Red and White

She didn't see him. She had never really seen him. He was just always there.

The walls of the infirmary were white. White was the color of purity and of peace. White was all that was good…all that was alive.

She ignored his eyes as she handed the parchment to Madame Pomphrey. She numbly nodded in response as Madame Pomphrey rushed from the room, and she barely heard the words that asked her to stay with the patient.

She met his silver eyes. He saw her, but he did not see her. He looked right past her at the white walls.

He calls her a mudblood and tells her to go away. He tells her it is all her fault.

She ignores him; she has always ignored him.

She cannot ignore the white sheet stained with red.

Red is not white. Red is the color of blood…red is the color of death.

She tells him he should not have tried to curse Harry, and he tells her to stop telling him what to do.

She laughs then, because she knows…she knows him. She knows he takes orders from everyone…she knows he does not make his own decisions.

She does not tell him this because it is useless to speak to someone who has long ago stopped listening.

He is silent, and so is she.

He is not in classes again today. She wonders why she notices this; she wonders when she began to care.

She tells herself that 'care' is not the right word. Because she doesn't care about him. She goes back to studying with the friends she loves. She would do anything for them; she would die for them. She loves them and they are all that matter.

She remembers there were no flowers or cards or candies by his bed. There was only him and his blood, and she wonders if anyone would die for him.

She stands out in the rain on the Quidditch pitch. She does not fly; she cannot fly. She hasn't flown since First Year, and she wonders why she has never tried again.

She tells herself that flying is pointless. She tells herself that flying will not get her anywhere in life and that it has no benefits.

She sees him now; his pale skin and hair stick out against the dark landscape all around them. She considers going back inside to escape him, but the idea is gone almost immediately.

She watches him fly into the air. She watches him slice through the rain and clouds around him. She watches him come back to the ground, and she watches him brush away the rain falling from his eyes.

She knows it is not rain. She knows it is his pain.

But she does not go to help him.

Because she does not care.

The next day the sun shines through the windows of the castle. It is lonely in the morning; but it is also free. She likes to be up before all the others. She likes to be alone.

Alone is where she can escape all the pressures and all the expectations. She is just Hermione when she is alone.

When she is with others, she is so many other things.

She sees him sitting in the hallway; she wonders why he is here.

She sees the white bandage through his thin white shirt. She surprises herself and him.

She sits beside him.

He calls her a mudblood and expects her to get upset.

She doesn't care; 'mudblood' is just a word, and she has gotten used to it. She has heard it for years, and it no longer hurts.

She finds she doesn't care about all that much, anymore.

She asks him why he flies by himself on rainy days, and all he will say is that rain washes everything away.

She doesn't understand…but then again, she has never tried.

She tells him that flying is pointless and that it will give him no future.

He simply answers that he has no future anyways.

It is an unspoken agreement, and she meets him again the next morning…the same time, the same place.

They sit in silence, and she notices that he has not called her a 'mudblood'.

She asks him if he is feeling well as a joke, and he tells her he is not with a serious expression on his face.

She tells him to go to the Hospital Wing and get medicine, but he tells her that no medicine can make him feel better.

She risks asking him what will.

He says that he wants this all to be over.

She doesn't understand; but again, she doesn't care to understand. She doesn't want to understand him, because perhaps if she understands him, she will not be able to hate him.

She knows it well; there will come a time when she will face him, where she will have to make a choice between her life and his.

She knows he knows it, too.

She knows that she cannot start to understand her enemy, because then that decision will be harder to make.

Sixth Year is almost over.

She meets him in the hallway as they have done for so many mornings.

She cannot keep her mind off of what her friends have told her. Harry is going on a mission tonight with Dumbledore; it is the first step of many in defeating Voldemort. She is excited, but she is afraid.

Because things will not be easy anymore. There will be no more textbook answers. Black and white will become grey. Right and wrong will become distorted.

She does not look at him as she asks him if he fears change.

He says change is inevitable…why fear what you can't change?

She asks him if he thinks destiny works the same way. She asks him if there is a way to change your fate.

He answers that fate is it; you can't change it. You can't change your destiny.

She asks him why is he afraid of his own destiny if he says it is pointless to fear what you can't change.

He tells her that she doesn't know what she's talking about, but she knows she does, and she knows he knows that.

She asks him why he doesn't just follow his heart and her own heart breaks as she sees the confused expression in his eyes.

He has never considered for one moment that he actually has a choice.

He does not think he has a choice; he thinks there is no way to change what he will become.

And in some ways, she thinks he is right. She knows him. She knows how he was raised. Purebloods are all the same, she tells herself. They are all raised to believe that they make no decisions for themselves.

She then realizes all purebloods are not the same; most would not be afraid of not having a choice.

She quietly asks him if there is anyone he is willing to die for.

He says yes, but she would never die for him.

She touches his hand with hers, and their eyes meet. His white-blond hair falls gently into his misty silver eyes. She will not tell him she would die for him, because she wouldn't. She knows she wouldn't.

She looks away from him, but leans her head on his shoulder. He holds her hand tighter and reminds her who he is with a teasing smile on his face.

She smiles and says she knows.

She doesn't want to, but she knows she does now.

As she walks away from him that morning, unaware of the horrors nightfall will bring, she realizes that she understands him, and she will not be able to choose between her life and his.

Because after all…she just might care for Draco Malfoy.