Each tear that fell and landed on my cheek stung. My cheeks were swollen and sensitive to everything. The sting of my tears made me wince and I tightened myself into a tighter ball than what I was already in.
Two years. Two years of love and happiness and all of a sudden POOF. No more love, no more happiness. The end result was a happier Ron and a depressed Hermione.
You know what? Love sucks. It really does. It squeezes your heart hard. Hard enough that even the slightest movement will burst it, leaving you defenseless and alone, picking up the pieces, not really knowing how to mend your heart. Ron Weasley squeezed my heart. But, like an idiot, I moved. And I was left alone to mend my heart back together.
Until Draco Malfoy came along.
I picked at my breakfast, not even noticing what I had put on my plate. Luna was sitting on my left and Ginny on my right, with Harry across from me. Ron was nowhere in sight. Good riddance, I thought harshly. I took a small sip of juice.
"Well look here boys. What you see in front of you is a dumped mudblood, a common species," drawled an all-too familiar voice.
"Leave her alone Malfoy," snarled Ginny. He just smirked but didn't say anything more. Finally I couldn't take the feeling of claustrophobia anymore; I had to get away. I stood up abruptly, pushing Malfoy and his bloody goons away, and walked out of the Great Hall. I escaped to the one place I felt safe and secure.
I found this place in my fourth year, when Harry was chosen for the Triwizard Tournament. It had overwhelmed me and I needed to find a place that I could sit and think things through without being interrupted. The place I escaped to was a hill that was overlooked by the Whomping Willow but far enough that I wouldn't get whacked in the head. I sat down in the fresh grass and wrapped my arms around my knees. I stared out into the vast distance.
"Hermione, I- I can't be your boyfriend anymore," stuttered Ron, not able to meet my eyes.
I flinched, like I had taken a strong slap to the face. "W-what? Why the hell not?!" I yelled. He flinched as though I had hit him too. Good.
"I... I'm not in love with you anymore," he said quietly, almost like a whisper in the wind. I gulped and tried to control the tears that threatened to spill from my eyes.
"May I ask why?" I asked; I could hear my voice start to shake.
"I love someone else," he mumbled. I could hear the sobs that were choking from my mouth.
"Well good luck with that then," I was able to say before I ran away, full-on crying.
I felt something tickle my cheek and realized it was a tear that had escaped during my memory.
"Oh for the love of God, you're not crying!" sneered Malfoy as he crept up behind me. I quickly jumped up on my feet and wiped away anything else that may have escaped.
"No, of course not," I snapped, though my voice was still a bit rocky. Malfoy snorted. He wasn't going to buy that.
"Firstly, you shouldn't be crying. He dumped you, yeah, but that just proves you're a better person. Secondly, he dumped you for Michael whatshisface from Hufflepuff. That's not a good reason to cry over him. And lastly, as much as I hate to say it, you can do better, Granger. Way better." When he was finished he turned around and left. What he said shocked me enough that I hadn't fully realized what had happened until about ten seconds afterward.
What the hell...?
Meanwhile... Draco's POV
I walked away from Hermione, and my brain had just registered what I just did. I helped her. Me, Draco Malfoy! I shook my head. I definitely wouldn't make a habit of it; I just hated seeing girls upset.
I passed Weasel & Michael whatshisface in the hallway. I gave them my infamous sneer.
"So, Weasel, you dumped Granger for this even lower piece of garbage. I have to say, that decision wasn't very wise at all. She's incredibly upset with you," I drawled, smirking at the pair. Weasel's eyes widened suspiciously.
"And you care because...?" he asked. I shrugged.
"Girls shouldn't get upset because of a guy," I explained then brushed past them towards my own dorm room."
"That was odd," commented Michael... dang it, what was that guy's last name?!
"Very," commented Weasley.
I sat outside in the stands of the Quidditch field, watching both the Slytherin and Gryffindor teams practice. I could tell they were about an inch from killing one another. I saw Harry speaking to Malfoy over by the goal posts. It wasn't an argument, but from what I could see Malfoy didn't like what Harry was saying. I felt someone sit next to me and I stiffened slightly.
"Hey Mione," Ron mumbled, using the nickname he had for me. I narrowed my eyes when I looked at him.
"Ronald, you gave up the right to call me that when you dumped me... for MICHAEL no less. You made me look completely stupid and... you broke my heart! I gave you my heart and you threw it on the ground, stomped on it with your dirty shoes and ripped it into tiny pieces. Do you know what that feels like? No, of course not, because you've never been the dumpee, only the dumper. So here's what I think of your nickname, Ronald Weasley," I shouted. I pulled out my wand, conjured up some birds, and shouted, "repugno!" They started pecking at his face and at his arms. He ran away wildly, the birds still hot on his trail.
I stood up to leave but felt someone staring at me. I could feel their eyes try to bore into me, like they were searching for something. I turned my head ever so slightly and locked eyes with Draco Malfoy.
What shocked me wasn't that he was staring at me, it was the smile I saw light up his face.
But was it actually real? It disappeared as soon as I looked. He looked away and continued the practice. I shook my head and continued down the stands back towards the common room.
It was 1 AM, and I was sitting in the common room in one of the good, comfortable chairs by the blazing fire. My mind was thinking about nothing, yet it was thinking about everything. My head was trying to decipher Malfoy's mysterious smile that I had seen that afternoon.
Did he smile at me? Did he see someone else and smile at them? Did he have gas? Am I going insane??
I was still lingering on that last question. I felt better after yelling at Ron. He needed to know that he couldn't treat me like some toy that he had bought, played with for a few years, then decided he wanted something better. I was a human being. With a heart and feelings. My heart wasn't a toy. It related more to a delicate piece of glass than to some child's toy. I trusted him with it. I loved him for God's sake.
I decided to escape to the library. Maybe the smell of old books would help me. I wandered quietly down the hallways, my wand tip lit, shining a bright light to help me see.
Someone was already in here.
"Hey," Malfoy said quietly, looking up from his book. I sat down in an empty table after grabbing a random book from the shelves.
"Hey," I whispered back. I looked at the cover. Romances from Across the Ages: Even Old Wizards Had a Love Life. I scoffed at the title. Out of the thousands of books in this library, it had to be that one. I cleared my throat. "What are you doing here?"
"I forgot to study for Snape's test tomorrow. And I could ask you the same," smirked Malfoy. I rolled my eyes. Same old Draco.
"If you must know, the library is a good place to go when you just need to think things through. I have a lot on my mind right now," I snapped quietly. I looked down at my book again.
"Oh. Weasley," he said knowingly. He picked up his books and sat across from me.
"Yeah..." I said, trailing off. He stared pointedly at me, knowing I was going to go in depth about it. "Well, okay, two years ago he confesses that he loves me and always has. I felt the same. Our relationship has been full of laughter and love and happiness... then one day he tells me he's no longer in love with me and that he's gay. It felt like a slap to the face. You know how when something really emotional happens it feels like someone's squeezing your heart? You just feel so happy to have that emotion and you can feel it squeezing harder and harder? Well, Ron squeezed alright - hard enough that he broke it. He broke it, stomped on it, and ripped it to shreds, leaving me behind to try to find a way to mend it back together. It just... it hurt, Draco, it really did," I told him, pouring my heart out to the guy who has hated me since the day we arrived at Hogwarts.
Just as I felt the tears at the corners of my eyes, Draco spoke. "It felt the exact same way when Pansy broke up with me. She and I dated, then one day she decided she was in love with Blaize Zabini and she left me. Just like that. I only said that I dumped her because my ego and my pride was wounded but deep down I was depressed. And then, you know what woke me up from my depression?" he asked. I shook my head.
"You. You laughing and you smiling; granted it was at Weasel, but it still cheered me up. It was like a slap to the face. I had no reason to mope when she was the one who dumped me. I should be living life and I could definitely find someone better than her," he scoffed. I smiled. Malfoy knew how I felt and I could actually relate to him.
"You could definitely find someone better," he murmured, reaching over to take my hand. I felt myself blush.
"And you think that... you... are the "someone better"? I accused, but I didn't snatch my hand back. He smiled - a genuine smile.
"Maybe, probably. I honestly cannot tell you that right now, Hermione, but I can tell you this: I will never hurt you. Ever," he stated boldly, staring me in the eyes, not breaking my gaze.
"How can you say that?" I whispered, my emotions threatening to take over. "You can't see into the future; you don't know if you'll ever end up hurting me or not. There's always a chance. I can't... I can't take it if someone does that to me again; I think I'll have a nervous breakdown if someone does."
"Are you up to chance that risk? Because I am if you are."
I hesitated. Was I attracted to Draco Malfoy? Did I want to risk that heartache all over again? I squeezed his hand, smiling at him as I did. He grinned a wide grin, that was so unfamiliar to his face. This blond-haired, pointy-chinned, sweet Slytherin boy. And now he was mine and I was his.
At least for the moment.
He leaned across the table slowly, placing his hands softly on my face. I could feel his breath on my lips-
"What in the name of God do you two think you're doing in my library?! And at this time of morning?! Out, out, OUT!" screamed Madame Pince as she came at us with a lit wand.
Draco and I grinned at one another. Busted!