Of Photographs and Flashbacks

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Memory 2 -

Draco continued to sit in the large tent after their meal, and continued to listen to some boring man prattle on and on about things that only an idiot would wish to hear, and he did it for one reason and one reason only. The only reason he was in this tent, instead of in his own, or out walking the grounds, was to be close to her…not that he would admit that to anyone.

Acting as if he was paying the utmost attention to the man’s story, he noticed that she really was paying attention. Her eyes sparkled as the man spoke to the group, and her lips curved into a smile when he said something witty, and a very strange thing happened at that exact moment - Draco’s cock twitched. He adjusted his trousers and moved slightly so that his legs were fully under the table before him. If anyone would ever see his embarrassing display of common gaucheness, over a mudblood no less, he would never live it down. He took a sip of butterbeer and as the mug was lowering to the table he splashed some on the surface, but no one noticed that, so he hoped no one noticed anything else amiss. He swiped the spillage with the sleeve of his shirt and continued to feign interest.

However, she went from paying attention to the man to reading the book in front of her. How smart of her to read instead of paying mind to the rest of the man’s boring tale. Her hair sparkled with golden hues from the light of the fire emitting from a lantern, which was only a hand’s width away from her. He noticed how swiftly her hand moved from her lap up to turn the page of her book. It moved silently, effortlessly, gracefully. She paused to stare at her nails. If they looked anything like his, they were probably a mess.

She rubbed at a blister on her index finger, and then moved her hands back to her lap, her face moving back to the page of her book, her hair falling down to curtain part of her face from his view.

He didn’t want to appear that he was staring at her, although he was, so he leaned back in his chair, balancing it on the back two legs, and propped his feet upon the corner of the table. With his new position, he affected ease, and placed his arms behind his head, and laughed along with the rest of the crowd when the man came to the end of his longwinded tale.

Hermione looked up from her book, smiled as well, and then took a deep breath. Glancing around the tent, she ended her pilgrimage at him. She stared at him. He stared at her. She stood up, moved her book toward the end of the table, and started to close it slowly, placing a small spray of pressed blue flowers between the pages to mark her spot.

Interesting. She had kept the flowers he had given her.

Then she left the tent.

Reasoning that a girl shouldn’t walk around the grounds of a completely safe and empty school unattended, Malfoy waited a few moments, righted his chair, placed his feet on the ground, announced to his mate Theo that he was going for a walk before retiring for bed, and then he too left the tent.

He saw her outlined figure walking amongst the shadows and moonbeams near what were once the greenhouses. He approached slowly, not wanted to scare her. They had been here together, at Hogwarts, helping with the renovation, for nearly two weeks, and he had yet to truly speak with her, although he wanted to talk with her very badly.

He wanted to ask her why she was here. He had heard from others that she was here because she thought it was her ‘civic’ duty. What a bunch of beetle dung. Civic duty, his arse. HE was only here because it was either this or house arrest for twelve months. He thought three months spent at Hogwarts, during the summer, moving around rocks and rubble in the Scottish countryside, was a cakewalk compared to a year locked up in a house that held more bad memories than good, where he would be all alone, (since his parents were both sentenced to prison) and where he had already spent almost a year previously in the shadows of hell.

Yes, that’s why Draco was here. Why was Hermione Granger here? Why was she REALLY here? He looked around for her, having temporarily lost her in the darkness of the night, when suddenly he spied her, dimly, walking toward him, with her head down. Her body looked so pale in the darkness. Her footsteps crunched and echoed on the path underneath her feet. He followed her path, coming upon her quickly. He was almost upon her when he asked the question that was on his mind. “Why are you here?”

She gasped, placed her hand on her chest, and looked up at him with a look that was part fear, part surprise. “You scared me,” she stated the obvious. “What did you say?”

“I asked if you’re cold out here?” he lied. He didn’t know why he lied. He lied all the time, so he never second guessed why he did it, yet with her, lying made him feel small and petty.

“It’s not very cold,” she contrived, although her hands went immediately to her arms and she began to rub them up and down briskly.

He raised one eyebrow, questioning her objections and her actions, but whether or not his sarcasm was wasted on her on such a dark night would not be known, because she amended, “It is a bit cold.”

“Why are you here?” he asked again.

She looked up at the sky. “I’m looking up at the stars. I’ve always thought they looked brighter here, more so than anywhere else in the world.”

“Hmm,” he contradicted slightly. “They look the same to me.” Still, he looked up at the sky, only because she was looking up at the sky. Hell, a sky was a sky was sky was a sky, right? No matter where it was.

She leaned closer to him and pointed upward and she rattled on about some nonsense, yet he couldn’t concentrate on a thing she said, because a small curl of her hair was actually touching his cheek, tickling his skin, setting his heart on fire. WHY WAS SHE HERE? “You shouldn’t be here,” he barked, well aware he was interrupting her little speech about the stars, and well aware he didn’t care if he interrupted her or not.

Folding her arms in front of her, she snorted. Snorted. Now, he either wanted to laugh at her or kiss her, because she SNORTED at him. How quaint. Before he could do either, or neither, she said, “I have every right to be here, Malfoy! I know you’ll never understand that! I know you’ll never accept that fact. We could fight a million wars, for a million years, yet someone like you will always think that someone like me is inferior to them, and you know what, I no longer care what you think!”

She started to storm away, only to clomp back toward him. She poked him in the chest with her index finger and said, “I used to care! I used to care so much that I would cry myself to sleep, wondering what I did to make people like you hate me, but I NO LONGER CARE!”

Somehow, he doubted that very much. He rather thought she still cared, or else she wouldn’t protest quite so much, furthermore, he knew that for some odd reason he cared. He never cared before, but suddenly, he cared very, very much now, and he knew that she still cared very, very much, too. That thought made him either want to weep or laugh aloud.

He laughed. That was probably the wrong thing to do, because Hermione Granger assumed he was laughing at her. She placed both hands on his chest and pushed him as hard as she could, which wasn’t very hard at all. “Would it kill you to be nice?” she shouted.

Was that truly her argument now? That he wasn’t NICE enough? Hell, of course he wasn’t nice. No one ever claimed he was nice, and it certainly wasn’t something that he strived to be. He frowned down at her, poked HER in the chest with his finger, and walked toward her on the path, so that she had to walk away from him, backwards.

“Nice? You want me to be, what…nice? I’m here in this forsaken hellhole that I thought I’d never have to be at again, I’m made to do manual labour, MANUAL, Granger, no magic, like some common Muggle, all because a bunch of people think I committed sins against humanity. I have to live in a tent with four other blokes, I have to do my own laundry, I have to eat food that a troll wouldn’t eat, AND I have to listen to long diatribes and boring stories every night because unlike you, I don’t even have a bloody book to read, and yet you want me to be nice? Why don’t you be nice, and let me read one of your book?”

He was embarrassed the moment it all came tumbling out of his mouth. The moment he said it he realized that he did want to be nicer. He felt extreme guilt that his punishment (which was not that bad) did not even begin to measure that of his crimes (which were horrible) yet he didn’t know what else to say to her, especially when her whole argument was based on the adage, ‘why aren’t you nicer?’ Only Hermione Granger would say something like that.

She turned around in a hurry and huffed away in the darkness. He continued to walk around the gravel worn path until he was certain his tent mates were sleeping. When he finally decided it was late enough to go to sleep, he pulled back the tent flap, and walked slowly over to his cot, throwing his body, without ceremony, down upon it.

“Ouch!” His hip hit something hard. He moved his body slightly, rolling over to his side, and he pulled at the hard object on which he landed. It was a book. Draco picked it up and moved to the edge of his bed. Hermione Granger must have given him one of her books.

Huh. Damn. She was nice. Now he would have to be nice in return. See, he did care. He really did.

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