Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter or its characters or plot, which belongs to the fabulous JK Rowling.

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She's done believing and he's done hoping. But he stills believes, and she still hopes.

"Mudblood," he hisses as they brush against each other, passing numbly through the school. He proceeds to brush his robes, as if she was carrying a contagious disease. She doesn't reply. He doesn't deserve the satisfaction.

She grips Ron's robes as he tries to get his hands on Malfoy, but the action is involuntary—she's done it so many times it no longer requires thought or effort. "It's not worth it, Ron." Even her voice sounds hollow. She tries to pretend she's fine, but she knows she's not.

Harry hasn't come back. People claim he's finally cracked. Couldn't take anymore. The pressure of the war's gotten to his head.

She's heard it all. And doesn't believe a word of what they say. She doesn't believe in much anymore.

She doesn't believe he's going to come back. She doesn't believe Ginny doesn't cry. She doesn't believe Malfoy's changed.

And yet, she finds herself in the same place every single night.

She lies on her back, her face turned away from the bathroom door, the cool breeze from his open window dancing across her naked skin. It's how their ritual works. They meet on the tower, she brings the Invisibility Cloak. They sneak into his dormitory and lock his roommates out. When they're done, he showers and she cries.

She feels used. She tells him she loves him, but he doesn't seem to hear. And she has until the water goes cold and he climbs out. Then she leaves. It's how they work.

As she's leaving, she wonders when she became this woman. Changed from the bright girl with all the answers to the shattered woman with all the questions.

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He gets out of the shower, and hears her pulling on her clothes from his room. Once he's sure she's gone, he steps out. Pulling on a pair of boxers, she performs a simple cleaning charm on the sheets and climbs into bed. He doesn't sleep. He doesn't feel like sleeping.

He reaches over to his nightstand and grabs blindly for the letter from his mother. His father's in prison for aiding the Dark Lord. His mom's a prisoner in her own home. Their family falls apart.

Dragon, I hope things go back to normal. I know you hope for the same. Change is coming, my Dragon, but we must be patient. Patience and hope. And the world will not forget the Malfoy name.

He'd like to hope, but he can't. The part of his brain for hoping has been dormant for years. He doesn't see anything worth hoping for anymore. Everything they had now belongs to the Ministry, and he's promised himself not to end up like his father. To think for himself. To make his own mistakes.

He hopes to make them proud nonetheless.

This is a lie. He doesn't hope. For anything.

Not for the Mudblood. Especially not for the mudblood.

She claims to love him. That's not true is it? He'd hope it was… but he can't, he won't. Hope is for fools like Potter.

Stupid Potter. Hoping his godfather's still alive. Hoping to resurrect his dead parents. Hoping for the guilt to ease.

Word for the wise: Guilt doesn't ease.

He feels guilty as he sees the tears on his pillow. The tears of the most brilliant girl he's ever met. Granger. Granger the Mudblood. Who'd have thought, huh?

But he doesn't hope for the tears to stop.

-

She doesn't believe he'll change… but she hopes. She hopes that one day he'll realise what's been right before his eyes this whole time. She may not believe, but she'll always hope. Hope for him.

He doesn't hope she'll love him for him… but he believes. He believes that their time will come eventually—everyone's does. Even Potter's. He may not hope, but he'll always believe. Believe in her.

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A/N: I wrote the summary to this down when it wouldn't stop bugging me. For a while, it got buried under piles of homework and school problems… but while I was trying to finish my maps for History, It. Would. Not. Leave. Me. Alone. So, I'm writing this in the hope that I can quickly toss together a map or two. Well, two. (: Enjoy… and R&R.