A/N: At the minute, this is a one-shot. I have one or two ideas that could develop it into something more than that, but it depends very much on what you all think. Reviews are much appreciated :) Enjoy.
The Astronomy Tower. This is a place I come to in the hope of finding temporary solitude and distraction; and I must say, most of the time I find it. A malicious look and a snide comment is always enough to scare away anyone else who may be here. Half the time, however, that's not even necessary. My presence alone is usually enough to make them scatter. Everyone knows, you don't mess with the Queen of Slytherin.
I don't feel much like a queen anymore. My fellow housemates have noticed the change in me. Most don't mention it. Why would they? It's not like they care. Not really. They never ask me where I go when I disappear at night, not even my two increasingly infuriating dorm mates who are always waiting in the common room. Waiting for my return; safe or other wise. Perhaps they're too afraid of what I would tell them. I wouldn't tell them even if they did ask. This is my place. I wouldn't let myself come here anymore if people knew.
And I need to come here.
It's no secret that I'm a heinous bitch to most who cross me. I can take credit for many malicious exploits. Everything from locking the Weasley girl in Filch's office, to cursing Finnegan's eyebrows right off his face. But these things mean nothing to me anymore. Before, it made me feel better; to know that other people were as miserable as me. Now, it just doesn't seem quite as funny.
Sometimes, I come here every night. Sometimes, not for weeks at a time. But it's always the same when I do come. I look out over the lake and watch the moonlight dance across it's surface. It's like a great expanse of tiny diamonds, sparkling as far as my eyes can see, promising me something eternally beautiful. So beautiful. It fills me with a great sense of hope, every single time. I don't even know what I'm hoping for anymore.
"So beautiful," I whisper into the infinite darkness.
Tonight, I didn't need to chase anyone away when I got here. In fact, I didn't pass a single person as I walked here from the common room. It's too quiet tonight. Something is different tonight.
I freeze. My back is to the door. I didn't even hear footsteps. A shiver runs down my spine and I close my eyes in anguish when I recognise the voice. Merlin, not her. Anyone but her…
Two years earlier - The Yule Ball:
It couldn't possibly be her, could it? I thought to myself. I felt Draco go rigid by my side. His reaction confirmed that, yes, it was indeed her. Even as he pulled me along with him, it took a few seconds before I could tear my gaze from her. She wore periwinkle blue dress robes and her hair had been tamed and twisted up elegantly at the back of her head. There was something else different as well, but I couldn't quite put my finger on it. Then it hit me. Her teeth, they looked… normal. They usually stuck out so far I'm surprised she never tripped over them. She also seemed to be smiling quite a lot more than she normally did. I had to admit, Madam Pomfrey did a good job fixing her up after she had taken that curse to the face a few weeks prior. It was quite unbelievable the difference smaller front teeth made to her overall appearance. It was like I was seeing her for the first time.
As I clung to Draco's arm, I expected him to make some kind of scathing remark, but he didn't. He didn't say a word. Although, he did have quite a pronounced scowl on his face, as if not being able to find fault with her caused him physical pain. I suppose that was a testament to how stunning she actually looked. He would never have admitted such a thing, of course. If Draco Malfoy couldn't find something nasty to say, he often didn't say anything at all.
We made our way to the darkest corner of the Great Hall where the other Slytherins had taken refuge. I took a seat while Draco stood menacingly, flanked by Crabbe and Goyle, observing everything and everyone. I was bored and, in all honesty, I was beginning to think Millicent had the right idea. She had refused to go to the Yule Ball, claiming it was ridiculous. Mind you, I'm not sure how 'ridiculous' she would have found it if someone had actually asked her to go with them.
I took a quick scan of the room and my eyes stopped when they found her again. She was hanging off the arm of Viktor Krum and I'm not sure who looked happier, him or her. Before I could dwell on it any longer, I felt a presence behind me. Daphne Greengrass trailed a chair to my side and practically fell into it.
"So, you've seen her then?" was all she said, obviously having noticed me looking at a certain Mudblood.
"Who?" I replied, deciding to play dumb.
"Granger, of course!" she exclaimed, exasperated. I inclined my head towards my house mate and gave her my trademark smirk.
"Yeah, I've seen her."
"What was Krum thinking?" She replied shaking her head slightly. I don't think she even registered my answer. She rarely did, unless she asked for my advice, which almost never happened. Nevertheless, she was an ally; and a useful one at that.
"Well, there's no accounting for taste," I mumbled absentmindedly, glancing towards Granger once more.
I watched as she danced with that Bulgarian buffoon. I watched as she spoke with Potter. I watched as she screeched and squawked at Weasley - something about, 'fraternising with the enemy.'
The Enemy, I thought…
I was standing at the drinks table when a girl in periwinkle blue dress robes appeared beside me, not acknowledging me in the slightest.
"Granger," I blurted out. Her head whipped around to look at me. Our gaze met for a few seconds before she raised an eyebrow in silent question. I froze. I couldn't stop staring at her eyes. They were the richest colour of brown I had ever seen. Almost like melted chocolate. I shook my head slightly and, almost as a defence mechanism, my signature smirk appeared on my face once more. "You, um…"
What the hell happened? I still don't know the answer to that. I was stuttering. I had no idea what I wanted to say to her. An insult, perhaps? Her eyes were narrowing; her eyebrows furrowing. She thought I was going to make fun of her. Which, of course, I was.
"Pansy!" it was my turn to whip my head around. Draco was staring at me, giving me a look, silently asking if I needed help. I turned back to the Gryffindor, only to see her walking away. I stared after her. I felt strange. Something wasn't right. People didn'twalk away from me; I never let them. Before I could think about it any more, I felt an arm snake around my waist.
"She looked furious," Draco hissed in my ear, grinning slightly. "What did you say to her?"
I tore my gaze from her retreating form and looked into the young Mr. Malfoy's cold eyes. "Just the usual," I replied with yet another smirk, this one feeling more than slightly forced. He kissed the side of my head and led me back to the group of Slytherins…
I slowly open my eyes again, hoping and praying that I was imagining her voice. But I can feel her. I can feel her presence; It's all around me. I take a deep, quivering breath and continue to gaze out across my wide expanse of hope, taking in the serenity and stillness one more time before I speak.
"What are you doing here, Granger?" I manage to growl out, still not turning to face her. I'm surprised at the gruffness of my own voice, as if I haven't used it properly for days. Come to think of it, I probably haven't. It takes her a moment to respond. Perhaps she is surprised that I know it's her.
"I'm a prefect, Parkinson, I'm doing my rounds. What are you doing here?" She says in that pompous, know-it-all voice that sets my teeth on edge and makes my heart race, both at the same time.
"I'm a prefect too, remember? I have things to do," I bite back, my voice becoming more like my own. Just leave, Granger, please.
"Not on this side of the castle, you don't."
Merlin, does she ever stop? Does she ever stop and think that maybe she should just shut up? That it's not in her best interests to be here right now? Of course not. Hermione Granger is always in the right. Stubborn, reckless, brave to the point of stupidity - Gryffindors; they're all the same.
She's angry. I can hear it in her voice. If I could bring myself to turn around, I'm certain I would see her hands on her hips. This scenario doesn't fit with her usual night-time patrol and she can't cope with the upset. Change doesn't agree with her. It makes the sparkle in her eyes fade and it makes her fidget with the hem of her robes and she… No!
It's too much, she's too close. I can smell her. That combined scent of baby powder and parchment that makes me want to drop to my knees and beg her to hold me; beg for just one night with her. What I wouldn't give for just one night, feeling her body writhe and tremble beneath my own. I can't let go of this window ledge, it's surely the only thing stopping me from falling at her feet.
I need to speak, to move, anything. I need to get away from her. I need to leave. I have to let go of the ledge. Move, Pansy, move.
Slowly I turn around, but keep my head bowed slightly. I can't make eye contact. I'm a goner if I look into those eyes.
"I'm not in the mood for this, Granger." My eyes take a quick sweep of her facial features as I try to keep my voice even and unemotional. I think I have failed in my attempt, judging by the furrow of her brow and the slight tilt of her head. My legs feel like lead as I try to shuffle my way past her towards the door. Before I can reach safety, the unthinkable happens. She reaches out and grabs my arm. Not hard enough to hurt but hard enough to make me stop and look at her; at her eyes. Her beautiful eyes... damn it.
"Why do you come here?" She whispers, with a sincerity that makes me want to cry. She has no idea what she is doing to me just by being this close, never mind having her hand on my arm. Merlin, it actually tingles.
My eyes have gone wide and I'm not blinking. My mouth is dry and I'm certain the colour has drained from my face. I don't even know if she is still talking; all I can process is the fact that she is touching me. Pull yourself together. She'll know… she'll know. She can never know. "I know you come here at night. I've been watching you," I hear her say before she breaks eye contact, looking almost ashamed of herself.
She's been watching me…
Of all the possible things I thought she was going to say to me, that was nowhere on my list. What did that even mean? Has she been spying on me? Her face is still turned away from me and I have to restrain myself from reaching out and gently guiding her face back towards my own. Instead, I take a slow, deep breath and verbalise the only clear thought going through my mind. "Why?"
She looks up then, lets go of my arm as if she's been burnt and takes a step backwards. A slight scowl appears on her face before she crosses her arms over her chest, giving me a scathing retort. "I believe I asked you that question first."
Defensively, I scowl back at her. So many insults and degrading comments are spiralling around in my head but I can't bring myself to vocalise a single one of them. The very thought of hurting her with one of my derogatory terms makes my chest constrict, painfully. My own cruelty is haunting me. You don't even deserve her.
Granger's stare is boring into me now and I can see the frustration in her eyes. I can't see her like this, knowing that I'm the cause. I prepare myself for my escape. "Just leave me alone, Granger," I plead in an even voice and I see her scowl dissipate, infinitesimally. "Please," I finish.
My voice falters slightly and it's barely above a whisper. The Gryffindor's face shows no signs of annoyance or frustration now, just cautious curiosity. Her head tilts to the side again and I don't like the way she's looking at me. It's like I'm an Arithmancy chart she's trying to correlate. Charts and calculations aren't going to help you figure me out, my dear. I take a step back from her, slowly (I can't let her know she's rattled me) before turning on my heel and beginning my descent from the tower.
The halls of Hogwarts are silent as I make my way back to the Slytherin dormitories. All I can hear is the echoing sound of my own shoes against the stone floor. "Salazar," I say in a raspy voice, once I reach the familiar entrance. The wall pulls back and I amble my way into the common room. My two babysitters aren't here waiting for me. Maybe they've finally given up. I make my way to my room and as I cross the threshold, the first thing I see is Millicent sitting up in bed (waiting for me?) We stare at each other for what feels like hours before she leans across the bed and pulls the dangling chord, making the curtains close around her bed.
"Silencio," I whisper, once I've settled myself in my own bed. I lie flat on my back, staring up at the canopy of my four poster bed, thinking of Hermione Granger.
"I've been watching you," she said to me.
I rub both of my hands over my face, as her words continue to circulate in my mind. "I've been watching you, I've been watching you, I've been watching you…" It is stupid to think that she meant those words the way I so desperately want her to mean them.
If only you could see me now, Granger, I think to myself, as my hand disappears beneath the waistband of my underwear. Once I begin to surrender myself to the feelings that my heart desires, I can't help but wish (futilely) that one day this feeling will become more than just a fantasy.