This is a gift-fic for my real-life friend, MickyMC, who, during a conversation about pairings, requested a HermioneDraco oneshot fic. Now, though usually Dramione isn't my favourite cup of tea, I decided to take on the challenge. So, if any of you read Time Warp, you can thank her for the delay on that.
In the Hogwarts Library
She missed those days where everything was simpler; the library was her neutral ground and her enemy could kiss her shamelessly without repercussions.
Hermione Granger loved the library more than anything in the entire world. Nothing else could come even remotely close.
She loved the rows upon rows of unread, beautiful books containing information she did not yet know. She loved each and every wrinkled, dog-eared, yellow page that marked it was well-read and quite loved over the years. She loved the musty smell of old paper that reached every corner of the gigantic room and she loved sitting in her favourite plush chair in one of the most unvisited, quiet sections of the library and simply breathe in the scent. The loved the lighting there; beams of light streamed through the wide window and into her hidden, private reading nook.
She loved that nobody would bother her in the library. Harry and Ron avoided it like it carried the Black Plague; just the word library could send them running in the other direction on a good day. She loved Harry and Ron, but sometimes she just wanted to be alone.
She had always been alone.
Almost every day, she curled herself up on her favourite plush chair with a beautiful old book and fall into her happy place.
He would show up later— sometimes minutes later, sometimes hours— and break her out of her trance. It was not that he did anything he was known to do. No, he simply took a seat on the soft red chair to her right and wait for her.
She never left him waiting for long.
The book closed and set aside for later and she gave him her full attention, smiling cheerfully to one of her worst enemies.
Draco Malfoy said, "Are you free now?"
To which, she simply replied, "Yes." She was always free when she was in the library. She was free from Harry's paranoia. She was free from Ron's unadulterated loathing. She was free from house prejudice and from pre-anticipated relationships because of it. The library was her neutral zone.
"Can you tear yourself away from that book for a bit?" he asked.
"I already have," she said. "The real question is whether or not you can put aside ten minutes in your busy schedule for a little mudblood like me." Her teasing tone was not wasted on him.
He grinned and reached across small table between their chairs to grab her hand. "I always have time for you. My associates, however, don't think they can spare me for one moment."
"Is that why you haven't been here in a week?"
His smile did not break. "I'm sorry," he said, though there was no sincerity in his words.
She frowned and pulled her hand away from his, pressing herself into the chair and crossing her arms in front of her chest. "Sorry?" she hissed. "Is that all you have to say for yourself? You've been… you've been at Inquisitorial Squad meetings!"
"What's it to you?" he hissed back. "It's my life."
"It may be your life, but don't you see what you're doing to it? The school already hates you guys!" she exclaimed. "We should all be uniting against Umbridge, not letting her widen the gap!"
"Are you talking about that stupid sorting song again, Granger?" He snickered. "Let it go."
She scowled, but did not reply. The two sat in silence for a very long moment— a moment that might have lasted only minutes but felt much longer. Finally, without saying a word, he stood up and walked two steps to her and stopped directly in front of her. He leaned down and pressed a kiss on her lips. For a moment, she seemed to respond eagerly, but she pulled back.
"I'm angry at you," she insisted.
He took her hand and pulled her up into an embrace. "No, you're not," he whispered in her ear before he kissed her again. This time, she allowed him. When he was satisfied, he pulled back and flashed a charming smile. "You never stay angry at me for long, Hermione."
"That's because you're a manipulative ass," she replied cheerfully. With a smile on her face, she kissed him.
He might have been a manipulative ass, but in those days long-ago in a forgotten back corner of the musty old Hogwarts' Library, he was hers and she was his. Everything outside those walls was irrelevant as long as they were together, and sometimes they could remember those quiet, happy days fondly despite having moved on with their lives years ago.
And maybe— just maybe— there was once something— or someone— Hermione loved nearly as much as she loved her Hogwarts' Library.