A/N: I love Dramione. Like I love water. I haven't written fiction or fanfiction in a long time, so this is my first weak attempt to get back into something that has been near and dear to me. Very cheesy, mainly because of the V-Day celebration. Oh well. Read and Review?
Love is what makes you smile when you're tired
Grey eyes surveyed the empty Quidditch pitch. It was almost sunset on a day that felt longer than it really was. Draco Malfoy walked to the center of the pitch with his broom in hand, inhaling the scent of grass and the late afternoon sun. He loosened his green-and-silver tie, having left his heavy school robes in his dormitory.
A small sigh startled the young man out of his thoughts. Looking to his left, he noticed something he overlooked moments before.
Rather, it wasn't something. It was someone.
"Granger," he said by way of greeting, looking at the girl who looked like she had the life sucked out of her. The young witch lay on her back on the grass, eyes closed with one arm draped over her stomach and one beside her. She was still in her school uniform sans robes, but her bookbag was nowhere in sight. Though he shared a dormitory with her, Draco hadn't seen much of her this week. She was always in the library, or doing patrols or studying. When Draco caught sight of her, it was often when she was asleep on the couch way past midnight with a heavy textbook still in her hands.
Upon hearing her name, Hermione blearily and almost reluctantly opened her eyes. "Malfoy," she sighed in that same tiny, tired voice that startled Draco earlier. She sluggishly moved to sit Indian-style on the grass, smoothing down her skirt before pushing her hair out of her eyes to look at him.
As usual, Draco's keen eyes didn't miss anything—from the way the dark circles under her eyes contrasted with her pale skin, to the way her eyes looked so gloomy, to the way her curly caramel-flecked brown hair was sticking out angles and she didn't seem to care.
Still holding his broom, he crouched down so he was eye-level with her. "What's got you in a rut? Stayed up all night finding a suitable date for Weaselbee and realized nobody on the planet would date him?" he asked her, hoping she'd rise up and come up with a witty retort. But none came.
Hermione just wearily shook her head and sighed a third time. "I'm not in the mood, Malfoy," she said quietly, averting her gaze and bowing her head slightly, making her hair partially shield her face.
Draco looked at her for a moment and knew this statement was true. The Hermione Granger he knew had an aura rather like a live wire. There was a spark in her that was unmistakeable. The girl in front of him, however, looked defeated.
Finally, he stood up and held his hand out to her. Hermione looked at his hand and then at his face with a questioning expression.
"For God's sake, Granger, I'm not poison," he bit out, annoyed, then immediately regretted it. "Let's go for a ride," he said in a decidedly calmer voice.
Hermione paused before nodding. She grabbed his hand and he helped her up. Mounting his broom, he motioned for her to sit in front of him. When she did, he placed his hands in front of her to grip the broom, kicked off, and they were airborne.
Draco flew around in steady circles above the Quidditch pitch, going higher but not too far. He knew Hermione was afraid of heights. The strange thing, though, was that the girl didn't seem to remember this. Hermione leaned back on his chest and rested her head by his cheek. Normally she would be gripping him for dear life or burying her head in his chest so that she wouldn't have to see the ground.
He inhaled the scent of her hair—lavender and roses. It was intoxicating. The feel of her next to him was familiar, yet he was getting increasingly worried as she stayed silent. It bothered him too much.
"Hermione, love," he whispered quietly, slowing down his pace and hovering in the air at a spot where they could clearly see the impending sunset. He loosened his grip on the broom and took Hermione's hand in his own. "What's wrong?" he asked, looking at her.
Hermione gently stroked his hand with her thumb. Her hands were so small compared to his. "I—I'm so tired, Drake," she admitted, sighing yet again. "I don't know why...everything seems to be piling up... school, the Order..." she trailed off. "I don't know why I do so much," she continued. "I don't know if it's even going to be worth it—well, some of it. I'm just so tired and my head feels so heavy and I just want to sleep but I can't because there's just so much to do."
Hermione was always busy with Head Girl duties and school and all the extra tasks she took on. Though he was Head Boy and had the same to deal with, he never realized that it had been taking its toll on her. Of course, Hermione was known to overachieve and overexert herself. A lone tear ran down her cheek and he felt his heart clench. "It's so frustrating. I feel so frustrated," she said quietly. "Does that make me stupid or silly?"
"No, it doesn't," he assured her, wiping her cheek gently with his thumb. "You've been under a lot of stress lately. You need to relax, love." Hermione pressed her lips together, nodded and disentangled her fingers from his before moving to curl up against him so that he couldn't see her face. He knew that she was trying to calm herself, because the front of his thin white school shirt soaked with tears she couldn't quite fight back. He put an arm around her and slowly descended.
Daylight was fading faster now as he set Hermione on the ground and sat down next to her. She was looking at the expanse of grass. "Promise me you'll get some rest," Draco started, reaching for her hand. "And please let's do something this weekend. Let me spoil you. I don't like it when you make me worry." He said the last part quietly. "It doesn't feel right. Makes me think Snape's been nice to you today. Or washed his hair."
Hermione finally cracked a smile. It didn't quite reach her eyes, but it was a start. She laid her head on his his shoulder and closed her eyes. "Or you took ten minutes in the bathroom today instead of the requisite hour," she murmured.
Draco smiled. "Perfection isn't achieved in ten minutes, Granger," he drawled.
"Which is why you spend your entire life searching for it yet never coming close, Malfoy," she quipped without missing a beat.
This is how they were. Their odd relationship started the previous summer, much to everyone's surprise—including their own. Draco, the cold-hearted Death Eater's son-turned-spy for the Order and Hermione, Gryffindor Princess and smartest witch of her age formed an unlikely tentative friendship that blossomed into romance.
The differences were obvious, but they did have similarities. Both were smart, impossibly stubborn, sneaky and calculating when the need arose and incredibly patient.
And Hermione taught him how to feel.
This scared Draco so much—when he realized that he cared for the bushy-haired Gryffindor more than he would have liked to admit.
But he taught Hermione how to be strong. She wasn't truly fearless, he had learned, but with him, she was willing to take more chances.
As the stars started appearing one by one, Draco realized they'd been out for a while and probably missed dinner. He stood up, shrunk his broom so that it fit into his pocket and carried the drowsy Hermione from the Quidditch Pitch and up five flights of stairs to the Heads' dormitory. He was acutely aware of the girl's soft breathing and the way her heart beat in sync with his.
Trying not to wake her, he carefully opened the door to her room. Draco set Hermione down on the bed before removing her shoes and socks and removing her necktie. The room was cool, and he was sure she'd be able to sleep comfortably. With a wave of his wand, a quilted red-and-gold coverlet draped itself on her prone form.
Standing by her bedside, Draco took one last look at his girlfriend, caught in a rare unguarded moment. She was almost never like this.
He bent over to press a light, chaste kiss on her forehead, and was about to whisper "Goodnight" when her eyes opened a fraction.
"Stay," she said, and Draco knew that she meant for the night but hoped she meant forever. He sat down and removed his shoes and socks and settled under the comforter next to her. Hermione closed her eyes again as he slipped his arm under her head so that she was pressed up next to him. He could see her long eyelashes rest on her cheeks, and her caramel curls tumbled gloriously on her shoulders.
It always amazed him how perfectly they fit together.
Before he drifted off to sleep, he absently remembered that the next day was Valentine's Day. Draco Malfoy was many things but wasn't big on affection. Maybe he'd have lunch with her or even dinner and then take a walk around the lake. Some years from now, maybe he would give her a ring and ask her to be his forever. God knows he was already hers. It was a definite possibility.
Oh well. As he waved his wand to turn out the lights in the room, he knew one thing. At least if anything else, he could prove to her for now that no matter what, he would still love her in the morning.