A/N: Man, oh man, do I ever love ze angst. Again, sorry about the delay. I suck at updating.

Better a little bit then nothing at all, right?

I couldn't decide between 'Suicide Note' by Johnette Napolitano and 'Running up that hill' by Placebo cause they both kick so much ass.

The air in the Head common room is still and stagnant, and Hermione Granger has never been more aware of her own solitude. She has been sitting here – on the left cushion of the burgundy couch – resolutely waiting for Draco since he walked away from her in the library earlier that night. Several hours have come and gone since then and yet, by midnight, he still hasn't returned. She imagines he is in the Slytherin dungeons, possibly playing a game of exploding snap with Blaise Zabini, Crabbe and Goyle not far off, breathing ridiculously loudly through their mouths.

One would think that after the unsuccessful confrontation in the library, Hermione would leave well enough alone, at least for one night. But such is not the case. It is fair to say that Hermione Granger has never left anything "well enough alone" in her entire life, and therefore, why would she start now? Furthermore, in her mind, it seems like a extremely good idea not to allow Draco to have any time to 'regroup', per se, before she launches her next attack.

The sound of the portrait door creaking open breaks her out of her thoughts and she jumps up from the cushions, throwing down the pillow that she'd had clutched in her arms. She moves purposefully around the couch, facing the common room door and the violently blond young man who has just walked through it.

Draco stops in his tracks after noticing her, and regards her without emotion or surprise, although it is obvious that she has been waiting up for him.

"I thought I told you to leave me alone."

She nods her head and purses her lips in thought. "Yes, well, I decided I wasn't going to listen to you."

She had anticipated anger or frustration over her response but the reaction she gets from him is innately more disturbing. He simply smiles, nothing but straight white teeth, and there is a familiar look in his eye, a certain instability behind it that, with a sudden swift clarity, she can finally identify. For what she once saw as an air of boyish recklessness now comes across for what it really is – utter apathy for life in general.

He chuckles humorlessly, and shakes his head at what she presumes is supposed to be her own amusing behavior. Then, he's waved her off with a brief dismissive gesture and is walking towards his room.

Hermione moves to the right and blocks his path. "Stop this! I want to talk to you," she says, because it is already obvious that that is what she wants.

He looks at her and smiles again and she can't help but feel like his carefully placed shell of haughty indifference is only moments away from cracking. She's reminded suddenly of the childhood nursery rhyme about the egg that fell off a wall, breaking to pieces. How "all the kings horses and all the kings men, couldn't put him back together again." For some reason, this makes her shiver.

"We have nothing to talk about," he says, and makes to move around her.

She mimics his move and blocks his path once more.

"Of course we do. Don't treat my like an imbecile, Draco. Did you not think that I would wonder why you're avoiding me?"

He ignores her question quite blatantly. "You were right, Granger," he says lightly, "this is never going to work out."

He tries to step around her and she moves in his path again.

"I want to talk to you."

He moves to the left. "No."

For the last time, she blocks his path. "Yes!"

"Can you fucking move!" he bursts out.

"No! Not until you tell me what's wrong!"

He glares at her, breathing through his nose in anger and she is pleased to have finally gotten some sort of reaction out of him.

"Nothing is wrong, Granger! Leave me alone! I don't need your help, I don't need anyones help, I can take care of myself!"

"Oh, sure you can," she seethes, and at the same time has grabbed a hold of his hand and wrenched him forward. Before he can protest she's taken a hold of his shirt sleeve and roughly pulled it up, revealing in sickly detail, the inside of his right forearm. Her eyes widen briefly in shock at the amount of damage he's done to himself, but settle into a steely resolve. "Because you've been doing such a good job of it already," she finishes sarcastically.

He pulls his arm back from her grasp and doesn't say a word as he tugs his sleeve back down in angry jerking motions. His expression is cold and guarded when he looks down at her and her eyes instantly soften, trying to reach out to him.

"I know it can be hard, Draco, and you must feel alone and misunderstood sometimes," she starts, more gently this time," but I think I can –"

"Don't tell me how I fucking feel!" he snaps, abruptly cutting her off, "You don't know anything."

Her own frustration boils to the surface. "Well, then tell me! You never tell me anything, I want to help!"

"I'm not some fucking pity case who needs help, another person for you to save!"

"No! That's not what I meant, Draco, please –"

"What? What do you want to know?" He's suddenly grabbed her roughly by the shoulders, shaking her so that her hair whips against her face. "That I have issues? That I'm going to be forced to get the dark mark! That I have to get it in two fucking days and I don't want it, but if I say no my father just might kill me."

Hermione can do nothing but shake her head, a hand over her mouth in shock but Draco is nowhere near done.

"Or maybe you wanted to know that I hate myself?" His hands drop from her shoulders and he steps back, turning to pace the room."That I hate my life, my parents?! Did you know that my mother has never once told me that she loves me? She thinks buying me things means the same thing. And forget about Lucius, his favorite past times are beating me to within an inch of my life and selling me off to the Dark Lord. "

He abruptly turns back to her, registering her horrified expression and all the anger drains from his body, leaving him empty and weary. "No, I'm sorry," he says, "I don't think you wanted to know any of that."

To her utter horror, as she bites down on her bottom lip, her chin starts to wobble. No, I am not going to cry, she thinks furiously.

"I'm trapped, Granger," he says, standing motionless in front of her and there is a horrible resignation in his voice, "I'm trapped in a bloody hell of my own making." He shakes his head, and behind his eyes there is the shattered memory of a million heartaches. "And all I wanted was for him to love me."

She needn't ask who he is referring to, the truth of it is in every strained line of his face, of every misconstrue action he'd ever had. Every time he'd called her a Mudblood. With acute clarity, Hermione is finally able to see whom Draco Malfoy truly is; nothing but a lost young man, desperately trying to imitate his father, wanting nothing more then approval. The reality of his life brakes her heart to pieces.

"Do you know what my best option is," he continues quietly, "the best possible option for me is that I die tomorrow. That by some freak accident I get hit in the head by a bludger, topple fifty feet from my broom, hit the pitch and die. That's about all I have to look forward to."

"Don't say that," she croaks out, and the tears that threatened to spill have started running down her cheeks, "you don't mean that."

He looks like he wants to agree with her, if only to stop her tears, but instead he sighs and turns away. Then, just as quickly, he stops and glances back over his shoulder. "I really am sorry that I ever called you a Mudblood. I hope you know that." And it is such a simple, useless thing to say.

The tears continue to fall, even in her embarrassment and again she is left frozen, watching his back as he walks away from her. Then, moments later, something snaps deep within her and she knows that this time, she won't be left behind.

She runs forward and reaches his room in time to catch the door from closing. She pushes against it with one hand, and it reopens surprisingly easily.

"This isn't over yet!" She declares to the world in general but Draco is already shuffling around the papers on his desk, looking for something, and the effect is rather lost. He doesn't seem to have heard her.

"Draco?" she questions, quieter this time.

He ignores her and moves to his bedside table, pulling it open to riffle around in gods-knows-what. She catches a glimpse of his face and it is eerily impassive; like watching a zombie.

"What are you doing?" she asks warily and he continues to ignore her, digging around more frantically.

Her confusion only grows as she moves forward and he pays her no more attention then before. Then, abruptly he stops and pulls something from the drawer. She catches a flash of silver in his hand. A pocket knife.

Alarm bells instantly go off in her head and she jumps forward, attempting to grab his arm. Finally taking notice of her, he dodges her arms and vaults to the other side of the bed. With the unsurprisingly green duvet separating them, she watches him flick the knife open in one hand.

Her eyes narrow. "No. No, don't you dare!"

He shrugs indifferently and rolls a sleeve up and Hermione suddenly remembers that she is a witch. With a flourish, she pulls her wand from her robes

"Accio knife!"

The pocket knife tugs free from his hands and soars across the bed towards her. With a cry of outrage, Draco makes a last ditch effort to grab it and scrambles halfway over the comforter before she catches it firmly in both hands.

She smiles haughtily at him as he pulls himself upright from the bed and sits up on his knees. He's breathing raggedly in anger, his eyes narrowed dangerously at her. They are abruptly the same height at this moment, and she slowly feels a trickle of fear at the uncertainty of what his next actions will be.

"Come 'ere," he mutters suddenly, pulling her forward, and before she can gasp his lips have descended upon hers.

The knife slips from her slack fingers and clatters noisily to the wooden floor, forgotten.


End of chapter 10

A/N: I liked describing Draco as 'violently blond'. I stuck that in randomly on a whim and smiled to myself, lol. Most of the end of this chapter was written on a whim, also.

A/N EDIT: I reworked the first several paragraphs 'cause they pissed me off.