When all of your flaws
And all of my flaws
Are laid out one by one
Wonderful part of the mess that we've made
We pick ourselves undone
They lie there hand in hand,
Ones we've inherited, ones that we've learned
There's a hole in my soul
Can you fill it?
Hermione has never felt so awkward in her entire life, she didn't even feel this awkward around Ron and Lavender when they were dating in their sixth year. The silence in the car was tense and neither of them said a word. Hermione silently cursed herself for buying such a small car, the space between her and Malfoy was not enough. Tension oozed from both of them, the air was so heavy you could cut it with a knife. Hermione was grateful when they finally pulled up in front of her London apartment. It was a few blocks away from the Leaky Cauldron, in a very busy part of London, but she didn't mind. Being surrounded by so many people made her feel safe. She couldn't get out of the car fast enough, taking a deep breath of fresh air. Malfoy didn't say a word as he followed her up the stairs to her apartment. She fumbled with the keys, feeling his eyes burn into the back of her head. What was she thinking? Why did she feel sorry for him after all he had done? Maybe it was that haunted look in his eye, like he had seen way too much for a normal 28 year old. Then again, all of them had seen too much.
She showed him to the bathroom, trying very hard to ignore the awkwardness of this whole situation. Draco Malfoy was in her house, taking a shower in her shower, and she let it happen.
"Yeah, I've gone completely around the bend," she mumbled to herself as she rummaged through her fridge, trying to find something for him to eat. He was terribly thin and if there was one thing that always plucked at her heartstrings, it was underfed people. It was a side of her she hadn't seen in a while, it was the side of her that wanted to take care of everyone and make sure they were alright. She was always the one who did the right thing, and helping him was the right thing to do, right? She finally found some leftover chicken noodles and she quickly popped them into the microwave. She then listened to the water running in the bathroom, tensing up as she heard it turn off. A few minutes later Malfoy was standing in the door way. He looked a little better, but not much. She had given him some of Ron's old clothes (not that she told him that, otherwise he never would have accepted it), a pair of jeans and a grey sweater. Both were way too big for him and made him look thinner than he already was.
"I hope you like noodles," she said, trying to break the silence between them. His face was stone cold and she couldn't get a read on him, which made her extremely uncomfortable.
"Noodles?" He raised an eyebrow, walking over to her and examining the microwave. "And what on earth is this contraption?"
Hermione almost laughed, but then she remembered that Malfoy was a spoiled little brat who lived in a huge Manor and had everything done for him. She doubted that the Malfoy's had a microwave, or that he had ever been in a kitchen. "It's called a microwave, it heats up food, and I think you'll like the noodles."
The microwave beeped, causing Malfoy to jump back a little before he cleared his throat and regained his composure. He sat down at the small table in Hermione's kitchen as she dished up the noodles. She watched him as he sniffed the noodles before putting a forkful in his mouth. He chewed thoughtfully on them, deciding if he liked the taste or not. Finally he just started shoveling it into his mouth and she took that as a good sign. When he was finished he asked if there was more and Hermione quickly heated the rest up for him.
"So it doesn't work with magic?" He asked, eyeing the microwave warily.
"No, it works with science." Hermione launched into a detailed explanation of how a microwave worked. This she was comfortable with, explaining and teaching was what she does best. After she was done Malfoy just blinked at her.
"Guess I missed a lot, didn't I?"
She nodded, placing the second helping of noodles in front of him. He tucked in, finishing them in record time before stretching and yawning. Hermione showed him to the couch and seconds later he was knocked out.
Her conversation with Ginny didn't make her feel any better so she went back into the kitchen to make herself a hot cup of tea. She was doing the right thing, and it was only for one night. Then she would hopefully never see Malfoy again. It was a strange sight, him sprawled out on her small couch in her small apartment. Who would have thought that this was even possible?
Hermione's eyes wandered to the clock on the kitchen wall, if she didn't get a move on now she would be late for dinner. As she walked back into the living room, Ginny's invitation ran through her head. She looked at Malfoy, sound asleep on the couch. Should she wake him and invite him to dinner?
She spent the next five minutes pacing up and down, trying to decide which was the better option. She didn't feel entirely comfortable with leaving him alone in her apartment, but she knew that taking him to Harry's wouldn't be a very good idea either. Finally she decided to leave him a note saying she'd gone out and to lock up anything embarrassing about herself, like her baby pictures. After that was done she quickly grabbed her coat and smoothed down her hair before leaving the apartment to apparate to Potter Manor.
Hermione appeared smoothly on the doorstep, like she always did, and before she could even knock on the large oak door two black-haired boys came running out, almost knocking her over as the tackle-hugged her.
"Hello Teddy, James," she greeted the boys as they hugged her tight. Teddy's hair was black this evening, making him look just like Harry and James. The two of them hugged her tight and she kissed both their heads before they let go. Teddy took James' hand, helping the smaller boy back into the house before the two of them ran off again.
"Hey Hermione," Harry stood waiting by the door, his hair as disheveled as always and his glasses were falling off his nose. He looked tired, but at the same time relaxed and happy. It was good to see her friend happy.
"Hi Harry," she gave him a quick hug and a peck on the cheek before he took her cloak. "How have things been with Lily?"
"She's a little devil like her mother," Harry grinned as he led Hermione into the living room. Neville and Luna were there as well, the twins playing with a large box of goodies from the joke shop. George and Angelina were there too, Fred and James watching in amazement as George showed them some kind of new prank. A chorus of "hey Hermione" ran through the room and Hermione smiled as she sat down on one of the empty couches.
"Please don't tell me you're giving them more prank advice George, remember who has to deal with all of that when they go to Hogwarts in a couple of years," Hermione groaned, remembering the time Fred and James decided to play a prank on her. She had green hair and gills for two weeks. She threatened to hex George if he didn't do something to fix it. She could tell he was proud of the boys and he was having a laugh as well, but even George Weasley knew when not to cross Hermione.
"Oh relax Hermione, I'm just showing them some new stuff I've been working on, see if there's a market for it." George handed Teddy what appeared to be a normal candy cane. When Teddy licked the candy cane, it stuck to his tongue before it started to grow. George grinned as Fred and James laughed and poor Teddy was pulled to the ground.
"Twis is nowt funny," Hermione heard him grumble as George waved his wand and the candy cane shrunk again.
"How is that for some Christmas cheer," he grinned, sitting back.
"I'm sure those will sell, we'll just have to look out for them over the holidays, right Hermione?" Neville asked. Neville was the Herbology Professor at Hogwarts and he was good at his job. On several occasions he and Professor Cross, the potions master, cooked something up to counter the effects of Weasley's Wizard Wheezes. The Professors at Hogwarts were no strangers to the prank products and over the years they have learned how to deal with it.
"We sure have to, I don't want any of those for Christmas," Hermione laughed, watching as the boys played. A moment later Ginny came into the room, falling down on the couch next to Hermione.
"Lily is finally asleep, that kid has a brilliant set of lungs on her," she huffed, pushing her red hair out of her face. Her gaze swept across the room before she turned to Hermione, who knew what the redhead was going to ask.
"He's not here," Hermione said lowly and Ginny indicated that they were going to talk about this later.
"Come on everyone," Harry said as his head appeared in the doorway, "dinner is ready."
Hermione always enjoyed dinner at the Potter's, the food was great and she always ate too much. Hermione was the last one left as after dinner all the kids couldn't keep their eyes open and the parents took them home. Harry, Hermione and Ginny were now seated in the living room again, each with a glass of butterbeer in hand.
"So...Draco," Ginny said. Hermione assumed that Ginny told Harry about Malfoy, as Harry didn't even blink at the sudden mention of his name.
"Yeah, Malfoy," Hermione sighed, launching into the story of how she ran into him that night after Lily's birth. "I must have left my car open, because the next morning he was in it."
"Why did you take him home?" Harry asked.
"I don't know...there was just...I can't explain it Harry. It just felt wrong seeing him like that even after all he's done. He deserved what he got but...you should have seen his eyes. I just had to help him."
"Well I'm proud of you Hermione, it takes a certain amount of strength to do what you did. He'll be back on his feet soon, you did the right thing in helping him," Ginny said. Hermione could only hope that she was doing the right thing.
Later that night when she arrived at home she found the apartment empty. There was a note on the couch, but all it said was 'Thank you. DLM' and nothing more. Hermione sighed, relieved that she didn't have to worry about Draco Malfoy anymore.
Now things could get back to normal.