, Granger," he said quietly, and Hermione snuggled a little closer. Soon, his arms were limp around her, yet Hermione still held tightly onto his warm chest. Finally, she closed her eyes, and the loud drumming of the rain turned into the steady beating of Draco's heart and the loud, shaking claps of thunder turned into a faraway sound of a drum as Hermione slipped from the real world into a world of quiet bliss.

The next morning, Hermione woke up in a warm paralyzed state. She opened her eyes to find stormy grey eyes watching her. She suddenly felt very uncomfortable. The sun shined through the window, and Hermione realised how very close they really were. She squirmed a bit under his gaze.

"What?" she finally asked. Draco said nothing. His eyes were still cold and he had no expression on his face.

"I can't call you Granger anymore. You're a Malfoy now." Hermione just stared at him.

"Whatever," she finally spluttered out. "We'll continue on surnames, with, ah, my former surname, that is," she said, feeling quite stupid with her babbling. Malfoy shrugged, then let go of her, got up, and walked to the wash room, shutting the door behind him. Curious of what had just happened, Hermione sat up and rubbed her eyes. Draco was a curious character indeed, and she realised she knew nothing about him. He was quite a mystery, and, as his new wife, she wanted to figure him out. With a new goal in her mind along with the new day as a married witch, she walked across the hall to her room to get ready to make some house calls.

"Oh, and he was so good to me! He made me dinner and danced with me, and later-" Lavender broke out into a fit of giggles as she reddened. Hermione raised an eyebrow as Ginny looked disgusted.

"Please spare us from the disgusting details." Lavender looked at Ginny through innocent blue eyes, and giggled again, her brown hair swishing against the chair.

"Alright, I will." She glanced at Parvati who just giggled and the two burst into another round of giggles. Hermione smirked.

"Alright, alright. Ginny? How's your married life?" Ginny reddened just like her brother.

"Oh, Harry is so…so wonderful! He's a perfect darling to me," Ginny said, a dreamy aura around her. Hermione giggled.

"Oh, you remind me of Luna when she's in one of her daydreams!" she said, giggling, and Ginny grinned.

"How about you, Hermione? How's Malfoy? Ha, but you're a Malfoy too!" Hermione shrugged, reddening. Parvati suddenly gasped.

"Wait, wasn't there a thunderstorm yesterday?" she asked.

"You're scared of them!" Padma put in. Hermione blushed harder.

"I, well I, I snuggled up with…"

"With Malfoy!" Lavender screeched, and keeled over with laughter. Hermione blushed harder.

"Sod off, Lav," she said, refusing to meet the eyes of her friends.

"Oh, this is too good!" Ginny cried, laughing.

"Well, he was a perfect gentleman," Hermione huffed, and Parvati smiled.

"I'm sure he was. That dreamy man…"

"By the way, Parvati, how's your husband?" she asked, grinning evilly, and they continued on like this until finally noon set in.

Hermione Apparated to her beautiful home. She had one more vacation day till she started her job at the Ministry and decided to spend it with all her friends and her cat. Hermione, Ron, Lavender, Harry, Ginny, Neville, Luna, Seamus, and Dean Thomas all went to Hogsmeade, shopped around, hung out, and tried to remember Hogwarts's pleasant memories. They had a splendid time until finally dusk started to settle, and the stars began to sprinkle the sky.

"I have to go home," Hermione said with remorse, and she exchanged many hugs before finally Apparating home. She appeared inside her room as Crookshanks meowed in greeting. "Hello, Crookshanks," she said in a happy tone, and she hummed a bit as she moved around, undressing.

"Granger," a muffled voice said from the other side of the door, and Hermione gasped and whipped her head around to look at the intruder. Malfoy came in, raising his brows in surprise at seeing Granger only in her knickers. He quickly stepped out and closed the door. "Um, come see me in the kitchen when you're done," he murmured, and he was gone. Hermione was baffled. She began to blush furiously, embarrassed that of all people Malfoy had too see her almost naked. She quickly changed into her baggy pajamas and a robe and descended down the winding staircase and stepped into the vibrant kitchen. She felt her face redden as she saw Draco sitting at the counter with a twinkling glass, and she took out a small glass for herself.

"Do you mind?" she mumbled. Draco, staring straight ahead, curtly shook his head. Hermione grabbed the Firewhiskey bottle on the counter and poured some for herself. She drank it all in one gulp, ignoring the burning feeling going down her throat, but a little moan escaped as she tried to numb out the burning feeling. When she opened her eyes again, she met Draco's grey eyes staring at her face. Hermione felt her face heat up again and poured herself another glass and tried to avoid his eyes. Finally, after three glasses, she willed herself to meet his stormy, chilling grey eyes.

"What are you looking at?" she growled.

"What do you think, Granger," Draco said in his even, icy tone. Hermione rolled her eyes and had another swig before meeting his eyes again.

"So what did you want to talk to me about," she said quietly, feeling a bit inebriated. Draco snapped out of his trance and his eyes trailed down to the depths of his Firewhiskey. He gulped it down effortlessly and looked back at Hermione.

"This bloody marriage law has a catch. We get married and for a year we see if it'll work out. If it doesn't, we can divorce, but we'll be sent to different spouses." He shook his head, disgusted, and Hermione realised that that had been the only emotion she had ever seen cross his face since the war had ended.

"Malfoy, why are you so indifferent to everything," Hermione randomly put in. Draco looked up at her, his face now even and emotionless once again.

"Indifferent? Why would you say that?" he asked sarcastically. Hermione shook her head and poured herself another glass.

"Well, your face is always so emotionless and I can never read your eyes. I don't even know what can be going through your mind and you don't seem to care about anything-" Draco's glass slamming down onto the stone counter and shattering interrupted Hermione.

"I don't care about a damn thing, because there is nothing to bloody care about anymore." Draco's face was still emotionless and his voice even and icy, but his words pierced Hermione's heart. "My father is in Azkaban sentenced with a Dementor's kiss, my mother's still in hiding, and everything I ever worked for has gone to pieces." Draco took another swig, this time from the bottle. "But don't mind me," he said, seemingly unaffected by his quick rant, "I'm just a Death eater." He tossed down the rest of the Firewhiskey and repaired the broken glass with a flick of his wand. "Goodnight, Granger," he said in that same even tone, and he left to his bedroom.

Hermione still stood there, looking at the door he had just left through, gaping, and amazed at how much feeling had just surfaced in those few sentences he had uttered. She had always thought Draco was just a bloody prick, cold and indifferent to the world, but now her whole view of him had just changed. He was now a young man still afraid of being alone and not caring because there was simply nothing to care about. Or was it he was afraid of getting hurt again, she wondered. He was just like a bloody corpse in this world, an empty shell with nothing to live for. Suddenly, Hermione had another determination; to become the caring person in Draco's life. She charged up the stairs and to her husband.

"Malfoy!" Hermione cried and burst into his room, gasping at the sight. Draco was clad only in his boxers, and Hermione couldn't help but look down at his muscular chest, his toned arms and legs, and- Hermione blushed furiously and her chocolate brown eyes snapped up to his face once again, waiting for a smirk, a sneer, anything. But nothing happened. Draco's face was still even and cold. Hermione waited a second too long before stepping outside and closing the door.

"What is it, Granger," Draco's muffled voice asked.

"Malfoy, I want you to know, if you ever want to talk about anything…I'll…I'll be here." Hermione felt herself blush furiously. She always felt stupid when she spoke with Draco. 'I'm such a bloody idiot,' Hermione thought to herself and clenched her eyes shut. She continued to wait for Malfoy's answer through the uncomfortable silence.

"Goodnight Granger," came Malfoy's reply, and Hermione mentally kicked herself over and over again. When she reached her room, she smacked herself on the head.

"I'm such an idiot!" she whispered harshly to herself, and quickly got ready for bed. She was under her covers and staring at the red canopy Draco had so thoughtfully put in for her. Or did he even do it? Hermione sighed. Thinking about Draco just confused her. The more she thought about it, the more she felt sorry for him.

His father had been a Death eater and with peer pressure and the pressure to do well as Lucius Malfoy's son, he followed in his father's footsteps, only to be shot down and nearly killed. His bloody father had been caught and sent to Azkaban and his mother was forced into hiding by her husband's stupid mistakes. And on top of all that, the Ministry created a stupid and new law that all students who are 18 are arranged to marry another 18 year old and forced to live together for a whole bloody year! Hermione groaned in the dark. Poor Malfoy! What a horrible life he's had so far. Hermione racked her brain to think of reasons why not to feel sorry for him, but she came up with nothing. As she snuggled deeper into her covers, she sleepily came up with a resolution. "I'll help make Draco's life just a little more bearable," she murmured to herself, then drifted off to sleep.