01/01/09 – Learning to Fall

Pairing: Hermione / Draco

Rating: M

Summary: Draco loses his memory from a spell gone wrong, and has to stay with Hermione. The big question is, what happens when, and if, he gets his memory back?

Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter, nor any of the characters from the books or movies. I do not make any money from the writing of this story.

Chapter One

"He can't stay with me!" Hermione's voice raised an octave at Ginny Weasley's announcement. Ginny merely glared at her in return, seeming to absently put her hand on Harry's arm for reassurance.

"Yes he can, and he will." Ginny's glare was determined. Hermione sighed, pacing in a circle as she raised her hands in the air. Ron Weasley, Neville Longbottom, Luna Lovegood, and Blaise Zabini looked on as she paced.

"It really is for the best, Hermione." Ron's even tempered statement made Hermione growl in response as she paused, wrapping her arms around herself.

"Why do I get stuck with him? We hated each other, I'm sure not much will have changed, no matter how fantastic of a wizard he thinks he is…" Her tirade eventually wound down into grumbles as she peered into the other room. Seemingly oblivious to the conflict going on, was Draco Malfoy. "Stupid ferret," Hermione mumbled under her breath as Blaise watched her with interest.

"He doesn't remember anything Hermione. Grudges, names, history – nothing. If a Malfoy can't remember his own cocky ego, you can be sure that his memory is bloody well wiped clean." Harry cracked a small smile at Blaise's words, while Ron managed a small chuckle.

Neville finally spoke up, seeming to come out from the shadows that he'd managed to fade into during the conversation. "Until we can figure out how to reverse it, he'll have to stay somewhere safe… and that's with you, in Muggle London."

"But I should be working on reversing the hex, not babysitting!" Hermione's eyes flashed as she put her hands on her hips, looking over the group with a frown as they remained silent. Exhaling harshly in aggravation, Hermione bit her bottom lip. "Fine, he stays with me. But I want daily, and I do mean daily Ron Weasley, updates on how breaking the hex is coming." Her glare silenced even Ron's minor protests as he seemed to cower a bit behind Luna.

Luna smiled serenely at Hermione, "When a Snorkle-Sneak-Snacker steals a person's memory, it's best just to wait. He'll remember eventually all on his own." Luna patted Hermione's arm as Ron pulled her away hastily, seeing the flush in Hermione's cheeks and knowing the warning signs by heart.

As the group filed away from Hermione's house, she sat down with a flop onto the recliner in her living room. Crookshanks, still not sure about the man in the other room, sat in her lap, starting up his rusty purr. "We're getting mighty old for this, aren't we, Crookshanks."

In the years following the death of Voldemort, the Order had been putting down little uprisings from other followers. In no way had it compared to the old days of the wars; there were few casualties, and overall, it wasn't a bad thing from day to day.

Of course, it'd all gone wrong when Malfoy – the amazing bouncing ferret – managed to get his own memory charm rebounded right back at him. If only he wasn't such a curst good wizard, Hermione thought. If he wasn't good at his memory charms to begin with, it would've worn off naturally by now. But it'd been almost six hours, and there was no sign of improvement. She pet Crookshanks automatically, her eyes closing for a brief second. When she opened them two seconds later, she about flew out of her chair in surprise.

A pair of very obviously worried slate coloured eyes were staring right at her, much too close for comfort. Straightening her posture, Hermione glared at Draco as best she could. "I'm sure having your memory wiped didn't deplete your knowledge of personal space, Malfoy."

Draco pulled back from her, frowning. Tendrils of his pale blonde hair wisped from behind his ears as he finally spoke up. "So is my name Malfoy or Draco? You all kept switching between them so quickly…" his voice trailed off as he saw Hermione's lips pull into a line.

"Draco Malfoy. That's your name."

"Did I go by Malfoy?" Draco had perched on the edge of the loveseat, one hand working at the other nervously. He was still wearing his impeccably tailored pants and shirt, looking entirely out of place in Hermione's slightly messy living room. Books seemed to be all over the area, some with bookmarks stuck in them, others open with notepads tossed on them, and others in precarious stacks that seemed to stay up only by the use of magic.

"Sometimes," she replied as she stood, pushing Crookshanks off her lap.

"Why only sometimes?" When Hermione didn't reply, Draco frowned more. "Did I break your heart?" Hermione merely turned at his question, peering over her shoulder at him with an inquisitive look as she paused in the shuffling of her books. "It's just, you… treat me like I've hurt you before."

"You never got close enough to break my heart, Malfoy," she replied quietly as she straightened. Having found the book she was searching for, she peered at the cover, before setting the book in Draco's hands. His eyes watched her curiously as she walked to the kitchen, commenting to him, "Start at page 89."

Draco looked closer at the book in his hands. "You-Know-Who… Or Do you? The complete story of Voldemort's Downfall, by Rita Skeeter." Flipping the pages, he came to page 89 and was greeted by a picture of himself. Scanning the text, Draco took in bits and pieces.

Draco Malfoy, 23 at time of printing, only child of Lucius Malfoy… Sorted into Slytherin house at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry… Turned double-agent shortly after Dumbledore's death… remains close friends with Blaise Zabini… Pansy Parkinson…confirmed bachelor, though often seen with many women on his arm…

Draco frowned at his smirking photo, who would wink now and then. His hair was shorter in the picture, barely touching his ears. He touched a piece of his hair as he looked at himself for a second more. Maybe he just hadn't gotten it cut yet. Turning the pages, he flipped through it more until he came to a new chapter.

Hermione Granger, 22 at time of printing, a muggle born witch well known for her intelligence and booksmarts… often called the Golden Trio when paired with Ron Weasley and Harry Potter… was the 'brains' behind the downfall of Voldemort, helping decipher clues and destroy the horcruxes… lives in muggle London and keeps in touch with her best friends, Harry Potter, Ginny Potter, and Ron Weasley…

Hermione's picture was smiling shyly at the camera, her hair a little frizzier than it was now. She looked older now, Draco noted, as his finger traced the outline of her chin slowly. "How old is this book?"

Amid clattering from the kitchen, he could just hear Hermione's reply. "About four years or so." She came out with tea, setting it down on two towers of books that were about even. As she took her own cup, Hermione leaned back into the recliner again, Crookshanks reclaiming his seat on her lap as Draco set the book down.

"So I'm 27?" Hermione nodded at Draco's question. "Am I married? Do I have a girlfriend? Where do I work? Why aren't you my girlfriend? Am I gay?"

Hermione cracked a small smile at the flood of questions, taking a drink of tea before setting the cup down, stroking Crookshanks head and scratching at his ear. "No, I have no idea, at the Ministry of Magic with Blaise Zabini, because you're a snarky prat and we never got along, and you could be. I guess." It felt strange to have to explain to Draco that they'd never gotten along; their mutual dislike had been embedded for so long that it seemed almost… asinine to point it out now.

Draco seemed to take her answers easily enough, and he took a cup of tea from the platter. "So I guess I'm staying here with you." It wasn't a question, but as it was, Draco was having problems figuring things out. Nothing seemed stable in his world anymore; he'd only relearned his name a bit ago, and it seemed that everything else was crumbling around him. He worked with the Ministry of Magic… were they important? Would he be missed? Could he even do his job now? How would he survive? Questions that Draco didn't really want the answers to swarmed his mind as he focused back on Hermione.

"Yes. Considering the circumstances, we" (there was a slight sneer to the word) "have decided that it would be best for you to stay here until we can reverse the hex."

"Does this happen to people often?" Draco set the cup down.

"Not that I've seen. Something to do with the way that the man you were hexing pulled up his shield… usually the particular curse that you used wouldn't rebound; it would just be absorbed by the shield. Which makes it harder to reverse, for the time being." At his worried look, Hermione shrugged, trying not to disrupt Crookshanks who was now happily purring on her lap. "It shouldn't take too long. There'll be a good many people working on it, and Blaise is nearly a genius when it comes to fixing things like this."

"What happened to the man I was cursing?" Draco's eyes, strangely filled with emotions Hermione could easily read, were on her again.

"I stunned him shortly after Ginny broke his shield. He seems to have no adverse affects from his run in with you."

Draco frowned a bit. "Why was I stunning him?"

Hermione sighed, standing slowly as she cradled Crookshanks in her arms. "Read that book. It'll explain." She called over her shoulder, "Second door on the left is where you can sleep. I'm going to bed. Eat what you want, and such… the loo is first door on the left."

And with that, she shut the door. Draco sighed, grabbed his cup of tea, and snuggled down into the chair Hermione had been occupying earlier. "Page one, it is…" he murmured softly to himself as he flipped to the beginning.

A/N: Here's my new Draco/Hermione fic. If you know where I loosely got the plot line for this (very loosely), then you get major cookie bonus points. Uhhm, yeah. Working on this story and Paper Faces (which has been dead for over a year, and is now slowly coming back to life as I continue to write on it). Enjoy~