A/N: I own absolutely nothing! Dramione isn't my normal pairing, but this story came to me last night and was just begging to be written, so I hope you enjoy! :D Also, this is set some time in their seventh year.
Hermione Granger was absolutely terrified of thunderstorms. Perhaps it was the way that the thunder created such a loud boom, or perhaps it was the way the lightning split the sky, casting shadows over everything its electrical light could not touch. Whatever it was, Hermione feared thunderstorms.
And so it was, because of her fear of thunderstorms, that Hermione Granger, one part of the Golden Trio, the bravest of them all, some might say, was curled up in a ball behind a tapestry whimpering as flash upon flash of light blasted through the window on her left.
The storm had hit the castle when she was halfway between the library and the Gryffindor dorms, and she had not even had the strength to run. It was almost as bad as being hexed with a Jelly Legs Jinx. Her legs simply refused to move, and she had almost collapsed right there in the hallway for all to see.
She couldn't make it through all those dark hallways with the thunder and lightning booming outside the stone walls, and she couldn't call out for help because there was no one around to hear her at this time of night. A crack of lightning made her jump and she bit her lip to keep from crying out.
"Grow up!" she hissed to herself. "You're old enough not to let a thunderstorm scare you." However, no matter how much her mind told her that she wasn't afraid, she was still scared out of her wits. She could face Voldemort, she could battle any number of nefarious creatures, but don't send her out in a thunderstorm!
"Well, well, well," a voice said from in front of the curtain. "What have we here?" The curtain she had been hiding behind was swept aside and there stood the one and only person that could have made her night worse. Draco Malfoy. "Hello, Granger," he said, sneering.
Hermione pushed away her surprise over the fact that he had not called her a mudblood and growled at him, "Go away, Malfoy."
Draco raised an eyebrow and it disappeared beneath his platinum hair. "Come on, Granger," he told her with a dramatic sigh. "I'm trying to be polite here."
Hermione snorted, her courage momentarily coming back to her. "You? Polite?"
Draco slid onto the ledge so that he was sitting by the widow across from her. "I know. It's a miracle. Alert the Daily Profit," he said sarcastically. "Get a bit while I'm feeling generous."
The interlude in the thunder gave Hermione an opportunity to examine Draco carefully for the first time in a while. She was surprised to find that he was no longer the frightened, spineless little boy she was so accustomed to seeing. No, he was very much a young man. His face had an expression of one that has been through a lot, and Hermione found that as hard as she tried, she couldn't muster up the same amount of hate that she usually could when she was around him. With the window casting a shadow over half his face, he looked very much like a person who was lost and needed acceptance.
In a short time, while she hadn't been looking, Draco Malfoy had grown up.
Lightning ripped through the sky, exterminating any thoughts Hermione might have had about temporary forgiveness. She jumped, her whole body shaking violently as the lightning illuminated the world in a harsh white light. Her hands gripped her skirt in a death grip and she bit her lip once more.
The thunder followed only two seconds after the lightning, indicating that the storm was close, and when the world was quiet, Draco leaned back against the wall and chuckled. "So the great Hermione Granger's afraid of thunderstorms," he said, but his voice held none of its usual sneer, only light teasing. "Do the Gryffindorks know?"
"Don't call them that," Hermione said stubbornly, "and no, they don't." She leaned back as well and crossed her arms over her chest. "But I guess everyone will know by breakfast tomorrow, won't they?" It was a challenge.
Draco smiled at her, unperturbed, and Hermione felt guilty at the butterflies in her stomach that the action provoked. "Not unless you plan to tell them. They won't hear it from me."
Hermione frowned. "Why not?" she asked before she could stop herself.
Draco raised an eyebrow again. "Don't tell me you want me to tell everyone about your little fear," he said with a scoff. "I mean, if that's what you really want, I'd be happy to do it, but-"
"No," Hermione interrupted him. "No, that's quite alright."
The lightning came again, and Hermione squeezed her eyes shut tightly, willing herself not to whimper or cry in Draco Malfoy's presence. He may know about her fear now, but there was absolutely no reason for him to know anything more about her.
"Geez Granger," Draco muttered, watching her carefully. "Better not let too many people find out about this. They could use it to their advantage." He snorted. "I could see it now. Torture by conjured lightning. You'd better hope that no Death Eaters find out about that little trait of yours."
Hermione glared at him. "The Death Eaters are all but destroyed," she muttered.
"Lucky for you," he shot back.
Lightning flashed and Hermione balled her hands into fists, her nails digging into her skin painfully. Draco noticed and grabbed her hands without thinking. "Don't do that," he said over the noise of the thunder. "Squeeze my hand instead." She was too frightened to do anything but obey, but when the thunder ended, she pulled her hands away, shocked.
They stared at each other for a long while, each contemplating what to do about this situation they had found themselves in. Six and a half years of tension did nothing to ease the stress of the moment.
"Why are you being so nice to me all of the sudden?" Hermione asked after a long moment. She was trying to be mad, trying so hard to pull together the hate that she hated him with for so long, but she couldn't do it. The tendrils of their old hate slid right out of her head.
"It's not all of the sudden," Draco told her quietly. "I haven't hassled you, Pothead, or Weaselbee all year. I've stayed out of your way, never caused trouble for you, and-and," here, he paused, unsure what to say. "I guess I've just been trying to atone for the way I've treated you guys during our Hogwarts years. I think I'm trying to say that I'm sorry."
Hermione stared at him, open-mouthed, for a long time. Draco Malfoy, the Slytherin Prince, was apologizing to her, the Gryffindor Princess. Could this be possible? Lightning broke her concentration again, but this time she grabbed for Draco's hands first, startling him. However, he held her hands and even stroked the soft skin on the back of her hands until the thunder rolled away and only the rain could be heard once again.
"I never thought I would say this," Hermione told him, "but I forgive you. It's strange, though. I always wondered just how horribly I would refuse you, make you pay for calling me a mudblood, if you ever asked for forgiveness, but I can't do it. It's like it no longer matters because you've made your choice and you've mended your ways." Hermione looked up at him curiously. "Does that make sense?"
Draco nodded. "Yes, and I really am sorry about calling you…that name. I won't ever do it again. Blood doesn't matter anymore."
Hermione grinned, believing him. He'd seen too much pf late to be stuck so firmly in his father's belief. "Harry and Ron will never believe this," she said, almost to herself, not realizing that she was still holding Draco's hands and that he wasn't making any effort to let go.
"Do we have to tell them?" Draco's voice cut into Hermione's daydreams about Ron and Harry's shocked faces and she looked back at the young man sitting in front of her. "I mean," he said softly, "is it absolutely necessary?"
Lightning flashed again and Hermione tightened her grip on Draco's hands, realizing for the first time that she was still holding his hands and that he wasn't letting her go, or pushing her away, complaining about sterilization. "No," she said very quietly as the thunder rumbled in the distance. "I don't suppose we have to."
"Good," Draco said, and to his own surprise, he pulled on Hermione's hands until she was seated right in front of him and he lowered his mouth to hers.
Dozens of emotions filtered through Hermione's brain in the course of a few seconds, but none of them were disgust. She leaned forward, pressing her mouth harder against his and he took that as a sign that he could continue, pulling her even closer until they were pressed against each other. His hands tangled in her hair, which was no longer bushy and felt like velvet, while her hands crept up to tangle into his hair.
Lightning came and went, and Hermione didn't even flinch. Draco pulled away from the embrace as the thunder rolled, and he noticed the smile on Hermione's face and wondered if he had one on his face as well. Apparently, because his jaw was hurting from the uncharacteristic action.
"I've liked you ever since third year when you punched me," he told her softly, leaning his forehead against hers.
"Really?" Hermione asked, surprised. "Well, I've liked you ever since ten minutes ago."
Draco laughed. "Well, it's a new chapter of our lives, full of change," he said as he stood up and stretched. "I'll have to catch you up on everything you've been missing." He winked at her. "See you in the morning." Then he was gone, leaving her alone behind the tapestry.
Perhaps he was right, Hermione realized. Voldemort was gone, most of her friends were alright, and enemies were becoming alliances…and maybe more? Yes, this was definitely a new chapter, one that would not contain a fear of thunderstorms.
As though to test her, the thunder resounded again outside, but Hermione didn't flinch. Instead, she whirled around and pushed away the tapestry, mentally cursing the lost sleep she had suffered, and mentally exalting over the feelings she had just discovered. She never noticed the figure in the shadows that trailed her all the way up to the Gryffindor dorm in order to make sure that she got there safely before it slipped off to the dungeons.
Over the next few months, most things went on as normal. Hermione saw very little of Draco, but whenever he was sure that no one was looking, he would genuinely smile or wink at her, reminding her that he had not forgotten.
One night, Hermione was lying in bed when she heard the familiar rumble of thunder. Her eyes shot open, knowing that she had missed the lightning, and she leapt out of bed, slipping out of the dorms and making her way back down to the tapestry. As she drew near, lightning light up the sky and illuminated the outline of a person sitting behind the ornamental rug. With a smile, Hermione understood how Draco had initially found her that first night.
She drew back the tapestry and grinned down at the person. "Well, well, well," she mimicked. "What have we here?" She leaned down for a kiss and whispered just before their lips touched, "Hello, Draco."
A/N: Hope you liked it! Please review!!! :)