Confort in Confusion
Draco silently watched everyone from a distant corner in the Slytherin common room. He watched with annoyance as the people came and went. They were pathetic in his eyes. They thought of nothing more then their own lives, only connecting with him when they needed something. Most people looked at him and saw money, they never really took into consideration that the son of the Great Malfoy Household was just as talented as he was rich. Yes, his father's money and power came in handy to gather in the sheep, but he was able to gain just as easily on his own.
Hermione was hidden away from the world. The library was her sanctuary, her salvation and her solace. She had escaped here because she had endured entirely too much of Ron and Harry's fighting. She wanted to disappear for a time, so that she wouldn't have to face the choice of picking whose side she would be on. In the end it wasn't ever Harry's fault and she knew that; being made to pick was a cruel, inevitable fate that she truly couldn't avoid.
Draco got up with clenched fists as his mouth twisted into a toothy snarl. He came to realize that he was disgusted with the presence of the fakes around him. He hated them, and wanted to escape their choking inferiority. In spite of himself, the closeness that Potter has with his friends, or should he say had. The events that just recently happened, now left a crack in that little friendship. He wanted to exploit the situation but it wasn't possible right now. This allowed an opening to get closer to her, the other thing he wanted. She actually despised him so much that he could taste the venom on her lips when she spoke to him. Oh those lips: he could feel something in him sink in disappointment, it took all his strength to keep from leaning on the wall and dropping to the floor.
Hermione realized long ago that unpredictable and often unfortunate situations happen around Harry. He's a magnet attracting all kinds of bizarre events. That was becoming a problem, especially considering that Ron was like a piece of scrap iron, pulled inexorably toward Harry's chaos. Only now, Ron is becoming jealous of the attention that Harry is being showered with. Ron's problem was rooted in the fact that he had low self esteem and because of that he could never see Harry's discomfort with the attention that is forced on him. On the other side of that coin, Harry almost seemed to be envious of the fact that Ron could just be himself with no fear that someone would take a picture or write a passage in the paper about his private life. So in the end, neither noticed the other's suffering and there was no way for her to make them realize it, they would have to figure it out themselves.
Draco glanced out each window he passed. Leaving the common room was futile attempt to escape the people who put on heirs to be around him. Even if it was for a short time, he needed to get away. Had he always been this way? No, he never needed to run away. He got anything, could do everything, and it didn't matter what his attitude or behavior was. His parents, even weak people around him would just give in and do what he wanted. There were times that he would have to fight for the object he wanted, but most often it was just given to him. He never believed that he would be so disgusted with who he surrounded himself with because he had chosen them to be there and he would never purposefully put anyone he hated around himself. This brought on dark thoughts as now there was something he wanted and there was no way for him to make that her to bend to him.
"And in their ignorance are making me suffer more," Hermione whisper, fighting back tears. She would lose herself in her work, that was a simple task. She looked over the scrolls that she had brought with her. She took her quill and scribbled notes in the margins of the assignment scrolls. The sound of the library, even if they were only ever so slight, prevented Hermione from slipping into a state of focus. The sigh of undeniable defeat came deep from her chest and echoed in the grand library. There was no one to disturb this late in the evening but this didn't stop her from slapping her hands over her mouth in embarrassment. Thankfully no one was witness to this act.
"UGH!" He recoiled back in disgust of himself. He couldn't continue this line of thinking, it was damaging to everything he needs to be. He could feel the bile catch in his throat at the thought of losing everything. How could some one so prominent desire the one thing that he worked against. His father made it clear from Draco's youth that he would only be with someone when it would gain for their family and nothing less. His father would be disgusted with him. No, not drastic enough, to drill it into Draco's head how severe this thought process could damage his family, his father would disown him.
The sounds of the doors opening and shutting didn't really bother Hermione because Filch was often coming through the library in the evening making sure there were no unauthorized students snogging in the darken aisles. The sound had a different effect though it snapped her back into reality and made her realize that she had simply been rereading the same paragraph the whole time. She wasn't going to get any work done if she kept letting those two get in her way of studying. She pushed herself up slowly as she tried to remember what book shelf she had gotten the book from.
Draco opened the door slowly, "What?" He was surprised that he made his way there. He entered quietly. Only designated students were allowed here at this time. He would take his chance and made his way in.
Hermione stared carefully at the index of the book. She was flip flopping on the issue of whether it fulfilled the requirements she was trying to outline in her assignment. In a reaction to a sudden chill, she be came hyper aware that the footsteps that echoed around her. They were lighter then those of the grounds keeper's. She tried not to let it bother her as she couldn't possibly be the only student with special authorization. She resigned herself to the book in hand but decided that since she was up there could be a few more that could be helpful.
Draco hadn't really bothered to come here often. Most of the time he could send someone to fetch the books he needed for papers, but right now there was a calm comfort atmosphere here. Though, he would never really admit that to anyone. He listened to see if others were around, but the place was pretty empty except, he listened again hearing books shifting and moving. That wasn't a ghost, no, he raised a brow curiously. There was someone else here, someone else seeking the comfort of this despairing atmosphere. He stepped lightly as not to disturb anything around him so that he may spy on the person.
The footsteps had stopped and the person must of found a spot to work, she thought as she took another book off the shelf and flipped through it. "Truly," Hermione slipped into thought and spoke softly to herself ,"There is no reason to react just because you have a chill, considering all that you have seen dealing with ghost, goblins, and monsters. Here you are in a school for witches and wizards and you freak out a bit because of a little shiver? Or maybe it was because someone terrible was thinking about me." Draco, she shivered at the thought of him, "how one person could have so much hatred for people just because they weren't pure, but in this day and age, being pure blood was as ridicules as, well being racist, cause that is really exactly what it was. The worst part about it was they were thinning their own blood out by the simple act of not introducing new blood lines." She snapped out of her thoughts and sniffed the air for a moment. There was a sudden scent of cologne in the air. It wasn't a smell she was really familiar with but it caused her to become uncomfortable. To settle her nervous, she whispered to herself, "In reality, I have managed to surpass any one of the pure bloods at this school. Am I not an example of why everyone should be given a chance?"
Draco felt a wicked grin slip over his lips, but a sharp pain struck his chest. He remembered his mother's words of simply finding someone who was brilliant, a shining star, were her carefully chosen words. Someone who was strong and could take any challenge head on. Mother would have never approved of that thing. He kept trying to convince himself of that. No mother would ever approve of anything, but the best. The situation was confusing because she had never paired him, betrothed. In fact, she had not even set up marriage meetings. Was that a sign? He was just staring at the girl before him. If he was suppose to pick only the best wouldn't that be who his mother picked? Instead he was given a false sense of freedom to chose because if he picked the best he would be disowned.
"You're stronger then that old girl," the simple comfort that she had tried to strive for in her talk had become something more, now she was just convincing herself she was good enough to be at Hogwarts. "You are as good as any of them and smarter too. No one should treat you that way. You are on the same level as they are; so what if I'm was pure blood or not."
"No," Draco's voice hissed behind Hermione, "That is where you are wrong, mug blood, you will never be the same level as us. Even your precious Potter has some pure blood in him. YOU, on the other hand lack any sophistication of our kind." Draco could feel his father's influence surface, this was who his father trained him to be. He was to be the head of the family and he couldn't let this fool make him waiver.
"Draco," Hermione spoke his name as if it was a curse. Turning to meet him face to face, she soon realized that he was far too close to her. Their eyes met, he was taller then her, but that made no difference, he seemed to have position himself to meet her eye to eye. She realized he had pinned her in the corner with his arms, they almost resting on her shoulders. "You don't belong here, in fact, I am sure that you don't have the permission to be here at this time. Move before I make you regret that you even came here," she stiffened her reserve and tried to push his arm out of her way but he shrugged her attempt away. With his shrugs, she tried to grab for her wand and was struck with the realization that she left it was sitting on the table with her assignment.
"Yes, so you finally noticed, that I am far stronger," he could feel his heart beating quickly as he spoke. What was his plan, why had he even attempted to come this close to her, his mind raced as his mouth ran away in a different direction, "If I wanted to I could have ended you right now …what makes it extremely interesting is, would anyone really miss you? Miss know it all, has to always be right and correcting everyone… no I don't think anyone would really miss you." He took in a breath but never broke eye contact and he shifted his hand so that she could see the wand in his hand, "How does that make you feel? Hmm."
Hermione was shocked by his boldness, the hatred in his eyes was piercing, but the problem was even though there was hatred a flicker of loneliness or sadness shown through, "Leave me be Draco, I have done nothing to you." She again tried to push away from him, but he only drew closer to her, "What is wrong with you, if you did anything to me….everyone would know it was you!" She felt uncomfortable and trapped. If she would just let the books drop, she could get away but that could lead to a chase and what were her chances of reaching her wand before he hit her? The best answer she could calculate was to hold the books up as a wall against him.
"Would they know it was me, really?" Draco shifted as he let his wand's end play with some of the strands of her hair. He focused on that action for a moment, it was so simple and yet, he couldn't help it, something compelled him to. He had no plan when he came here and seeing her alone seemed to be a sick twist fate. The one he was really trying to escape was now before him.
"I am sure someone saw you come in here and not to mention I would not go down without a fight," she tried to assess the situation but with him so close and the wand in his hand playing with her hair; it muddled up her thoughts. She was at a lose of why he was doing this to her, hadn't he already done enough? His goons were not here so no one to show off for, so why now?
"No one saw me come in, it's late and no student without an authorization pass would even dare to come out of their rooms," he said it now looking over her features. He had never dared to take the time to admire her. He struggled with that voice of his father preaching hatred and the sweet words of his mother talking of finding the one. Hermione Grainger was a thing he was suppose to hate. He had been taught that the mugbloods were waste of magical talent and skills. They could never do as good as pures and were a stain on this society. "And yet," he let the words slip out slowly as his free hand suddenly caressed her cheek slowly. She was everything his family wanted in a woman for him, beyond talented, intelligent and ever adapting, but was the on thing they hated.
Hermione had become a statue as he caressed her cheek. She was at a lose of what was happening. This was the boy who hated and despised her very existence and yet right now his hand and eyes showed no signs of the poisoned mind set he was famous for having. It wasn't unheard of people acting like this, but that was to trap the victim once their guard was down. She felt a little panic and moved the books higher and figured this was best as any to try again, she steadied her thoughts and words, "Draco. Leave me…"
"Shh," he placed his fingers on her lips, "I just need this from you…" he leaned in and his lips came closer to hers, but he stopped just before touching hers. He just needed this and he could return to his old self. He would have satiated the curiosity and desire of having her for a moment. That would be his promise to himself, do this now and forget it afterwards, that's the answer. That was why he had come here, it was to take back what was his. He would take back his soul, she had taken it some how and this would get it back. His mind would never again wander onto her image or voice.
Hermione tried to pull away but with the book case against her back and the wand at her head, she would have to calculate her actions well. She had been lost in thought for a moment too long when she realized he had just stopped centimeters before her lips, but what drew her attention away from her fear and shock was the tears now running down his cheeks. Slowly balancing her wall of books to one arm and searching her pockets, she found her embroidered handkerchief. There was no fear in her now, she felt almost empowered by the vision before her. Ever so slowly she gently began dabbing away his tears. In addition, almost like a mother to a small child, she tried to comfort him, "It's okay, crying can be…"
He opened his eyes slowly and stared at her. Why was she doing this, he was cruel to her, she was suppose to hate him and in this moment of weakness she should be laughing at him. He said terrible things to her and yet here she was comforting him. Her cooing as soft as his mother's when she had comforted him in a time of need. He pushed her hand gently away from his face and pulled her close with his other hand. Resting the wand hand at the small of her back, he could control her enough to drop the books and allow him to rest his head on her shoulder.
Hermione was looking around to see if there was anyone around. This was a moment one would use to exploit their enemy but something inside of her couldn't do it. She had dropped the books out of a reaction of his strength in grabbing her, but now he rested his head on her shoulders. It was as if there was something that she should know, but there were no words she could use to explain the situation, so in response to her curiosity she let the events continue.
"Why you?" he let the words escape his lips. "I am suppose to hate, despise and want nothing more then to see you hung out to dry…" the pause he made allowed him to meet her eyes again, "And yet even with my empty words I can't really bring the pain on myself. All I can do is rely on others to do it for me." He suddenly gripped her face, "Do you see what I am saying? Can you possibly understand what it is you do?" He suddenly let her go almost like flinging her away.
Hermione shifted and gently rubbed her cheeks where he had dug his fingers into her flesh, "You are bloody mad right now. You are like an animal that has been bagged, dragged and dumped in the middle of nowhere! You'll attack anything even someone who is being kind to you!"
Suddenly Draco was upon her like a cat on a mouse, "That's right, I am unpredictable so use that as a reason to forget this night. It was a mistake but somewhat relieving for me, but I swear if I hear anything about this I will make sure that the empty threats I made are fulfilled." He drew close once more but lost nerve and ran away from her.
Hermione dropped to the floor as her knees lost their strength to hold her up and she could only stare at Draco run away from her. What had just happened? She looked around but there was no one around to bare witness. She had been scared that he was going to kiss her, but…She looked down at her hands and realized that there were tears on them. Out of habit she grabbed for her handkerchief and realized it was gone. "Draco must of taken it with him when he fled," she shook her head trying to recompose herself.
Draco had made it into the shadows near the doors when Filch had entered with his cat. Grasping the handkerchief tight, he eased his breathing and tried to stop the trembling in his legs. He had done something. He had in some way managed to get something back. He could feel himself gain more of his composure and as soon as the lantern casts shadows down the other aisles, Draco made his escape.
The sounds of footsteps through the aisles alerted Hermione that she needed to get up and get back to her table. With no second thought she found herself sitting at her table with a pen in hand and Filch walking past her with a lantern in one hand and his pride and joy rubbing around his ankles.
"Hmm," Filch looked at her and waited.
Hermione instinctively held up her authorization scroll for him to look at and once finished he returned her scroll. He made some grumbling noise as he handed it back to her but said nothing to the fact that she was there.
Draco was leaning against the wall opposite the doors to the library. He couldn't really grasp what he had done, but he knew it was something that had led him to getting some peace of mind. He slipped to the floor and gently sobbed with relief.
She put the pen down once Filch was gone and stared at the paper before her, but that was not what was on her mind. Suddenly, in a response to an involuntary action that was never taken, she shot up, gathered all her books and headed out of the library. She had realized what he was saying to her. It wouldn't have mattered if she did tell anyone; no one would believe her. As she scurried out of the library, she glanced before her to make sure she wouldn't run someone down; there was a shadow of a person before her, but before she could focus on the figure, the shadow had faded from view.
Draco moved quickly out of her sight and back into the shadows as not to draw anymore attention to himself. He had become accustom to fading away and with the handkerchief in his hand now, he had this memory so that she wouldn't haunt his thoughts anymore. As she moved away, toward her house, he took this as a sign that everything was going well and nothing would ever be revealed by either of them to anyone else nor to each other again.
Hermione paused a moment and sighed. This reaffirmed it. He had meant what he said and he had waited for her to leave to make sure she was okay. She took a deep breath. These days were getting weirder and weirder. Maybe if she went to bed this very confusing confession would be cleared out. Her mind would need to be focused if she was going to handle the rest of the year. Hell, if she was going to deal with Harry and Ron she would need the clearest mind. "Yes," she whispered as she began to enter the common room, focusing on them would allow her to put this night away in her conscience.
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