Draco Malfoy looked more hawkish than usual. His eyes, ever prominent in his face, were shadowed by dark circles underneath his eyes: a contrast to his silver eyes and alabaster skin. With his platinum hair no longer slick against his head, but rather falling forward in a carefully-arranged-not-to-look-carefully-arranged kind of way, he cast an impressive profile. Hmm, he thought to himself. This year should be interestingHermione Granger was alone. Thats odd, thought the pale blond boy. Wonder where Potty, Weasel and the Weaslette are? Or even Loony and Longbottom, for that matter. He scanned his eyes around the platform, allowing his eyes to once again linger on Hermione.

She stood tall, her back rigid against the wall as she faced down, her head immersed in a book. She'd cut her hair shorter, he realised, and it no longer sprung from her head like a toiletbrush. It coiled and curled, ending in gently blonde-brown curls at the nape of her neck. Around her neck was a gold chain, with a small charm attached to the end: it looked like letters, but he couldn't make out what it said. She was slimmer than she had been before the summer, and more tanned, her sun dark after days spent in the sun at the Hovel or whatever the Weasels' house was called. His eyes drifted over her face, it was symmetrical. She's kind of beautiful, he thought wonderingly. Gryffindork Princess. Potter's Friend. Gryffindor. And really rather beautiful, he shocked himself by thinking. His eyes explored her face even more. Her almond eyes were a kind of caramel colour, the same colour as Honeydukes fudge, he mused. I wonder what it would be like if she looked at me the way she looked at Weasel, he nearly found himself thinking. He didn't let his eyes linger on her lips, but drew his eyes back to her now dirty blonde coloured hair. She had obviously discovered the joy of transfiguration, or was simply gifted like infernal with Tinks or something, she was called, he thought. It was swept up in a bun, but wisps kept tumbling away from the band it was tied in, and over her face. He watched her forehead crinkle in annoyance as it did, and her eyes dart up from over her book to look at him as she pushed her hair out of her eyes.

'Like what you see, Malfoy?' She smiled. Like actually smiled, he thought. What's going on here?

'Don't. Like I'd ever even think about glancing at a-' he paused and made a point of looking at her, top to toe before answering. 'Mudblood.' He snarled, turning on his heel: his broad, black clad back stalking purposefully away from her. But not before returning the smile, even if it did look still rather like a smirk. Her eyes flashed annoyance: she obviously thought this was some ruse to get her to fight: to hex or curse him. He turned once more as he was walking away, and flashed her a genuine smile: then felt rather sick.

He'd just had a near civil conversation with a mudblood. No, worse than that, Hermione Granger.

And he'd smiled at her! 'What is the world coming to,' he huffed, as he heaved his heavy case onto the train.


Did Malfoy just smile at me? She wondered, her eyes wide. She could barely comprehend the situation: her, the brightest witch of the age, stumped by a mere smile. Who would have thought it. Harry and Ron would smile all the time if they thought it would stop me nagging them about Homework... She smiled absently, her hand trailing along the curve of the intertwined R and H that Ron had given her upon leaving fifth year, a promise to eachother that as soon as the war was over, and Voldemort was dead for good, they would be together. She sighed, remembering the last night at the Burrow: they'd talked til the sun rose, and fell asleep together. He'd stroked her hair and told her he loved her, she remembered. He felt comfortable, when they were together. Comfortable, but not electric. There was love, definitely, but no spark. She wondered if that just meant they were special, but a part of her always doubted it was this. She never allowed these thoughts to linger long though.

She stared at his back as he walked away, his lush green silk robes billowing underneath his black cloak. The cloak looks familiar, she thought. She knew she'd seen it before.... A small thought crept into her mind. Death Eater, the voice said. Cold, harsh, unforgiving. The words wiped the smile away from her face and painted it into a dark scowl. I'll ask Harry what he thinks.

She grabbed her large suitcase and heaved it up onto the train, lightly jumping on afterwards. She noticed she was drawing more attention than she used too, and a blush crept up her neck. Her ears were tinged pink beneath her messy curls. She headed for the compartment where she, Harry and Ronald always sat. Her heart skipped a beat. Ron. She smiled to herself and stepped her pace up. She'd missed him this past summer: the two weeks they had had at the beginning hadn't been enough for her, not really. She remembered him taking her hand under the table as they told his parents (and Harry,) that they were together.

Molly Weasley's eyes lit up, pride practically emanating from every pore of her body.

Hermione swivelled her brown eyes around the table, nerves making her chew her bottom lip, Ron squeezing her hand harder. His palm was sweaty, but she didn't care.

He was holding her hand. Her hand!

She beamed around the table, her eyes fixing on Harry. Oh god, she remembered thinking, I wonder what he says...

Then she remembered the way he had jumped up, his eyes unreadable. He'd stalked around to their side of the table, and squared up to Ron, who by now was standing. He protectively put his arm across her as Harry strode up and squared up to him. How warm his arm had felt....

And then undescribable joy as Harry grinned wolfishly and said 'About bloody time!', and hugged them...

She brought herself out of her reverie, still feeling the warm, rosy glow of happiness from her memory. It was strange the way her friends made her feel so warm, so complete. 'Not friends, Mione, you and Ron are actually together now.' She corrected herself, and sat in the compartment with Luna, Neville and Ginny. She met the dazed smile of Luna, and the slightly awkward grimace of Neville as he grappled with his toad, and the content, almost wistful smile of fiery Ginevra Weasley.

'Hello Mione,' she smiled wryly. 'Harry and Ron just went to get their robes on.' She motioned at Hermione's unchanged outfit: a pale blue sweater with a cream cordouroy skirt and thick cream tights. 'I do like your boots though Mione!' She smiled, and looked down at Mione's legs. She'd grown alot over the summer, and the boots highlighted that. They were calf length, and leather. Shiny, chestnut coloured and really brought out her eyes: Ginny thought Hermione looked beautiful and was rather suspicious. 'This isn't all for Ron is it? You know he won't notice.' She gave her 'the look', her voice patronising. Rather like her mother, Hermione thought drily.

'See you Gin.' She waved, and nodded as she said 'Luna, Neville.' Dashing out of the compartment, her robes bundled infront of her face, she didn't notice where she was going and suddenly:

Crashed into someone and landed straight on her arse. In the middle of the carriage.

'Oh God, let me help you up.' A large pale hand reached down to help her up. She gratefully took it, and looked up, cheeks flaming red, to thank her savior.... and looking right back down at her, his face a picture of shock and amazement, was Malfoy. 'Malfoy?'

'Filthy mudblood,' he spat, his mouth contorting viciously, his pale eyes glinting with malice. 'Watch where you're bloody walking, you idiot,' and shoved her back down onto the floor, looking at her like she was something he'd find on the bottom of his shoe.

Her fists balled up, knuckles white 'Ferret.'

Hermione uttered the word so quietly she barely thought it more than a breath. Although, when she found herself pinned up against the wall, two fierce fists pushing her shoulders, she realised that he must have heard her... Tears sprung to her eyes as she stood staring fearfully up into the malevolent, misted eyes of Draco Malfoy.

He had never been this close to her, he thought. He could see the smattering of freckles, dashed lightly upon her nose. The tears welling up in the corners of her beautiful amber eyes: light and sweet and everything he wasn't. They stared defiantly into his own, and he felt his resolve waver as he looked into those eyes: he had thought to scare her, to hit her, shout at her.... now he wanted to do something else entirely.

He'd never been more confused in his life: this was Hermione Granger. The mudblood, epitomy of all he hated. She was Potters best friend... The Weasels' girl... She was nothing but a stupid muggle with filthy blood, no right to the magic that flowed, a life of its own, through her veins...

She had no right to be beautiful, either. He shook the unwanted thoughts from his mind, as undeniably true they may be...

'Listen'-he paused, his eyes glistening with the venom that coloured his voice, bitter and harsh-'I may be... a Slytherin, the son of a Death Eater, and.... well,' his eyes glinted maliciously as he looked towards his forearm that was pinning Granger to the wall of the carriage, 'I'll leave that to you to decide for yourself.' He tucked a wispy tendril of hair behind her hair, a caring gesture he somehow turned violent with his tugging touch, and leaned in, breathing against her ear. 'But if I ever hear you call me a ferret again, you'll be sorry. I can make your life a living hell.' He moved back. 'Or just kill you.' Hermione's eyes filled with fear, and he laughed derisively, as all the courage drained from her face. 'What's wrong Granger? Scared?'

And stalking away, he couldn't help but wonder why her saying that, not anyone else, bothered him as much. He risked a glance back round at Granger, and saw her slumped against the wall, her eyes blank and glassy: tears streaking down her face, fierce little fists with nails digging into them, At least she feels miserable now, too.

Hermione Granger couldn't understand it: it was her that everyone picked on, taunted. All for being smart and actually studying, not worrying about boys or make up or love potions or Quidditch. No, classes and grades. She tried so hard... the tears dripped off her chin, and she wiped them away with her sleeve and started to carry on walking to where she thought Harry and Ron might be, hoping her eyes weren't too red and that there were no more unfortunate incidents like the Malfoy one...

yay, so i got my second chapter for this one up. yes, its taking me a while. i reaaaally dont care, because ive been busy lately. but its half term, so. :D i was going to write a valentines fanfic, but i thought that a new chapter would suffice.

please read and review, the reviews mean so much because it means i can make the stories better

thank youuu (L)