a/n: this is my present for Amanda (fugitivekind on tumblr) for helping me with my blog! I'm going to recommend the song Losing your Memory by Ryan Star for this one-shot. I know I used that for an Iso chapter, but I think it works well with this fic and I adore that song! Hope you enjoy, Amanda! Also thanks to Elizabeth (wandofhawthorn) and Masha (imaslytherinbitch) for reading over this and checking it for me!
Love Me Twice
~Memory breeds in me strange loneliness.~
William Herbert Carruth.
August 2nd, 2003: Five years after the Battle of Hogwarts, two months after Voldemort was killed by Neville Longbottom, and one month after Hermione Granger was found in the Lestrange Manor's dungeons; half-dead and Obliviated, with no recollection of the last four years of her life.
Draco clenched his teeth as he surveyed the mess of maps in front of him, leaning forward to mark an area of Derbyshire with a harsh slash of his quill. He lifted his head when he heard a swish of movement and offered Blaise a noncommittal nod as he entered the tent, seemingly a little anxious if his fidgeting hands were anything to go by. Still, Draco remained silent as his friend reluctantly approached, glancing at the collage of maps with what Draco thought was contrived interest.
"It's looking good," said Blaise, clearing his throat between syllables. "I'm assuming these are all the counties we've gained control over?"
Draco nodded. "I just received word from Finnigan. They've captured all the Death Eaters hiding near Derby and Nottingham, and are setting up camp there to try and restore some order. If things keep going like this, we'll be able to start moving into towns and get out of this bloody camp in about six months. Finnigan reported they'd found some prisoners too; seven dead, but twenty-two alive."
"That's better than you expected."
"I find it's best to remain pessimistic. At least then there's less of a blow when fate fucks you over."
Blaise grinned slightly. "That was rather poetic."
"It wasn't meant to be," he retorted, shooting his companion a curious look. "What are you doing here, Blaise?"
"Can't a friend drop by and see how his friend is getting along with saving Great Britain?"
"Not you, no."
"Then apparently I've become predictable," Blaise shrugged, perching himself on a wobbly stool that barely handled his weight. "Very well, I came to ask why you haven't spoken to Granger yet."
Draco's back stiffened and his fists balled up so tight, his fingernails punctured the skin of his palms, and blood trickled over his cuticles. "Blaise, don't-
"No, I'm going to, Draco. It's been a month since she came back, and three weeks since she woke up. You need to confront this-
"I don't need to do a fucking thing!" he shouted. "And screw you, Blaise, for trying to tell me what to do!"
Blaise didn't back down. "Answer my question."
"Damn it, Draco, you are a mess!" he retorted boldly. "You barely sleep, you barely eat! How long do you intend on torturing yourself like this?"
"You want to talk about torture? How about what those bastards did to her? How about the fucking hell she went through, and you expect me to mess with her head even more?"
"She'll figure it out eventually, Draco!" he spat. "You two might've managed to keep your relationship a secret from the majority of the camp, but I know, Longbottom knows, the Weaslette knows, shit, even Lovegood figured it out! Do you honestly think one of them won't blurt something to her accidentally?"
"No, because they agree with me! They know she has a better chance without me!"
"What the fuck are you on about?"
"Do you think Bellatrix and Lucius would have tortured her that badly if they hadn't searched Granger's mind and seen her with me?" he yelled, and he was shaking now. Violently trembling. "Do you think they would've killed her two best friends and made her watch, or Crucio'd her until her insides had practically shriveled up, and then erased her memories of us, if it hadn't been for me?"
"You don't know what they would've done-
"They would've either killed her or kept her alive for bargaining and blackmailing," he groused, bracing his hands against the table to try and calm himself. "They tore her apart and then wiped me out of her mind to send me a message. To fuck up my life. To break..." he trailed off.
Blaise nodded his head with understanding. "To break your heart," he finished for him.
Draco's lowered his eyes. "She is better off without me."
"Don't you think that's up to her?"
"No," he shook his head. "And it's irrelevant. When she looks at me now, it's like...it's like we're back in Hogwarts. That distrusting look of hers that's somewhere between hatred and disappointment, and I can't bear it."
Blaise licked his lips with consideration. "Perhaps if you just shared your memories with her-
"She is better off without me!" he echoed. "Fucking hell, are you deaf? We've finally won the war, and we can start building lives for ourselves! Fresh starts and all that bullshit, and she should start without me! It's what's best for her!"
"For Merlin's sake, you can be so fucking stupid!" yelled Blaise, rising to his feet. "She was happy with you! You were happy with each other! Who are you to decide that her fresh start shouldn't be with you?"
"I AM NO ONE!" he screamed. "Don't you get it? That's the sodding problem! She doesn't know me other than the twat I was in Hogwarts! I am nothing to her!"
"Draco," sighed Blaise. "If you just tried-
"Blaise," he interrupted wearily. "I have no idea why she fell for me the first time. How could I even begin to understand why she should love me twice?"
"Maybe if you just-
"Leave," hissed Draco, his eyes flashing dangerously. "I mean it now, Zabini. Leave me the fuck alone."
Blaise opened his mouth but snapped it shut again before a word could push past his lips, exhaling with defeat and shaking his head as he made to leave the tend, but he hesitated before the exit. "You know, her memory might not be completely gone. We know Bellatrix wasn't great at Memory Spells. Remember when we rescued Clearwater, and she regained her memory-
"I am warning you, Blaise-
"Lovegood said she was mumbling in her sleep last night," he continued. "That she said your name."
Draco's head whipped around and his eyes went wide, but he caught himself quickly. "It will be nothing. An old flashback from Hogwarts-
"That's what I thought, but Lovegood told me that she said 'Draco', not 'Malfoy'. She only started calling you by your first name after she started to trust you, right?"
He was struck speechless for a moment, rolling that revelation around in his brain a few times and trying to comprehend its significance. "Why didn't you-
"It was why I came in here," said Blaise. "I was...simply waiting for the right moment."
Draco's mouth was slightly agape as Blaise slipped out of the tent, and when he was finally alone, he allowed his emotions to take control. With a roar of rage, he flipped the table, then the chairs, and then went about grabbing anything he could and smashing it down against the floor; books, ornaments, anything. Only when he felt like the space was as broken up as he was did he stop, and collapsed to the floor, panting heavily and ignoring the sting of sweat in his eyes.
Dropping his lids, he thought back to that day; the first day she'd said his name.
She was twirling a Muggle pen between her fingers and humming a song he didn't know, but already knew he would find quite irritating. He sat opposite her, watching her closely and forcing himself to remain patient as she read and reread the documents he had just handed her.
"This is impressive," she said finally. "Very impressive, actually."
"Granger, I'm hardly desperate for your bloody approval. Do you want me to put these battle strategies into effect, or not?"
She clicked her tongue. "You know, when you first showed up here last year, I thought you were a spy-
He snorted. "I gathered that-
"And even when you passed all the tests with the Veritaserum and made the Unbreakable Vow with Harry, I still didn't believe you had defected."
Draco rolled his eyes. "Do I look dense to you, Granger? I know-
"And even when you saved Luna's and George's lives, I wondered if it was all just an act," she went on, frowning a little. "But...you have proved me wrong."
"Well, someone had to do it eventually, Granger," he smirked. "Someone should probably make a note of this moment for a history book."
He was caught of guard when she laughed a little, and the way her hair bounced around her shoulders held his attention for longer than what he deemed appropriate.
"You can put these into effect," she said, handing him back the papers. "And any others you have thought up. And you needn't double-check them with me anymore."
He arched an eyebrow. "What are you saying?"
"I'm saying that I..." she stuttered, and he thought she might be blushing a little. "I'm saying that I trust you."
Both his eyebrows shot up then. "Have you been drinking?"
She scoffed and rolled her eyes. "Honestly, can't you just accept my words without making a sarcastic comment?"
"I was being completely serious-
"And so was I," she said. "And I...I apologise for my sometimes unreasonable behavior since you came here."
He thought about making another snide remark, but her sincerity was somewhat vexing, and he shifted uncomfortably. "Noted," he mumbled. "And I...apologise for giving you reason to doubt my loyalties in the past. Specifically certain incidents that occurred between us in Hogwarts."
Her eyes were practically bulging with surprise. "You are? Really?"
He nodded stiffly. "Apparently so."
"Thank you," she smiled, and it was the first time she'd ever directed a smile at him. And he thought it suited her perfectly. "Thank you...Draco."
August 5th, 2003
Hermione barely moved as Luna tugged at the bandage wrapped around her wrist, unraveling it slowly and revealing perfectly healed skin.
"There we go," said Luna merrily. "Your last bandage. You're all healed."
"I don't feel healed," she murmured. "I feel like...a stranger to you all."
"It will come back to you, Hermione-
"Will it?" she bit back bitterly. "I feel like everyone's saying things behind my back. Like everyone knows something important that they're not telling me and it's staring me right in the face. "
Luna's dreamy smile dropped. "I imagine that feels normal for people who have had their memories stolen-
"Normal?" she repeated. "Nothing is normal here. It's like I've been dropped into a backwards universe. I mean, who the hell decided Malfoy should be in charge?"
"You did. After Harry and Ron were captured, you decided it was best for Malfoy to take control-
"I would never-
"You did, Hermione," Luna argued. "You were concerned that your desperation to get the boys back would make you too reckless as a leader, and you put Malfoy in charge."
She scowled and wrinkled her nose with distaste. "He can't have changed that much."
"Oh, he has. More than you can probably imagine at this stage." She paused and smiled again. "But you'll see."
"I miss the boys," Hermione confessed sadly. "I...can't get the images out of my head, and I miss them so much, and it's like a hole in my chest but...it's like there's another hole. Something missing that I love, but I don't know what it is. Do you have any idea what it might be?"
"Perhaps some rest might help," said Luna thoughtfully. "Why don't you get some sleep? It is rather late."
"I don't want to sleep, I want to remember everything. I want people to show me their memories so I can understand-
"One step at a time, Hermione."
Draco peered out of the gap in his tent, his eyes reaching over to Granger's tent on the other side of the camp. He'd witnessed Lovegood leaving little over twenty minutes ago, and had been debating ever since whether giving into his compulsion to see Granger was a wise idea. Finally surrendering to his need, he scrutinised the camp to ensure nobody was around before he headed towards her tent with elevated strides.
He quickly ducked inside and settled his eyes on her, ensuring she was asleep before he dared to take a further step towards her. His heart was pounding as he drank her in; the first time he'd had a chance to see her alone and without a bandage coiled around her in almost three months. She looked just as she had the last time he'd seen her, before Rudolfus had captured her in an ambush one month before Voldemort's defeat. Her hair was still wild and unkempt, her skin still slightly sun-stained and smooth, and her lips still bent with that charming cupid's bow that he had kissed countless times.
He would've given anything to see her eyes; to ensure they were still glowing like honey and rich like hazelnuts, but waking her now would ruin this moment of peace, and he didn't want her to feel alarmed.
In the days since she'd been rescued from the Lestrange dungeons, he had yearned for a few stolen minutes alone with her, but had always talked himself out of it, reasoning that it would only make it so much more difficult to distance himself from her. She had also contributed, refusing to ever be left in a situation where they might have some privacy, and always regarding him with the cold Hogwarts glare that he had almost forgotten in the last three years.
But...Blaise's words had been nagging at him for the last hew days, and he'd had to come see her...just to check.
He came to stand at the side of the bed and extended his arm, spreading out his fingers. His hand hovered above her face, not touching her skin but almost brushing her shadow and close enough that he could feel the damp of her breath in his palm. His face creased up with angst as his fingertips began to ache, anxious to touch her.
"Say my name," he whispered. "Come on, Hermione, say it."
She stirred a little in the bed and he snapped back his hand, reaching for his wand in case he needed to make a quick exit with a Disillusionment Charm, but she simply tilted her head a little and breathed in deeply through her nose, like she was sniffing the air.
"Hmmmm," she moaned in her sleep. And then, "Draco..."
The wave of relief that washed over him was almost painful in its intensity, and he gulped down the clot of nerves in his throat. But again, he caught himself. Ever the pessimist. Sucking in some sobering breaths, he reminded himself that the subconscious and conscious, while linked, were two separate things, like the wind and the sea.
But at least there was...hope, he thought, and he allowed himself to be taken away by another flashback, of the last time she had moaned his name like that."
He shoved her roughly into the desk, sending stationery and books clattering to the floor. He lifted her up to sit on it and quickly tucked himself between her thighs, his hands against her lower back and pressing her to him while elbowing away another quill and inkpot, which fell down with a loud thump.
"Shhh," Hermione tried to scold between chuckles. "You'll wake someone up."
"I couldn't give a shit," he mumbled against her throat, scraping his lips down to her collarbone. "You dragged out that meeting on purpose, you devious witch. Such a tease."
"I did not," she protested, dropping her head back as he began to work away the buttons of her cardigan. "I find it amusing you think I know how to tease."
"Bullshit," he growled, ripping away her cardigan, instantly followed by her top and bra with one pull. "I know you, Granger."
She grinned up at him and tugged at them of his t-shirt, yanking it over his head and then resting a slow kiss at the sensitive spot by his Adam's apple. He shivered when she nibbled it gently and ran her fingernails down the stretch of his stomach. He returned his lips to her throat and then dipped his head to catch one of her nipples, and she arched her back into his the warmth of his mouth.
His fingers fumbled with the button on her jeans, and she could feel his erection pressed against her knee as she lifted herself up so he could slide down her jeans and underwear together to join the mess on the floor.
As he always did, he pulled back to study her for a moment, and she blushed as his eyes roamed her bare body with uninhibited hunger.
"Why do you always stare at me like that?" she asked self-consciously.
"I love looking at you like this," he admitted. "You're...delicious, and I'm the only one who knows it."
She was going to speak again, but his mouth was on hers before she could even draw in breath, and as he worked at the zip of his trousers, he grazed his lips across her cheekbone and lingered by her ear, muttering, "All mine," in a breathless sigh. He tugged her bum to the edge of the table, and bit down on her neck as he slid into her, hissing through his teeth as her whimper of pleasure was buried in his shoulder.
He thrust into her with fast and frantic jerks of his hips, his legs banging against the desk with each drive. Hermione scratched down his back, her fingers desperately fidgeting and trying to hold him as tight as she could. Giving up, she grabbed his face and forced his lips to meet hers, groaning between their inelegant kisses.
"I love you," she rasped out as she felt the heat build up in the pit of her stomach. "I love you."
"I know," he panted.
And then the warmth in her gut exploded and spread everywhere; to her toes, her fingers, to her brain, and white lights sparked across the backs of her lids as she let out a loud and choking groan. And then Draco was swallowed by the same heat, grunting and gasping out his release into the crook of her shoulder as they both stilled and went limp.
"Hmmmm," she moaned dizzily. "Draco..."
August 12th, 2003
Draco was more than a little baffled when it was Hermione who sought him out first, entering his tent without asking for permission and evidently very uncomfortable with being alone with him. He watched her closely and carefully as she refused to near him, staying near the tent's opening with a defensive stance, and he fought very hard not to let his expression soften with her presence so close.
"Is there something you wanted, Granger?" he asked, hoping his voice didn't shake with nerves.
"You know," she started crisply. "I can just about get my head around everything that seems to be going on here. I mean, even Blaise Zabini and Theo Nott being here is... explicable. They never took the Dark Mark or gave us that much hassle, but you...you I am having trouble with."
He frowned. "Go on."
"See, the last thing I remember about you was you standing with Death Eaters at the Battle of Hogwarts, and being very much against us," she said. "I remember the Resistance being formed after the Battle of Hogwarts, and I know you weren't involved when we first started, so I just find it a little difficult to understand why you are here. Explain it to me."
"I defected a year after the Battle of Hogwarts and contacted Potter with some information about Voldemort that turned out to be useful," he explained, his tone deceptively steady. "I took all the necessary tests with Veritaserum, and made the Unbreakable Vow with Potter, swearing that I would do what I could to help your side and defeat the Death Eaters, okay?"
"What, and that was it?" she asked sceptically. "We just accepted you, that easily?"
He snorted. "Hardly. But after about a year, everyone seemed to accept me." He paused and fixed her with a firm look. "You took the longest to convince."
"Harry and Ron would have never-
"Potter and Weasley trusted me implicitly, thank you very fucking much."
She shifted her weight awkwardly. "I don't trust you, Malfoy."
"I can see that," he said. "But you did. Once."
"So?" she pressed. "We were, what? Friends? No more taunts of Mudblood?"
He bristled and his upper lip curled back in a snarl. "I haven't called you that in years, and I never will again."
She blinked at him, taken aback by the honesty she heard in his voice, and it even encouraged her to take a few steps towards him. "So, we were friends then?"
"'Friends' isn't the word I would use, no."
He averted his eyes and clicked his jaw. "It's...impossible to define."
"Then let me see your memories, and perhaps I can-
"No," he cut her off. "Not a chance."
"Why the hell not?" she demanded.
"Because they're my memories, and I decide who I share them with."
"Damn it, Malfoy!" she shouted angrily. "I am trying to remember everything!"
"Then you can ask the others for their memories!" he snapped back. "You are not rummaging around in my head!"
"You selfish prick!"
"Yes, I am selfish!" he barked. "You know that about me, Granger!"
"Yes, well, I have been led to believe that you have changed from the arrogant and spoilt prick you were in Hogwarts!" she yelled. "But you clearly haven't changed at all!"
"Oh, piss off! Did you ever think I might be refusing for your own good?"
She stopped and narrowed her eyes. "What the hell does that mean?"
"Look, just go and bother fucking Lovegood or the Weasley girl for memories!" he shouted.
"NO!" she yelled furiously, stepping towards him again. "I KNOW that something important is being kept from me, and I just know that you have something to do with it, so you fucking tell me right now, Malfoy!"
He flinched. "The answer is no! Why do always have to be so sodding stubborn?"
"Because you are lying to me-
"I am not fucking lying to you!"
"And it's not fair!" she ranted on. "I have a right to know my past, Malfoy, so you-
"STOP CALLING ME THAT!" he screamed. "Stop calling me 'Malfoy'! You stopped calling me that years ago, and I fucking hate hearing you call me that!"
"WHY THE HELL WOULD THAT BOTHER YOU?"
"IT JUST FUCKING DOES!"
They were close now, practically in each other's faces and seething, but Hermione's eyes were round with wonder and confusion, and as she inhaled, something in her features seemed to relax, and Draco held his breath.
"Your smell," she muttered so quietly he barely heard it. "Your smell...it reminds me of...I don't know."
The temptation to erase those inches between them and kiss her almost made Draco's knees buckle, but he pulled himself together and watched the bewilderment dance across her face.
"Why won't you show me?" she asked, almost pleading. "And why...why do I..." She trailed off and quickly retreated back a few steps, suddenly aware of their proximity and eyeing him suspiciously as she backed away from him. "I will figure this out," she promised, before she fled the tent and left him alone.
And Draco thought back on a very different argument.
Draco almost choked on his drink when she burst into his tent unannounced, her cheeks fiery and flushed with agitation, and her hair even more chaotic than usual. Blaise, who had been helping him heal a wound on his arm, quickly shot up to his feet like a red-handed child, and the pair of them studied her as she seemed to struggle with her ferocious temper.
"Blaise, bugger off, I want to speak with him," she ordered in a clipped tone, and Blaise offered his friend a sympathetic glance before he hurried out of the tent.
"Granger," Draco greeted cautiously. "Is there-
"WHAT THE BLOODY HELL DID YOU THINK YOU WERE PLAYING AT, DRACO?" she screamed loudly. "HAVE YOU COMPLETELY LOST YOUR MIND?"
"No, but clearly you have!" he fired back. "What the fuck is your problem?"
"My problem?" she repeated. "My problem is that you disobeyed your orders and put the entire camp at risk!"
"Wait, so you're pissed off about the Goyle Mansion recovery mission today?" he asked incredulously. "You're pissed off that I fucking rescued Brown and Thomas?"
"I GAVE YOU STRICT INSTRUCTIONS TO WAIT FOR THE OTHERS TO MEET YOU, AND YOU JUST WENT AND BARGED IN THERE BY YOURSELF!" she screeched. "You could have been captured and they could have searched your mind and discovered the location of our camp!"
He sneered and rose to his feet. "In case it escaped your attention, none of that happened, and my rescue attempt was successful-
"Yes, this time it was! But you might not be so lucky the next time-
"Oh please," he rolled his eyes. "I knew there were only four Death Eaters in there, and they were new recruits with poor duelling skills. I was more than capable of handling the situation-
"But you shouldn't have taken that risk!" she continued irately. "It could have been a trap, or you could have completely misjudged the situation-
"But that didn't happen, and I got Brown and Thomas out of there," he reminded her flatly. "Honestly, Granger, most people would be just the slightest bit happy that their friends were saved-
"Of course I'm bloody happy they're okay, but I am warning you to never do that again!" she scolded, in a very McGonagall-like fashion. "You could have put us in all in jeopardy, and just to prove yourself-
"Hey, fuck you, Granger!" he scowled. "I don't need to prove anything to anyone!"
"Then why the hell did you go in there by yourself?"
"BECAUSE I DECIDED TO, OKAY?" he blurted heatedly. "It was an impulse! Evidently, I have been surrounded by you bloody Gryffindors too long!"
Hermione's fists clenched impatiently. "Has anything I have said sunk into that thick skull of yours?"
"I have a thick skull?" he scoffed. "We could use your skull to smash diamonds!"
"You could have been killed!"
Draco faltered for second, momentarily distracted by the heat gathering in her chest and the way the fabric of her t-shirt tightened as she heaved in aggravated breaths. He looked back up to face and reminded himself how infuriating she was currently being, but his windpipe suddenly felt rather scratchy and dry.
"But I wasn't bloody killed!" he bit back loudly. "I am fine, Brown is fine, Thomas is fine. EVERYONE IS FUCKING FINE!"
"But you COULD have been-
"Oh, for Merlin's sake, Granger!" he sighed, tossing his arms around in the air with irritation. "Why do you have this incessant need to over-analyse everything until it's bloody stripped?"
"Because you are clearly underestimating how badly things could've gone!" she spat, stepping towards him. "You stupid, arrogant-
"And here's another thing about you that winds me up!" he interrupted, dipping his head a little to stare her down, although all it seemed to accomplish was drawing his attention back down her chest and the pretty blush in her cheeks. Her lips looked rosy too now that he looked at them properly. "You never know when to shut the hell up."
"Don't you tell me to shut up," she whispered through her clenched teeth, leaning forward on her toes to gain some height."I am not leaving here until you accept that your actions today could have been hazardous to the Resistance-
"Well, you'll be waiting a long time," he mumbled absently, getting distracted again.
"And another thing, Draco, you completely bloody..."
He was practically staring at her lips now as they moved and formed hypnotising shapes, and he couldn't hear her speaking anymore. Her voice was a distant hum of noise as his eyes roamed the rest of her features, and for the first time in his life, he really looked at her. He studied the peppering of freckles spattered across her nose and cheeks, the round and shining ovals of her eyes and the veil of long lashes fluttering which each blink, and then he was looking at her lips again.
"...because I will not let you put this camp in danger again! And if you think I wi-
And for the second time that day, Draco acted on impulse, and roughly pressed his mouth into hers. It was a clumsy collision; she'd been mid-rant and her lips were folded awkwardly around his, but he rectified that fairly quickly, running his tongue across her lower lip until she puckered. He hadn't really considered how it would feel to kiss Granger before he'd forced the contact, but it felt...decent actually. Her mouth was warm and wet, her lips hot beneath his and shivering slightly. And then they parted a little — perhaps to break the kiss, but he took it as an invitation — and he shoved his tongue inside her mouth quite hard, tasting the sweet essence of that cranberry juice she was always drinking during meetings and otherwise. Her tongue tentatively responded and stroked across his, their mouths pulling at each other's with sucks; Hermione's soft and Draco's bold, but there was a pattern there. A pattern that worked perfectly.
But Hermione ended it before Draco really had a chance to fully appreciate how much he'd enjoyed it. Her breathing was elevated and ghosting across his chin, the hush of cranberries damp against his skin, and he watched her blink with confusion as she stepped away from him.
"Why did you just kiss me?" she asked.
"You kissed me back-
"Just answer the question, Draco!"
"Well," he shrugged nonchalantly. "It seemed like an effective way to shut you up."
Her expression stretched with outrage and he didn't have time to react as her flat palm smacked across his cheek.
"Ow!" he gasped. "What the fuck, Gra-
"Don't you ever disobey my orders again, Draco."
And with that, she turned on her heel and stalked out of the tent, leaving him behind to nurse his throbbing cheek, with a slow smirk spreading across his face.
August 14th, 2003
"He is such a prat," said Hermione, befuddled when Ginny seemed to be uncomfortable with the topic. "Come on, Ginny, you can't expect me to believe-
"He's a good man," her friend argued quickly. "I know you don't remember, but he really is."
"And Ron and Harry really trusted him?"
"They did," she nodded. "You know, he saved Lavender and Dean once, and Ron actually."
Hermione's eyes went wide. "What?"
"Yeah, Ron got hit by a really bad curse during a battle, and Malfoy gave him his Portkey and got him to safety," she explained. "I promise you, Hermione, he is a good man, and you thought so too."
"Well, I find it very hard to fathom. I can't imagine us doing anything but fighting."
"Oh, you two still fought," she grinned knowingly. "You used to wake up the entire camp with your bickering, but you never really argued about anything bad. It was just...how you seemed to work."
"Hermione, just take it from someone who has lost her soulmate," sighed Ginny, her eyes turning distant and falling into her lap. "Keep the people in your life as close as possible before they slip away or get stolen. I know you don't remember what happened between you and Malfoy, but if you don't trust him, trust me. You two were...close."
Hermione wanted to ask exactly how close she and Draco had been, but Ginny was clearly upset and she suddenly realised how insensitive she was being. "I am so sorry," she said. "I have no idea how you are coping so well."
"I'm not," she admitted. "I don't think any of us are really. Are you?"
"I am...somewhere between in denial and heartbroken," she breathed out. "But you lost your brother and your fiancé. I can't begin to comprehend how you're feeling."
"It will catch up with me one day," said Ginny, a fake smile toying with her lips. "But for now, I am...sane. And that's good enough for now."
An inevitable silence spilled into the tent, and Hermione absently fiddled with her bedsheets, frowning when she noticed a piece of black fabric poking out from under her pillow. She tugged at it, and narrowed her eyes inquisitively as a black t-shirt emerged, and held it in her hands, teasing the material between her fingers and feeling like this simple item of clothing was somehow significant.
"Ginny," she called. "Whose is this?"
"Looks like Malfoy's," she said casually, and then she winced like she'd said something foolish. "You know, it probably just got mixed into your washing or something."
"But why would I keep it under my pillow?"
"Perhaps...," the redhead started weakly. "Well, perhaps you wanted to keep it somewhere obvious to remind yourself to give it back. I don't know, I've never really understood your strange organisational habits-
"I don't think I would-
"I'm sure it's nothing," she said quickly. Hermione thought too quickly. "I'm going to head back to my tent for a bit. Do you want me to give it to him?"
Hermione worried her bottom lip and extended her arm to pass it to her friend, but she caught a whiff of the residual scent in the t-shirt, and she inhaled deeply, instantly recognising it from when she had confronted Malfoy a couple of days ago. It smelled like fresh air and masculinity and something else that was indescribable, but somehow comforting. She snapped back the hand holding out the t-shirt and shook her head.
"Um, no," she murmured, slightly embarrassed by her behaviour. "It's alright, I'll take over later on."
"Okay, if you're sure," said Ginny, giving Hermione an odd look before she turned to exit the tent. "I'll see you later."
Hermione waited until the soft padding sounds of Ginny's footsteps simmered into silence before she look back down at the t-shirt, and she did something that she would later on conclude had been a moment of insanity. She brought the t-shirt up to her face and stroked the fabric into her cheek, inhaling deeply as she did to soak up another dose of that scent. With each breath she took and each intake of the scent, she felt her mind and heart calm, soothed by her interaction with Malfoy's t-shirt.
She felt tired then, and she stretched her body out on the camp-bed, with the t-shirt grasped tightly in her hands and her nose buried into it.
August 21st, 2003
Draco hadn't intended to find Hermione like this; swimming nude in the river nearest to the camp, just a ten-minute walk away from their tents, but there she was, all beauty and breathtaking. Concealing himself behind a large cluster of boulders and a few trees, he couldn't help but watch her as she glided through the water, completely oblivious to his observing gaze.
He wondered if she was aware that she had come to their place, the place they had bathed with each other, and more, countless times. He remembered how she had practically squealed with delight when they had discovered this picturesque spot, charmed by the pouring waterfall, the still pool beneath it, and the gathering of rocks to the side which were ideal for sunbathing.
But, of course, she couldn't have known that this was their haven, their secret sanctuary when planning missions and battle strategies made them far too tense or melancholic about the state the world was in.
She had probably stumbled across it by chance, but still, it stirred something in his chest to see her there; the blur of her naked body visible under the water's surface and her long hair floating behind her like autumn leaves.
But it was killing him too.
The ache to touch her was almost crippling, and he actually had to steady himself as a wave nausea struck him. She was so close, but her mind was so far away, and it was like blow after blow straight to his gut. He missed her in a way that he had never missed anything or anyone before, and all the time he was debating with himself; struggling to decide if it would be selfish of him to want her to see what they had shared, or wondering if it would even make a difference.
Even if she did show her the memories of their relationship, there was no guarantee she'd want anything to do with him. It had taken years for her to love him once, and what chance did he really have of her falling for him again? There were just too many ifs and buts to consider, and he never reached a conclusion, so he did nothing except pine for her and wake up each day hoping her memory had miraculously recovered.
Which it never did.
He held his breath as she stopped swimming and stood up, the swell of the tops of her breasts just breaching the water as she raised her hands and combed her fingers back through her hair in a way she had no idea was so stunning.
Clenching his teeth and closing his eyes, another flashback invaded his mind before he could resist.
"No, the meeting's not until five," she called over her shoulder, tossing her shirt onto the riverbank before she slid into the water ."Are you not coming in?"
"In a bit. I am enjoying the view. And in case you're confused, I don't mean the landscape."
She blushed but laughed a little. "You have seen me naked plenty of times."
"And I have played Quidditch plenty of times, but that never gets boring either," he grinned back at her slyly. "Is it cold?"
"A little," she nodded, looking slightly bashful when she mumbled her next comment. "Perhaps you should come in and, um...warm me up?"
He arched an amused eyebrow. "Was that your attempt at flirting?"
"It was a bit rubbish, wasn't it?"
"Well, you can't blame a girl for-
"It was quite tragic actually," he remarked.
"Yes, alright," she frowned. "Thank you very bloody much. Are you coming in or not?"
"You mean to warm you up?" he echoed back, his grin broadening. "Yes, I suppose I shall."
He secretly loved the way she watched him when he undressed, her lower lip usually swollen from nervous nibbling, and her eyes shyly studying him with fascination. He stepped out of his trousers and pulled his shirt over his head, ignorant to the concept of modesty as he casually strolled over to the raised part of the bank and dived into the river with that effortless grace Hermione envied. He yanked on her foot and pulled her under before he emerged right next to her, smirking smugly as she sputtered on a mouthful water and glared daggers at him.
"Very mature, Draco."
He scoffed. "You've spent half your life babysitting Potter and Weasley, and you're commenting on my level of maturity."
She rolled her eyes but quickly forgot about it when his arm looped around her waist and dragged her into his safe frame, planting a soft kiss against her jaw. She frowned up at him and twitched her lips, and he knew from years of learning her little quirks that she was anxious about something.
"What is it, Granger?"
"Um, well," she started reluctantly. "I think Luna might've figured out what's going on between us."
"Lovegood?" he confirmed doubtfully. "She barely knows what day it is. Hell, she struggles to remember the year-
"She said I smelled like you."
"Leave it to Lovegood to make a creepy comment like that," he muttered. "So, what if she does know?"
She shrugged. "You said you wanted to keep us as secret as possible."
"Well, that kind of went out the window when you decided to be particularly noisy when we were shagging," he smirked, kissing one of her blushing cheeks. "Blaise knows, Weaslette knows-
"And Harry and Ron," she blurted. "I'm sorry, I can't hide anything from them. They guessed actually."
His face creased up with uncertainty. "And they were okay with it?"
"They were a little...surprised, but they were fine, yes," she assured him. "I guess I thought I'd just warn you, in case Luna makes some comments that throw you off."
"Everything she says throws me off," he sighed. "Look, Granger...you do know that I only want to keep us secret until the war settles down, don't you? I just don't see the point in involving everyone in the camp when there's so much going on-
"No, I understand that, and I agree with you," she nodded. "And I think that in our current positions within the Resistance, it makes sense. I hardly want people thinking that you have had more involvement with the missions just because we're sleeping together."
He snickered. "Who could blame you for being biased when I am so talented in so many ways."
"You know it has nothing to do with it," she scolded him. "I am professional and-
"Talking about boring shit," he cut her off with a brief kiss. "We only have half an hour until the meeting and I hardly intend to discuss your morality and integrity during that, so let's fuck."
She wrinkled her nose at him. "So charming."
"I don't need to be charming, we're already shagging-
"Well, if you continue being so presumptuous," she said in a warning tone, but she was smiling. "Then perhaps, we will no longer be shagging-
"As if you could stay away from me," he responded cockily, holding her tighter, and then she locked her legs around his hips. "See."
"You realise we only have about twenty minutes now?"
"Let's skip the foreplay then."
She laughed softly and kissed him, groaning into his mouth as he wiggled and bucked his pelvis, slipping inside her. Their kiss ended and her head fell to the side, the wet locks of her hair clinging to Draco's shoulder as he nuzzled his face against her neck.
"Hmmmm," she breathed. "Draco..."
The sound of her real voice severed his daze and he realised she was looking in his direction. He was still concealed behind the trees and boulders, peering out between a few branches and confident he was out of sight. But she was definitely staring in the spot he was in, her movements anxious and almost scared, and her head jerking around as she examined her surroundings.
"Hello?" she called again, a little shakily. "Ginny? Luna? Is anyone there?"
He kept himself as still as possible as she made to leave the river, still scrutinising the area cautiously and trying to cover her modesty. With hasty steps, she walked to where she had left a bundle of clothes, and his eyes went wide when the first thing she grabbed and slipped over her head was his t-shirt.
He recognised it instantly, and he let the image of her in his t-shirt sink into his mind, with her bare, shapely legs carrying her and her sodden curls clutching her face like treacle, before he turned and left.
August 31st, 2003
After weeks of wondering around the camp in a tormenting limbo, Hermione had been taking a slow walk around the camp, hoping to bump into either Ginny or Luna to chase away the destructive boredom, when she was struck down by a flashback.
The force of it sent her to her knees and it felt so real, so there; the emotions, the panic, everything was just hitting her like fists, and it was all building in her chest as the visions played out in her mind.
She was sprinting through the camp, her tears burning her eyes and cheeks, and there were fast footsteps pounding behind her. She burst into her tent and lunged for the chest of drawers containing her wand, grasping it in her hand and ready to Apparate when someone else entered her tent.
"Expelliarmus!" a familiar voice shouted, and her wand went flying from her hand.
She whipped around to confront the person, but the vision blurred and she couldn't make him out.
"Give me back my wand!" she yelled. "Give it back now!"
"Give me my wand!" screamed Hermione, echoing the flashback. "Give it back now!"
Draco was the one who found her, collapsed in a puddle on the fringe of the camp and shuddering violently. He raced towards her, and as he got closer he could hear her speaking, her eyes glassy and distant.
"Granger," he called to her. "Granger, what the-
"They are my friends!" she shouted at no one. "Give me back my wand, I need to help Harry and Ron!"
He froze, recognising her words and the memory they were attached to; when Potter and Weasley had been captured. He sank down to her level, grasping her shoulders and shaking her in an attempt to break her spell.
"Granger," he said calmly. "Granger, wake up-
"You don't understand!" she went on. "They are my life! I have to get back there!"
"You don't understand!" she spat at the hazy shadow. "They are my life! I have to get back there!"
"There is nothing you can do!"
"DON'T YOU DARE SAY THAT!" she shrieked angrily. "I can help them, just give me back my fucking wand!"
"Granger, I'm sorry," the shadow breathed hoarsely. "You know you can't do anything right now, but we will make plans, and-
"Stop it!" she shouted, but her voice cracked, and then she was coughing up devastating sobs. She stumbled towards the shadow and balled her fists, punching him clumsily, one for every syllable. "Stop it! Stop it! Stop it!"
The shadow's hands were gripping her shoulders, his mouth near her ear and mumbling. "It'll be fine. I promise, it will be fine."
She surrendered and fell into the warm and secure frame of his body, and when she glanced up, he was no longer a blurry shadow. He was Draco Malfoy.
The atmosphere shifted and the surroundings slowly turned back to what they had been, but the first thing she focussed on was the pair a piercing grey eyes watching her with concern. She took in his face then, the alabaster skin, the sharp and refined features, and the silvery blond hair falling against his forehead.
She leaned forward and into his body, clenching his t-shirt with her trembling hands and resting her head into the crook of his shoulder. She sighed when she felt his strong and protective arms embrace her, cradling her against him, and suddenly hating him seemed so far away.
"I...I feel broken," she stuttered into his collarbone. "I want to remember. Please."
"It's alright, Granger," he assured her, and she'd never heard his voice so gentle. "It's okay."
"You're so warm," she whispered, trying to melt into him even more. "So warm...Please help me remember."
"It'll be fine," he murmured into her hair. "I promise, it will be fine."
The repeated words from her flashback sent an odd rush of blood to her head, and pulled away from him a little, her mind suddenly disconnected and her gaze half-lidded and drowsy. Draco's face was close, their noses grazing and his breath breezing sweetly against her lips, and she parted them a little. Shutting her eyes and allowing instinct and craving to steer her, she kissed him. It was so delicate and lasted barely a moment, but a soothing wave of clarity spread throughout her, and as their lips separated, she peered at up him from under her lashes.
"You...," she said quietly, her eyes barely able to stay open. "You taste like...like a memory."
And then she went limp before Draco could respond.
Blaise clicked his tongue with thought. "You're absolutely certain?"
"I'm fucking positive!" Draco growled, pacing back and forth. "She was having a flashback! The words she was saying were exactly the ones she said when she found out Potter and Weasley had been captured, and she had this weird look in her eyes."
"Okay," he frowned. "And then what?"
"And then she snapped out of it and...," he trailed off. "And then she kissed me."
Blaise's eyebrows shot up. "Well, forgive me, but why the hell are you in such a bloody temper? Surely that's good news?"
"Is it? I don't know if she actually remembers us! It's just one memory-
"But she kissed you."
Draco huffed out a frustrated breath. "Yes, there is that. And she...she was wearing one of my t-shirts the other day. I don't even know how she got it. It she may have just come by it by accident."
Blaise clicked his tongue again. "What happened after she kissed you?"
"She blacked out, I took her to her tent to sleep it off, and I came here, you fucking idiot!"
"Again," said Blaise, rolling his eyes at the insult. "Why the hell are you in such a foul mood? She kissed you, she had a flashback. This indicates that her memory is returning."
"BUT SHE STILL DOESN'T KNOW ME!" he roared heatedly. "She doesn't know she loved me! And it's just making it that much more fucking difficult to keep my distance from her!"
"Oh, for Merlin's sake! Are you still thinking that bloody bullshit about her being better off with you? And you call me the fucking idiot!"
"I don't know!" he snapped, dropping his head into his hands. "I just don't know. She would be better off without me...but...fuck it, Blaise, I'm a selfish twat and I want her, but then she doesn't want me...I don't know, it's all just a fucking mess!"
Blaise left his seat and approached Draco, offering him an awkward pat on the shoulder. "You want my advice?"
"Tough shit, you're having it anyway," he grumbled. "See if she has anymore flashbacks. Then you'll know if it's just a one-off or not. If she kisses you again, you'll know that that wasn't a one-off either. If those happen, then you should show her."
Draco lifted his head and eyed Blaise cynically. "Show her?"
"Yes," he nodded confidently. "Show her everything."
September 5th, 2003
She was exploding, heat rushing to her stomach and all her muscles seizing up, and all she could do was stutter, "I love you, I love you, I love you," over and over again as he sucked at her throat.
"I know," the blurry shadow's voice rumbled by her ear. "I know."
And then she thought the blurry shadow might form into a tangible person, but before she could see...
Hermione shot up in bed, drenched in sweat with a pleasant tingle ebbing behind her navel. Her breathing was rapid and raspy as the erotic dream faded.
But then she corrected herself. Dream wasn't the correct word. It had felt far too vivid and physical, so perhaps it had been...a memory? Had she been involved in a relationship before Bellatrix had erased the last three years? But then why hadn't anyone mentioned something to her?
She groaned with agitation and combed her fingers through her sweat-damp and knotted hair, deciding she would go back to sleep and hoping she could return to the dream and establish just who exactly she was fantasising about.
September 12th, 2003
Draco had slipped into her tent again, intending just to check on her when he'd heard her talking in her sleep as he'd been walking past. But then he'd lingered; studying her as she slept, occasionally squirming and mumbling something incoherent. More than once, he thought he'd heard her whisper his name, but he credited it to a harmful combination of hope and fatigue.
Her features scrunched up with pain, and he wondered if she might be having a flashback about Bellatrix, and it took him back to that day when Blaise had stormed into his tent and told him they'd found her.
He was hunched over his desk, his forehead resting against his knuckles and his eyes clenched shut. Granger had gone missing a month before Longbottom had defeated Voldemort four weeks ago, of course presumed dead, and he was still struggling to bear life without her.
He didn't feel a shred of victory or relief about Voldemort's defeat. He was too numb, and it had all happened in a melancholic haze of hollow glory. Fuck, he missed her. Craved her. And it was breaking him down day by day to have to breathe in this empty existence that felt like torture.
His head jerked up when Blaise rushed inside, his clothes and skin spattered with mud and his expression uncharacteristically animated.
"Blaise, I am not in the mood-
"We found her!" he blurted. "We found Granger in the Lestrange dungeons!"
Draco shot up to his feet too quickly, his head spinning with the revelation. "Is she alive?"
"Barely, but yes," he nodded. "She's in the healing tent, Lovegood's working on her now."
His feet were carrying him towards the exit before he could even comprehend he was moving. But then Blaise was in his path, and he snarled at the other wizard in a low and foreboding fashion. "Get the fuck out of my way!"
"You need to know something first!"
"GET THE FUCK-
"SHE'S BEEN OBLIVIATED!" he shouted, and Draco instantly stilled. "Lovegood said she woke up for a moment, and it was evident she'd been subjected to Memory Spells. We won't know the full extent until she wakes up but...it's not looking good, mate."
A whole new sort of hell crashed into Draco, and he swayed on his feet, trying to take in Blaise's words. He tossed the information around in his head several times but it didn't register, so he acted in the only way that he could and went straight back to storming out the tent. He sprinted across the camp to the healing tent, and what he saw would scar his mind until his deathbed.
Granger was lying on one of the makeshift stretchers, and every inch of her was red, smeared with blood. Beneath the blood were numerous cuts and deep gashes dissecting her skin and countless blue, grey and yellow bruises. Her face...it didn't even look like her. Her cheeks were sliced with jagged claw marks, like she'd been attacked by a feral beast, and half her hair looked like it had been ripped from her scalp.
She look battered, broken, and beaten; death already dragging her down to a waiting grave, and he turned to Lovegood warily, scrutinising her critically as she moved her wand over Granger's unmoving body.
"Will she be alright?" he asked her.
"I think so," said Luna, and it was the first time Draco had ever seen the ditzy blonde look attentive and concentrated. "I can heal these, but I need to check if she has any internal injuries, and I think her memory has been-
"Will she fucking live or not?" he demanded harshly.
"I don't know," he replied steadily. "Help me help her."
The memory fizzled away when Hermione mumbled something in her sleep again, and he realised he had overstayed his welcome. Regardless of his relationship with Granger and his ache to be close to her, watching her sleep felt too sinister and peculiar for his character.
Had he waited two minutes longer, he would've heard her sighing with pleasure and then sitting up in her bed, flustered and flushed, and again frustrated that she'd been writhing and moaning beneath the shadow without a face.
It had been her fourth dream-come-memory in a week, and the shadowy blur remained without an identity.
But it was getting clearer.
She thought he might have grey eyes.
September 25th, 2003
It was the fourteenth dream she'd had like this, but they were more varied now, and becoming clearer and clearer with each night. Some didn't include sex at all and simply depicted her sharing an affectionate moment with the shadow, or watching him at a distance with a strong sense of attachment...like love. But tonight, there was sex, and this flashback was so vivid, she could practically feel the water surrounding her.
They were in the river, and her limbs were wrapped around him like a vice as each blissful thrust of his hips sent another rush of heat to her gut. She pulled back and kissed the shadow's lips hard, moaning into his mouth and feeling the vibrations of his guttural groan against her tongue. She pulled back and held his head in her hands, rocking her body back to meet his rhythm and staring into his eyes.
Grey eyes. Definitely grey eyes.
It was building inside of her; that heavy bubble of lust that was so close to bursting, and her bones locked into place as a final twist of his pelvis sent her flying. Spasms soared through her in surges, pulsating from her core outwards until that thumping ecstasy was in her bloodstream and beating around her body in time with her heart.
"I love you," she choked, and the shadow was a human. Grey eyes, blond hair, pale skin. "Hmmmm...Draco..."
She gasped loudly as she woke up, her body jolting up into a sitting position as she quivered away the orgasm of her memory and the shock of the familiar face that had been so close to hers.
"Oh my God," she muttered to herself. "Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God."
She was stunned, completely and utterly astonished, but in the foundations of it all was this beguiling sense of awe and peace, like that hole in her heart had been momentarily filled with something warm. She tossed aside her covers and left her tent, too frantic to care that she was in a pair of shorts and the t-shirt she'd found beneath her pillow. Darting across the ground in her bare feet, she flung herself into Draco's tent and found him sleeping on his bed.
"Malfoy!" she exclaimed, coming to his side and batting his shoulder. "Draco, wake up! Wake up, now!"
He winced sleepily, but when his gaze absorbed her he was instantly alert, climbing out of bed and moving his eyes up and down her like he was checking she was physically fine.
"What is it?" he asked urgently, gripping her elbow and giving her another once-over. "Are you alright?"
She was struck speechless by his proximity and the feeling of his skin against hers, and she was suddenly aware that he was wearing nothing except a pair of boxer shorts. The image of him bare and beautiful took her back to those final moments of her flashback-dream, when he had been so close and so vivid, and as she took him in now, she knew for certain that he was the shadow.
Her stare was fixed on his naked chest and she settled her palm against him, stroking her fingers across the dents of his collarbone. She felt him suck in a harsh breath, and her attention was drawn to his lips as they fell open, and the impulse to kiss him was so strong, she didn't even question it.
She practically pounced on him, smacking her lips into his and throwing her arms around his neck to bring his as close as possible. She felt him grunt with surprise in her mouth, but then he responding, his actions almost desperate as his hands grabbed her waist so tight she would be bruised with his fingerprints. The way he kissed her made her soul shiver; he sucked and devoured with his lips, licked and stroked with his tongue, and tugged and nipped with his teeth, and every small gesture felt like a hurricane of sensation in her mouth.
This felt right. This felt perfect.
He was manoeuvring them backwards, and her backside banged into a desk just as Draco's hands moved into her hair, his fingers raking through her curls as she pulled herself up to sit on the desk. But then he was between her legs, and he could feel his arousal prodding her inner-thigh, and the moment was shattered. She pushed him away from her and got back to her feet, stumbling away from him with her chest heaving and her thoughts racing. His breathing was elevated too; his pupils dilated and his fists clenched as he regarded her with an unreadable stare from beneath his fringe.
"We were lovers," she mumbled distantly, searching his face for any hint that her assumption was correct. "We were lovers, weren't we?"
His expression didn't change and he remained silent, still just watching her with a stoic gaze that was almost haunting. She felt ridiculous then, like she'd made a complete fool of herself and he was enjoying the show, but before she could pivot on her heel and leave, he spoke.
"No," he said, and where Hermione thought she would feel relief, she only felt disappointment. "No, we weren't lovers-
"We were much more than that," he interrupted her. "You called us soulmates, but I...I hated that word-
"We were a couple?" she asked, her voice catching in her throat when he nodded.
"We were everything."
She chewed her bottom lip nervously and took a few wary steps towards him. "Show me."
His body tensed at her request, but then he sighed with resignation, making his way over to his bed and retrieving his wand from under his pillow. "See for yourself," he muttered, extending his arm and offering her his wand. "I'm ready when you are."
She was shaking, and his wand quivered precariously in her hold. Forcing herself to be composed and straightening her arm, and let out a slow and long exhale, and then, "Legilimens."
She was instantly sucked into Draco's mind; images flashing around her and spinning in quick succession, like a carousel or tornado. Some of the images started to slow down, and then she could perceive them properly, watching as his memories replayed around her.
She saw them together in numerous circumstances; lying in bed during a lazy morning, her snoozing as he kissed her shoulder softly. Them bickering over something insignificant before she burst out into a fit of giggles and gave him a playful peck on the cheek. Him secretly stroking her knee beneath the table during a meeting, and her batting away his hand and shooting him a warning glare. There were visions of them kissing all around her, each one set in a different place, or with a different intention, or a different speed. And what was even more astonishing and telling was that she could feel his emotions attached to every scene; shifting between frustration, amusement, yearning, lust...love.
And then it was like she was being dragged to a darker collection of his memories, and the atmosphere of his mind turned cold and ominous, and she saw herself sobbing with Draco stroking her back in soothing circles until she cried herself to sleep. She saw from his perspective as he watched her during a battle, completely focussed on her and doing everything he could to get to her side when she was knocked down by a wayward curse. And finally, the image of Blaise telling him that she'd been Obliviated, and then she was looking at her beaten and swollen body on the stretcher, and she could feel the sheer dread and devastation that was linked to that memory.
The spell and the experience had drained her, and she withdrew herself from his mind with the remainder of her energy, sinking down to the floor and trying to understand everything she's just seen. She heard him groan and lifted her chin to watch him wince, raising his hand to massage his temple as he slowly eased himself down the floor also.
"You loved me," she said quickly. "Didn't you?"
He clicked his jaw and shook his head. "You said 'loved'. That implies the past tense. What I feel for you is very much present tense."
"And I loved you?"
He flinched at that, and the guilt that consumed her was damaging.
"There's fucking past tense again," he muttered bitterly. "But yes, you loved me."
"No, I...I don't think it is past tense," she told him sincerely. "I can...I can feel it in me, and I am drawn to you-
"It's alright, Granger, you can't help what happened-
"I've been dreaming about you for weeks," she blurted out, shuffling closer to him. "But they're memories. You see, I am getting my memory back-
"No, listen to me!" she cut him off. "We used to swim in the river together, right? By the waterfall?"
His head snapped up. "Yes, we used to swim there all the time."
"And when Harry and Ron went missing," she rambled on, still inching closer. "You stopped me from Apparating back and trying to help them, and then you held me when I cried?"
He gulped. "Yes, but you would've picked them up from my memories-
"And this t-shirt," she continued, feeling the whispers of memory at the edge of her brain. And then it hit her, and she smiled. "You didn't give me this, I stole it from you. When you were sleeping, I picked it up off the floor and hid it under my pillow and I always wore it to bed when you were away." She was rambling now, rushing it all out as the memory poured into her mind. "I have two others in my bottom drawer which you don't know about, and I cast charms on them so they wouldn't lose your scent."
When she looked up at him, his mouth was slightly agape and his eyes round and completely captivated by her.
"Those are my memories, aren't they?" she said, half-smiling and half-crying now. "They are, I know they are! You were asleep, you couldn't possibly know, and...and sometimes, when you were asleep, I used to slip my lucky muggle pen into your bag or pocket, because I wanted you to be safe, but I knew you'd think I was being silly if I told you. See, I am remembering!"
He reached out and grabbed her hands, tugging her into his lap and enfolding her in a tight embrace. "Fuck, I missed you," he whispered into her hair.
"I am so sorry," she told him, sniffing back some tears. "Why didn't you tell me straight away? We would've had more time."
"I thought it might be best if I wasn't...involved in your life."
"What?" she snapped, smacking his arm half-heartedly. "You fucking idiot."
He huffed out a short bark of laughter, but it was more with relief than genuine amusement. "That was what Blaise said."
"I don't remember everything," she told him seriously, tilting her head so she could meet his eyes. "But I will, okay? My memories are returning, and I know I can beat this because...because you feel like home."
Draco dropped his head and snatched her lips hungrily with an aching kiss, needing to just have that moment where they could drown each other for clarity and contentment. "Home sounds good," he murmured against her mouth.
"I know I can beat this," she repeated, gliding her fingers up his cheekbone. "But you'll need to help me, and it's probably going to be hard as hell, but I'll get there. I promise you, I'll get there."
"Alright," he nodded, speckling her face with quick kisses. "Alright."
"I promise," she said again. "I'll love you twice."
a/n: hello! I hope this was okay and not crappy! Read and Review and let me know what you think! The new chapter of Iso is half-done, so it should be up soon, but I hope you enjoy this little (well, quite long really...) one-shot in the meantime! Amanda, I hope this didn't disappoint!
Thanks for reading!