Disclaimer: No Harry Potter ownage. Still all the property of JK Rowling. Read, review, enjoy!

Hermione and Draco sat at opposite ends of the couch, looking neither at one another nor at the angry red-headed Auror in front of them.

"What was he doing here, Hermione? A Death Eater in my house in my ex-girlfriend's bed!" Ron shouted. "Really, Hermione, I thought you had better sense than that. How did this even happen?"

"Goodness, Ronald, really," Hermione started, the fire building inside of her. "This isn't quite the crisis situation you're imagining."

"Yeah, Weasley, and I'm not a Death Eater," Draco piped up.

"Oh, shove it, Malfoy. Once a Death Eater, always a Death Ea--," Ron retorted, only to be cut off by an outraged Hermione.

"Ronald! How dare you! This is my house too, and if I decide that Draco can stay, then he can stay." Draco shot a surprised look and a smile Hermione's way. Never had he heard someone so fiercely defend him.

"But why is he here?" Ron asked again.

And with a heavy sigh, she told him.

It should have been a quiet night. It was the first Saturday night in a month that Hermione Granger had the opportunity to sit by the fire with a book. Harry Potter had just moved out, and Ron Weasley was spending the night with his girlfriend. Yes, it was finally a night to herself.

The world around her was quiet, except for the crackling of the fire and the turning of pages. She was content, more content than she'd been in a long time. Nothing could ruin the evening.

A soft rap at the door would change everything.

Hermione silently cursed whoever was on the other side. Yanking the chain away and flipping the lock, Hermione pulled the door open. "Malfoy?"

"Hello...Hermione," the blonde replied hesitantly. He looked awful. The hooded sweatshirt he wore looked to be three sizes too big for his thin frame and the bags under his steely gray eyes indicated it had been awhile since his last good night's sleep.

"What are you doing here?" Hermione inquired, arms crossing over her chest as a sign of annoyance.

"I uhh...I was in the neighborhood," Draco replied, the heel of his hand rubbing at his left eye. "Could I come in a moment, please?"

Hermione opened the door a little wider as she extended her arm to show him the way in. "So, why did you come here?" she asked again, seating herself on the arm of the couch opposite the chair Draco currently occupied.

Draco shrugged, but let forth no new information.

"Can I get you something? Tea, some dinner?" she asked, and then added under mumbled breath, "Directions to the nearest apparition point?"

Draco's pale and pointed face fell. He'd heard her last words. Coming to Hermione Granger's had been a mistake. He knew that. No one would ever accept him after all the hell he'd put people through. "I'll just be going."

The young witch watched her former rival cross to the door before saying, "Wait, Mal...Draco, just...wait. Tell me what's wrong? Why, after all that's happened between us, what's changed?"

"Everything," he said in a whisper. Gray eyes flicked up to meet skeptical brown. "My parents are gone. That house is suffocating. I've got no one left."

"Your mansion, the five story, fifteen bedroom manion is suffocating?" Hermione wanted to laugh. "So, to escape that suffocation you come to my small four room flat because, what, the air is so much cleaner here?"

A small chuckle escaped Draco's throat. "I shouldn't have come here," he said, hand on the doorknob. "And, just for the record, sarcasm doesn't become you."

The door was open before she could say anything. "Ya know, I had this idea about you, Granger. That you were perfect because everything you did back at Hogwarts came up smelling like roses. I thought that you, you at least, could have found a way to put our past behind us, and just help out someone who needs it. Guess I was wrong."

Hermione studied his face while he spoke. She could see that young boy still there that he'd been at school, but the time since had changed him, aged him. "Can I at least give you some dinner before you take off? Looks like it's been awhile since you ate last."

His eyes narrowed in consideration.

"Please, Draco. I...I want to help."

With a short nod, he closed the door and followed her to the small kitchen area. Within minutes, Draco was ravenously slurping down chicken soup. Hermione couldn't hold back her laughter.

"You're going to choke if you don't breathe every once in a while."

Sheepishly, Malfoy put the spoon to the side of the bowl. "I've never had anything quite like this."

"It's soup, Draco, we had it all the time at Hogwarts," Hermione pointed out, still amused by the scene in front of her.

"It's different," he mumbled, a blush rising in his sallow cheeks. Noticing the slightly raised eyebrow of the witch across from him, he amended, "Good different."

"It was my grandmother's recipe," Hermione told him. "You have to make it the muggle way."

The pair sat in silence as Draco finished his meal, deliberately taking smaller and smaller sips just to stretch the time. After all, there was nowhere for him to go from here. Between mouthfuls, Draco would allow his eyes to wander around the room, finally landing on Hermione. She'd changed. Long gone were the big teeth and bigger hair; now she was sleek and beautiful even in sweatpants and a Cannons sweatshirt that must belong to Ron.

"So, how's Weasle...y?" Draco made small talk, remembered her disdain for his cruel nicknames. "Things going well between you two?" A nonchalant shrug was the only answer he received. He reached out a tentative hand to cover her own. Hermione's head snapped up to look at Draco rather than his kind gesture.

"It's nothing, honestly," she told him quietly, pulling her hand away to place in her lap. "You can't expect your teenage crushes to last forever. Surely you and Pansy are no longer an item."

"Parkinson and I were never an item," Draco clarified. "Merely a placeholder."

"A beard?" Hermione suggested jokingly.

Draco shot her a dirty look. "Don't be cheeky, Granger. You know it isn't like that. Pansy is from a well-off pureblood family. She merely fulfilled my family's expectations."

Hermione leaned in closer, arms coming to rest on the table that was still acting as a barrier. "And now that your family is gone, so is the placeholder."

"Guess so," came the blonde's reply, as he too attempted to close the distance. His right hand yet again reached out for Hermione's, only this time she made no attempt to move away. "It's hard being on my own. I've never had to do that. There were always nannies and house elves and servants to take care of me and do whatever I asked of them. But now, all that's gone. Pansy doesn't even return my owls these days."

A wave of sympathy washed over Hermione. "That's awful, Draco. Not even you deserve that."

"Gee, thanks, Hermione," Draco replied with a good-natured laugh. He took in their proximity to one another. "May I ask you something?"


"If I were to kiss you right now, what hex would you use on me?"

Hermione's eyebrows shot so high they could touch her hairline. It was a few seconds before she found her voice again. "Bat bogey," she told him, her voice shaky. Draco moved in closer, able to feel her hot breath on his lips.

"Good to know," he murmured, covering her lips with his own. The kiss was soft and sweet, unrushed. He didn't want to push her into anything, but then he felt the tip of her tongue hesitantly glide over her lips, begging for entrance. Naturally he acquiesced, parting his lips to deepen the kiss. Neither was aware of when they stood up, but he could feel the way Hermione's smaller body molded perfectly to his own, as if they were two puzzle pieces fitting into place.

Finally, begrudgingly, they pulled apart for air. "Stay with me," Hermione whispered in ragged breaths before joining their lips again.

"And then you burst in, dragging me by the ear out of bed," Draco finished. "I thought only grandmothers did that, Weasley."

"Boys, honestly," Hermione protested. "Ronald, you are not allowed to pull out your wand to curse whatever guys I choose to be with. Please, just say that you'll pretend to accept that Draco and I are...whatever it is we are." She felt an arm wrap itself around her waist, pulling her closer to a firm body. A smile lit up her face when Draco placed a kiss on her forehead.

"Just be mine," he whispered. Hermione nodded, wrapping her own arms around his middle.

"I think I'm gonna be sick," Ron muttered, as he entered his own room and locked the door.