Chapter 1

Hello, Love

Draco Malfoy: twenty years of age, blonde, immaculate, and exceptionally arrogant. With each year that passed, his head grew a little, and with those years, he tried to send some of his flaws. Of course, it hadn't really worked, otherwise he wouldn't be Draco Malfoy.

He stood in his bedroom, in front of his green bed, which was pressed against a green wall, with a green armchair in the corner, looking in the green mirror, which showed a reflection of his green silken shirt, and the green flames in the fireplace beside the bed. Yes, Draco Malfoy liked the colour green. Immensely. He established that fact with a twirl of the brush through his hair, thinking himself rather a genius for figuring that out. The colour green reminded him of his Hogwarts days, and the command and control he had over the entire Slytherin. Alas, this control was gone now, along with his money, home and loyalty to the Dark Side. Yes, capitals. He had upgraded the words to capitals during his year-long ranting depression.

Seeing as he hadn't gone back to Hogwarts for his seventh and final year – incidentally, the one he had been looking forward to the most; he'd had the Head Boy-ship in the bag – there wasn't a lot he could do after the Final Battle (Draco liked his capitals, too). Although there were jobs enough, trying to restore order to the wizarding world, what employer would hire an inexperienced, unqualified un-graduate? Nobody, that's who. Draco had been faced with two choices: go grovelling back to his parents and possibly die, both of the shame and from his father after his betrayal, or, lucky option number two, wing it.

He liked saying 'wing it'. It made him feel like he was in a cowboy movie.

Now, he had ruled out the first one after about a nanosecond of rational thought. His parents were still alive (unfortunately), although his father had been cursed with a permanent Jelly Legs. The Healers at St Mungo's were still trying to find a cure for it. Draco had wished they'd give up. It was so much more amusing this way. Took away from his father's dignity a bit when his legs were like tentacles every second of the day.

The second option, however, hadn't seemed too appealing either. Living on the streets, with no money to buy shampoo for his perfect hair, which certainly wouldn't stay perfect for long... the thought made him shudder. So, after a bit of irrational thought, he decided to give the first option a try. However, that hadn't worked out. He'd chickened out, and found a cave to live in. He had packed a huge backpack full of essentials (and enough shampoo that his hair would stay perfect for quite a while yet) and, as he said, winged it. Winged? Wang? Wung? He wasn't sure of the appropriate past tense for it, and the second one made him giggle. He decided on the last one, so when he appeared, with his backpack and his perfect hair out of place, and his mother asked what he had been doing for so long, he was able to say – with an exceptionally proud look on his exceptionally handsome face – that he had, "Wung it."

He had been welcomed back with open arms, by his mother at least. His father wasn't too pleased, but what could he do? He had tried cursing Draco once or twice, but he had, erm, been mysteriously hit from behind with another powerful, permanent curse. Now he couldn't talk either, which was a pleasant change.

But now, he was twenty years old, and he decided he was getting a little old to be living with his mummy – and his speechless daddy. So his bags were packed, pressed up against the green wall, and he had just thrown in a truckload of Floo powder. There was a neatly folded note lying on his bed, that basically said, 'Leaving now, buh bye. I'll come back when I get brokerer. Love Drakey.'

He was going to go visit Blaise Zabini, who was apparently quite well off now. He sent his luggage through first, and then stepped into the fireplace himself.

"Blaise Zabini's house," he said clearly, coughing as a chunk of congealed Floo powder lodged itself in his throat. For a moment, he was worried that the powder had made him mispronounce, but then went back to fearing for his life due to the whole 'powder wedged down throat' thing. But no, he felt the Floo Powder take its effect, and he was pulled back through the fireplace, and then spat out on the other end.

He surveyed his surroundings with disgust. "So much for well off," he muttered, walking around. The floor boards creaked under his feet, and there was a strange musty smell that he couldn't quite place. Then he realised: this definitely wasn't Blaise's house. He looked around. His bags weren't there. He stuck his head out the window, the cold air making his throat burn. The house was in a deserted alley.

He found the stairs, testing them to see if they would hold his weight. They wouldn't, and they collapsed – with him on them – onto the floor. He climbed out of the wreckage, aching, and out onto the street. He was looking for a wizard, but he didn't want to pull out his wand just yet, because there was a teenaged Muggle boy crossing the road.

"Oi! Muggle!" he called desperately.

The Muggle turned around menacingly. "What'd you call me?"

"A Mug- I mean, nothing, nothing. Excuse me, where... er... where am I, exactly?"

The Muggle crossed the road, striding back towards him. Before his sense of self-preservation had kicked in, he had been punched full in the face. With a stream of blood dripping from the nose – which had previously been long, straight and angular, and was now just hurting like hell – he stumbled in the opposite direction to the Muggle. He needed a hospital.

"Malfoy?" came a female voice.

He turned around, his vision a little fuzzy. It was an average heighted girl with long brown hair, falling to her waist in gentle waves. She was in Muggle clothes, and even in his disoriented, painful state, Draco could tell that they were very flattering. This girl was hot, and he would have tried to chat her up if he could see a little better...

"Hello, love," he murmured, trying to make out the shape of her a little clearer.

"You idiot. You stupid, arrogant little idiot," hissed the girl, and suddenly she didn't seem so hot anymore. He tried to sit up, but it didn't exactly work too well. His head started to throb, so he lay it back down on the pavement.

Suddenly, he felt something slimy running down his neck, like he'd had an egg cracked there. An unseen force lifted him off the ground, and he fell asleep.

When Draco woke up, he was lying in a bed. It was warm, and soft. His eyelids fluttered open, and he registered the pretty girl in front of him, poking at his face with a long stick.

"Granger?" he asked incredulously.

"Mmm?" she asked absentmindedly, jabbing her wand at his nose and murmuring, "Episkey."

"What are you doing here?"

"Well, you see, I kind of work here."

"Where am I?" he asked, trying to look around without causing himself unnecessary pain.

"In a hospital."

"Isn't that a Muggle thing?" he asked, wrinkling his nose.

"I wouldn't be like that if I were you. It's because of this Muggle thing that you're still alive," she snapped, giving him an extra hard jab that he was sure was superfluous, as she healed a cut on his cheek.

"But," he struggled to say, "that's a wand."

"Yes, it is," she said, as if she were speaking to a three year old.

"We're in a hospital."

"Yes, we are."

"Are you insane?" he exclaimed, sitting up and staring at her.

"No," she said, waving her wand at him and forcing him back down onto the bed. "It's deserted. Do you really think I'd be stupid enough to reveal myself? I'm happy here."

"That makes one of us," he muttered.

"I could leave, if you like," she said sarcastically, gesturing to the door.

Draco felt what he had a feeling was a broken rib, and exclaimed, "No! Stay! I need fixing! Don't leave!"

"Fine," she said, sending a wave of warmth over him, as even the smallest amount of pain disappeared and he felt his eyelids droop. When he awoke, there were people. Muggles, as a matter of fact. He searched the room for Hermione, but she was nowhere to be found. He had no choice but to do the usual Malfoy thing. He crossed his arms and stared straight ahead, sulking.

"Oh, stop that," muttered Hermione as she appeared by his bedside.

He clutched onto her collar, uncomfortably near her bosom. "You need to get me out of here," he said frantically.

"Okay. You're fixed. Where did you want to go?"

"Blaise's house," he said immediately.

"Blaise... Blaise Zabini?" asked Hermione, looking startled.

"Yes, of course. Take me to him." Draco stood up, pretending to be in a lot of pain as he leant against Hermione, who shoved him away. She walked ahead, her footsteps clicking on the ground.

"Follow me," she said. "I'll take you to a fireplace." She led him into a small office, and gestured to the fireplace. "Go on." She tossed a small amount of Floo powder into the flames, and shoved him in.

"Aren't you coming with me?" he asked desperately, all of a sudden not to keen on the idea of randomly bursting into the fireplace of a man he hadn't seen in three years.

She smiled slightly. "Now that you mention it, I'd like to see this." She stepped in beside him, and reeled off and address. They jerked backwards, and were spat out into a very posh house. "Blaise?" she called. "Blaise, where are you?"

He came out, tall, dark and handsome, with nothing but a towel around his waist. Draco shuddered slightly. He didn't get a kick out of seeing other men half naked. Women, yes, but not men.

"Oh, hello Hermione. How's Muggle life treating you?"

Hermione smiled. "Fantastically, actually. But I'm not here to chat. I'm accompanying this wretch. Apparently, he's visiting you."

Blaise peered at Draco, who rearranged his features. He had been staring around the room. No wonder Blaise hadn't recognised him. But now that his face had assumed its usual scowl, Blaise exclaimed, "Draco! How've you been, old boy?"

"Peachy," muttered Draco. "Erm, I'm broke."

"And?" asked Blaise, glancing at the expensive watch that glinted on his wrist. "If you don't mind, I've got a massage in five minutes."

Hermione took the opportunity to jump in. "I think he needs a place to stay, from what I can tell."

"Can he stay with you?" asked Blaise. "I'm jetting out to the Bahamas to shoot a Muggle movie tomorrow."

"With me?" asked Hermione, as Draco exclaimed, "With her?"

"Yes," said Blaise. "I'm sure you'll get along nicely. See you, Hermione. We'll catch up when I get back, okay? Coffee, same time, same place?"

Hermione nodded slowly.

"Good to see you, Draco!" called Blaise cheerfully, as he bustled from the room.

Draco stared after him. "I can't believe he... I can't... he..."

Hermione seemed amused. It just made Draco crosser. "He's famous, Malfoy. He doesn't give anyone the time of day."

"'Cept you," Draco pointed out.

"Yes, because we're friends. Or, we were, before he saddled me with you." She seemed disgusted. Draco was offended.

"Hey!"

"Sorry, but you obviously aren't too keen on the idea yourself," she said.

The girl's got a point.

"Okay. So. I'm going to be... staying with you," he said, trying not to look too disgusted, and not succeeding.

"I guess you are," she responded, and then added hopefully, "Unless you'd rather check into a hotel?"

The look on Draco's face as he recalled the fact that that would have been a really good idea if his wallet was so empty that it was forming cobwebs obviously alerted Hermione to the fact that his answer was a strong negative.

And with a sudden bang, life as he knew it froze up. He and Hermione, enemies since as long as he could remember, would be existing together. Breathing the same air, even. A disgusting thought, it's true, but he had nowhere else to go.