Disclaimer: I don't own Draco and Hermione. If I did, that blasted epilogue would be VERY different.
A/N: I really love this... Hope, you do, too. No flames, please...
The water is calm, the only unmoving facette of the big picture. Dark and reflecting the stormy night sky, it blends in with the many disasterous things happening around it. But it's completely calm.
There's a young boy with silverblond hair falling to the ground. A young girl with unruly brown curls storming away from him.
There's a tear shed by the girl who knows he is dying.
There's a smile cast by the boy who knows she'll be back.
The water is calm. Bidding a love farewell.
They might be tired of fighting.
"What are you doing here, mudblood?"
"I could ask you the same thing, ferret."
"This is my place. I saw it first."
"I claimed it first. Do you really want to be as immature about this as you are about everything else?"
"Shut up, Granger."
"The tree has two sides facing the water. Why don't we peacefully co-exist?"
"You're not going to hex me?"
"I'm not like you, Malfoy."
Maybe there's hope.
"Can I borrow your quill?"
"What was that? Did the mighty Slytherin Prince just ask me, a mere mudblood, a polite question?"
"If you always respond like that, it's not likely to happen again."
"Sorry. That was me being immature."
"Do you need ink as well?"
The thought that he might be lonely.
"Would you-... Um... Would you mind explaining to me why dragonfly eyes work better than regular fly eyes?"
"Dragonflies are more magical than regular flies. You need less of them. Plus, they make the potion taste better."
"I'm surprised you answered me. I fully expected you to ignore me."
"Isn't this part of peaceful co-existance?"
"Why, yes, but-... Thank you."
He is lonely.
"Granger? You ignoring me?"
"And here I thought we were being mature."
"If I cared, I'd tell you I'm a bit disappointed in you. Bet you expected me to stop being nice first."
"I did, too."
"You didn't even notice I haven't called you a mudblood in two bloody weeks."
"Damnit, Granger, say something!"
"Oh, sorry, were you talking to me? I guess I must have nodded off."
"Sorry for waking you. I just wanted to ask if you knew what the 'Occulto' spell does."
Hesitant steps to being civil.
"Okay, this is going to sound weird and stupid and pathetic and you're probably going to laugh at me, but since we're being mature and this whole co-existing thing isn't as bad as I'd expected it to be... I brought some Bertie Bott's Beans and pumpkin juice. Would you... would you like some?"
"This isn't some stupid trick, is it?"
"Sorry, Granger. That was uncalled for."
"Yes, it was."
"I'd be honoured to share some of the pie my mother sent me to make amends."
"Do you always talk like that?"
"Merlin, witch, I'm trying to be nice here!"
"Let's just eat, okay?"
I'd laugh if it wasn't so sad.
"You know what, Malfoy? Even though I hate you and all, you're really not as horrible I thought."
"I assume that was some sort of attempt of a compliment."
"You could go as far as call it that, yes."
"Then I suppose the polite thing to do would be returning it."
"If you think that's appropriate."
"You're really not all that terrible either. Even though naturally, I still hate you, too."
"You know, Harry and Ron would kill me if they saw us communicating without hexing each other."
"I have to say I disagree."
"They wouldn't kill you. They'd kill me."
"It's different with my friends. They'd kill us both."
"Nah, it's worth it."
"Don't read too much into it."
"What are those?"
"They're called 'Soft cakes'. My mum sent them. They're my favorites. That's biscuit with orange and chocolate, in case your wondering."
"That's muggle stuff."
"Does it insult you that I'm offering you some?"
"No, I'm just saying."
"Well, do you want to try one or not?"
"If you're still willing to give me one."
"There you go."
"They're not bad."
"They're actually rather good."
"Even though they're muggle-made?"
"Are you smiling?"
"I'm enjoying your company, Granger."
"Where did that come from?"
"I don't know. Just thought you should know."
"You're not scared I could use this to blackmail you?"
"I'm never scared."
"I'm enjoying your company, too."
"Wait. Does that mean we like each other now?"
"I wouldn't go that far. It sounds drastic, don't you agree? Let's just say this place is Switzerland."
"What does Switzerland have to do with anything?"
"It's neutral ground."
Who are we?
"You didn't have to do that, you know."
"What? Jinx your beloved Potter and get Snape to deduct points from Gryffindor for it? I thought you were used to that by now."
"That this changed anything? Well, you were wrong."
"No. Just naive."
"Look, I'm not saying I'm sorry, because I'm not. I hate Potter and he hates me, that's the way things are and nothing is ever going to change that."
"I really don't like you when you're like that."
"Like... a heartless, hateful bully."
"And I don't like you when you're being a prissy little know-it-all."
"But I like you when it's just us and the lake."
"Saying this is a really big thing for me, Granger."
"I hate the prissy little know-it-all. But I like you. And that scares me shitless."
"I need to go back."
"Call me Hermione then."
"I hate the heartless, hateful bully. And I like you. And I'm scared, too."
"I thought you Gryffindors were supposed to be brave?"
"I thought you Slytherins were supposed to be liars."
"Who says I'm not lying?"
"Your smile does. Draco."
"You just called me Draco..."
"See, that's the smile I'm talking about."
Sometimes everything is right.
"I think your name sounds hot."
"Ya name. Draco. I love saying it, 'cause 't sounds as if it's dripping with deliciousness."
"It's jus' two butterbeers."
"Maybe two butterbeers too much, Hermione?"
"I like it when you say my name, too. Sounds waaaay less hostile."
"I think you're forcing me to get the rest of the bottle as far away from you as possible."
"You're rude. An' mean. An' I like you. Ya hair is very... shiny."
"Uh-huh. An' ya eyes are beautiful. Like a thunderstorm or something."
"What are you doing?"
"I think I'm leaning in to kiss ya. I've been wanting to fin' out wha' that feels like for a while."
"'xactly wha' I 'xpected. Only better."
"Why did you do that?"
"Why wouldn' I?"
"This was a bad idea."
"Oh, c'mon, don' be such a kill-joy. Jus' 'cause I kissed ya, doesn' mean I wanna spend the rest of ma days with ya."
"You wanna know why I kissed ya? 'Cause I've been wondering whether your hair'd be soft as soft as it looks. An' what you'd taste like. Le's call it cue-... cure-... curi-som'thing. Ya know what I mean, don' ya?"
"Maybe I didn't want you to kiss me."
"Ouch. Do ya have to be so bloody blunt 'bou' s'thing like tha'? B'sides. You kissed me back."
"Note to myself: Don't ever get Hermione Granger drunk again."
"Shush... Perhaps maybe Hermione Granger likes bein' drunk."
"You should sleep."
"Nuh-uh. Don' wanna sleep..."
"Dormo. Good night, Hermione."
"I didn't think I'd ever see you show up here again."
"Do you want me to not say a word about anything after you have clearly been avoiding me for six weeks?"
"I'm sorry. This is-... We're not even friends and I crossed a line."
"What did you do that for?"
"Now we've both crossed a line. Let's blame curiosity. We're even now."
"Your hair feels soft, too."
"You're laughing at me."
"You must admit, there is some sort of humour in that situation, isn't there? I'm hoping we're laughing together."
"I guess we can do that."
The thought that she might be serious.
"I hate you, Draco Malfoy! I hate you!"
"How could you do that? How could you do that after all of-... this?"
"And don't you dare say it had nothing to do with it!"
"Do not say my name! It's Granger to you! Or mudblood! Or whatever charming nickname you ever managed to come up with!"
"Why are you here anyway? Aren't you supposed to be on the run with your Death Eater friends? Huh, Malfoy? Why?"
"No, you shut up for a second here! You're the reason Dumbledore's dead! Dumbledore! He was ten thousand times the man you'll never be! He deserved better than to die at the hands of someone as unworthy as you!"
"Stay the fuck away from me! Why didn't you kill me then, Malfoy? You had me there, right in your arms, in your fucking arms and all you did was kiss me back! Do you know how much that disgusts me? Just thinking about it makes me sick!"
"What, lost for words now? Are you? Did I finally get you to shut up?"
"I hate you, Malfoy. I hate you. With all my heart and soul. I'm sorry I ever thought of you as a decent person. I'm sorry I enjoyed your company. And I'm sorry you even existed in my life. I never hated anyone before I met you."
"What, you're just going to run now?"
Sobs in the darkness.
The wish he'd come back.
She feels cold.
The final battle.
The water is calm. There is noone left. Everyone is celebrating. Or captured. Or dead.
There's a girl holding a boy in her arms.
There's a whisper only the water can hear.
"I hate you, Draco. I didn't lie about that. But I don't hate you half as much as I-..."
The girl stops speaking. He can't hear her. Perhaps he knows.
There's a smile on his dead face. She came back.