Chapter Two

Time, almost always, seems at its slowest when thoughts lay heavy on the mind. Everything else in the world seems trivial to your one thought, your one need. No one else could possible know how you feel. You are truly alone in the world, where no understanding exists. All the other problems that exist in this one life are thrown aside all for this one…

Draco reclined further into the seat that seemed to consume him. The cushions where stacked high enabling him to hide and be alone with himself. Things needed to be thought through. They needed to be thought through urgently, it seemed to him. If he didn't sort out the rollercoaster that was his emotions, he was going to scream or worse. Something was beginning to eat away at him and still no comprehension of what was happening filtered through.

Slowly he rose from the depths of the seat and padded over to the small window that was embedded in the wall. The dappled light of noon stretched far into the distance making way for the new night. Draco stared into infinity and still found no relief from the questions. So many questions filled his head, each one weighing a thousand worlds and more. Knowledge seemed just out of reach, like the stars when you claw at the night skies. He cursed himself for ever thinking such things for even a fraction of a second. His whole existence denying the cold ache that weighed in his stomach every time he saw those eyes, deep and mysterious. That fraction of a second was more an eternity of denial.

A balled up fist hit the wall and a resounding thunk ringed through his head. Quickly his eyes darted down to his hand that now hung loosely at his side. It had tried to free itself of the coldness that represented the perception of Draco. There was no passion, only a hatred for it. A hatred that stemmed so far it almost made up his entire structure. The only place that seemed free of this was his heart. Cold and barren as it was, there were those moments where he was the most passionate man alive. That's what was killing him softly. Those moments. He could feel the look of disgust spread over his face like a storm. Every time he had a moment, she was there. There with her chocolate brown eyes and a sparkle that seemed like everything and nothing at the same time.

Somewhere far off a clock chimed bringing Draco away from the darkness of his thoughts. Ten more minutes left before the loneliness would be forced away by the presence of people. He sighed softly allowing himself a second of relief. Soon he would see her again and that feeling would return. He would try to ignore it but it would seem to burn inside him, warming his senses. Another sigh escaped. 'This can't be real,' he muttered, trying to convince himself with empty words. Inside he doubted them. Surely if he felt it, then it must be real?

He walked slowly back over to the chair and slumped down into its recesses. A smile played about his lips as he thought of his last encounter with her. He was angry with himself for touching her. Now all he could think of was doing it again. Letting his fingers idly slide along her arm… Draco shook himself and glared at the wall. Nothing could stop the smile that was imprinted on his face though. Attentively, he ran his tongue over his dry lips and lets his eyes close.

'Hermione,' he whispered into the silence.

Sweet surrender would have its price eventually.

***

'Well you know what I think? I think that anyone who thinks that he is a good seeker, should be put under a damn good curse!'

Hermione looked down at the plate of food in front of her and pushed it about with her fork a bit. The salad that had once looked appetising now looked like a mashed up mess. The metal of her fork pierced a tomato repeatedly. Each blow more severe then the last. She gritted her teeth together and tried to keep a bright smile on her face. Occasionally she nodded and said, 'I agree,' in the hope that no-one would notice her anger. She didn't even know why she was angry. It was only Malfoy up to his usual tricks, trying to get the better of her. Trying to prove that his mudblood theories were right. That she really was a failure. Her stabbing motions increased in intensity. Well, she wasn't fooled by it for a second. Just because she thought he advanced on her, didn't mean he actually had. In her eyes, it was all a big joke to get her to falter. Well, under no circumstances would she show him the chink in her armour.

'And then I flew to Mars while eating dogs liver and drinking the blood of a new born child,' Ron said with a bright smile.

Hermione's head flew up and she stared at him with her eyes wide in shock. 'You did what?' she screeched.

Ron smiled slightly and placed his hand on hers, swiftly removing the fork from her fingers and lacing them between his own. She looked up at him and tried to show him a true smile, but failed miserably. 'It's not like you to savagely destroy a harmless tomato,' he said softly, 'Did you forget that vegetables have rights too?' Hermione laughed slightly and sighed, hanging her head low.

Whenever Hermione needed cheering up, Ron always seemed to be there with a witty comment, or a shoulder to lean on. He was dependable and the greatest friend anyone could ask for. Somehow, he could make the whole world seem great with a small smile. She squeezed his hand gently and un-tangled her fingers from his.

'I'm fine,' she said with a confident look, 'Just worried about the Potions test results, that's all!'

The look of relief was visible on his face and Hermione smiled at the sight. Ron worried too much and she knew that her excuse was a perfectly plausible one. Everyone knew that Hermione Granger worried about exams. She didn't want to concern him with her little run in. Whenever she even considered it the mental image of Ron and Harry trying to get one over on Malfoy and failing, flittered into her mind. She didn't want to get her friends in trouble for something that was probably just a figment of her imagination.

Gracefully she rose from her seat at the Gryffindor table and gave the plate of mashed food a resigning look. The hollow feeling that filled her stomach seemed to be drowned out  by the constant clicking of the cogs in her head. She felt like her whole world had crumbled to pieces all because of that one question." Wouldn't you like to know?" Curiosity seeped into her thoughts. What had he meant? Why had he said it? Was it just another ploy to get at her? Then there was that feeling that accompanied the questions. It built up at the depths of her, sending shivers up her spine. She didn't think they were bad shivers… The mere thought made her grimace.

'You off somewhere?' Ron asked with one eyebrow raised.

'Library,' she replied almost automatically and with that swiftly left, her robes billowing out slightly behind her.

***

The rustic smell of old books tore through the dusty smell of the library and filled Draco's senses. His eyes rolled back and he slammed the book together firmly. The foul smell still lingered. Quietly he muttered something to himself and the book in his hands transformed into a newer version. 'Better.' He smiled at his own ingenious thought. Carefully he ran his fingers along the spine and opened it at a random page.

It was not often that Draco entered the library. He saw little need for it. All the books he needed could be bought for him at his own leisure. Then it would be his own concern of their well-being. Today though he came for a glimpse. Every step he had taken he had tried to convince himself that he was only going there for a book. Deep down he knew it was a lie. He wanted to see her. He wanted to touch her…

As the thoughts ran through his mind, a familiar voice reached his ears. It was shrill and sounded slightly abrupt, yet it was laced with concern and something else. Something that Draco couldn't put his finger on. He dared a glance up at her and saw the something. She was tired. Her face looked worn and her eyes almost gave the impression of a thousand years awake. A smile played about his lips. To him, she looked more and more beautiful everyday. And it wasn't just the physical beauty either. When she spoke, she seemed to glow and make the people around her do the same. A growl escaped his pale lips. 'Damn fool!' He muttered and looked away.

Even when his eyes weren't on her, he found himself able to know where she was. At that precise moment in time, she was walking towards one of the only free seats in the whole place. It surprised him how many people came to this dank place. Never the less, here he was, sat like a fool, waiting for some girl to walk past. What was he thinking? He sighed. He was thinking of her. Already he'd had what he wanted, a glimpse, but something in him wanted more. He looked down at the empty seat beside him and smiled.

 Hermione was edging closer and closer to the chair. Her face was filled with confusion. Draco imagined her arguing with herself. Should she sit next to the boy she hated most in the school? Another smile washed over him. Sure, she would, to have her book time.

'Mind if I sit here?' said a muffled voice from behind him. Without looking, he knew it instantly.

'What Granger? Think you can handle yourself sitting next to me?' He said as a snide reply, ensuring that it was to his everyday standard.

From the corner of his eye, he could see her scowling and cursing him under her breath. Slowly, she pulled out the chair and sat down, neatly crossing her legs and placing a book down in front of her. He glanced down at the title and gave it a critical glare. 'Didn't know a Mudblood like yourself could even read that text.'

'Shut up, Malfoy,' She muttered dangerously.

Inwardly he sighed. Did she hate him as much as he thought? His mind raced at the ideas of how to test her. His eyes darted round the room, searching out for ways. If only there was a way… He smiled and glanced up to see her reading her book. Then, taking her cue, he did the same.

As his eyes stared at the text, he watched her. Then slowly he let his hand drop down onto his knee under the table. He hesitated for a second, thinking through the responses he could get. It was unlikely she would do anything too obvious as they were in a public place. A public place where silence was a rule. Lifting his hand gently it moved it until it hovered over hers, then let it slip over it.

The first thing she did was jump. He tried to hide the smile that was pushing his lips up. She was staring at him as if he had gone mad. The temptation to push her was too much for him. He slowly rubbed a finger along the indentation of her knee, pushing up the hem of her skirt a fraction. The pained expression on her face was priceless and again Draco imagined the argument. Should she cause a scene or should she let him fondle her knee? He'd laugh about it when he was alone.

She was shivering under his touch, he could feel it. All he wanted to do was blurt it out. He wanted to tell her, confide in her the truth. Maybe it wasn't love but there was something there. The passion he hated was there. The look in her eye. The curl of her hair. The way her nose turned up slightly at the end. The bittersweet fragrance of her perfume that made him long to be closer. All the elements of his feelings were there in that moment and the cold expanse of his heart was warmed.

Sharply he was torn away from his thoughts by a warm hand resting over his own, pushing at his skin. He thought about it for a minute and moved his fingers slightly further up her skirt. He didn't want to scare her, but he wanted her to know. A gulp was audible as she dug her nails hard into his hand. He bit his tongue to hold back the yelp. 'Feisty' he said under his breath, and twisted his hand round so their fingers were locked together. Eagerly, she struggled to unlock her fingers and eventually he let them slip away.

Draco accepted defeat and stood up letting his chair clatter backwards filling the empty silence. He glared down at the book, muttered the reverse spell and turned to leave. Before doing so he ran his fingers along her shoulder blades and leaned down to whisper in her ear. 'Until next time, Hermione.'

With that he left her, his heart heavy. Sweet surrenders price had come and now he would never venture to be close to her again. Better to be cold, then warm and rejected.

…desire. It drives you through the day and it drives you through the night. All your thoughts are filled by it. You are completely consumed, verging on the edge of obsession. Only in your dreams do they come to you. Sweet and bitter combined. It makes you want to scream. It makes you want to cry…