"So," I said. "Is that a brilliant idea or not?" I felt quite pleased with myself. He apparently thought otherwise.

"Granger, that's stupid," he said in disgust.

We were sitting by the lake talking about how we were going to make everyone believe that we were in love. And we couldn't seem to agree on much, unfortunately.

"Here, how about this," he said. "Why don't we just walk around everywhere and snog each other like mad? Then people would know that we were definitely an item."

"That is so... boyish of you," I disagreed, energetically shaking my head. "No way, okay? It would make me seem totally easy. We have to develop this relationship in a more... subtle way. We have to figure out something that works for us without seeming too obvious, fake, or rehearsed."

"I don't know about obvious, but I know how to make it seem real and unrehearsed," Malfoy said passively.

"How?" I asked, curious.

"Oh... you know. Something like this." He leaned over and gently pressed his lips against mine.

Those butterflies again.

How the heck was I supposed to act like I didn't enjoy this even when it was so blatantly apparent that I was loving every second of it?

I let him kiss me for about 10 seconds before I broke away.

"Well... maybe kissing often wouldn't be too bad of an idea," I said, blushing just a little.

"Ah, so the truth comes out," he said, grinning. "You like it when I kiss you. You like it a lot!"

He made to kiss me again, but I swatted him away. "No. No more. Do you men ever know when to stop?"

"Unfortunately no. But we still try, so you must commend us for that."

I sniggered. "You are Draco Malfoy. I'm not sure if anyone commends you for anything."

He pouted his lower lip, pretending to look hurt. "This is an unfair accusation," he protested. "People like me."

I laughed. "Like who?"

"Like..." He visibly struggled for a moment, trying to actually think of someone. It turned out that when he put his mind to it, it was quite hard to conjure up a list, or even a name, of a person who liked him. But then one did come tumbling forth from his lips.


I stared at him skeptically. A bird flew overhead and cast its shadow over us momentarily. I broke his gazed and stared off over the water, then turned my eyes back to him.

"You think I like you?"

His voice took on that droll note. "It's just a little more than obvious, darling."

My cheeks flushed red at his casual use of the endearment. "I - I don't - for your information, I really - "

"Shh," he said, looking amused. "Don't get all affronted. We both know it's true, don't we?"

A long moment passed between us as I stared at him. He had nice eyelashes; I had never noticed before.

"Yes," I said finally. "It really just can't be helped, I suppose."

I'm sure that on the inside, he was doing his Malfoy-rendition of a fistpump, but his exterior remained calm spare for a tugging at the corner of his lip.

"You are really quite cute, Granger," he said.

And there he went. With those lips again. Leaning forward.

"Will you cut it out?" I said somewhat frustratedly, shoving him away. "There is this thing called personal space, you know, and you seem to completely disregard it at every chance you get."

"Well, I am a Malfoy," he reminded me. "We don't think much of personal space."

"Or hygiene, apparently."


"I can smell you from miles."

He looked worried for a second. "But I showered this morning. Seriously, I used soap and everything - "

"Hey. Malfoy. Just kidding." I stared up at him with condescending eyes. "You can take a joke, right? Or are you just too high-strung to recognize sarcasm when you see it?"

"Well... I thought that you were actually insulting me or something. You do tend to do that a lot, Granger, I must say."

"Just as often as you try to kiss me? Because that happens an awful lot too."

He gazed at me intently. "But at least I have a justifiable reason."

Those eyes. That silky voice.

"You're kind of gorgeous, Hermione."

Breath caught in throat. Inability to breathe. Happiness flooded every morsel of the body.

He said my name.

He said... my name.

I almost wasn't even sure that he knew it; he called me Granger so often that the possibility of his having taken notice to my actual name seemed less than likely.

But I wasn't going to let him see how this was affecting me. Not even just affecting me, but blowing my soul into smithereens.

He. Could. Not. Have. The. Power. Of. Controlling. Me.

I grinned at him and pretended like I didn't notice in the least. I was even so wise as to change the topic.

"So, did you like my cookies?"

He seemed to snap out of a personal reverie going on in his head. "What? Cookies? Oh yeah, those cookies. They were great. Some pretty… darn good cookies. Yeah."

"Are you alright?" I asked, cocking an eyebrow.

I had stunned him into a speech impediment with my casual dismissal of my name's declaration.

Points to Granger.

"I'm fine." He glanced up at me. "Really well, actually."

I softened for a moment, and a thought crossed my mind.

"Hey, Malfoy?"


"You haven't called me Mudblood in a while."

He looked dubious for a moment. "Do you want me to? Because I can, if you want."

"Well of course I don't want you to," I said, looking scandalized. "But I'm finding it hard to believe that the term hasn't entered our conversations lately, seeing as you're so fond of it and all."

His face looked drawn for a moment. "I just… wouldn't call you that. Not anymore," he said in correction. "Because I figured out…" he paused. "You're really not all that bad, you know."

"Our entire bloodline, or just me?"

He gazed at me. "Just you, Hermione."

There he goes dropping the name again.

I hope he realizes that Hiroshima reoccurs in my heart every time he says it.

This time I decided not to be so ignoring in my response as before.

"Thank you," I said sincerely. I figured that this was the nicest thing I would be able to get him to say for quite a long time, so I might as well make the best of it.

I let a big, almost mocking, smile cross my face. "See what you get when you're nice to people?" I pointed to my beaming cheeks. "This! Because there's these things called smiles, and they're a whole lot nicer than smirks or snee – "

I was cut off as his lips urgently found mine.

How many times could he possibly try to kiss me in the short period of one hour?

I went with it. There was something about it that seemed quite tender and pressing. His tongue gently brushed over mine, and I responded happily.

I almost wondered if he had started changing. Maybe he really meant what he had said about not hating me for being Muggle-born anymore.

But then I decided against the thought.

Once a Malfoy, always a Malfoy, right?

We kissed for a good minute or so, before breaking away, breathless.

"Sometimes I think that this is all I'm used for," I complained, rubbing my lips. "I'm like a kiss-slave of sorts."

"Better than a house-elf," he said with a grin. "At least you're not wrinkly."

"Not for another good 50 years, I should hope," I said with a sniff.

We stared at each other.

And then started kissing again.

I realized that this was kind of how things were starting to shape out between us – when we couldn't think of anything else to say, our lips would get bored and demand other occupation.

And, I must say, it was pretty nice.

When we finally broke away, I realized that we still hadn't come up with a good plan of action as to how we'd convince people to believe that we were in love.

I brought this up to him.

He studied me for a moment. And then said the cutest thing ever.

"Maybe we don't have to pretend, Hermione."

a/n. Well gee, look who's turning into a charmer before our very own eyes! None other than the Malfoy-man himself. Who's in love with this adorable new version of him? *looks around* *rasies hand gleefully* MEEEEE! :D

Review, pretty please?

You guys are the fire to my woodpile. No reviews = no more chapters, so you need to remedy this imediatelly by clicking that little button down there, yeah?

Love you all! (Especially you, MtnDew26 - yes, this one goes out to you, dearie/buddy/pal/scandalous potato. So stop getting on my case. Geesh.)