Get Free Copy

100 free copies left

This novel is limited to 100 free copies due to its part in Inkitt’s Novel Contest.

Free copy left
You can read our best books
ReinadelaPluma would love your feedback! Got a few minutes to write a review?
Write a Review

Just Friends

By ReinadelaPluma


Chapter 1

"What's wrong?" 

Seriously? Seriously? Of all people it had to be Draco. She quickly wiped her tears, rationalizing that once he realized who he was talking to, he'd go away. She turned, eyes probably still puffy, and said politely, "I was just getting some air." To her surprise he didn't recoil in disgust. Instead, he cleared his throat rather awkwardly. "It didn't quite look that way." Although he didn't look at her when he said it. And his voice was so soft she could barely make out the words. She took a few steps towards him. "I'm sorry," she paused, unsure of what to do, "I'm sorry, just…are you talking to me?" this time it was she who cleared her throat. Draco squinted. "No one else outside, is there Granger." He seemed to spit out the words as he mumbled. Hermione blinked a few times, still slightly confused at this sudden twist of character.

She crossed her arms. "Why are you talking to me?" she suddenly got suspicious. Draco leaned over the balcony, twisting his thumbs around over the edge. "I don't know the answer to that Granger. You're the smart one, not me." With a sudden burst of courage she leaned against the balcony with him, noting how this was the closest physically they had ever been. Except for the time she had slapped him a few years ago. "I'm not that smart." She whispered, though she did not know why. Draco exhaled. She looked at the sky.

"You look," he cleared his throat, "good. In that. The dress. You should wear dresses more often." At this she was completely taken aback. It must have shown on her face because Draco then chuckled. "You must think me daft," he said, again not looking at her, "tell me what you're thinking. I'd quite like to know."

She paused, collecting her thoughts. "My first thought is polyjuice potion. Perhaps you're just Harry trying to have some fun." Draco gave a nod. "Plausible," he said, "But Harry is inside dancing with Ginny." He motioned to one of the floor to ceiling windows on the far right. Hermione nodded to show consensus. 

"Another thought is that you're here because you lost some sort of bet. This is all a ruse. Although that doesn't seem likely." She said. 

"May I ask why not?" He leaned in, genuinely curious. 

"Because you don't seem like the losing type." She explained simply. He gave a light chuckle. "Very well. Do go on."

"I suppose that only leaves one option. That you were genuinely concerned for my well-being. Although that sounds just as unlikely as the former." 

Draco didn't say anything, and they stayed in quiet for a while, staring out into the gardens. "May I ask again, why this seems unlikely." When he said it he did not look at her, but kept his eyes out into the gardens, his hands clasped, hanging over the balcony. Hermione looked at him, somewhat shocked, and swallowed hard before giving her answer. "Because I'm a mudblood." The grimace on her face was undeniable, and her answer was cold, but soft.

She said it so quietly, and they stood in silence for so long, that she was unsure whether or not he had heard her. Either way she did not feel like repeating herself.

Draco winced at her words, and he wasn't sure whether or not he flinched, but it would have been impossible for her not to have felt him do so. They were, by now, only inches apart.

"I'm not quite sure what you're playing at Draco," her voice quivered despite her intentions, "but I hope," the tears welled up in her eyes and she panicked. Now would not be the moment to cry. She cleared her throat. "I hope,"

"I don't expect you to understand." He let out a huffy breath. "I don't quite understand it myself." He began, following the steps that led to the garden with his eyes. "But when I heard the laughter, and you rushing outside, something just felt off." He looked down at his shoes. "I know…" he cleared his throat. "I know you probably think I don't understand what that's like. To be honest I don't. No one has ever had the nerve to make fun of me. Other than yourself of course, and your little golden trio of friends. That's hardly a bother. What I mean is," he took a breath, and exhaled shakily, "I know what it's like to be insecure."

"Everyone's insecure, Draco." Her answer came out faster than she had anticipated. And she suddenly got the idea to giggle, being how he was supposed to be comforting her. Draco shook his head, as though she would never understand. "It's different. Being me. It's not…easy. You wouldn't imagine the expecations. A Malfoy." He gave a wry laugh. "A Malfoy. What need a Malfoy be insecure about?" he scoffed, turning away, staring hard at his hands, as though his life depended on it.

With much hesitation, and a few tries, Hermione put a hand on his shoulder. "Draco," she said. He didn't look at her. "I think maybe," she paused, "Part of it, maybe…maybe you're realizing that we're not so different. And maybe that's not such a bad thing." He gave her a quick glance, one she couldn't make out. "I'm not saying we'll ever be friends," she added quickly, "Nor that I wouldn't want to be." She cleared her throat, unsure of where her speech was going, "But maybe this is good. Sometimes you can confide to a stranger what you can't confess to a friend." Draco looked her up and down, completely silent. "Take a walk with me Granger."

The grandiose steps that led from the balcony to the gardens suddenly felt like the biggest obstacle in the world. Hermione had to hold her dress up to keep from tripping, and her heels echoed on the stone, proclaiming to the world where she was with each step. And something about that made her terribly nervous.

"I was a shy kid if you can believe it." Draco said suddenly, before they had even made it onto the path. Her glance urged him to go on as his foot hit the final step. 

"I clung to my mother wherever I went. My father always seemed to frighten me a bit. There was always that fear of disappointment." 

Hermione nodded gravely. 

"I looked up to him. For most of my life that is. He was the epitome of a Malfoy man. That was supposed to be who I would become." 

Again she nodded. Draco looked at her. "Well?" he snapped. Hermione nearly froze. "W-well what?" 

"Your turn Granger. Go on."

She stumbled a bit, trying to get her thoughts in order. "I was quite the opposite I think. I clung to my father. I remember he would always carry me up on his shoulders." She giggled at the memory. "Things changed though, when I got older. My mother and I had more in common…as far as what a girl goes through. Women can be rather nasty to one another." 

Draco urged her to go on. 

"Well. No one has hair quite as curly as mine," she tried to laugh but it came out mangled, "and, well, being different and fifteen don't quite go together." She explained.

Draco nodded. They continued walking. Hermione commented on the breeze.

"I used to do the most awful thing." Draco said, as they paused to sit on a nearby bench. "When I was mad at my parents I would go around breaking things; vases, sculptures, the like." 

Hermione listened intently. 

"And then, when they would ask me about it, I would blame Dobby." He grimaced, the memory clear in his mind. "They knew it was me. That he hadn't done anything. But they punished him anyway." 

Hermione looked at the ground. The mention of Dobby tugged at her heart. 

"I still think about it a lot. I think it's because I regret it. I'm sorry about what happened to him by the way. He didn't deserve that. He didn't deserve much of anything he got." He added rather awkwardly. 

"Dobby was one of a kind." Hermione said with a sad smile.

"I'm actually kind of sorry about what happened to everyone that day. Particularly you. What my aunt did…" his voice trailed off, "that was wrong." He said firmly, his face hard like stone. 

"I appreciate that you recognize it as wrong." Hermione said carefully. 

"I was a Death Eater but I had a conscience." Draco continued, as though he hadn't heard her. "I think Snape was that way too. And it wasn't easy. None of it was."

"I hated you." Hermione said sadly, as though her thoughts were still on Dobby. "For a long time." Her shoulders were slouched and she played with her hands on her lap. Draco stayed quiet, waiting for her to continue. "I didn't understand how anyone could hate me just because of the way I was born. Something I couldn't control at all." 

At this Draco winced, but said nothing. 

"But then things changed. It was after the day I hit you. I suddenly began to pity you. And I think it's because I realized you did have a conscience."

The wind rustled the trees, filling the silence. "Harry didn't feel that way though." She gave a short laugh.

"What's that like?" Draco asked. 

"What do you mean?" she looked at him. 

"Having such close friends like that."

"Shall we continue our walk?" Hermione said, getting up. Draco worried he had crossed a line, but got up anyway.

Hermione rubbed her arms. The temperature was dropping a bit. "It's…nice." She said, trying to find the words. "It's the sort of thing you read about you know? Having close friends like that. But it can get a bit annoying sometimes." She gave a laugh. 

"How so?" he asked, noticing the goosebumps forming on her skin. She shrugged. "They're always there. Sometimes I just want some alone time. Luckily neither of them are too fond of the library." At this Draco smiled. He knew perfectly well the sanctuary that could be solitude.

"What's Slytherin like?" she looked up at him. He shrugged. "It's fine. If you like that sort of thing. We become close in a different way. We all know something is expected of us. But that makes it somewhat hostile." His voice tightened as he said this. 

"How so?" she asked. 

"No one will hesitate to move up in rank. You have to constantly watch your back. Which is why we don't have very many friends."

Hermione nodded. "I suppose that makes sense." She said quietly. 

Draco stopped suddenly. "What were they laughing at?" he said, "When you rushed out. What did they do to you?" 

Hermione gave a weak smile and looked down. "They weren't making fun of me if that's what you mean." She said. Draco had his hands in his coat pockets. 

"It was strange. I guess…Harry and Ginny. They're so happy." She mumbled as a shiver went up her spine. Draco took off his jacket and placed it on her shoulders. She thanked him. 

"And," he said, "You're not happy?"

She shook her head. "I have no reason to not be happy. It's not as though I'm constantly sad. And seeing Harry and Ginny…not to mention Ron and Lavender," she rolled her eyes,

"I never understood that."

"Understood what?" her full attention was on him now. 

"Ron. Why he would let you go. I don't mean it like that or anything. I'm just saying. Lavender has an annoying voice." 

Hermione gave a small smile. "Well, thank you, I suppose. But it's not that. Ron and I weren't good for each other." She explained. Draco nodded, feeling as though he should drop the subject entirely.

"I never understood why you were with Pansy." Hermione tried. Draco smirked. "Neither did I." They both laughed, for the first time, at the same time.

"We should probably be getting back." Hermione noticed, wrapping the coat tighter around her. 

"Or we could walk forever." Draco said, staring at the little dirt path ahead of them. "I think we'd get rather hungry." Hermione said, also looking at the path. Draco chuckled. "Maybe, Granger. Maybe." Hermione turned on her heel, groaning as she realized how far they would have to walk to get back. Her high heeled shoes were starting to get to her. "You could just apparate, you know." Draco said, as though reading her mind. She smiled. "Good thinking," she said, then, looking at him, "I'll see you around Draco."

"I'll see you around Hermione." But she had already gone.

It wasn't until she reached the common room that she realized she still had Draco's coat on. Ginny was the one to point it out. "Now who does that belong to, Ms. Granger?" she said it a bit too provocatively for Hermione's taste. "None of your business, Ms. Weasley." She shot back. Ginny snatched the coat off Hermione's shoulders. "Whoever's it is, it smells delicious."

Hermione couldn't argue. It was something she had noticed as well. "Ginny, give it back." 

"Oh come on Hermione this is fantastic! Now we can double date!" 

Hermione snatched the jacket out of Ginny's hands. "No. We won't. It's not like that." 

Ginny smirked. "It's most definitely like that." 

Hermione gave a few grumbles and went up to her room. She tossed the jacket onto her bed and wondered how she'd go about giving it back to him.

She very well couldn't do it in class. Much too many people. She could always slip out later tonight, and drop it off in the Slytherin commons. That could work. No one would be up at that hour. Especially after a ball like this one.

So after everyone had fallen asleep, Hermione snuck out of her dormitory and made her way down the maze of stairs to the Slytherin dungeons. But before making it two steps into enemy territory, she was stopped in the halls by a large group. And Draco was with them. His eyes shot into a sort of panic as he realized what Hermione was holding.

Hermione's heart caught in her throat. She shouldn't have come. "And just what do you think you're doing here?" Pansy snapped. Hermione held out the jacket with slightly trembling hands. "It was out on one of the tables. It looked much too nice to just leave out." She cleared her throat. 

"What makes you think it belongs to one of us?" Blaise asked. 

"It didn't belong to anyone in Gryffindor," she began, "And it's quite high end. It must be one of yours." 

Draco stepped forward and admired the tag. "It's mine." He declared. Pansy made a face. "You'll have to burn it now." She cackled. Draco nodded to Hermione, and tossed the jacket over his shoulder. Hermione watched as the group walked away.

Continue Reading Next Chapter
Further Recommendations

LouiseJ2: I enjoyed the detail you went into with regards to the case. It made the UNSUB appear believable. The crisis in the middle of the story was my favorite part, very dramatic but not over the top. I feel like sometimes pairings can be overdone but I liked that some of the relationships were a little...

Animeviewer: It is one of the best stories I've ever read. This story will have you riding a roller coaster of emotions and nearly dying to know what happens next.You will get very attached to the characters and in my case I relate well with some of their very traumatic or emotional experiences, Just Juliet f...

: Nothing like I have ever read. Loved every single bit of it, it had the right amount of romance and humour. I would definitely be re-reading this book. It certainly captivated me, it was so difficult to put this book down.

Jean Tryon: As a beta, I found this story outstanding!! Plot, grammar, phraseology, etc Rachel gives us it all. She takes the story into the future from where due South ends. She is an exacting and thoughtful author.

Julia Summers PA: It's Prodigious, Shocking, Stunning, Unbelievably fascinating and enduring yet evil has a presence about it! Epic writing style! - Nook Books and More BlogRed that pulls you in. The characters have a way of pulling you in. They are all unique in a way that gives it a different appeal then the ave...

Ro-Ange Olson: Loved it and couldn't put it down. I really hope there is a sequel. Well written and the plot really moves forward.

Jade Jez: What a wonderful, immersive book from Eliott McKay. It starts with an air of mystery, introducing main character Michaela, the clumsy teenager. From there, it whisks you off your feet and dumps you into a beautifully written world where you can almost smell and hear everything happening. I go...

Nadine Willard: I loved this story so much! I generally can't stand super girly romance stories, but this one was so relatable! I could not stop reading this, I read it straight through!! I wish this was a series, not just a single story 😊

PurpleInkling: Hippocrite is spelt hypocrite.Also it is an awesome story! A good one after so long. I was hoping someone would write a good fanficiton playing off what Ron said at the station. You are doing a remarkable job. It would have been interesting if Albus had also ended up in Ravenclaw though that mig...

More Recommendations

Alex Rushmer: This was not what I expected, but I enjoyed it a lot Malfoy was always one of the characters that I liked a lot, so I like that a lot of this happens between him and Colette. I read the first couple chapters, and I enjoyed your writing style and am excited to see where you take this story. My com...

263Adder: Okay so I adore this story. I only knocked one star off plot for historical inaccuracies because I'm a bit of a stickler for that. The ending broke my heart though, considering you already changed history couldn't you (SPOILER) change it a bit more and have them together!!!! I want an alternative...

Fashakin Michael: I have looked for the right word to describe this piece of Art but I concluded with "Wow!" Every chapter held me glue till the last and the book is just the reflection of our environment with its reaction. Though the writeup is not far from what happens in home but the writer was able to hold me ...

FateFellShort: I have read this story and have followed the writers on tumblr from the beginning. Its a wonderful story. Beautifully written with a really nice pace, that makes it enjoyable to read more than once. For me, fairy tail has very good characters but what the writers have done is give them more depth...

Atractivo Sumit: The story is an amazing blend of what we call natural, plain romance along with subtle emotions and interesting twists. The plot is so beautifully interwoven.

This story wasn't for you ?
Look at our most viral stories!

FreakyPoet: "you made me laugh, made me cry, both are hard to do. I spent most of the night reading your story, captivated. This is why you get full stars from me. Thanks for the great story!"

The Cyneweard

Sara Joy Bailey: "Full of depth and life. The plot was thrilling. The author's style flows naturally and the reader can easily slip into the pages of the story. Very well done."

This story wasn't for you ?
Look at our most viral story!

Ro-Ange Olson: "Loved it and couldn't put it down. I really hope there is a sequel. Well written and the plot really moves forward."