Rating: R/NC-17 eventually
Fandom: Harry Potter
Disclaimers: I do not own any of these characters. JK is the lucky one who does, and she is our goddess
Author notes and ramblings: Pre-OotP, so I guess it’s AU now and Draco is ooc. I know it, I can admit it, but I like it this way.
Hermione was getting used to Malfoy. He wasn't just civil anymore, he was polite. They studied together quite frequently. It wasn’t just that they shared a common room, they also had a few advanced classes together. Lately, he had actually been friendly. Of course, he had a job to do. He had learned many spells that would be of use to him this year, and hopefully in those to come. Three times a week, he received an owl from his father, requesting information. He never sent an owl back empty handed. One spell that had proved infinitely useful was the Otocio spell. It enabled the user to be able to hear a twig snap a mile away. He could hear through the stone walls at Hogwarts, and also at the Manor.
To get the information he required he used his natural talents, sneakiness and charm. He had found that over the years, those skills had proved invaluable. He could always get his way, except where his father was concerned. Everyone else succumbed to his charm, his wealth, or sometimes his brute force. That's really all Crabbe and Goyle were good for. Together, they weren't qualified to be called a half-wit. Draco had given up trying to have a conversation with them years ago. It was more trouble than it was worth. They didn't seem normal. Just big, mindless zombies. Nor did they seem to be interested in anything, not even the girls at school.
To both Draco and Hermione's surprise, they found themselves talking frequently. He was surprisingly intelligent, nearly to her level. It was becoming more common for them to talk until the sun came up. No matter how many times it happened, she always seemed amazed. They never spoke to each other out of their common room, it just wouldn't look right. Draco never spoke of his father or Voldemort and she began to overlook his affiliation with them.
Whenever she saw him, she had his image in the forefront of her mind. It was almost as if it had been burned there. He thought of her as well, occasionally he watched. He had watched her sleep at night a few times. Draco decided never to tell her about it.
Halloween was a week away and there was excitement throughout the school. This year the school was throwing a masked Halloween Ball. It was a Friday night and Hermione had seemed a little preoccupied. She had been walking around for days in a kind of haze. She left Ron and Harry at dinner, saying that she was tired, "I'm just going to turn in early. See you tomorrow."
"Ok, see you tomorrow." both boys said simultaneously. "I hope she feels better tomorrow." remarked Harry, using his fork to push the chicken around his plate. "She wasn't even paying attention in Herbology today."
Ron rolled his eyes, “Who was?” he asked sarcastically as he remembered Dean accidentally knocking over Madame Sprout into a tray full of baby Mandrakes. Most of the class had managed to stuff their fingers into their ears and run out of the greenhouse before the cries had started. Seamus, Dean and Crabbe had not been so lucky and spent most of the day in the infirmary.
Draco looked up as Hermione stood. His eyes followed her as she took her leave. He waited a minute then excused himself as well. He reached the picture of the rolling hills and said, “Pickled Newt", the password to their quarters. He heard her muffled voice from behind her bedroom door. "Otocio." he said quietly, touching his wand to his ear.
Hermione was changing out of her school clothes. She had no intention of going to sleep but she just couldn't stay down there. Her thoughts were elsewhere and she had no intention of telling anyone who she was thinking of. She could hear Harry and Ron’s reaction in her head. As she slipped her pajamas on she muttered. "Why him? Draco Malfoy? He's evil incarnate!" she chuckled lightly, "Well, he's not that bad.’” Hermione sighed heavily, “Why can't I stop thinking of him?"
Draco stared at the massive oak door that separated Hermione and himself. He quickly cleared the spell and walked back to his room. If she thought about him half as much as he thought of her, this couldn't fail. He paced the floor a bit, trying to figure out what he wanted to do about this. He thought of her constantly, and according to what he had just heard… He stopped pacing and sat down on the edge of his bed. He stared at his door as if he was trying to see through his and hers as well. He could, of course, but he wasn’t thinking of spells at the moment. He was only thinking of her. He put his head into his hands and tried to think clearly.