Title: Curiosity

Rating: R language and sexuality…

Spoilers: Books

Key: Hermoine/Draco mmm…

Summary: Hermoine got her answers, but does she want them? She's hit with immense guilt and Draco tries to be the altruist and draw her back out. Will his efforts be worth it? Will he continue making an effort? Can he get that damn mud blood out his head?

A/N: Screw tests, this is much more fun…As for the story, I noticed while going back and checking on later chapters, that my italicizations aren't translating through, so I'm trying to save it in html this time around, I'll reload later chaps when test are over, in all their italicized glory! As for this chapter, I've added 'Music to Read By' this is stuff that I listen to while I write, or songs that pushed me to write a certain scene, so check 'em out for an added dimension…

Music to read by: Overfire by Beck or Veruca, guh, this song is so effin tragic….

**

before

**

"-They were stupid, Hermoine," She looked up at him, trying read into what he was saying, trying to look under the double meaning that weren't there, "They were stupid. Just bloody stupid," He sighed and dug his toe into the ground, and tried to avoid her eyes, "That's why I was at the whooping willows. I wanted to know, Hermoine," He looked up at her, his eyes pleading and open and so goddamn truthful, "I don't know why," His voice turned bitter and he turned away from her gaze, "It's all your bloody fault Granger."

He found that it suddenly became hard to breath...She was looking at him with here big, brown-somanyfuckingcolors-eyes that just begged him to take it back and give her something solid to hang on to.

To blame.

He heard her breath hitch in her throat, a small cry escaping from her lips before he didn't hear much at all.

She seemed to have stopped breathing. Her small hand was to her throat and the way she stared at him looked as if he had slapped her again.

His throat felt raw, lined with sandpaper.

God, he thought, I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'll take it back, I swear, it was Voldemort, it was an evil plot, it was fucking Hitler but please, please, please don't cry.

He didn't think he could take it anymore.

Don't cry, just don't fucking cry…

**

now

**

"It's all your bloody fault Granger-"

It all made sense now that she thought about it.

...All your bloody fault...

She felt her insides go numb, her small intestine twisted into a knot and she found herself backing away from Draco.

He had the oddest expression on his face, a mixture of regret and concern. She never imagined that she would see such a face on Malfoy.

...bloody fault...

Draco held out a hand, as if to catch her but it was too late and she tripped and fell. Her legs tangled in her robes and she found herself scuttling back on the floor until her back connected with the wall.

...fault...

Mum and Dad dead. Broken bones. An old nursery rhyme floated up from her the back of her brain: A simple spell and all will be well, a simple spell and all will be well, a simple spell and all will be well-

-And then Draco was kneeling in front of her, his hands -warm and soft- gently grasping her arms. He was saying something, his lips -warm and soft- were moving and it made her dizzy.

"Hermoine," And he said her name in the funniest way, a low lilt that was unlike anything she ever heard, "Hermoine," He whispered again, "I'm sorry, I didn't mean it that way-"

But she stopped listening. Instead she heard Harry and Ron and the way they said her name, Harry with a tinge of curiosity, Ron with a splash of humor.

And how they looked asleep: peaceful, serene...dead.

A simple spell and all will be well...

Mum would say her name in that certain way that brought up images of scrambled eggs and apple juice. Dad would say it with a gruff tone that meant everything but what it sounded like, "Hermoine," He would begin, his voice low and rough, "Come here and give me a hug." He would smile, open his arms and...

...all will be well...

She missed them, oh god, she missed them so much. This time when the tears came they did not accompany cries. They just fell from the corners of her eyes and she stared just past Draco's shoulder. He was saying things, apologies, regrets, assurances. Little words with no meaning as his hands grasped her arms, gently, so different from before....

But the images of her parents, her father in the coffin, her mother on the bed, gone, looking so much better without the wires and tubes and respirators...these images coalesced and slammed into the back of her eyes and made her ears ring with the oddest sound...drowning out Draco and the words that he tried to use.

They don't fit him, she mused as the tears stained her cheeks, he sounds so...nice.

The words and the images and everything that was making her head spin suddenly began to fade and she fell back into the present, to Draco's words.

She noticed, now, that she was no longer on the floor. Her head was on Draco's shoulder, nestled between his collarbone and neck; one arm holding her against him, the other below the crook of her knees, bringing her closer.

They were moving down the halls, he was taking her somewhere and for a moment she wondered where. But she stopped wondering when she noticed that his robes, black and rich, were soaked through.

She had been crying, she finally realized, on the shoulder of Draco Malfoy.

If she could have laughed, she would, but the tears continued and she did not have enough breath to laugh.

The urge to push him away, to make him let her go and run was almost too much to fight.

But Draco seemed to have sense this and his arms tightened around her shoulders, "Don't dare," He growled, pulling her even closer.

She let her head drop back down on his shoulder and wondered again, briefly, where he was taking her.

**

When Hermoine had begun to cry, Draco was left with two choices: Slap her again, or try to comfort her and he couldn't bring himself to slap her, so he tried the alternative.

"What's wrong?" He managed to get out, choking on his words.

She didn't answer him, her eyes were blank and brown and she didn't seem to hear anything else he tried to tell her.

She had the most stricken look on her face when he had finally answered her questions. The moment the words had left his mouth, he regretted them with every pureblood drop in his body.

This...this was so much more worse than guilt. At first he knelt beside her, trying to make her look at him so he could continue to explain; so he could show her that he hadn't meant what he had said, that it wasn't her fault, that he was just being a stupid git and he didn't know what he had been saying.

And he tried telling her this but she didn't hear him, couldn't hear him, didn't want to hear him.

He realized something, an epiphany that made the hair on his neck stand up on end: she wanted the responsibility.

She wanted the guilt.

She wanted for it to be all her fault.

The way she looked at him, the mix of horror, pain and acceptance, the way the tears just kept on coming. If it's my fault, she was thinking, than I could have stopped it...

He couldn't understand it; nothing clicked as it should. He had been trying to escape responsibility for years, and she was looking at him, practically begging him to tell it was true, that it was all her fault.

He gripped her shoulders, his intent to shake her out of it, to get her to stop crying, to get her to bloody well listen to him.

He couldn't bring himself to do it.

Instead he found himself collecting her in his arms, shifting her weight so that she rested against his shoulder. She didn't seem to notice and this made him only worry more.

"Shh..." Draco found himself whispering as he made his way out into the hall.

It was only until he was halfway there did he realize where he was going.

Hermoine's room.

He didn't know why, but he had to get Hermoine to her room.

There was something pathetic about crying on the floor in the hallway. Granger was far from pathetic, Draco realized, he couldn't let her cry her eyes out on the floor.

Granger pushed weakly against his chest, and Draco pulled her closer, "Don't dare," He whispered. She stopped struggling, settling herself back in his arms with a sigh. He hugged her even closer.

Don't you dare.

**

Hermoine felt herself being lowered onto her bed. The blankets were pulled up to just under chin, and she felt Draco's hand wipe away a stray tear that had not been soaked up by his robe.

She turned her head to look at him; she wanted to say something, anything. She wanted to say that she was sorry but she couldn't find the words.

Draco had pulled up a chair beside her bed, settling himself into the seat. She peeked at him through half-lidded eyes, watching as he tried to make himself comfortable.

There was plenty of shifting before he found a comfortable position. He looked so awkward and if Hermoine wasn't so tired she probably would have giggled. A small smile flitted across her face but she quickly hid it away when she noticed Draco watching her intently.

She couldn't understand why he was doing this but she tried to feign sleep, hoping he would leave and she could cry some more. Crying felt good, she could do crying.

He sighed, shifted again, "I'm not going to leave just yet," He said, as if reading her mind, "Not until you hear me out."

She didn't answer, hoping that she could still pull it off.

Evidently she couldn't because Draco leaned in, resting his head at the edge of the bed beside her face, "Hermoine," He whispered, trying out the feel of her name, "I thought you said you didn't want to play games."

She didn't answer him, just dug her head further into the pillow, "No," She mumbled, like a child, "Done talking. Want to cry."

He sighed with frustration, letting his palm rest gently on the bed, trying his hardest not to lash out. Lashing out was not what was needed right then; it would just lead to more...well...

He felt his throat tighten and he struggled to bring his voice in control, "Grang-Hermoine, listen to me closely,"

"Don't want to." She said again, "Done talking."

The palm that was resting gently above the bed fell down, hitting hard against the bed, "GODDAMNIT!" Draco felt himself lose control, yet he had no desire to get it back.

She wasn't listening to him and it was pissing him off like only one of the Potter Three could. He grabbed hold of her shoulder from underneath the covers, yanking her up until she was looking him the eye, her legs still tangled within the blankets, looking up at him with a mixture of fear and recognition.

This was the Draco Malfoy she knew, the one with the short temper and the violent habits, "Welcome back," She whispered, "Wondered where you went." She avoided his eyes; looking, rather, at the way his hands pressed into her forearms.

Red seeped slowly into Malfoy's vision, "Listen, Granger," His fingers dug even deeper, pulling her even closer until she was flush against him, "I want you to understand something,"

Hermoine felt something in the pit of her stomach, akin to hunger but with a hint of cold...

"And what's that Malfoy?" Her voice was dangerously low, her palms pressed flat against is chest, turning white as she tried to push against him.

His mouth-warmandsoftandsogoddamnclose- was just inches from her own. They were flushed, from anger, from frustration, from...

"Hermoine," And he said her name in such away as she felt herself drawn; watching the way the wrinkles around his eyes moved as he spoke, "Listen to me."

She felt her lips move before she realized what she was saying; the part of her brain responsible for quick comebacks working on its own, "I'm all ears-"

He cut her off, his fingers digging in even harder, "It wasn't your fault."

And she felt herself pulling away, looking into his slate eyes and wondering what she ever saw in them, "You said-"

"Fuck what I said Hermoine," He was able to get out through gritted teeth, "It wasn't your fault."

...she had to see that.

She tried to pry herself out of his hands, her fingers pushing helplessly around his, "Let go of me-"

And he pulled her closer, his fingers gripping even tighter, his voice in her ear, his hair on her cheek, his breath against her neck, "It wasn't your fault." He whispered again, the movement from the words against the cusp of her ear.

...had to see that...

"Let go," She tried again, her voice losing its strength.

His eyes searched her own and she felt something in them break.

...had to...

"It wasn't."

And for what seemed like the hundredth time that day she felt her eyes water up as she looked up at him and shook her head, not wanting to believe him, wanting him to be wrong, "No," She began, " Her head shaking vigorously, "You're wrong," She pushed harder on his chest, her fingers finding strength from the tears, "You're wrong." She kept repeating those words until his fingers slackened and she fell back against the bed and all of it came rushing in.

Mum, dad, Harry, Ron, everyone, everything until...

"You're a stupid girl." He whispered, backing away, until he felt the back of his knees hit a chair.

He opened his mouth as if to say something, but decided against it as he turned and ran out of the room.

**

What had he been thinking?

What the fuck had he been thinking?

He really wanted to hit something and the only thing he could think of was Hermoine, GRANGER.

Granger.

He repeated this over and over and over again...

Granger, Granger, Granger, Granger.

But the only name that came to mind was Hermoine. He repeated the words 'Granger' and 'mud blood' a thousand times in his head, paired with a mental picture of the infuriating girl. But all he got was the low lilt of her name, and the feeling in the back of his mouth whenever he said Hermoine.

Following what seemed to be the norm, he slammed his fist into the wall, relishing the way pain lanced up his arm.

It cleared his mind and the words 'Granger' and 'Mud blood' finally fell into sync with the way her eyes looked when she was kissing him...

...and -goddamnit- he was doing it again.

He heard rather than felt, his fist hitting the wall again.

This time the pain did nothing but remind him of Hermoine.

**

She couldn't remember much after Draco (Malfoy! Ma-l-foy) left. Her arms hurt where his fingers had been, ten little grooves dug into her skin.

And she was cold...her arms, covered in her robe, felt prickly, and she shivered.

She could hear him stomping down the hall, and it was the sound of his fist hitting the wall that compelled her to move.

Her knees, entrenched in the blankets that Draco had tucked her in with, became the consistency of jello and she felt herself drop back onto the bed.

She couldn't take her eyes off of the doorway that Draco had disappeared through. If she strained her ears she could still hear his footsteps as he descended down the staircase.

And she felt herself move, felt her fingers straighten out the tangled sheets and felt her hands straighten the throw rub and pick up the chair. She felt her fingers smoothing down her robes and pulling her hair back into the bun at the nape of her neck. It wasn't until she felt her hands scrub her face clean until there were no traces of tears on her cheek that she felt herself fall back into reality.

It wasn't until she was halfway out the door that she realized where she was headed.

**

A/N- Two tests out of four down, two more to go…

Goodness, notice a pattern anyone? Meet-talk-fight-snog/fight some more. Sigh…rut much? Everything is winding down now, so look for this to be finished in two or three more chapters, or heck, one BIG chapter…who knows?!?

In prep for next chapter, why not download I know by Placebo, heavy influence, lemme tell you…

Feed a starving writer today – read and review~!

-dafnap

will write for food…