AN: Hey guys, this is my first fanfiction (Well kind of), which will be a multi-chapter fic, and I would really appreciate some feedback and constructive criticism. While writing this story, I thought a lot of what it is like to lose someone or become lost with who you are, even to a strong character such as Hermione, and I really wanted to dig deep into their emotions and how they react to the hardships they still face. Draco also fascinates me to no end, and I really wanted to envision what he may be like after the end of the war. This chapter doesn't dig too deep, but I've begun the second one already and I think it shows their characters a bit more. Anyway, on with the story. I hope you enjoy.
Chapter One: A Grim Report
People say the best things happen when you aren't looking for them and this was the case for a bushy-haired Hermione Granger, she just didn't know it at the time.
It was a windy, Autumn day, the sun just beginning to set as students crowded the corridors, racing to the Great Hall for dinner. All except for a pale-faced witch, distractedly making her way towards her Head Dorm which she shared with none other than the Slytherin Prince himself; Draco Malfoy.
Hermione didn't even realize where she was until the portrait asked for the password. She looked up at the painting, a plump renaissance woman fitted into a scarlet red dress with golden trim, her blonde hair curled around her left shoulder.
"Juniper," Hermione muttered, her voice barely audible, but she was heard no less as the portrait swung open to allow passage to the green and red common room.
Unsurprisingly, her Head Boy was nowhere to be found. Figuring he was probably at dinner, Hermione let a tear escape her hazel orbs. The salty droplet sliding slowly down her cheek and onto her robes, only to be followed by another, and another, and another. It wasn't long before violent sobs shook her small frame, causing her to gasp for breath as silent screams escaped her throat. It was as if someone kicked her straight in the stomach, knocking the breath out of her.
She stumbled further into the common room, only to balance herself against the wall to her right and slowly slide her back against it until she was in a sitting position, her knees brought to her chest. This went on for a half hour, desperate pleads in hopes that this was all an awful nightmare. It felt as if she had just gotten her parents back, granting their memory of having a daughter to the oblivious couple who had been living in Australia until the end of the war. How stupid she was to have thought they were safe. She knew there were still Death Eaters roaming around, she just didn't believe they were nearly as much of a threat anymore. Oh, how she was wrong.
She could only imagine what she looked like at this moment, giving a humorless laugh, with her head pounding and her eyes scorching. Tear tracks had now dried on her puffy cheeks, but her red eyes still held more that she wouldn't let fall, at least not for now. The emotional pain she was feeling at this moment almost felt physical. It felt as if there were an actual pain in her chest, a hole right where her heart is, ready to shatter at any moment. She had never felt this way, even though she suffered many hardships on her part in the war, it was nothing in comparison to how she was feeling right now.
She realized Malfoy would probably be arriving from dinner soon, and as much as she wanted to stay curled up in her position, she knew she would be a pathetic sight to him who would be eager to pry at her relentlessly. To her misfortune, the portrait door swung open just as she stood up. Without even looking behind her as the blond Slytherin appeared, she started towards her room. She was almost there when she heard his familiar drawl.
"Didn't see you at dinner, Granger. Weasel and Potter didn't seem to care either, probably did them a favor by not showing up." Malfoy let out a cruel laugh.
Hermione did her best not to let his words affect her, but they still stung. Although Harry and Ron were still good friends of hers, she couldn't help but feel as if they were slowly drifting apart.
"I'm not in the mood, ferret, leave me alone." Her voice sounded raspier than she wanted and didn't sound as confident as usual.
"Ooh, bitey today, aren't we?" Malfoy replied. "What's the matter? Weasel and Potter finally decide to disown you?" He asked, clearly enjoying this.
Hermione spun around, her hair bouncing around her shoulders at the sudden movement. "I told you to leave me alone!" She yelled, anger evident in her voice.
Draco would be lying if he claimed he wasn't taken aback. Usually she was so calm and collected, never showing that his insults effected her. He was even more shocked to find tears in her eyes, "Whoa, Granger, what's got you all upset?"
"It's none of your business," Hermione snapped. She turned to continue to her room, but felt a firm hand grasp her wrist, turning her around.
"I know my insults aren't the cause, what's wrong?" He asked, wondering why for Merlin's sake he was so concerned for this- this mudblood. Even in his mind, the word made him cringe. He hadn't called her that since before the end of the war.
Hermione tugged her arm, trying to escape his grip. "Why do you even care?" She confronted.
His mind suddenly went blank, trying to form words, "I..well...I..you see.." Draco sighed, "Listen, Granger, I know that I have been cruel for many years to you, but I genuinely want to know what is upsetting you."
"Ha!" She scoffed, "So you can just use it against me? I don't think so," She replied bitterly.
Draco groaned. "Fine, I don't care, go wallow away in your own pity for all I care!" He yelled, instantly regretting it the moment he saw the look on her face.
"Gladly," Hermione responded, her voice void of emotion. Hermione snatched her hand away from his and nearly ran to her bedroom. She didn't even care to take off her shoes before launching herself onto her red comforter face-down. She then spilled the tears she had left into her pillow, her eyes resembling rain and her pillow soaking it up. She eventually fell into a restless sleep.
When Hermione woke up the next morning, she felt as though she had gotten barely an hour of sleep; she blamed her endless tears for her exhaustion. Sitting up as she let out a yawn, Hermione noticed a blanket had been put on her sometime in the middle of the night and that her shoes were neatly placed on the floor next to her bed. She wasn't quite sure, but she didn't remember taking her shoes off last night or bothering to grab a blanket. The logical guess would be that Draco had done this act of kindness, considering he was the only other person to have access to her bedroom. She shook her head at the idea, almost laughing at it.
After a quick shower and an attempt to do something about the crow's nest she called her hair, Hermione walked over to her dresser to grab a pair of jeans, a dark green t-shirt, and a loose hoodie to wear over it. Looking at her clock she saw that it was nearly eleven am. She thanked God it was a Saturday and quickly changed into her clothes. As she was about to head out to get breakfast, she noticed a note was laying on her dresser. It was a small piece of parchment with neat penmanship written on it.
Granger, I'm truly sorry for what I said yesterday, I hope what ever the situation is that has made you so upset gets better.
Hermione was left shell-shocked that Malfoy had apologized, to her no less. That explained why she had woken up with a blanket over her along with her shoes neatly placed at the foot of her bed. She placed the note back on the table, still surprised he had it in him to be relatively kind.
By the time Hermione had finished breakfast, the Great Hall was nearly empty. It was a breezy day and most people were outside enjoying the weather by the Black Lake or taking advantage of the trip to Hogsmeade. Hermione decided to pass both options as she numbly made her way back to her common room.
She had barely said a word to Ron or Harry during breakfast, they left for Hogsmeade before they could get a chance to start a conversation with her, even if they wanted to. She wouldn't have had it in her to reply to them today, anyway, the events of yesterday finally settling into her mind.
She decided all she wanted to do was curl up on the couch in her common room with a good book and attempt to forget about yesterday's news, even for just a little while.
"Oh...Hi." Hermione mumbled when she saw Malfoy lounging on the green couch, she expected him to have gone to Hogsmeade.
"Granger," He started, "Listen, I-I just wanted to say that I'm sorry about yesterday.." Hermione's ears perked up as he went on. "I felt really bad last night and I came to apologize, but you were already asleep."
"I accept your apology, Malfoy, and thank you for the note and the blanket, didn't know you had it in you to be so chivalrous," Hermione did her best to come across teasingly, but failed to pull it off as her attempt at a smile faltered.
Luckily Malfoy still caught her drift, "It is always important for a Malfoy man to be chivalrous towards a lady, a shivering one at the least." Malfoy puffed out his chest and flipped some of his hair back.
Hermione bit her lip, trying to hold back the small laughs that were escaping her mouth. Malfoy flashed her a smile of his own, allowing his usual snobbish facade to be let down for a quick second. And for just a moment, Hermione could almost pretend that everything was right in her life.
The rest of the day went by fairly slow, Hermione keeping her mind off of things by doing busy work; completing homework that she expected to be assigned sometime next week, catching up with George and Percy by sending lengthy letters to each, she even cleaned every inch of her room the muggle way, to the point where there was not a single speck of dust to be seen. One can only keep busy for so long, though.
The next wave of sadness caught her off guard, her thoughts quickly drifting to her parents as she passed a moving photo of the two that was placed on her bookshelf. She let one sob echo against the walls, hoping Draco hadn't heard. She took in a deep breath, forcing back the relentless cries that begged for release. When she composed herself, she took one last look in the mirror before heading to dinner, hoping to see Harry and Ron.
Hermione admired the repaired hall; the roof left no trace of cracks and the large windows were back to it's shimmering self. It looked as if the war left no marks on this room, despite the harsh emotional scars it left on a lot of the people occupying it.
She quickly spotted Harry and Ron at the Gryffindor table, Ginny to Harry's right, sporting a bright yellow sweater, Dean Thomas laughing with Ron at a joke he had apparently made. The looks on their faces brought a smile to Hermione's face. She yearned to join in on their happiness, a desperation to feel the same joy that adorned their demeanor's. She wanted to feel something other than this pain that was eating her whole.
Hermione walked forward, trying to catch one of their eyes in hopes they would invite her to sit with them, not that she thought she needed an invitation, but it was nice to be reminded that she was welcomed.
She sat down next to Dean, across from Harry, "Hey guys," She greeted them.
"Oh, hey Herms." Harry said quickly before jumping back into conversation with Ginny.
Hermione's smile wavered before she looked down at her food, her appetite had been non-existent since as of yesterday.
"How was Hogsmeade?" She asked no one in particular.
"Fine," Ron answered, barely glancing her way.
"Did you happen to get the quill I asked you to get?"
"Hey, Hermione, I'm kind of having a conversation with Dean, can we talk about this some other time?" Ron asked.
"Sure, I'll just go for now, goodnight you guys." It was as if she wasn't even there.
She made her way down to the stone corridors, her shadow looking so much bigger and confident than how she really was feeling. Were they always this naive? She didn't think so, but then again, they weren't always the ones to notice when she was feeling down. She made it impossible for them to, anyhow.
Tears built up in her eyes for what seemed like the hundredth time that day and it was really starting to annoy her. She let out a frustrated sigh as she entered the common room. She barely noticed the concerned look Malfoy gave her until she heard him call her name.
"Hey Granger?" He asked, almost timidly, he knew you didn't want to be on her bad side.
"Yes?" She asked, stopping her trek to her room.
"Come her for a moment, will you?"
Hermione walked over and stood in front of him, awaiting what he had to say.
"What's up with you lately? You're not yourself." He asked, genuinely concerned.
Hermione shook her head, plastering a fake smile on her face, "Nothing's wrong, Malfoy, just a bit of stress from school. It's no big deal."
"That's not what it looks like," Malfoy countered. He reached out his hands and grabbed Hermione's small ones in his as she was beginning to drift farther from him.
Hermione was surprised at the gentle act on Malfoy's part, her eyes darted from her hands which were placed in his rough one's, to his grey eyes that seemed to hold concern for her. Her, a mudblood, someone he has hated for almost the entire time he's known her!
His eyes softened, "Please tell me."
Hermione sighed, realizing she didn't have a choice, and also that this was something she needed to get off her chest, something she couldn't bottle up from everybody.
Hermione bit her lip, but nodded. "Okay."