Disclaimer - I own nothing! I'm just borrowing from J.K. Rowling!

Chapter 3

Hermione hummed to herself as she finished crisping up some bacon, along with scrambled eggs, and toast for breakfast. It was a habit of hers that she hummed a certain tune—one that had a good fast beat to it, making her day start out right. This morning however, her humming was different. Every so often, she stopped, not being able to get Malfoy out of her mind.

Unbelievable is what last night still was to her. Draco Malfoy himself—her once mortal enemy at school came knocking at her door, helpless and asking for her help.

For years, since the beginning of her studies at Hogwarts, he always hurt her feelings and pushed at her buttons the wrong way. Of course Hermione was always ready to fight back, unafraid of giving him what he truly deserved, whether it was a hex or a slap on the cheek. But towards the end of the war, things had changed when his father had started to see the error in his ways by following Voldemort. The older Malfoy had quickly changed sides and joined the Order. The assaults died down, but there were no apologies. It was very awkward, and neither talked to each other unless they had to.

Even though the Malfoys changed sides, and proved their loyalties for good in the end, not many people believed that they were good, still seeing them as criminals. Regardless of Albus Dumbledore's belief in them, some Order members kept to the same opinion. One of them being one of her best-friends and also ex-boyfriend, Ronald Weasley. He still saw them as the evil death eater family. His badgering and complaining about them never stopped. Hermione on the other hand believed that there change was really for the good. Without Lucius' vital information, they might not have won the war.

"The noises you've been making woke me," Draco yawned as he stood at the door. "It's bloody five-thirty in the morning, Granger! You could wake the dead with all the noise you've been making."

Hermione turned to see him wearing nothing but a pair of sky blue boxer shorts. For a second her jaw gaped at the sight that was in front of her. Malfoy had one fine body to match with his looks. Yes, she did find him very handsome, but with an ugly personality like his, she never found him attractive at all. "Sorry, this is an old house," she said, turning to the sink when she knew she was gawking at him. "The walls are thin, and aren't exactly noise proof. "Orange juice or coffee?"

"Coffee, and lots of it. Sugar and cream." Draco sat himself down on a chair and groaned. Not only was it too early for him to be awake, but his body ached, having fallen a few times off the sofa bed. If his body ached because of certain strenuous activity, then it would be an entirely different story.

"There's always more where that came from," Hermione said as she handed him a very large mug of coffee similar to her own. It was very hard for her to try and not stare at his defined chest. "Like you, I need my caffeine."

Draco frowned behind his mug, seeing her wear those unicorn pajamas. "What's with you and your hideous pajamas?" he asked as they started eating. They slightly big on her, and was something he thought that only little kids could wear. Apparently, he thought wrong. It looked downright awful along with her frizzy hair, making her look all the more silly. "You're not five anymore, you know?"

Hermione's eyes narrowed at him. "I happen to like my cute pajamas, thank you very much!"

"Alright, don't get your knickers in a twist!" Draco exclaimed, raising his hands up. "Why are you up so early anyhow?"

"Unlike some people, I have to work."

"I thought office hours started at nine or something."

"For most. But for me, I own a little cupcake store and do most of the work. Baking takes time, and I have to have a few batches of little cupcakes ready before the store actually opens," Hermione explained.

"You own a cupcake store?" Draco questioned.

Hermione nodded. "It's just a commute away from here. Nothing too fancy really. Just a quaint little thing that I started out about a year ago. I saved up whatever I could as I worked for a popular bakery near Harrods. I always wanted to go on my own, having my own business and all."

"You were always an independent one, Granger," Draco said softly, feeling disappointed with himself. He felt a little jealous that she had actually accomplished something, while he on the other hand seemed to accomplish nothing.

"You can do well, Malfoy, if you just try," she told him.

Draco said nothing and continued on with his breakfast. He didn't want to try, and believed that others could work for him. That was his belief for many years. Now, everything was all fucked up and he had to try just like everyone else. He had to get a job somewhere and actually work.

"Look, Malfoy, you can stay here until you learn how to get on your feet," Hermione started. "I'm not going to charge you for rent or anything, as you really need to save as much as you can to be able to rent a decent flat in the city. All I ask is that you pitch regularly for the food, agree?"

"You're letting me stay?" he asked in shock.

In reply, she nodded. "I may know how you feel, suddenly learning to fend on your own. I felt the same way when my parents died. It was life changing for me, and I learned a lot with the help of others. Up to now, I'm still learning. So now, I help you."

"Are you always wanting to help others? Is your goal in your after life to become a saint? Surely there's some part of you that wants to throw my poor arse out of here. Maybe it's your intention to make a fool and a mockery out of me to everyone, not just Scar-head and Weasel."

Hermione shook her head and looked at him solemnly. Did he really think so negatively towards others? Maybe thinking about worse case scenarios was a Slytherin trait. "I'm Gryffindor, of course I like helping others. Though tempting, there isn't a part of me that would throw you out. And I wouldn't want to make a fool of you, Malfoy. Truthfully, I'm sorry for what your parents did to you. I may not understand how you fully feel about everything, but I will help you, believe me. I'm not going to put judgment on how you were in the past. It was different back then."

Draco's brows furrowed as he continued to shift in his seat all the more. He was truly being nice to him, and he wasn't used to such niceness, with no strings attached.

"But don't push me the wrong way, Malfoy! I won't hesitate to slap you again."

Draco saw Granger smirk, and smirked back. Even though it sounded like a joke, he knew she was dead serious.

"Well, I think I should get ready for work then," Hermione spoke as she stood up with her empty plate and glass. "I'm sure you can take care of yourself without me. Might I suggest you look for a job sooner than later—browse the classifieds in the paper or even the internet. I'll keep a look out of certain things around the area of my shop if there's anything."

"You're leaving me?" Draco asked with nervousness.

"Yes. There's some frozen food you can easily heat up. If not, there are a few numbers on the fridge door, and some money in the small box next to the phone over there," she replied pointing to the living room. "I—"

"You can't leave me!" Draco said in panic as he stood up abruptly from his chair. "I'll starve! I don't know how to cook, period! And the way I hear it, it's Muggle men that deliver the food, and not owls. I mean what if it's a weirdo or someone carrying some bloody gun. I don't have my wand, and I can't perform magic at all. And looking for a job… I don't even know where to begin. You can't leave me!" He was more than desperate. He was actually frightened.

Hermione looked at Malfoy wide eyed. She had never seen him so flustered, scared, and panicky. Even during the final battle, she remembered him never losing his cool so to speak. But the Malfoy in front of her seemed as if he was going to break down again with his entire world crumbling down.

"Please," he pleaded with more desperation in his voice than earlier.

Hermione thought for a moment, before giving in to his pleas. She really didn't have much of a choice. "Just so you know, the people that work for me and help me out in the store are my childhood friends. They are Muggles, and know everything about our world because I hide nothing from them. So I don't want to hear you complaining about Muggle this and Muggle that, understood?"

"Yeah," Draco nodded, feeling very relieved.

"I'll be ready in a half hour. And remind me sometime to teach you how to use the microwave," Hermione shouted over her shoulder as she left the kitchen.

"A micro—what?" Draco asked aloud, only to hear the closing of a door. Alone, he thought about waking up every morning at an ungodly hour, and go to work with her. He detested the thought of it, but he had to learn how to live with it.

His first day, cut off from everything, was already a living hell.

AN – Poor Draco? Yes or no? Review!