A/N: Thank you all for the wonderful reviews. Seriously, you are all amazing. Thank you for being so patient with me. I hope you enjoy the next chapter of our story.

Disclaimer: JKR owns Harry Potter, not me. I am not making any money from the posting of this story.

Chapter 12

Hermione awoke the next morning feeling more rested than she had in a long time. She smiled as she thought of last night. Rolling over, she saw Draco was up.

"How are you feeling?" he asked almost immediately.

"A bit sore, but that's to be expected."

Draco gave her a kiss. "I'll nick a potion from Uncle's stores to help ease the pain."

"Oh, you don't have to do that," Hermione blushed. She didn't want Draco to get in trouble with Professor Snape because of her.

"It's no big deal," Draco assured her.

"But what if he catches you?"

Draco chuckled. "Well, I'll just hint at what it's for and he'll be so grossed out that he'll just let me take it, no questions asked."

Hermione couldn't help but laugh as she pictured that scenario in her mind. She was certain Snape didn't want to know about their sex life and the idea of Draco telling him was laughable. She could picture the expression of horror her Potions professor would make.

As the two of them calmed down, Hermione came to a sudden realization: they were both naked. She quickly pulled the sheets up to cover her breasts.

Draco pretended to cover his eyes. "Oh no, not your breasts," he said teasingly. A smirk appeared on his face.

Hermione nudged him with her foot. "Get out so I can get dressed."

"Don't worry, I'm leaving. Do you want to eat breakfast here or in the Great Hall?"

Hermione thought for a moment. Spending time with Draco was tempting but she knew she needed to see Ron and Harry.

"I'm going to eat in the Great Hall," she answered. "I've been neglecting Ron and Harry a lot lately so I should probably spend some time with them."

Draco nodded in understanding. Giving her a quick kiss, he hopped off the bed. "I'll see you later, then."

Hermione said good-bye and watched as he disappeared into the bathroom.

Getting out of bed, she quickly got dressed for the day. When she entered the bathroom, she saw it was empty. Draco must have slipped out as I was getting dressed…

After brushing her teeth and combing her hair, Hermione grabbed her book bag. She made her way to the Great Hall, thinking about the boys. The school year had started off so quickly and it seemed that time wouldn't be slowing down at all. Time waits for no one, her conscience chided her.

Walking into the Great Hall, she took a seat next to Harry at the Gryffindor table.

"Hello," she said, putting some food on her plate.

"'Ermione," Ron grumbled through a mouth full of food. "-ere 'ave you been?"

"Don't talk with your mouth full," she chided. "And I've been in my rooms. It's quiet there and it allows me to do my homework in peace."

"But you should come to the Common Room sometime," Harry countered. "Everyone misses you."

"You mean everyone misses me doing their homework," Hermione said, smirking.

"No!" Harry said, but his small grin gave him away.

Ron swallowed his food. "We could always come and visit you in your new chambers. When are you going to show us?"

Harry nodded in agreement. "Yeah, we should spend Friday night in your rooms. Play some chess or exploding snap maybe?"

Hermione quickly shook her head. "No… no, I'll come hang out in the Common Room."

Harry eyed her suspiciously. "Why won't you show us your rooms?"

"It's a secret. Dumbledore told me I couldn't tell you guys," Hermione lied.

They boys looked disappointed.

"Sorry," she said sheepishly. "But come on, it's almost time for Charms."

"Harry, we shouldn't be doing this," Ron whispered, nudging Harry under the cloak.

"Then leave, Ron. I don't know about you, but I want to know where Hermione's rooms are," Harry countered.

Harry had come up with the idea of following Hermione under the cloak. He had a suspicion that Hermione was lying when she said Dumbledore forbade her from telling them the location. He didn't understand why she would lie, but he wanted to find out.

"She's been acting different, Ron, surely you've noticed?"

"Of course I have," Ron said. "But I don't know, shouldn't we respect her privacy?"

Harry arched his eyebrow. "You just don't want her to be mad at you if she catches us."

"Of course not!"

"But she won't catch us because we're under the cloak. Now shush, she should be coming up from dinner soon."

"Still a bad idea," Ron grumbled.

"Shut it," Harry retorted.

The two of them were crammed into an alcove as they waited for Hermione to pass.

Sure enough, she came round the corner moments later. She was humming softly to herself.

Carefully, the boys started to follow her.

Hermione felt a strange sensation come over her, as if one of the ghosts were lurking around the hall she was in. Shuddering, she continued to her chambers.

Whispering the password, she waited until the portrait swung open. Stepping inside, she sloppily dumped her bag on the couch.

"Long day?" Draco asked from the couch.

Hermione glanced at him, placing her hands on her hips. "Are you always in here?"

"Basically," Draco said with a nod.

She plopped on the couch, a sigh escaped her lips.

"Why do you do this to yourself? You run yourself haggard every year, Hermione."

She shrugged. "I don't know…" Sighing, Hermione continued. "I think I've always wanted to prove that I belong. First to my parents, then to everyone else in the wizarding world. I belong here just as much as anyone else does."

"I know you do, love," Draco said, getting up from his spot and moving closer to her. He wrapped his arms around his shoulder. "You belong here more than anyone. That's why I've decided to spy. I want to end this war and the ridiculous notion that muggle-borns don't belong."

Hermione smiled feebly at him. "That's brave of you, Draco. Risking your life like that."

"Stop," he said abruptly, standing up. "I don't deserve your admiration or sympathy, Hermione. You don't know what I've done… Or what I'll be forced to do."

Hermione stood. "Then tell me! Help me to understand," she begged.

"You won't. Even if I tell you, you won't understand." He turned and stormed from the room, slamming the bedroom door behind her.

With a huff, Hermione sat back on the couch. It seemed that all she and Draco did was fight. It was to be expected, of course, but it was irritating her to no end.

He's irritating me!

Summoning a blanket, she covered herself up. She'd be sleeping on the couch tonight.