A/N- Set in alternate universe. Story takes place through out the whole seventh year. Book 6 and 7 are disregarded.

"I hate to see you cry."

He shoved her to the dark corridor, slamming his hands on either side of her, holding her trapped against the wall.

"Why do you care now, Malfoy?" Hermione Granger whispered painfully, "Merlin knows you have made me cry more than once in my lifetime."

And he stared at her desperately as the truth of her words washed upon him in painful ripples, as her tears cascaded down in a frenzy of agony. What could he do? He was, after all, the bad guy. Always was, always would be. In her eyes at least.

She had once said to him that when she cried, she cried with all her heart, with all her soul and mind. That it hurt from the inside out and numbed her mind and body. Such that, when she shed a tear, she shed a part of her inner being. He could see that now. He could see pieces of her being ripped apart with each drop of clear liquid crystal.

Selfish being that he was, he wished she could cry like that for him. Not for Ron Weasly but him. He wished he and Hermione were still together. That she realized exactly how much it hurt to love her.

But all he could do was say, "he isn't worth it, Granger. You know that."

Fire burned in her eyes as she shot them up to his. The very fire that scorched him every time she looked at him, that set his soul blazing. She grabbed his collar.

"Of course I know, Malfoy! I have never been good enough for anyone. Not you, not Ron. First you toss me aside like a bloody nothing and then I try to find happiness again with Ron, my best friend who I have cared for, for years and apparently he thinks I am too boring and uptight to be with." She closed her eyes, all her fire dying out in an instant as she leaned he head back against the wall. "I am the one who is worthless, Malfoy. You and I both know it."

He had not needed to be reminded of exactly what Ronald Weasly had done to Hermione. The scene that had happened just a few minutes ago was still fresh in his mind.

***

The weasel, Hermione's boyfriend of three months was snogging the life out of Lavender Brown.

Icy rage took hold of Draco, burning white hot, slowly claiming every vein in his body. All too clearly, he realized his mistake in giving up Hermione to a cheating scumbag. He took a step forward to pound Weasly bloody then hex him into oblivion, when somebody beat him to it.

He groaned as Hermione swept into what she thought was an empty class room. Draco quickly resumed his hiding position behind a huge pillar. Talk about timing. Hermione took one look at Ron and Lavender and her face visibly contorted in pain. Furiously, she pulled out her wand, and shouted, "Pervertous Incantatum"

A flash of blinding white light shot out of Hermione's wand to hit Ron Weasly square on the chest. Seconds later, Ron was vomiting endlessly all over Lavender and the utterly disgusted girl was running for her life out of the classroom sending a fearful look at Hermione on her way.

Few minutes later, when Ron had stopped vomiting, Hermione slapped him hard on the face.

"How could you, Ron? Why for Merlin's sake did you ask me out if it was Lavender you fancied?" she cried.

"Bloody hell, Hermione! When I asked you out I thought we could have something special. Harry told me you had fancied me for years and I wanted to give it a shot." Still panting, Ron Weasly pushed his sweaty hair back from his red face and continued ruthlessly, "but you are always so closed up and distant and you hardly ever let me touch you!"

At this point Draco would gladly have crucioed the bastard to hell. Even if it meant a lifetime of imprisonment in Azkaban or even a dementor's kiss. But Hermione was doing quite well on her own because the next thing he knew she was throwing another curse at Weasly, hurling him to the wall and screaming, " so is that what you wanted from me all this time? To get into my knickers?"

As much as Draco loved seeing Wealsy get pounded, he knew it was time to intervene. He jumped out of his hiding place just as Hermione was about hit Ron once again, grabbed her wand and held her struggling form tightly with his free hand. He turned to Ron dangerously and hissed, "Run weasel. Run for your stinking life."

And then he pulled Hermione out of the class room to a secluded corridor for a confrontation that was long over due.

***

He touched his forehead to hers, closing his eyes against blissful smell that was only Hermione's alone. He relished the feel of her unruly curls tickling the side of his neck. He touched her cheeks with his face rubbing away the last traces of her tears. He had missed this so much.

Drcao wanted to kiss her. Once again. Like those countless times before. Times that had not been even close to enough. A kiss that would tell her of the nights he had spent, fighting tears that were never there to be shed, feeling that piercing nausea in his guts. He wished she could feel him feeling that he was doomed for this emptiness. He wished she would see that he had no other choice. Nothing was worth putting her life in danger.

And then came an aching whisper, "do you miss me, Draco?"

***

Hermione almost sagged with relief at finally being able to voice the thought that had haunted her nights for months now.

Yes she did wonder if he missed her. She wondered whether or not hatred had taken over the most basic feeling of the lack of presence of someone so integrated in one's life.

As for her, she missed him like the next breath. She was as conscious of the throbbing pain in her heart and that numb sadness as she was of the blood pumping in her veins. Many a time she had strived to replace that feeling with hatred. And now she loved to hate him.

They had started down a path not even knowing how it would change them for the rest of their lives and now, even if both of them willed it with all their might, they would never be able to change themselves back.

It was Draco's arms she had turned to for solace when Ron had been too busy with Lavender to notice Hermione's crush on Ron. And then she had fallen in love with Draco Malfoy himself. That was how it all began.

She looked into his eyes and it was like she was immediately transported back to that day.

***

The first class of the term had just ended. Hermione watched wistfully as Ron walked away with Llavender and Harry and Ginny went past her holding hands, lost in their own world. It had been years now and Ron still did not seem to realize her feelings for him. Hermione sighed.

"Oi Granger, still pinning over freckle face are we?" Malfoy hissed at her as she was coming out from Transfiguration. "Weasly may be poor but he does have rich taste. That Brown is a looker!"

Hermione grimaced slightly then shot him a smirk that almost rivaled his.

"Do my ears deceive me or did Draco Malfoy really just compliment a Gryffindor?" she said with mock horror.

"Why, you jealous Granger? Its perfectly alright you know. I am quite irresistible."

Hermioen huffed, "you wish!"

They had reached the corridor of their head common room by this time and suddenly Malfoy stopped abruptly,twisting her around and pulling her flush against his body. Hermione stared at him in stunned disbelieve.

"Oh but I do Granger. You have no idea how much." There was something in his voice. Something that Hermione couldn't quite place her finger on.

She should struggle, push him away and hex him into oblivion. But for some reason, she found herself unable to move. His warm breath tickled against the sensitive spot behind her neck and she trembled with alien sensations.

"You want Weasly to notice you, you might wanna do this to him" he said trailing a long finger down the side of her face. He delved his hands in her hair lacing his fingers behind her head, drawing her face dangerously close to his. "And this too."

With his face inches from hers, he stared down deeply into her eyes. When her senses were filled completely by him, he whispered, "and finally this."

He closed the last gap, putting his mouth softly on hers for a brief second. A thousand volt electricity shot through her entire body and she gasped aloud in dismay when his mouth left hers.

Malfoy smirked, twitching an eyebrow at her and disappeared into their shared common room. Hermione stood gazing at his retreating back.

Ron who?

It had been the sweet beginning of their secret relationship that grew from that day on.

***

He had changed her entire world. She was standing at the same place she had been when she first let him in her life. Only now, that piece of land had been neatly cut away and placed in a different planet. And this was where she would be for the rest of her life, stuck in dreams of the past.

Hermione pulled away slightly from him when Draco remained silent to her question.

She smiled up at him sadly and said, "You know, Malfoy, I have realized something. This is how things are going to be between us. You and me with our own individual romantic endeavors. You with pansy me with Ron or whoever." She touched his cheek and softly shook her head, "but the thing is, we can never have with anyone else what we had with each other. You gave me the best months of my lifeā€¦" her voice broke but her gaze was still intense, "and then you took it all away Draco."

"You know perfectly well why we had to break it off. You know my obligations Hermione. I can't put you in danger." He said quietly.

And it all came down to that. Always.

He had never claimed to love her. And neither had she. It was the one weakness that both of them absolutely refused to cave in to. But he had always conveyed that he had more important priorities in life.

"And don't' forget, Weasly was always your first choice." He added harshly.

Of course. His other excuse. She remembered the night he broke it off with her like it was yesterday.

***

Ron had been acting strange all day, following her around and opening and closing his mouth like a goldfish as if he wanted to tell her something but changing his mind in the last second. Harry had a knowing smirk on his face that almost rivaled draco malfoy's. Seemed like that smirk was fast becoming the new fad. The youngest Malfoy would have to learn to keep up.

Hermione glanced up at Harry and Ron nervously at the lunch table wondering what the boys were up to.

What if they had finally discovered her secret? She spluttered on her food.

She found herself sitting alone with Ron at potions, Harry having being paired with Neville. Hermione wondered if it was deliberate. Draco sat just behind her with Zabini. Hermione blushed as Drcao sent her a knowing look. She still could not believe she had slept in his bed last night. Just slept of course. Nothing else.

Once again, Ron looked up at her when he thought she wasn't noticing and averted his gaze at once when she caught him.

Hermione was beginning to get annoyed. "Okay Ronald, out with it. I refuse to take anymore of your goldfish act!"

"Hermione I really like you. Will you go out with me?" he said in a rush.

Hermione almost laughed at the irony o f the situation. She had crushed on this boy for the last four years and now that she was over him, he pulled out the guts to tell this to her.

"What about Lavender, Ron?" she asked

"Uh, Hermione that was nothing. I was just still jealous over the Krum thing." He said grinning. "So what do you say, Hermione?"

"I say you have my blessings Weasel and mudblood. Pea brain and big brain would go well together." A voice a piped up from behind. "Go ahead, Granger. Say yes, you know you want to."

Hermione felt herself freeze at Draco's harsh words. And she didn't even stop Ron when he threw a punch directly into Draco's nose. Tears rose in her throat. How could he do this to her? After last night, after the last few months. Had they meant nothing?

As Snape yelled at Ron, giving him a month's detention and sending Draco to Madam Pomfrey, Hermione made a reckless decision.

She turned to Ron and said, "Ron, I would be happy to go out with you."

And Draco and Hermione were over just like that.

***

Hermione wiped away her tears.

"You are right. Ron was my first choice, Malfoy. But you are too blind to see that people change, their feelings change. You were too blind to see Ron was never the one I loved." She pushed herself away from him and fled to the library.

***

A/N- Thank you for reading. Now please review!