A/n: It's been too long since I have written a D/Hr fic, and I must say I missed it! So my good friend gave me a challenge to write a story about my favourite couple involving Miley Cyrus's song Seven Things. So here's my attempt, I hope you like it! :D
Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter or any of its characters. I'm only borrowing them for a short story.
Draco Malfoy never hid the extreme dislike he felt for Hermione Granger; in fact he was quite proud of flaunting it to the world of Hogwarts, his hatred very much obvious with every taunt and insult he hurled her way. The emotion ran deep, poisoning his veins until he could no longer distinguish anything else he might have felt for her other than the fuel of revulsion pulsing within him.
However, by some twisted hand of faith, the two of them were forced to work together—and as Head Boy and Head Girl, they had to set aside their mutual loathing for each other and try to work as a team. Draco had to endure living in close quarters with her, sharing a common room and patrolling the halls alongside her during the late hours of the night.
It had been tough, especially at the beginning, and terribly awkward as well. There were long stretches of silences every time one of them spoke—they were both striving so hard to be civil that they held back a lot of words that would possibly spark a fight, so most of the time they just opted to not say a thing. Draco had felt the familiar uneasiness in his stomach every night she joined him at their common room to study, as though she might jump up and attack him at the slightest provocation. The glances she cast his way were wary as well, and she was very careful not to meet his own turbulent gaze.
Then one day, the awkwardness was gone—the day of the dreaded quidditch match when the golden snitch decided to take sanctuary in her hair.
He concentrated very hard as his eyes darted back and forth, up and down, searching madly for the small glint of gold that would turn the luck of the Slytherin quidditch team for the finals.
He was only half aware of the other players around him, whizzing past as they defended their respective teams. Out of the corner of his peripheral vision he saw Zabini bat away the bludger towards the Ravenclaw chaser, who was hit squarely in the stomach. The Ravenclaw keeper retaliated by hitting an incoming quaffle with the butt of his broom and sending it back to one of the Slytherin chasers' face. Ravenclaw was already up by fifty points, but if Draco managed to catch the snitch, they would be competing against Gryffindor for the final match of the season.
If only the tiny golden winged ball bothered putting up an appearance, that is.
Finally, to his wild relief, he saw the snitch, hovering a few feet above the Gryffindor stands. Without pausing to think, he manoeuvred his broom towards that direction, relishing the feel of the stinging air on his face, not daring to blink nor take his eyes away from the minuscule luminous ball.
In another half second he had reached the top of the Gryffindor stands, his hands mere inches from the precious snitch. He leaned forward to clasp it, but the darned ball flew down and went straight to… Granger's hair.
He did not even think twice as he dove down after the snitch. The Gryffindor audience quickly scattered, hollering in outrage and surprise. The Head Girl stood there in frozen astonishment, still seeming clueless that the snitch had taken shelter in her wild tangle of curls.
The Ravenclaw seeker started to zoom towards the Gryffindor stands, making Draco panic a little. He leapt off his broom right then and hurled himself towards where Granger stood, still quite immobile and her jaw slack with shock.
The next thing Draco knew, he had crashed bodily into her, and down they went on the wooden floor with a rather loud crash. He felt the air temporarily knocked out of him as he landed ungracefully on top of her.
Breathing rather heavily, his hands shot out to grapple with Granger's stubborn locks, searching for the snitch. He ignored her pained groan, and the feeble way she tried to push him away from her. As his fingers weaved through her thick mahogany tresses, he could not help but notice that her hair felt totally different from how it looked. The strands actually felt soft and smooth against his fingers, and an intoxicating smell of strawberries wafted from it.
"Get off me, Malfoy," she rasped out, squirming uncomfortably beneath him. "What in Merlin's name do you think you're doing? This is—this is scandalous!"
Draco finally snapped his attention to her face, and he saw that she was blushing furiously at the indecent position of their bodies. He almost forgot that his lanky six foot form was draped carelessly over her petite body, and his hands were buried in her nice-smelling bushy hair.
"We're hardly doing anything scandalous," he told her with his trademark smirk. "It's not as if we're snogging and copping a feel of each other's privates in front of this huge audience, Granger," he could not resist adding, knowing it would piss her off all the more. Granger looked as though she wanted to spit on his face, so he moved his own a few millimeters away in case she did so.
"You are despicable," she hissed. "Get off me. Now."
He could not control the grin that touched his mouth as he gave her a mock scolding stare. "Hold your horses for just a second, Granger. I'm looking for the snitch," he drawled, but his hand had already enclosed around the cold circular metal. He wanted to savour two or more seconds of touching her unbelievable hair, because this was the first and last time he would be doing it.
"Just wake me up when you're done," Granger muttered dryly, trying to wiggle away from him once more. Somehow, the friction of their bodies made Draco's own body tighten with the oddest sensation. It took him completely by surprise, making him spring up like he was singed with a hot branding iron.
Without bothering to assist Granger, He stood up and held the snitch above his head for everyone to see. The crowd looked confused for a moment, then erupted into cheers as Ernie McMillan announced Slytherin the winner. With a huge triumphant smile on his face, he glanced down at her fuming form, still lying on the ground.
Draco rolled his eyes at her helplessness. He held out his hand, but she did not take it; she sat up, swatted his hand away, and held herself upright, nose up in the air. Before he could open his mouth to thank her, Potter and Weasley had flanked to her sides, asking simultaneously if she was alright, all the while shooting dirty looks at his direction.
A few hours later, as Draco staggered back to the Heads' quarters, still quite high from the celebration at the Slytherin common room, he thought about the way he reacted to Granger back at the quidditch match. He felt extremely disgusted with himself for suddenly noticing such paltry things about her. He loathed seeing something else beyond the periphery of his hatred for her, for he thought it made him vulnerable.
His good mood suddenly gone, he made his way inside the Heads' common room, where he immediately spotted her sitting by the fireplace. She was surrounded by a mountain of books as usual. She seemed preoccupied with the essay she was so zealously writing that she did not notice his presence. He did not particularly want to engage in a conversation with her, so he continued walking towards his private quarters, pausing in his stride when her irate comment reached his ears.
"It's the size of an egg, you know," she grumbled, her quill poised mid-air as she assessed his unusually rumpled form with undisguised repugnance.
"An egg?" Draco echoed, looking absolutely clueless, half-turning to face her. "What the hell are you talking about, Granger?"
She gave him a glare that could have melted an iceberg. "I hit my head a while ago when you jumped on me, and now I've got a bump the size of an egg at the back of it," gingerly she rubbed at the aforementioned area, giving a little wince that tugged at his conscience.
"Why not complain to Madam Pomfrey then?" he asked, simply because he knew he was not the sort who hovelled at her feet, asking for forgiveness and making sure she was alright. He should never be that sort.
Anger and a flash of hurt were etched in her eyes, but she had looked away from him before he could clarify what he saw. "I don't make a habit of making such a large fuss over a trifling injury, unlike you," she huffed out, turning back to her essay. Stray locks of curly hair had fallen to shield her face, and that was the silent sign that she was dismissing him.
"Then why mention it to me? Craving for my sympathy now, Granger?" he could not help but sneer.
She did not even bother looking up at him when she answered. "I don't want to start an argument with you, so I won't bother responding to that. My brain cells are too precious to waste on you, Malfoy,"
She made the right decision, he had to admit. If a dispute sparked between them and he spoke or acted out of control, he would be kicked out of Hogwarts in a blink of an eye. The mere mention of the word 'mudblood' would dissolve the contract his father had made with the Headmistress for him to be able to finish his final year in school.
"I'll see you at the ten o'clock rounds," he said after a moment of silence, but the Head Girl did not seem inclined to reply. He then trudged his way to his room to take a shower, tamping down the anxiousness that slithered in his stomach.
He should not care less whether Granger declared having a brain tumour or any injury, as trivial as she claimed it. Damn, he should not even be thinking about her. He had hardly spared any thought about her before, and he was not going to start now. However, the image of her sprawled beneath him, her face flushed, and the satiny feel of her hair failed to budge from his mind even after his bath and supper.
He went back to the Heads' common room five minutes before their designated rounds, after finishing his homework at the library. Dropping his books on the coffee table across the fireplace, he took in Granger's sleeping form by the armchair, her mouth slightly open. On her lap was a thick Arithmancy book with several complicated-looking equations. He was amused to see that she had written a different equation she seemed to have made herself on her curled palm.
"Granger, wake up," he said, touching her by the shoulder. "It's almost time for our evening rounds," he prodded her again for a good measure, and she began to stir, giving a loud moan when the back of her head touched the backrest of the armchair.
"Owww—" she moaned out, her eyes slitting open. Her eyes looked like caramelized sugar as they locked for a moment with Draco's grey orbs. Then she blinked, averting her eyes from him once more. She snapped the Arithmancy book close and rose to her feet. Draco saw her sway, and he caught her before she completely lost her balance.
"What's wrong with you?" he asked, his tone coming out rude instead of concerned. She pushed his arms away from her, her face ashen.
Granger blinked rapidly, took a deep breath, then sat down again. "Head rush," she mumbled, looking embarrassed. Draco wasn't one to be fooled easily though. Kneeling down in front of her, he tugged her head towards him, his fingers sinking once more into her thick hair. She balked at first, sputtering incoherent words, but started to relax when she realized he was trying to feel for the lump at the back of her head. Tears of pain sprang into her eyes when his thumb connected with the tender bump, and she tried to move her head away again.
"You said it was the size of an egg!" Draco spat out, not sure why he was suddenly so angry. He removed his hands from her head and stood up, crossing his arms on his chest.
"It is," Granger replied, not meeting his eyes.
"A bloody dragon egg, if you ask me!" he said acerbically. "You need to go to the hospital wing, Granger,"
"I do not!" she shot off the chair once more, and fell back when a dizzying rush came over her. "I need…" she paused, closing her eyes as the world continued to spin around. "I just need to rest my eyes for a while," she finally said after a few minutes of terse silence.
"No. You're going to the Hospital Wing, Granger," Draco said firmly, hauling her from the armchair. At the exact moment Granger fell against his chest, she gave a funny sound in her throat, and the next thing he knew she was retching all over him.
He was too shocked to move or do anything for the first five seconds. "Shit!" he hollered, beginning to push Granger away from him but she looked as though she would collapse without his support. Groaning with disgust and scrunching his nose at the smell, he adjusted their position so he could grab his wand and clean the mess up.
"I'm…" Granger swallowed, tears spiking her long lashes. "I'm so sorry, Malfoy. I didn't mean… mean to throw up on you," she said weakly. She closed her eyes then, shielding herself from the livid look on Draco's face. "I just feel so dizzy…"
"Scourgify," he muttered, pointing his wand at the muddle on the floor. Shaking his head disbelievingly, he started to slip off Granger's soiled robes from her shoulders. Miraculously, she made no protest, and when he was done with the job, he proceeded to remove his own dirty robes. He felt inwardly thankful that his uniform underneath was spared from Granger's vomit.
Draco eyed the stubborn chit sitting on the chair as he contemplated what to do. Surely she was not fit to join him for the evening rounds, and she would refuse going to the hospital wing. He thought of just leaving her there, but how could he explain to the Headmistress when his fellow Head Girl dies on him in the morning?
Without bothering to ask for permission, he scooped her up in his arms, ignoring the surprised yelp she gave and the weak attempts she made to disengage herself from him. "Put me down, you—Malfoy!" her cheeks were red again, although this time Draco doubted it was from embarrassment. Granger was riled, all right. But he was adamant that she visit the hospital wing, whether it meant having to drag her there or not. "I'll walk," she offered, but Draco walked on as though he had not heard her.
It was a fortunate thing that the hospital wing was just a few turns away from their common room, so Draco was not puffing with exhaustion by the time they got there. Madam Pomfrey ordered him to carry Granger to one of the empty beds while she asked questions about her injury. Draco did not miss the heavy mistrust in the nurse's eyes when she saw him.
"I'll go ahead and inform Professor McGonagall that you won't be able to patrol tonight," he told her as he turned to leave. Granger looked as though he was going to argue, but then gave a small nod as Madam Pomfrey continued to fuss over her.
"I have already asked Mr. Zabini and Ms. Patil to take over for you," Minerva McGonagall told Draco after he explained why he and Granger were not able to show up for the evening patrol. "What you need to do now, Mr. Malfoy, is to make sure the Head Girl is safe and comfortable in the hospital wing," with a curt nod, she dismissed him, leaving him no choice but to plod back to the infirmary, his mood dark.
Granger was still awake when he returned, her face a stark contrast against the darkness of her hair. "I had a concussion," she announced as he took a seat at her right side. "Madam Pomfrey said it was good that you brought me here so… thanks, I guess,"
"So glad to be of service," he replied with a wry note in his voice. "McGonagall asked me to stay with you by the way, so we'll have to endure each other's company for the rest of the night,"
Granger did not look happy with that arrangement as he was. "You don't have to stay here, I'll just be sleeping anyway," she answered, leaning back against the mound of pillows. "So thanks again, and good night, Malfoy." She shut her eyes and turned her back on him.
But Draco did not leave; he knew better than to defy McGonagall's orders, when his controversial re-entry as a Hogwarts student was made possible by her. Instead he made himself comfortable on the chair as he brought out his unfinished essay. He might as well make his time there useful.
He was jotting down his fifth paragraph when Granger turned back to him, a look of incredulity in her eyes. "Aren't you planning to leave?" she asked not too politely.
"No." he snapped, bending over his essay once more. Granger was persistent, though. She sat up, grimacing a little, and leaned over to look at what he was writing. An inviting smell of strawberries hung in the air around them, and Draco sucked in his breath, moving his head away from her.
"You've made a mistake there," she said, her eyes glinting with amusement for the first time that evening.
Draco's brows scrunched together. "Where?" he asked, not really caring about it, instead concentrating on making the coiling in his stomach go away when he saw the brightness in her wise brown eyes.
Granger gave him an impish grin, and the coils in his stomach clenched tighter. She had never smiled at him before. Now that she did so, he wasn't sure it was good for his health. Her smile made his heart race and induced a vomiting sensation at the same time.
"I'm not telling, you better figure it out yourself," she said haughtily, a ghost of a smile still lingering on her lips.
"As if your meddling, know-it-all attitude can help it. You'll probably be writing the essay for me yourself if you catch more than one mistake," he snorted, rolling his quill idly between his thumb and forefinger.
Granger raised a brow at him. "That tactic won't work on me, Malfoy. I'm not telling you where the error is, you'll have to search for it yourself. And try rereading chapter thirty-four of The Standard Book of Spells while you're at it,"
"Aren't you supposed to be sleeping?" Draco asked sardonically. He should not be engaging in a friendly banter with her, even though his irrational side seemed to think otherwise.
His curiosity was piqued when two red flags rose up her pale cheeks. "I—I can't sleep with you hovering over me like that," she admitted with a shrug. "I can't stare at your face too long without remembering…" absentmindedly she clutched her neck, where he saw a thin white scar—a scar he recognized all too well. It was made by his late aunt Bellatrix when she was tortured back at Malfoy Manor about a year ago.
Somehow, seeing that scar made his stomach roil even harder, and he was washed with a wave of guilt and shame. Her tortured screams had echoed in his nightmares after that terrible night in his mansion, a horrendous experience he would never forget. "I'm sorry," the apology tumbled out of his mouth quite easily, to his surprise. "Should I leave?"
Granger swallowed, blinked two times, then slowly shook her head. "It wasn't really your fault," she said softly, staring past him, seeming absorbed in the old memories. "I did appreciate your attempt at trying to cover us up back then," she continued, referring to his lame effort of concealing their identities to his aunt and parents back at the manor.
Draco was too choked up with a sudden rush of emotions that he could not form a response. He did not want to talk about the past, which was so dredged up that he merely wanted to forget.
"Malfoy, are you alright?" Granger asked, worry creasing on her face. "I'm sorry I brought that up," she said, regarding him with a mix of concern and pity. As if he was the one who needed it.
"Yes," he finally answered, turning back to his essay. "I am," those were his last words before Granger lay back on the bed and fell asleep, for real this time. He had finished his homework at around midnight, and when he was done, there was nothing left to do except watch her sleep.
Which he found a bit fascinating because she had the strangest expressions while she slept—sometimes her mouth hung open, sometimes her brows were slashed together, and sometimes she snored.
It was around four thirty in the morning when she started screaming, lost in the horror of her nightmare. Draco had awakened from his chair and he rushed to her, trying to calm her thrashing form on the bed.
"Granger. Granger, wake up," he said urgently, shaking her. She continued giving out agonized shrieks, her face contorted in pain. He was starting to sweat, and his hands were shaking. Her screams reminded him of the ugly past, and that particular event must have been what she had been dreaming of. "Come on, wake up!" he half-shouted, giving her another shake. He became more alarmed when he saw the tear tracks on her face. With a low curse, he reached out to wipe the wetness from her cheeks. "Damn. Wake up, Granger!"
Granger's eyes flung open, traces of horror still visible in her tear-clouded irises. She stared up at his face as she fought to catch her breath. Draco was not sure who was trembling more; he went stiff when her arms encircled around his waist in an awkward embrace. She had buried her face on the region between his chest and stomach, her tears soaking his uniform.
"Are you alright?" Draco croaked out a minute later. His trembling had subsided, but she still hadn't stopped crying. "Do you want me to call Madam Pomfrey?" he asked in a gentle tone he never thought of using on her.
She shook her head and released him, to his utter relief. "I still keep on dreaming about it," she murmured, wiping at her tears with the back of her hand. "I'm such a coward,"
Draco took a seat on her bed, unconsciously pushing back locks of her hair that had fallen over her face. "That's where you're wrong, Granger. I may not particularly like you, but I don't think you're a coward," he said gravely. "Annoying, yes. Prudish, most definitely. But cowardly? No, I don't think so," he made an attempt at a joke, but she still seemed shaken from the nightmare.
Or maybe not. "Well, you're an annoying git and a prude too, Malfoy," she shot back, looking irritated. Draco grinned, preferring her incensed sputtering than being a snivelling mess. An angry Granger he could easily deal with, but one that was broken and helpless, he had no inkling how to handle.
"Yeah, well at least I don't go around burying my nose in boring books and acting like a snotty know-it-all," he smirked.
"At least I don't go around checking my hair incessantly when I pass by anything with a reflection," she responded sweetly, and he frowned.
"I'm not that vain," he said with a scowl. "I just care about how I look, unlike some other people I know," he flitted an obvious glance at her unkempt hair.
"There are a lot more important things than the physical appearance," she huffed out. "Like proper manners and exceptional charm," she could not help but punctuate those two qualities she did not think he possessed.
Draco resisted the urge to stick out his tongue like an immature child at her. "I can display the proper manners and exceptional charm when I feel the need for it," he drawled silkily, edging closer just to get her worked up. He got the reaction he expected; she scooted as far as she could from him, a look of repulsion on her face.
"I don't think I want to witness that," she answered vehemently. "because you wouldn't be the Draco Malfoy I knew then,"
Just then, Madam Pomfrey appeared, pale-faced and looking sleep-dishevelled in her nightgown. "What happened? I heard screaming in here!" she was looking at Draco as though he had just murdered bunnies on the spot.
"She had a nightmare," he explained, trying to ignore the suspicious stare the nurse gave him. He knew for a fact that no one at Hogwarts truly trusted him now, not since his betrayal to Dumbledore. Not even when his side was cleared up, he knew they thought nothing of him but a villain. The fact hurt more than he really cared to admit.
Madam Pomfrey checked on Granger just to be sure, and when she finished, she gave Draco one more weary look before reluctantly returning to her quarters.
"I guess we better go back to sleep," Granger said when the nurse left. The comfortable aura between them was gone, veiled by the old discomfiture once more. He could not sleep after that, so instead he pulled out a book and tried to read for the morning's lessons. She fell back asleep a few minutes later, and there were no more follow up nightmares, to his relief.
When the sun began to rise, he decided to get back to the Heads' quarters so he could prepare for the day ahead. He left a brief note to Granger, which he slipped on her bedside table before he thought of taking it back and tearing it to pieces.
About three hours later, as he sat there on the Slytherin table, eating his breakfast and enjoying a moment of solitude, Granger popped out of nowhere, slipping into the space beside him, a sunny smile on her face. People from the other Houses were starting to give them curious looks, and he could see her friends from Gryffindor shooting dirty glares in their direction.
"You are causing unwanted attention, Granger," he drawled out, stabbing at his hotcake with a fork.
"And you are being terribly prissy," she countered, a challenging look in her eyes. "I read your note," she smiled again, her even row of white teeth glinting under the sunlight. Draco dropped his fork and drained the last of his pumpkin juice. He did not want to talk about the embarrassing note he wrote when he was still half-asleep and suffering aftershocks of panic. Cursing under his breath, he stood up and started to leave, but Granger followed suit.
"How's the head?" he asked, finding the perfect excuse to switch topics. From the corner of his eye he could see Hannah Abbott straining to listen to their conversation.
"The lump's gone, Madam Pomfrey gave me a tonic to lessen the swelling," she responded crisply, trying to keep up with his quick pace as he walked out of the Great Hall. "About the note—" she halted on her tracks when he spun around to face her. His hands had somehow woven themselves in her hair again, his fingers searching for the bump she had the night before.
"It is gone," he said out loud, his hands idly relishing the smooth texture of her hair, finally seeming to notice that he stood too close to her for his own comfort. She was staring up at him with probing brown eyes, as though she was dissecting the emotions she saw on his face. Abruptly he let go of her, and he steered to the direction of the Charms classroom.
"Malfoy, about the note—" she called out after him, her footfalls light but rushed as she kept up with his brisk walking.
"I don't want to talk about the damned note, alright?" he snarled while he ambled on. "Just don't go showing it off to Potter and Weasley," he muttered as an afterthought, a hint of pinkness creeping up the crests of his cheeks.
"I won't, I promise," she said, finally managing to grab a fistful of his robes. Draco stopped walking, but he did not face her. She seemed determined to have her say though. She tugged at his robes, forcing him to look down at her. When he did, he saw warmth and happiness swimming in her eyes, and a genuine smile touching her lips.
"I just wanted to tell you that I accept," she told him, giving his arm a squeeze before whirling around to go to her first class. She was halfway across the room when she whipped her head back and added in a voice tinged with amusement, "And you're wrong. There is a chance," with one last smile she turned away and marched onwards. Draco gazed after her, a first, equally genuine smile finally curling on his mouth.
Maybe. Just maybe.
Hermione was still grinning as she sauntered into the Arithmancy classroom, her fingers closing around the folded note inside her robe pocket. Malfoy's neat, slanted writing still lingered in her mind, the words he wrote echoing like a pleasant melody.
I'm sorry I knocked you down and gave you a lump the size of a dragon egg at the back of your head. But I reckon you already had your revenge by casting up what you ate last supper all over me. Anyway, I guess my long due apology is also in order, for the way I acted those past years, for the literal hell my family and I had put you through. I know it's a bit too late to ask, but I was wondering if we really could make real peace with each other. And I'm not referring to that crap we call civility when we work together. I'd like a clean slate, to be perfectly honest. Decent conversations, and maybe an occasional compliment or two, when we feel up to it. I promise not to act as prejudiced as I did before, only if you quit bossing me around with your know-it-all attitude. I'm not asking you to be chums with me or anything, because there is definitely no chance of that happening, but something along the lines of that. I don't want to fight anymore, Granger. I'm so bloody tired of it. Tell me what you think. But if it's not a positive feedback, please spare the bother and just leave me the hell alone.
PS: I reckon I'll start with the compliment here, since I'd probably vomit myself if I told you this upfront. I think you have soft and nice-smelling hair, but you have to admit, it is bushy. I actually enjoyed running my fingers through it yesterday.
…. So what do you guys think? Should I continue? I still have six things about Hermione Granger that Draco would like to discuss. :)