Everything In Its Right Place

Chapter 5

Every Sunday afternoon, Draco Malfoy would appear at her house. She never implicitly invited him, he just showed up. He'd ask questions – mostly about some Muggle item that he had apparently noticed and was curious about. She found herself giving a history of space exploration, demonstrating a toaster, screening movies. She didn't ask him questions, and tried to be as even as possible. Though she found his coming and his queries quite amusing, she did not want to antagonize him. He apparently needed a friend, and had settled upon her.

She had told Harry, Ron, and Ginny about her frequent visitor. Ron declared he was barking, Ginny declared he was smitten, Harry was as puzzled as she was. But they all questioned why she allowed his visits to continue.

"He seems harmless enough," was her reply.

What she didn't tell them was that she had started growing quite fond of their visits, even found herself looking forward to them. Draco was quite intelligent, and she enjoyed their discussions. He never asked personal questions; they discussed concepts and ideas. They didn't always talk about Muggle contraptions; they had lengthy discourse about alchemy and potions, a subject they had both excelled in. He was not the conceited prig from their school days, but he was restrained. He never expressed any emotion aside from annoyance (usually when asking about Muggle business.) He never seemed happy to see her and she didn't know if he liked her at all, unless his visits were any sort of indication. But she liked him. She liked him more and more each week. It didn't hurt that he was so handsome, but she didn't like to think about that. That was just too complicated. But she always made sure she was home on Sunday afternoons.

Sometimes they didn't talk at all. One particular afternoon, she offered to loan him The Kite Runner, which she had recently finished. He had never read a Muggle book, and began reading it there on her couch. She set about knitting. This soon became common in their repertoire; he would occasionally bring a book and read, forgoing conversation. On those Sundays, she would go about her usual routine, or work on her case load.

This easy acquaintance went on for several months. Hermione didn't ask why he came, he didn't ask why she allowed him to come. But as time went on, she felt as though he was looking forward to their afternoons as much as she was. That thought made her pulse rush, but she kept it to herself.

In late summer, Draco was reading a copy of Transfiguration Today while Hermione read over some work files. Apropos of nothing, he asked, "What happened with you and Weasley?"

"Weasley and I are friends."

"Come now," he said, tossing his magazine aside. "It wasn't exactly a secret that you two were mooning over each other." He sounded somewhat disgusted.

She raised an eyebrow at him. "That is certainly none of your business."

After a moment, his expression softened, and he spoke again in a more congenial tone. "I assumed you two would end up together - I'm just surprised you didn't."

Hermione looked steadily at him, unsure of whether or not to answer. She decided he was genuinely curious and not malicious, and that she didn't begrudge his asking.

"Nothing happened, and that's the truth. All through school it seemed as if we were building up to…something," she felt a blush come over her cheeks. "And there was a moment that seemed like…like the beginning of something. But nothing came of it, and so…we're friends. That's all."

"A moment?" he asked archly.

She felt herself blushing more furiously. "A kiss, alright? It just happened, and that was it."

"Ugh," he said, picking up his magazine, "I'm sorry I asked." He was smirking though, so she let it pass.

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