Slightly angsty Draco/Hermione romance.
The first story I've ever written that actually has chapters and everything. It's also one of the few stories I've ever written that actually has a proper happy ending where no one dies. Go me.
Hope you enjoy, comment and so forth.
Hermione woke up breathing heavily. By her expression you would be forgiven for thinking that the dream she had was more of a nightmare. But it wasn’t, it was a pleasant dream, a fantasy, a memory. She’d been having the same dream, or something very similar, for the passed six years, but now that she was engaged the dreams had become more vivid, almost lifelike.
She turned he head and looked at her gently sleeping fiancée beside her and was filled with guilt. How could she be dreaming of another man while Ron was right next to her? She sat up, hugging her knees. She felt terrible. She was getting married in less than a week and, although she was happy, she couldn’t help but think that maybe she was doing the wrong thing, that maybe Ron wasn’t the person she was meant to spend the rest of her life with…
She shook her head, as if trying to shake out those thoughts. Of course she was meant to be with Ron! She had known that since, well, forever! She should be dreaming of him, and certainly not dreaming of Draco. But as she shut her eyes it was only Draco that she saw. All she could think of was his sparkling grey eyes, his platinum blond hair, his porcelain skin, and his soft tender lips against hers…
‘Stop it!’ she thought to herself. ‘Stop thinking about him! You’re getting married, for Merlin’s sake!’
What she had had with Draco was nothing more that a fling six years ago, but she still couldn’t stop thinking about it. In the short time they were together, a year after the war, they had grown to care for one another, they had fallen in love. But they both knew it could never last. Hermione was sure Harry would think it would be a huge insult, even traitorous, to start a relationship with Draco Malfoy, his sworn enemy since the age of eleven, the young Death Eater that tried to kill Dumbledore, the pureblood Slytherin that had once called her a Mudblood. Hermione knew all this, but she also knew the real Draco, the son who had been taught the wrong values and didn’t know any better, the victim who was forced to do the Dark Lord’s bidding with his parents’ lives used as ransom, the helpless man who was disowned by his family for voicing his opinions about Muggle-borns being just as good as pureblood wizards. It was for that reason that Draco had come to Grimmauld Place.
The Order members reluctantly agreed to let him stay until he could sort himself out, mainly because he was in such a bad state when he arrived. Draco’s father was always quite violent when it came to punishing him, but when Lucius found out that his son had become a blood traitor it had pushed him over the edge. Draco was so brutally beaten and tortured that if his mother hadn’t intervened he probably would have bled to death on his living room floor. When he was thrown out of Malfoy Manor he had not fully recovered from his injuries. He still had several cuts and bruises on his face and body, and his ribs had not yet regrown properly, making it incredibly painful every time he tried to breath. He needed refuge, but had no idea where to go. As he Disapparated from the grounds of the place he had once called home he was almost surprised to find himself standing outside Grimmauld Place. He stepped forward he saw number 12 magically appeared in front of him, the Muggles in the houses next door completely unaware. Draco staggered up the steps to the front door, the searing pain making him feel lightheaded. He knocked on the door, not expecting anyone to answer. He wasn’t sure why he came here, and wouldn’t have been at all surprised if he had the door slammed in his face and was left to die on the cold pavement; he sort of felt like dying anyway. By the time someone answered the door he was close to fainting, he had to hold onto the doorframe to stop from falling over. Hermione was the one who answered. Her first reaction was to reach for her wand, but Draco explained why he was there and what had happened to him and she let him in. As he went inside he saw through blurred vision that the house was just as bleak and eerie as it had been when he would come to visit his grandparents and Great Aunt and Uncle as a child. Just as the door was shut behind him the old portrait of his Great Aunt Black began to scream “FILTH! MUDBLOODS! BLOOD TRAITORS! STAINS OF DISHONOR DARING TO SET FOOT IN THE HOUSE OF MY FATHERS!”
The words made Draco wince; he hated the word Mudblood now. Great Aunt Black suddenly stopped shouting and said “Ah, young Draco. So lovely to see you again. Have come to get rid of the blood traitors dirtying my house? And the disgusting little Mudblood?”
Draco gave Hermione a guilty look as she hurried over to shut the velvet curtains around the portrait. He could no longer stand the pain, the last things he remembered hearing were Hermione’s shriek as he fell to the ground with a thud, footsteps coming towards him, and someone’s voice shouting “What the hell is he doing here?!” before he fell unconscious.
Hermione explained to the other Order members what had happened to Draco, but Harry and Ron were still very skeptical. She didn’t really know why she felt so sorry for Draco. She had never seen him looking so weak, so fragile, so helpless. His story was so convincing, and she had seen how guilty he looked when the portrait began to shout obscenities. Maybe he had changed; maybe he had seen the error of his ways.
Hermione spent the next two weeks nursing Draco back to health, and she was surprised how much she enjoyed his company. At first it felt strange, considering how extraordinarily nice and courteous he was being to her. He seemed to be genuinely grateful that she was there, especially after he had once been so horrible to her. But they managed to form a very unlikely, but very close, friendship. Ron hated that she was spending so much time looking after Draco, and he didn’t even try to hide it. When the war was over, Ron and Hermione’s relationship was stronger that ever, and she was sure that she loved him, even if they did fight a lot. But after the arrival of Draco they barely spoke to one another except to argue, and it was Ron who always started the fighting, mainly with the phrase “Why do you have to spend so much bloody time with Malfoy?”
“Because I’m looking after him!” she replied for what seemed like the millionth time. “It’s not like anyone else is willing to.”
“I don’t understand why you even care about that evil little ferret!” he said. “He used to treat you like crap-“
“Exactly! He used to, but he’s changed now!” she said impatiently.
“Oh please… I can’t believe you of all people actually believe him!” he shouted. “Merlin, I thought you were smart. Obviously not if you believe that lying git!”
Hermione had been sitting at the dressing table, brushing her hair. Seething with rage, she slammed her hair brush onto the table, stood up and turned to Ron, who was standing by their bed. His entire face was red with anger, right up to the tips of his ears, which clashed terribly with his red hair.
“Do you seriously think that I would go anywhere near him if he was the same old Malfoy?” she said. “If you actually paid some attention to your surroundings, Ronald, you would have noticed that he’s actually made the effort to get to know me, and had not once made any reference to me being Muggle-born, which the old Malfoy certainly wouldn’t have done! Maybe if you weren’t so jealous you’d be able to see that he’s actually changed!”
Ron stepped towards her and said though gritted teeth “Jealous? You think I’m jealous of him?!”
His face was inches from hers, his eyes were narrow and his fists were clenched. He looked frightening, almost demented. Hermione tried her best to hide he fear, she was sure he was about to smack her. But then he suddenly turned on his heel and left the room, slamming the door with such force that the whole bedroom almost shook. She sat down on the edge of the bed, trembling, and began to cry. She had had countless arguments with Ron before, but never had she actually felt scared of him. She rested her head in her hands and wept.
After a moment or two, there was a knock on the door. She looked up, wiping the tears from her cheek. The bedroom door opened and Draco stepped inside, quietly shutting the door behind him. He stood by the door in his dark green pyjama bottoms, his white-blond hair slightly untidy, his skin, which was once covered in bruises, was fully repaired and back to its pale, glowing perfection. Hermione could feel herself blushing as he looked sympathetically at her. About a year ago seeing Draco Malfoy show sympathy towards anyone, let alone Hermione Granger, would have been surprising. But now it seemed so normal and so natural.
“Are you alright, Hermione?” he asked. “I heard raised voices and Weasley storming off downstairs.”
Hermione wiped her eyes and took a deep breath to try and calm down.
“I’m fine, Draco.” she answered. “Really, it’s okay.”
Her voice gave her away though, it was quiet and shaky. Draco could see that her eyes were red and puffy from crying. She was obviously not fine. He went and sat beside her on the bed, and put his arm around her. He’d never actually comforted anyone before, he’d never cared about anyone enough to want to do so. With anyone else he would have felt awkward and uncomfortable, but with Hermione it came naturally. He wanted to protect her; he wanted to look after her just like she had looked after him.
“I can only assume the two of you were arguing about me.” he said.
Hermione gave a weak nod. The arguments she had had with Ron were fierce and she wasn’t surprised that Draco had heard them.
“He just doesn’t understand.” she said, her voice almost a whisper. “He’s being so stubborn. He refuses to believe that you’ve reformed and he thinks that I’m stupid because I do.”
“Well, that doesn’t make any sense.” Draco smiled and gave her a small squeeze. “You are, by far, the least stupid person I know.”
Hermione found herself blushing again – she always did when Draco was being nice to her – and her stomach fluttered at his compliment.
“Ron only seems to believe what he wants to believe.” she continued. “He doesn’t want to admit that you’ve clearly changed because it would mean he’d have one less reason to hate you. I’m sure he hopes that still see me as nothing more than a filthy little Mudblood.”
Draco flinched, as if the word physically hurt him.
“Well I don’t,” he said. “I was ignorant back then, just like the rest of my family. I was believing what my father had told me to believe, and behaving the way he had expected me to behave. If I ever questioned him, or did anything he disapproved of, I was punished. I can’t remember the amount of times he used the Cruciatus Curse on me with out the slightest bit of remorse. He was just teaching me a lesson.”
Draco put on the deep, well spoken voice of his father.
“’Malfoys do not associate themselves with those who are not of pure ancestry.’ It’s ridiculous, but I went along with it because that was what was expected of the heir of Lucius Malfoy. I was proud to be a pureblood, and I believed all of that inherited prejudice that my father had taught me. But as I got older I started to see how stupid it all was. Of course, by then it was too late. I’d taken the Dark Mark, just like my father had wanted me too. I was branded the villain, quite literally.”
His left arm, which was around Hermione, twitched slightly. The Dark Mark, a skull with a serpent for a tongue, the mark that all Death Eaters were branded with, was still burned onto his skin, although it was becoming more and more faded since Lord Voldermort was killed.
“I never said anything.” he said. “I never let on that I was having second thoughts. But… that night really confirmed it all.”
He looked sadly at the floor as Hermione stared at him. His arm fell from her shoulder and onto the bed.
“What night?” she asked.
Draco hesitated. “That – that might when you and Potter and Weasley were brought to the Manor by those Snatchers. Having to watch my Aunt Bellatrix torture you like that…”
He trailed off, as the horrible memory came flooding back. He could almost hear the sound of Hermione’s screams of pain echoing through the room as she was repeatedly cursed by Bellatrix, and the thought made him shudder.
“I was so scared,” he continued, though his voice was quieter. “I’m not ashamed to admit that to you. Even before that night I was scared. The Dark Lord was using my house as headquarters. He was forcing me to torture people, I had to watch people be murdered right in front of me. But that night was the worst, because it was you. You were the same age as me, and just as innocent and undeserving. I wanted to help you, but I was powerless. All I could do was stand back and watch you get hurt at the hands of my own Aunt, like so many others. I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy to see Potter and Weasley, because I knew they would find some way to get you out of there. I not sure what I would have done if I had to see you left at the mercy of Greyback…”
He couldn’t say anymore, it was too difficult. He could fell tears prickling his eyes and he struggled to hold them back as they threatened to escape. He didn’t want to cry in front of Hermione. He looked up to find that she was still staring at him, fresh tears pouring from her large chocolaty brown eyes. He wiped away the tears from her cheek with his thumb and she closed her eyes at the feel of his touch. His hand lingered on her face for a few seconds, before moving to her hair. He ran his fingers through her brown bushy curls as she looked deep into his eyes. She used to think his eyes were icy and emotionless, mainly because he only ever used to look down on her. But now they looked so warm and tender, and they sparkled in the candlelight like silver. She smiled up at him and Draco smiled back. He had never noticed how incredibly beautiful Hermione looked when she smiled, and it made his heart race. He wanted to keep making her smile forever, no matter what it took. Her smile made him feel something he had never felt before, almost like true happiness. Without really thinking, he leaned forward and kissed her softly. Feeling embarrassed, he made to pull away, but Hermione responded by kissing him passionately, wrapping her arms around his neck and running her fingers through his hair, as he moved his hands away from her face and down to her waist, pulling her closer and deepening the kiss. After what seemed like a blissful eternity, their lips parted. Hermione suddenly turned to pick up her wand from the bedside table, pointed it at the door and silently placed a charm on the door that meant that no one could get into the room or hear what was going on inside. She put her wand back down and turned to face Draco. She gently pushed some of his hair form his face and kissed him.
The whole night was so perfect, and neither of them wanted it to end. Hermione rested her head on Draco’s chest, being soothed by the sound of his steady heartbeat, as Draco wrapped his arms around her protectively, feeling her soft skin under his fingertips. They laid together under the duvet in silence, they didn’t need to speak. No words could describe how happy they were, or how safe they both felt as they held each other. It was that night that Hermione dreamt of every time she went to sleep.
They kept their affair a secret during the time Draco stayed at 12 Grimmauld Place. Ron no longer wanted to stay in Hermione’s room, so every night Draco would sneak in to see her, and leave early in the morning. Draco’s stay lasted just over two months, and everyone now accepted that his story was the truth. Even Harry had formed some kind of a truce with him. But Ron continued to be rude to Draco and gave Hermione the silent treatment. Neither of then really cared though, they were lost in each other, intoxicated by their passion; nothing else mattered.
Hermione introduced Draco to all the Muggle things that she loved, but especially her favourite play by the Muggle writer William Shakespeare called Romeo and Juliet. Draco read it while he was recovering and found it fascinating. He enjoyed how poetic it was, and the tragic romance of it all. One night she gave him her copy of the book as a present. It was the first sentimental gift he had ever received and, although the book was quite old and the pages were torn and dog-eared, he knew he would treasure it forever. Draco really wasn’t used to having someone care about him as much as Hermione did. He didn’t have any real friends at Hogwarts, just cronies and acquaintances. The closest thing he had ever had to a girlfriend was Pansy Parkinson, who lusted over him, much to his disgust. She was vile and clingy and infatuated, not only with him, but with the fact that he was a Malfoy; a wealthy pureblooded Slytherin. Hermione didn’t care about any of that stuff. He could be himself with her, something he had never been able to do with anyone else. His pride never got in the way of showing how kind and sensitive he could be, and all his old prejudices had gone. His father had taught him as a child that Muggles and Muggle-borns were some how backward, that not having magic made you no better than an animal. He knew it wasn’t true, and Hermione was living proof. She showed him how narrow-minded his father’s beliefs were; she opened his eyes and made him feel truly loved. But all good things have to come to an end.
Draco received a letter from his mother one morning. She had separated from her husband, no longer able to take his violent and domineering nature, and she had even gone back to her maiden name of Narcissa Black. She had moved out of Malfoy Manor and into a large flat in Kensington, and had requested that Draco should come to live with her. It seemed that Narcissa didn’t care that he was a blood traitor; she just wanted her only son back. Draco was torn between his mother and Hermione. He missed his mother terribly and was glad that she still cared for him, but he didn’t want to leave Hermione as he knew he’d probably never see her again if he left, and he’d really began to fall in love with her.
As he told Hermione that news that he would be leaving Grimmauld Place the following day he could almost see her heart visibly breaking.
“I don’t want you to leave, Draco,” she said. “I know it sounds selfish, but it’s true.”
“It doesn’t sound selfish.” he replied. “I don’t want to leave you either, but I have to. We both knew this wasn’t going to last forever.”
Hermione knew he was right, but she didn’t want to say it.
“Maybe we were just never meant to be together.” said Draco.
“Don’t say that.” she whispered.
“But it’s the truth! You know your friends will never accept it; they only just tolerate you being nice to me. And if Weasley doesn’t butcher me on the spot my father probably will. He disowned me when he found out I was even thinking about being kind Muggle-borns, he’d kill me without a second thought if he knew I was madly in love with one.”
Hermione looked up at Draco with a start.
“You’re madly in love with me?” she asked, with a smile on her face.
“Of course I am, sweetheart.” he said as he reached out and grasped both her hands.
“I love you too, Draco.” she said.
Her words filled him with a kind of happiness he had never felt before. He leaned forward and kissed her. He never wanted to stop kissing her. He would have gleefully stayed that way forever. But he couldn’t. He tore himself away from her.
“I’m sorry, Hermione,” he said. “But this isn’t how things are supposed to be.”
He could feel his eyes welling up with tears, and Hermione had already begun to cry.
“But I’ve never felt this about anyone before.” she said. “I don’t know what I’d do without you.”
“We have to go our separate ways.” he said, trying to convince himself as well as her. “You’ll live your life and I’ll live mine. I’m not saying it will be easy, but it’s for the best. I’ll go back to my mother, and probably end up having an arranged married to same pureblood witch so I can produce on heir. And you’ll live the life you deserve, get married to Weasley and have lots of really intelligent ginger children.”
Hermione laughed weakly.
“But that’s not what I want, Draco. All I want is you.”
He pulled her into a tight embrace. She buried her head in his chest as his arms wrapped around her. As she sobbed, Hermione could feel Draco trembling. Draco hated crying in front of people, but he just couldn’t hold it in anymore. He clung onto Hermione, his face wet with tears; he never wanted to let go.
The next morning Draco went downstairs to the front entrance to find his trunk waiting for him, along with Hermione and Harry. He offered his hand to Harry, who willingly shook it
“Thank you for your hospitality, Potter.” he said. “I know if I was in your position I would have cursed me weeks ago. But this truce between us has been surprisingly enjoyable.”
Harry cheerfully agreed. Just then Ron appeared, sneering at the friendly exchange between his best friend and his worst enemy. The portrait of Great Aunt Black woke up with an unattractive snort and, rather than start her usual shouting, she said in a hoarse voice “Draco dear, I do hope you haven’t been corrupted by those loathsome blood traitors and that filthy little Mudblood.”
Before anyone else had a chance to do anything, Draco reached for his wand and fired a curse at the painting, making the velvet curtains close. As he put his wand back into the pocket of his robes, Hermione smiled broadly at him.
“You really should think about painting over that horrid thing, y’know.” he said.
Hermione gave him a quick hug – much to Ron’s obvious annoyance – before he left the house and, after one last lingering look at Hermione, Disapparated.
“Good riddance.” Ron said under his breath.
Hermione shut the door, using all of her strength not to cry. Harry put his arm around her, rubbing her back to comfort her, and then followed Ron into the kitchen. She stood in the hallway feeling puzzled. Did Harry know? She crossed her fingers behind her back as she walked over to the kitchen, hoping that he didn’t know the real reason she was so sad that Draco was gone.