By The Way, I do NOT own any of these characters, all the credit goes to J.K. Rowling

1994 - Yule Ball

"Ron, you spoiled EVERYTHING!" Hermione shouted up the stairs where Ron and Harry were making their quick escape from her trembling figure. Her face scrunched with anger quickly released into distraught as they rounded up toward their dorms. Not willing to fight the tears as they streamed down her face, she turned and raced blindly down the hall, searching for some sort of relief from the hurt and resentment that consumed her.

Down one flight of stairs to the next, desperately running as far away from Gryffindor tower as she could go in her glittering pink heels, she couldn't bear to let anyone see her cry like this. How could she let his careless, jealous attitude ruin this would-be-perfect night? The fact that she was betrayed by Ron made the turn of events even more rattling for her. How could he be so thick?

This last step in her train of thought broke her stride and her high heel. As her foot caught the rough edge on the stairs, she fell down the last few steps into the arms of some unsuspecting dungeon walker. Hermione couldn't care less anymore who it was; she let it all go, sobbing helplessly into the crisp white dress shirt, crying out all her frustration, her rage, and the pain pent up in her heart.

Couldn't Ron see that I had been hinting at him the whole time, that he was the one I wanted to go with? But he treated me so coldly as if I'm only there to do his homework! Is that all I am to him? Is he really that thick he can't think of me more than that? I worked so hard, picking out my dress, the girls helped me with makeup, I was supposed to have a good time, we all were, then that selfish prat couldn't see past his own nose in his problems…

She sobbed hard and long, allowing herself to feel sorry for all the times she stood against the name calling and the rude comments and the frustrations of having idiots for friends; she cried for every time she had to save face and be strong for Harry and Ron. After a few minutes, she was able to collect herself and control the hiccups. It felt good to finally let it out and she vowed to herself to never let this happen again. As she gathered her thoughts, she realized this quiet stranger was gently stroking her hair, an offering of simple reassurance. Hermione almost forgot about him, (She assumed it was a boy after crying into his clearly masculine chest for the past 8 or 9 minutes) and she wondered who would be so kind as to let her probably ruin his shirt with her problems.

She carefully braced herself up a little, wiped the tears and mascara from her cheeks, and with shy eyes, peeked up at her comforter. A pair of questioning stormy grey eyes looked back down at her.

"Oh Draco, give me another sip," Pansy Parkingson squealed, "Pu-lease! One more sip of Firewiskey!"

She, Crabbe, Goyle, Zabini, and the other Slytherin gang, who decided to ditch the Yule Ball about 15 minutes in, were passing around the smuggled bottle from the depths of the Slytherin common room, tucked deep in the dungeons of Hogwarts.

"Just take it! It's not like you already had half the bottle!" Draco tossed the drink to her drunken hands, the glass almost slipping past them. He then stood up and in the pale green light and threw his dress robe on the chair, heading toward the exit, "You losers go ahead and finish it up, just don't tell the prefects who you got it from. I'll be back." As he exited the dungeon, he smirked at their drunkenness. Idiots he thought, there are days I forget why I hang with them.

Sighing at the thought of his pathetically wasted friends, Draco headed up a flight of stairs for a breath of fresh air. While his father encouraged him to associate with the certain Slytherin families, he really couldn't bring himself to enjoy his time with them for too long; there were a lot of nights Draco got fed up with their simplemindedness and it was not uncommon for him to excuse himself to walk around and clear his head for a few hours.

Tonight was one of those nights, aimlessly wandering in the dark. He amused himself by kicking a small pebble down the corridor, when he heard muffled gasps and huffs accompanied with rhythmic clicking; it was coming in his general direction and getting steadily louder.

Clumsily he pulled his hands out of his pockets and drew his wand as he cautiously paced toward the bottom of the next staircase. As he turned and looked up the corner he got one glimpse of pink frills and brown curls and then he was knocked to the ground with the thing in his arms. His first reaction was to hold still and let whoever it was to get up and keep running, but when she (he assumed it was a girl now that he was getting a good look at her up-do) dug her face into his shoulder and continued to sob uncontrollably and bringing her arms in to clutch his pressed shirt.

He figured she wasn't going anywhere, anytime soon.

Well, obviously, she's upset about something. It occurred to him that this was probably the result of a Yule Ball disaster. Obviously someone could have stolen her date, or her hair might be losing its curl, or Merlin forbid, someone had the same dress as her. But those reasons didn't quite seem to match the anguish he felt just radiating from her entire being.

As she continued to sob, he couldn't help but notice her delicate curves and the way her hair smelled of roses The way she was leaning into him as if she couldn't get close enough, like she could just pass right through him. He slowly sat up, she moving with him, and he let her. He couldn't help it, he felt this need to heal the wound within her, and so he did the only thing he knew held any sort of comfort: he held her close and smoothed her hair. It seemed like an eternity before she finally calmed down, but he kept stroking the back of her neck until he felt he her shift and start to rise off his chest. He was finally going to figure out who this mysterious weeping girl was, and as she lifted her face toward his, all he could see where her sorrowful caramel eyes.