This story was originally written by Beauxbatons22 who has graciously allowed me permission to rewrite and finish it! The original story (The Dark One) is still posted on Beauxbatons22's account so I strongly recommend you show her some love!

http :// www . fanfiction . net/u/900199/Beauxbatons22


A/N: Here we are! Here we are! Another chapter YAY!! Thanks to all that reviewed! I am truly honored and delighted by your flattering attention!

Now with that said, on with our story!! Enjoy :D


Chapter 6

"Granger," Hermione glanced up from the notes she'd been scribbling on Ancient Runes as Theodore Nott ambled up to her table.

For a moment, she actually glanced around, not sure what the dark, sinfully gorgeous Slytherin could possibly want with her when he suddenly pulled out the seat across from her, whirled it around until the back touched the table edge and straddled it without invitation. He folded his long arms over the top and smirked.

Hermione frowned a little, wary of his unexpected presence. "Can I help you?"

Thick, straggly, black tresses fell over his deep, brown eyes, darkening them further if possible. "I just happened to be walking by and thought I'd keep you company," he answered as if it were the most natural thing to do.

"Why?" she asked cagily

He shrugged. "Why not? We're supposed to be partners for Potions after all. It would make sense if we worked together."

"You're Harry's partner," she pointed out, twirling her quill and wondering if she should keep her wand ready just in case he decided to do something underhanded. "Shouldn't you be helping him out?"

"I, unfortunately, do not supply the type of help he and Weasley require," he replied, smirking a little in a way that made her own lips want to twitch.

"I see, well," she pointed to her open textbook. "You can jot down notes while I—"

"I think I would rather just watch you."

Finger still pointing, Hermione arched a brow. "Right, because that's not creepy at all."

He shrugged. "Well, I could hide behind a bookcase if you prefer."

"I'd prefer if you didn't do either."

"We can't get everything we want."

Setting her quill aside, she crossed her arms over her books and leaned in towards him slightly. "Why are you really here, Nott?"

He winced. "Please, Theo is fine. You make me sound like my father and that's just… it's wrong."

"All right, Theo, what do you want?"

His dark brow arched. "What makes you think I want anything?"

"Aside from your stealthy stalking? Maybe the fact that you're sitting at my table."

He raised his arms and glanced down at the table under them as if searching for something. "What's wrong with your table?"

"Other than the fact that I'm Muggleborn? Nothing."

His arms returned to their crossed position on the table and he met her level stare. "If all Muggleborns looked as good as you, I'm sure even the Dark Lord would reconsider that rule."

Hermione blinked, jaw gapping. "Are you… Did you just… hit on me?"

He suddenly rose to his feet, swinging his long legs up and over the chair. His twinkling eyes never left hers as he spun the chair back around and tucked it under the table.

"You're the smart one," he smirked sinfully, taking a step back. "Figure it out and get back to me."

Then, as if he hadn't just struck her upside the head with his silky words, he gave her a sexy wink and sauntered away, leaving her staring after him open mouthed.

****

Someone must have spiked the water over that the Slytherin table, Hermione was almost certain of it when Pansy stormed over to the Gryffindor table later during supper and slammed both white knuckled fists on the table and loomed over Hermione menacingly.

"Admit that you rigged the potions arrangement, Mudblood!" Pansy sneered, her dark hair billowing around her enraged features. "I know you did so you could steal Draky away from me!"

Hermione scuffed, idly scooping chicken into her plate. "Pansy, I wouldn't want Draky if you paid me. He's all yours with my blessing!"

Pansy leaned in until her hair nearly draped across Hermione's plate and their noses nearly touched. "Don't think I don't know what you're up to and let me tell you something, Mudblood, I'm not about to let some little bitch stand in the way of everything I've worked so hard to accomplish. So you better watch your back, because this isn't over by a long shot."

Hermione sighed when the Slytherin stalked away finally.

It wasn't fear that slumped inside her. It wasn't even apprehension. She knew if push came to shove, she could hex Pansy to an inch of her miserable life. The reason behind her own misery was sitting across the hall, blond head bowed over his plate.

"You can't let her get to you, 'Mione," Harry said, not glancing up from his task of separating his peas from his carrots. "She's just trying to start trouble."

"I really don't care," she muttered, spearing a piece of chicken with her fork. "I'm going to eat my chicken and head to the library. Hopefully I can start on that potions assignment early and not have to spend even more time with Malfoy than I have to."

"Turkey."

Hermione frowned at Ron's random statement. "What?"

"It's not chicken, it's turkey," he repeated, stuffing an astounding amount of mashed potato and gravy into his gapping mouth.

"Does it matter?" she asked, glancing at Harry to see if he thought Ron was as mental as she did.

"Well, if you're going to label something, you might as well give it the proper name!"

"I did give it a proper name! It's chicken!"

"I was raised around chickens," Ron reminded her, around a mouthful. "I would know the difference!"

Hermione shook her head, face scrunched in disgusted confusion. "I can't believe you're having this argument with me! Are you really that bored?"

"You're the smart one," he retorted. "I just thought you'd like to know the difference."

"Knock it off you two!" Harry said sharply, shutting them up.

"You know, Parkinson is such an idiot," Ron said as if he hadn't just been having an argument about turkey.

"I agree completely, but that was sort of random," Harry replied, returning to his mission of separating carrots and peas.

Ron shook his head, attention averted once more to his one, true love: his plate. "I can't believe she thinks she can hurt Hermione."

Hermione felt her heart grow warm at his words. "Oh, Ron—"

Suddenly, he snickered, shaking his head, oblivious to her momentary lapse in judgment. "I mean, that would mean she would actually have to know where the library is and the only one desperate enough to bother is Hermione. So, you're completely safe to hide there."

"Desperate? Hide?"

Ron nodded, still clueless to the rage building behind Hermione's eyes as he shoveled a forkful of turkey/chicken into his mouth, chomped and replied with his mouth brimming. "I'm just saying, you're the only one who worships books over making any friends."

Hermione gasped, outraged by such a crude assumption. "I thought you and Harry were my friends!"

Ron shrugged, glancing up for the first time. "Sure, but I mean real friends."

"Excuse me?" she shrilled, leaping to her feet, uncaring of the heads now turned in their direction.

"He didn't mean it like that," Harry soothed. "Of course we're your friends."

Ron nodded. "Oh yeah, no doubt about that, but I mean," he snickered. "It's kind of hard not to be when you kind of attach yourself to people like a leech or something."

"Attach myself? A leech?" she cried, hands fisting at her side.

"Well, yeah, ever since first year when we saved you from that troll. You kind of glued yourself to us after that. We didn't really ask to be friends," he suddenly laughed, nudging Harry with his elbow. "But I think had we known what a nag you were, we probably wouldn't have bothered with even that."

She was sure she should feel hurt by his words, but the only emotion blazing with a fiery vengeance was fury, hot, unstoppable fury so intense, she was momentarily surprised she hadn't combusted with the force. She stared at her two so-called friends with every muscle vibrating just beneath her prickling skin.

"Is this true, Harry?" she hissed through tightly clenched teeth.

Harry shrugged, fidgeting in his seat. "Maybe at first, but we really are your friends…"

It was that second hesitation that made her mind up for her. "Well, you know what? I don't need to force people to be my friends. In fact, the next time either of you need help with your homework, I strongly recommend you avoid coming to me altogether. I can't promise that you'll leave with all your pieces."

Ron snorted, returning to his meal as if she hadn't just been speaking. "Yeah right, you're funny. You'd never give up the chance to tell people what to do. It's one of your many annoying traits along with being bossy, whiny, self-absorbed and the biggest know-it-all on the planet."

"Maiale!" she hissed, flicking the wand she hadn't even realized she'd pulled out.

The spell hit Ron before he could fully finish chewing the slop in his mouth. It sparked and sizzled a moment before clearing to reveal the pig ears and snout now sprouting from his head and face.

It was an improvement, Hermione thought, pleased with her handiwork before spinning on her heels and marching out of the Great Hall, not noticing the curly, twitchy tail poking out of Ron's trousers.

Lost in a cloud of red, Hermione stormed straight back to the dorm she shared with Draco.

Draco watched her go, pale brows creased in contemplation. Across the room, people were laughing and pointing as Potter hurried Weasley out of the Great Hall, his pig tail wiggling behind him while he clamped his hands over the pointy ears sticking out from the top of his head.

It was an improvement, Draco mused, slightly amused. Weasley's revolting chewing could be heard clear across the hall. Maybe this would teach him some manners.

But Draco didn't like that Hermione had been hurt by the callus words of those two bumbling imbeciles. He told himself the protectiveness was due solely by the fact that it was his job to cause her pain, not to mention her sulking was bound to drive him mad now that they were sharing a dorm.

No. He couldn't let them get away with this.

"Where are you going?" Theo asked, glancing up when Draco got to his feet.

"I forgot something," he muttered, walking swiftly out of the Great Hall after the treating backs of Potter and Weasley.

He caught up to them halfway to the infirmary.

"Hey, Potter," he called, stalking straight up to them when they stopped and turned to him.

"What do you want, Malfoy?" Potter demanded, supporting his idiotic friend who had one hand clamped over his nose and the other pressing down his ears.

"Hundred points from Gryffindor… each," he said with great satisfaction. "And detention with Filch for a month!"

Oh yeah, all this power felt so good, especially when he could make his enemies suffer.

"What the fuck for?" Potter snarled.

"For disrupting lunch and upsetting the Head Girl." He winced at his slipup of the last part.

"What the hell do you care?"

Draco snorted, concealing his meaning with a dark scowl. "Don't make me add another fifty points for questioning my decision. Now get out of my sight."

He was almost certain that Potter would have stayed there and argued, and possibly thrown a few curses, but Weasley took that moment to let out a high pitched squealing sound that diverted the dark-haired wizard's attention.

"This isn't over, Malfoy!" Potter sneered, returning to his friend and hoisting him away.

No. It wasn't over, but he certainly had his fun for the day.

In her room, Hermione lay curled up on the bed with little to no emotion. It baffled her that there was no anger anymore, no hurt, nothing, just a deep sated feeling of absolute… nothing. She wasn't tired or hungry. She was hardly even breathing.

Numb, that's the only thing she was certain of.

Outside her portrait door, she heard the common room door swing open and two sets of footsteps emerge. It wasn't until they spoke that she recognized their voices.

"A hundred points? Seriously? Wow, Granger is going to flip!" Theo snickered, followed by a thump of palm meeting flesh.

Hermione assumed he'd slapped Draco on the back.

"Sleazy bastards deserved it," Draco muttered.

"No doubt," Theo agreed. "So, how did it feel?"

She could almost hear the smirk in Draco's voice. "Like taking my first broomstick ride!"

The two cackled, exchanging another of those slapping sounds, this time louder, possibly high-fiving each other.

"Where do you think she went?"

Silence followed Theo's question, but it didn't last when a knock sounded on her door a second later.

Hermione remained immobile, curled with her knees hugged to her chest.

"Granger?" she heard Draco call through the portrait. "I know you're in there!"

"Go away!" she whispered, barely loud enough to echo in her own ears.

"Look, Weasley's an idiot, okay?" he hesitated slightly as if unwilling to believe what he was about to say. "You're better than him."

Hermione sniffled, realizing for the first time that she was crying.

"Let me in."

She didn't want to let him in. She didn't want to let anyone in. She wanted to be left alone with her dark misery. What could he possibly have to say anyway? What did he care? He hated her.

But at least he hadn't pretended to like her; unlike the people she'd considered her friends. He hadn't used her to get his homework completed. He didn't keep her around to weasel him out of trouble. Unlike everyone else she thought she could trust, he had been the only one who had ever been honest with her.

He hated her. He'd never made it a secret. She knew right up front where she stood with him.

Could it be that she actually felt… grateful towards a Slytherin?

"Hermione?" the hesitant whisper wasn't muffled by the door anymore. It came from inside her room.

The shock of it stole a gasp from her as her head shot up just in time to watch as Draco slipped into her room via the bathroom. He inched towards the bed, his steps hesitant.

"What are you doing in here?" she cried, mortified that he was seeing her at her weakest and most vulnerable.

He put one hand up as if warding off any hexes she may decide to throw at him. "I just want to talk."

"There's nothing to talk about!" she retorted, turning onto her other side, hoping to conceal the tears staining her cheeks. "Just go away!"

"Look," he seemed to hesitate slightly. "He's not worth it. Honestly, you can do better."

"I don't want better!" she replied, swiping at her tears with her fist. "I don't even want him! I just can't believe that…" she trailed off, mentally wincing over her near slip up. "What do you care anyway, Malfoy?"

"I don't!" he retorted sharply, as if the very idea was laughable.

She sniffed, keeping her back turned to him in hopes of concealing the emotions tightening in her throat. "Good! Then you can just go!"

The shuffle of his feet grew quieter, fading just before she heard the soft click of the door closing. She waited a heartbeat before breaking into heart-wrenching sobs that seemed to ring and echo around the room. She drew her knees tighter against her aching chest as if she could somehow keep from falling apart if she squished herself together tight enough.

"Don't cry," a soft voice whispered just before a strong, lean arm looped around her middle and she was dragged back into a hard chest.

In a moment of absolute weakness, Hermione turned into the embrace and burrowed into the comfort being provided. It was hard to determine what possessed her to do it, but she couldn't bring herself to care. Nothing else seemed to matter except the dull pain in her chest and how it felt much smaller when he held her.

"I can't believe they'd hurt me like that," she wept into the soft material pressed against her face. "I've always been there for them! I've broken rules for them! I… I would have done anything to keep them safe and alive! I feel so stupid!"

Long, blunt fingers combed back the curls plastered to her damp cheek, baring the side of her face to the lips he pressed there. "You're not stupid, Hermione. They don't deserve you."

"But I don't understand why!" she dropped her head back to peer into his liquid, gray eyes. "Why, after all these years, why would they lie to me?"

"Because they're idiots," he answered simply, using the heel of his hand to wipe away her tears. "I've been trying to tell you that for seven years."

She sniffled, dropping her head back down on his chest. "I thought we were friends."

"You don't need friends like that."

"But-but… I don't have anyone else…" she choked, breaking into fresh sobs. "No one wants me!"

"Is that what Weasley told you?" there was something sharp and dark in his voice, even though it never rose from its soft whisper against her ear.

Hermione nodded, closing her eyes. "Maybe he's right. Maybe no one wants me because I'm self-absorbed and bossy."

Into the curls on the top of her head, Draco snorted. "Your only fault is listening to the bumbling, moronic ape. He makes Crabbe and Goyle seem like a pair of well-mannered geniuses!"

At this, Hermione giggled a little, nuzzling still closer against the heat and security the confinement of his arms provided. "Why are you being nice to me? You hate me."

"Yes, but I hate Weasley more."


A/N: There we are… a little more tenderness from Draco, a little flirting from Theo and the final straw that broke the camel's back. How's that for love, angst and suspense? HA!

P/S Maiale is Italian for Pig (if you hadn't already guessed) a poetic justice, no??

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