Hello Dramione lovers :) Please enjoy this short oneshot! It's not beta'ed, so excuse my mistakes please!
This is ever so slightly romance, I didn't want to go into full on snogging since they're eleven years old.
Draco felt guilty. He'd never felt it before but watching Hermione hide her face in class, her familiar hand never shooting up to answer questions and that strange silence that emitted from her had left him with the feeling forming in his stomach. He'd hurt her, and for some reason, every nerve in his body said that it was wrong. He didn't care about Potter or Longbottom, just that he'd hurt Hermione.
She was annoying, insufferable and a know-it-all, but he'd rather have her face with that desperate expression to prove she was smart then be unable to see her face at all. For an eleven year old Draco, this was fairly hard to comprehend. He hated her, he was sure of it. It was very un-Slytherin of him, not wanting a Gryffindork hurt. It was Hermione though. He had no clue why that made her an exception.
He didn't tell anyone else how he felt. That remorse was growing and making him grouchier every day. He certainly didn't tell his father. He could imagine the beating he'd get. He was meant to be better than her, she was muggle-born. He wasn't though. The anger directed at him for not being top of his class by his father was enough. His mother was better. She gave him a small hug in comfort and told him it didn't matter. He was certain his mother was proud of him, unlike his father, who was never pleased with him
Eventually, the shame got too much. He had to do something about it. He couldn't think of anything but the one thing his father had told him never to do. Apologise. 'Malfoys don't apologise' that was what his father always said. Draco, for once, didn't care about his father's words. He didn't have to know anyway.
He found Hermione hidden in the back of the library. He'd told Crabbe and Goyle he had no interest in spending the evening with them and they'd trotted off – well, waddled – to bully some others into giving them their sweets.
Hermione was buried in a book, her nose almost touching the pages she was so close to it. Draco shuffled awkwardly from foot to foot. "Granger?" he said, quietly.
Her head shot up, startled and then her eyes turned cold. "What do you want, Malfoy?" She asked her voice scathing and unkind.
"I…" Draco paused as he temporarily forgot how to form a sentence. He cleared his throat and tried again. "I wanted to apologise." He said and Hermione's eyes turned wary. "For getting you into trouble and getting those points removed."
Hermione's jaw flopped open. "Why?" The word left her mouth before she could stop it and a warm blush tinged her cheeks. It was very becoming on her, he thought absently. "Sorry," she quickly said. "I didn't mean to sound so ungrateful."
Draco shrugged. "It's fine," he muttered. "But I'll answer the question anyway. I feel horrible about the whole thing. Seeing you so subdued in class affected me a lot more than I thought it would. I didn't like it – seeing you hurt. I don't know why."
"I'm assuming this apology doesn't extend to Harry and Neville." She said and she watched Draco bite his lip nervously, expecting her to snap at him. "It's fine, thank you anyway." She added.
He nodded and looked around uncomfortably. "Well, that was all," he said. "Um, have a good evening," he said hastily before turning tail and hurrying out the library.
Hermione watched him amazed. She hadn't been expecting that. Draco Malfoy asking her for forgiveness of all people, but she was appreciative all the same.
The lingering thought in her mind before she went to bed that night was that Draco couldn't be all bad.
In the fast paced weeks before the exams, Hermione had forgotten all about Draco's apology. Her mind was consumed with the amount of facts she needed to learn, helping Harry and Ron, and this Philosopher's Stone business. She was too worried to think about anything else. It wasn't until three weeks before the exams that she crossed paths with Draco again.
He approached her while she was revising late into the night in her hidden corner of the library.
"Hello Granger," he said his tone almost pleasant.
Hermione jumped and she stared at him for a few seconds, expecting some snarky comment. Then she remembered his apology and allowed a smile to cross her lips. "Hi, Malfoy," she said. "Can I help you with something?"
Draco nodded. "Well, I was wondering if you could help me with revising." He said, quietly. "I mean, the Slytherin common room isn't quiet and…"
Hermione smiled brightly. "Of course, sit down," she said and Draco looked relived as he slid into the seat opposite her.
"So, how much have you done so far?" Hermione asked, seeming overjoyed at the opportunity at being able to help willing student.
Draco brought a roll of parchment out of his bag and spread it out on the table. Out of it fell two similar rolls. "This is some notes on Transfiguration and Charms, the big one is Potions."
"And when do you revise?" She asked, looking over them.
He hesitated. "Well, normally in the middle of the night." He said. "It's the only time there's any peace."
Hermione looked shocked. "What about the library?"
He scoffed. "I'm a Slytherin; we don't spend time in the library."
"Zabini does," she pointed out. She'd noticed him sitting at his own table in the next alcove and even spoken to him a few times. She remembered him because he'd been oddly pleasant to her.
Draco frowned. He hardly saw Zabini, but he knew he was smart from his grades in lessons. He didn't really have an answer. It wasn't like Blaise Zabini was unpopular. "Oh…"
"Yes, oh," Hermione said. "You should take advantages of all resources," she chided but she was still smiling at him. That was something he never thought he'd see.
"Well, can you help me?" He asked her.
"Sure I can," she said and pulled a piece of parchment out of her bag and divided it into sections neatly with her quill. "Okay, when do you have after school activities?"
By the time Hermione had finished Draco's timetable it was nearly curfew. "Finished," she said and handed it to him. Draco almost gaped – but he didn't because it wasn't a Malfoy thing to do – at how much revision he had to do. He was going to do it though; it would be rude not too.
"Thank you," he said and he gave her a rare smile.
Hermione beamed at him. "It's no problem, I'm happy to help," she said. "If your common room is too loud, you're welcome to join me here if you like." She offered and Draco nodded.
"I will," he said and packed up his stuff. "I'd walk you to your dorm, but I can't imagine the Gryffindors would like that." He said, surprising even himself. He'd never offered to walk anyone anywhere before.
"It's the thought that counts," Hermione told him warmly. She was collecting all her own things, most of it clutched in her arms.
"So I'll see you tomorrow?" Draco asked and she nodded and began to walk out the library. "Good night, Draco," she called over her shoulder as she disappeared among the books. He was stunned by the use of his first name. Only his parents called him that – and Pansy, but they'd been friends for a long time before Hogwarts.
"Good night, Hermione," he said quietly, knowing she couldn't hear him. He liked her name; it was very pretty – like his mother's.
He went to bed that night, his revision timetable safe in his bag so it didn't get lost or damaged.
The next day after lessons, Draco collected his stuff for revision and made his way to the library, leaving Crabbe and Goyle to meander around the school seemingly at a complete loss of what to do. He strode into the library and made his way to Hermione's alcove when he was stopped short by the additional two voices to Hermione's.
"Oh c'mon Hermione," that was Potter.
"You've been cooped up in here too long; you have to come outside with us." And that was the Weasel. He felt angry, angry that his evening was being spoilt. He had forgotten that Hermione was actually friends with them. He didn't know why she was, their intelligence was much too low for them to be interesting company, not that Crabbe and Goyle were better.
"Fine, just for this evening," he heard Hermione say and Draco had this odd feeling in his chest. She'd forgotten he was coming tonight, that hurt him.
Draco slipped behind a bookshelf as the trio approached, but as Hermione past – behind the other two – her head turned and she made direct eye contact with him and mouthed one word. Sorry.
Although saddened by the fact he'd be alone to revise, a small surge of happiness went through him that she had remembered him. He went to put his stuff down at Hermione table but paused, recalling what she had said about Blaise Zabini revising. He walked through the bookshelves for a few minutes before he stumbled upon the dark skinned, Italian boy.
"Hey, mind if I join you?" Draco asked. Blaise looked up at him and puzzlement crossed his features, but he nodded and kicked the chair out opposite him.
Draco sat down and put his stuff out, spreading it out over the table when the remarkably deep voice for the eleven year old Blaise sounded across to him. "That's wrong." He pointed to a piece of information on Draco's latest revision.
He felt very defensive all of a sudden. "What's the right answer then?" He snapped not liking being corrected.
"Bezoar stones are found in a goat's stomach, not in a sheep's," he said, his tone cool but not obnoxious. "Don't you remember our first Potions lesson when Snape had a go at Potter?"
Draco mentally punched himself. "Of course," he said pompously and proceeded to scratch out the word sheep and replace it with goat.
Zabini chuckled softly. "Let me guess, you were just testing me?" He said, his tone becoming slightly taunting but not in a spiteful way.
Draco laughed quietly, despite himself. "Logically," he said. "You can't think I'd really get it wrong?"
That was the start of Blaise Zabini and Draco Malfoy's friendship.
Draco never completely forgot Hermione and he sat with her occasionally to revise, but she normally had Potter or Weasel tagging along after her so he more often sat with Blaise. He followed the timetable Hermione had made him like a permanent sticking charm. This confused Crabbe, Goyle and Pansy to no end. They couldn't understand why he wanted to spend precious Hufflepuff-bullying time revising for his exams. They didn't question him – he doubted Crabbe and Goyle even knew how to ask questions, or even talk properly, they normally grunted and groaned under the strain of anything except food.
Nowadays he spent most of his time with Zabini. They didn't just talk about school, but about their home lives and anything that happened to catch one of their interests. He found himself considering Blaise to be one of his closest friends. The reason he preferred it was because it was interesting. Pansy talked about money or how cruel the professors were, Crabbe and Goyle couldn't talk but with Blaise he could have the most rational conversations an eleven year old could have.
The exams were upon them and their workload dropped every day and Draco was finding his exams rather pleasant - not easy, but not pressurised either. He was confident he'd done well, maybe not as well as Hermione who came out of her exams talking loudly about the ease of them. He was only that confident about Potions.
The time before they got the results of the exams were fairly easy-going for Draco. He had to put up with Pansy's groans that she'd failed everything – he was also sure that she had – so he went off to search for some more pleasant company. His first thought was Hermione, but after some careful searching, he discovered she was walking around with Potter and Weasel. He felt disappointed; he didn't think she'd spend a lot of time in the library now. He couldn't see a reason for it. So, he decided to try and find Zabini. He didn't know where he spent his time, apart from when they revised. He had some vague memory of him mentioning the astronomy tower when he didn't want to be in the Slytherin common room.
Draco traipsed up to the tower, dodging a passing Professor since they weren't technically meant to be up there. He walked slowly up the stairs, listening out for any sounds of people. He reached the top and there he found Blaise, leaning against the railings and looking out over the Hogwarts grounds.
"Hey," Blaise said without turning around.
Draco walked over to him and stood next to him. "Hello." He said, politely. His eyes strayed to the ground where Hermione was laughing with Potter and Weasel and a weird feeling bubbled up inside him. Envy. Jealously. He wanted to make her laugh and smile. He did sometimes, when they'd been revising. But he wanted it to be only him.
"Does the great Draco Malfoy have a little crush on a muggleborn?" Blaise said in a languid, teasing tone and Draco was horrified to find himself blushing slightly. Blaise raised an eyebrow. "Wait, do you actually have a crush on her?" He asked, straightening slightly.
Draco glanced at him sideways. "Don't be ridiculous." He said defensively. "She's just a friend."
Blaise laughed. "Believe me, Malfoy, I know what a crush looks like – it's the exact opposite of my mother's affectionate ways."
Draco glared at him. "I just never get to see her, that's all."
The Italian chuckled to himself, his maturity constantly surprised Draco. "You're in denial. What would you do if she started dating Weasel or Potter?"
Draco scoffed. "She wouldn't, she has better standards."
"How much higher can you get than The-Boy-Who-Lived?" Blaise questioned and Draco shrugged.
"She'd need somebody intelligent," Draco said in a matter-of-fact tone.
"Someone like you?" Blaise asked slyly.
Draco scowled. He did not want to date Granger. Ever. He just wanted to be her friend.
Draco opened his results with somewhat shaky hands. Then stared in shock. He'd passed everything. With at least an E apart from in DADA in which he'd got an A, he'd even got an O in Potions. He resisted the urge to jump around for joy and Blaise snatched the parchment out of his hands.
"I can't believe it," Blaise said. "The same grades except you got higher in Transfiguration. I got an A."
Draco looked smug and took the parchment back, almost glowing at the results on the parchment.
"Well done, mate," Blaise said and Draco shook his hand.
"Are you going to go and tell Hermione?" Blaise asked. "I bet she got O's in everything anyway."
Draco sobered slightly. A little bit of him hoped he'd done better, to save him from his father's cane. "Do you want to come?"
Blaise shook his head. "No thanks, you go. I've got to write to my mother."
Draco nodded and with the parchment clutched tightly in his hands, he made his way out of the Great Hall and towards the library, hoping to find Hermione there.
He did find her there, back at her usual table with a rather solemn look on her face. A worried look crossed his face, replacing the happy smile, and he sat down opposite her. "What's wrong, Hermione?" He asked and she jumped slightly and gave him a weak smile. She pushed her results over, looking almost tearful and he expected the worst.
He shouldn't have.
She had O's across the board, apart from DADA in which she got an E. "Hermione, these are amazing results!" He said. "You did much better than me."
Hermione pointed at the E. "Harry got an O." She said and he could feel her disappointment in herself.
"And I got an A," he said and he caught her hand in his. "You have nothing to be ashamed of – Harry did defeat You-Know-Who anyway, he had to be good at Defence."
Hermione's eyes dropped to where his hand clasped hers for a second before meeting his eyes. She was startled to see the depth and intensity in them. Silver on brown as she kept his gaze. "Thank you," Hermione said softly.
Draco wasn't entirely what she was saying thank you for, but he didn't question it. "Thank you, too, Hermione."
She blushed ever so slightly and Draco let go of her hands. "You're welcome."
Draco smiled, and then frowned. "Potter and Weasley are heading this way."
Hermione sighed. "I might see you sometime?"
"I hope so," Draco said, and then, surprising himself, he leaned over and gave her a shy kiss on the cheek, which then flamed as she flushed.
He left Hermione and her glowing cheeks and disappeared among the bookshelves as Harry and Ron approached.
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- Rhiannon. xoxo