A/N: I do not own Harry Potter.
Hermione Jane Granger stared at her reflection in the abandon lavatory mirror. Her right eye was swelling and turning a violent shade of violet. She scowled at herself wondering how she was going to cover this one up. Normally he put the bruises where no one could see, where no one could expect – but not this time. Her eye was throbbing but she had to hurry and get to class.
Hermione knew if she was late, Snape would deduct house points but then again, she couldn't walk into class like this. People would question – especially Ron and Harry. Why did she have to go and make Derik so angry?
"I am so stupid!" She growled, slapping the mirror with her hand, shattering the glass. Shards of glass showered down upon her hand, extracting crimson rubies from their landing places. Hermione winced and collapsed to the floor in pain. Clutching her hand, she finally allowed the tears she had pent up so long to flow.
As she was sobbing, she didn't notice the blonde boy emerge from behind one of the pillars. He walked over towards her and stared down at her, wondering whether or not to say something. He chose the second option.
"Granger, are you bloody metal? What the hell was that all about?" He demanded, crossing his arms stubbornly over his chest, ignoring the stinging pain in one of them.
"It's none of your business, Malfoy," Hermione spat out the words as if they were sour tastes in her mouth, "Just…leave me alone."
"Can't do that," Draco smirked, "Give me your hand."
"Because I am going to heal it. I can't have you sitting here bleeding to death. Not that I really care, it's just…just give me your hand."
Hermione did as he had instructed, familiar with following orders, and watched as he pulled out his wand and placed it gently on her dripping hand. A spark flew out, her hand went numb, and instantly, the cuts disappeared. Hermione gasped at the gesture and looked up at her savior with an attempt at a smile.
"Thank you for that."
"Yeah well…why did you do that? I mean, you are pretty book-smart but in the common sense area, you are rather dense. Been hanging around that Weasley too much, I think…"
"Draco, don't," Hermione held up her healed hand, "Wait…why are you in here?"
Draco slid down and sat next to her, pulling his knees to his chest, "I come here to think sometimes. Those gargoyles Crabbe and Goyle can't find me in here, no one really can."
"I come here too," Hermione bit her lower lip, "When I need to escape."
"Escape from who?"
"How do you know it's a who?" Hermione demanded, "I could be escaping from school or from pressure or from…"
"Well, I suppose you are escaping from the person who gave you that disgusting black eye," Draco shrugged, "I could be wrong – it's just a guess, you know."
"I…no one did this to me! Don't be stupid, Malfoy; do you honestly think I would let someone do this to me?" Hermione laughed a joyless laugh.
"Yes," Draco nodded earnestly, "Because you did. Now who is it?"
"Look, Granger, I'm the one holding the wand. Answer my question."
"Alright," Hermione sighed, deflating herself like a balloon, "Derik Davensley."
"Davensley? Are you kidding me? I'll kill him!" Draco leered.
"You…you know him?"
"He's in Slytherin, I know him. Now, mind telling me how a Gryffindor like you got mixed up with a Slytherin?"
Hermione blushed, "I-I met him when we ran into each other in the hallway. He seemed really nice, for a Slytherin and he asked me out. We've been dating for almost two months now. He…he didn't always used to be like this, Draco. He used to be nice, sweet even."
"I doubt it."
"He's a Slytherin. Slytherins aren't sweet."
"True," she shrugged, "But he was…different."
"Different because he hit you?"
"Different because I have never met someone like him. He…there's something about him that makes me love him even though I know it's wrong."
"Well, you confirmed it – you really are bloody mental," Draco rolled his eyes, "Why do you put up with that?"
"It's no different than what you do," she adverted her eyes, latching them onto the floor, taking grave interest in the tile.
"I beg to differ," Draco scoffed, "How am I the same as Derik?"
"He hurts me and so do you. You two just do it in different ways – both hurt though." Hermione couldn't believe that the tears were back – after two months of pushing them away, today there was no stopping them. She hated the fact that she was about to burst in front of Draco.
"No, it's okay. I'm fine, really."
"You are not," Draco tossed his head back so that it leaned against the wall, "I…I am worried about you. I know, weird right? I just don't like the fact that one of my own is hurting you. You don't deserve this…"
"But I do! I-I didn't help Derik study enough. I-I wasted time studying instead of helping him. He made a B on his test, I made an A."
"Is that why he hit you?"
"Mmhmm," Hermione nodded solemnly.
"We have to get you help, Granger. We can go to Dumbledore or even my father!"
"I'm a mudblood – you're father wouldn't help me."
"My father isn't always the best judge of character," Draco attempted a smile, "We need to get you help."
"I don't know what to do, Draco. If you mention it to Derik, he'll only hurt me worse."
"Oh I'll mention it to him alright," Draco lifted his wand, "He won't be a bother to you again, I can promise that."
Hermione blinked in confusion at her companion, "Why…why are you doing this, Draco? You have never been kind to me and then all of a sudden, it's like we are friends."
"I guess that's because we have something in common," Draco shoved himself up from the floor and held out a hand which she gladly accepted, "I will talk to Derik, Granger. Don't worry – no one will hurt you again. Not Derik and not me."
"Thank you, Draco," Hermione smiled.
"Like I said, you just don't deserve this. Now come on, get to class and tonight, I'll have a word with Derik."
"Thank you," Hermione said again, "I mean that."
"Yeah well, I have my rare moments of being nice. Hey, if you need anything, Granger, you can come find me. This is my school and I am a Malfoy. I can do anything just give me the word and I'll…let's just get you to class."
Hermione followed him out of the bathroom. When they arrived at her classroom, Hermione longed to say something more, but Draco was looking impatiently down the hall as if waiting for her to leave.
"I know I have been saying this a lot, Draco, but thank you."
"You're welcome," Draco nodded, "Now go before Potty and Weasel start growing worry warts."
Hermione smiled at him one last time before ducking inside the classroom. Draco lingered by the door, wishing he had said something more meaningful than just an overused insult to her friends. But then again, he was a Malfoy and Malfoy's didn't bode well with meaningful.
That night, when Derik entered the Slytherin commons, Draco was waiting for him, wand at the ready.
"Davensley," Draco hissed as Derik walked through the wooden doors, marching over to his bed.
"Shove off, Malfoy," Derik roared, "Where the hell is that stupid mudblood? I've been searching for her all day and haven't found her. I need her to do this Charms homework for me."
"You're in Charms?" Draco raised an eyebrow, "Isn't that a second year class?"
"Shut up, Malfoy," Derik stormed over towards the couch, "I need to find her!"
"Hermione can't talk to you right now," Draco said, his voice smooth as ice.
"Hermione? Since when do we call mudbloods by their names?" Derik laughed, "You're getting soft on me."
"You gave her a black eye."
"So, no one hurts Hermione."
"You do," Derik shrugged impassively.
Draco felt as though someone had just slapped him and he staggered back in shock before regaining his composure and replying, "Never. Compare. Me. To. You. Ever."
"We're both Slytherines, Malfoy and she is a mudblood. Now, I am sure, you being the wonderful Malfoy you are, would want to put her in her place. She has no right to be in our world."
"But she got herself into this school. I didn't like her being here either but she scores the marks and she can out duel any wizard in this school. She deserves to be here, Davensley. Now, I will ask you once more to leave her alone."
"You're just jealous because you weren't able to train her like I was. I know you used to like her, Malfoy. But I got to her first and I taught her how to cater to her man."
"By beating the living hell out of her?"
"She's tough, she could handle it."
"She was crying!"
"Then maybe I should toughen her up a little bit…"
Before Draco could stop himself, he raised his wand and shouted a series of profane spells. Derik fell backwards into the vanity and shouted with pain as the mirror came crashing down upon his head. Blood oozed form the cut as a smile oozed from Draco's pride.
"What were you saying, Davensley?"
Derik sneered towards Draco, "Why do you care so much about her, Malfoy? She's a mudblood."
"Because," Draco put his wand away, "She may be a mudblood but she deserves better than you. Now, I trust you will leave her alone or else next time we run into each other, I won't be as forgiving."
Draco turned on his heel, leaving Derik sputtering on the ground, a mix of hate and heat blending into his cheeks. Draco smirked as he headed towards the library. Of course, just as he had expected, Hermione was sitting at a table, indulging herself with her latest homework assignment.
"Hey," Draco slid into a seat next to her.
"I talked with Derik. He won't be bothering you any more, Granger, you can count on that."
"Thank you, Draco. I-I never expected you to be the one that would be so nice to me. It's a nice change."
"It's a permanent change. You deserve to be treated better and I want to be the one that gives you that."
Hermione blushed, folding the text book shut, "Thank you."
"So I'll leave you to your studying then?"
Hermione nodded shyly, "I'll um…see you around?"
"Yeah," Draco nodded, a smile crossing his face, "You will. You can't get rid of me, Granger."
"I don't think I really want to."
They both stared at each other, eyes locked. Draco finally ducked away and headed back to the commons. As Hermione watched him leave, she couldn't help but smile. She could feel a change coming and she loved it.
A/N: So I kept writing this and couldn't stop and it kind of took on a life of its own that I don't necessarily like but it's okay enough. I hope you liked it.