Desire is Not Weakness

How does Draco sort out his feelings for Hermione Granger with an impending war? Students at Hogwarts are on edge, but will he be able to contain himself?

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5. Dared

“They’re really good,” I said softly, taking a seat beside her. I looked at her, but she refused to make eye contact with me. “I’m sorry,” I offered.

“No, it’s stupid.”

“Not about them,” I whispered. ‘For the five years of hell I’ve given you, for the names I’ve called you, the things I’ve done to you,’ I wanted to scream. ‘I’ve learned that blood is not a priority for me.’

“For what, then?” she hiccuped.

“For tearing you down to the point where you feel like you deserve someone like Weasley,” I said, a blank look coming over my face.

“You’ve always -” she began.

“I know … I know what you’re going to say. It’s not about blood. That’s the way I was raised, but not the way that I wish to grow up,” I tried to explain, “It’s like … learning your ABCs backward … and then arriving at school just to find you’ve been doing it wrong your entire life.”

“It’s not like that here, Draco,” she said, sending shivers down my spine at the sound of my own name. It was so strange, so foreign -- rarely used in such a calm town aside from Pansy’s, which I despised. “Here … there are so many people who still believe that. There’s no progress,” she said, looking at the floor again. “Z, Y, X … so simple, yet it threatens to destroy us.”

I wanted to scream. Despite what I had said, I couldn’t change what I had been instructed to do. My parents were continuously reinforcing the fact that it was ‘Z, Y, X’ and it always will be.

“I’ve spent a lifetime … tormenting …” I failed to formulate the proper words.

“You don’t have to …”

“He’s an idiot for what he’s done,” I said, trying to change the subject, watching as a weak smile formed on her tear-stained face. I averted my eyes as a couple entered the room, and I stood as I registered who it was.

“Oh,” squeaked a giggly voice, “Looks like this room is taken!” Latching on to the redhead standing beside her, she whispered in the boy’s ear and began to move his out of the nearest doorway.

“What are you doing with her?” the stocky Weasley boy asked, pulling away from the needy girl standing beside him. “I could ask you the same question,” I challenged. 

“What about the birds?” he asked, directly to Hermione. She stood, looked him sharply in the eye, and inhaled deeply.

“Oppugno,” she snapped as the birds darted towards Ron, who ducked in order to avoid them. He scrambled to Lavender, grabbing her arm and running away. Hermione stood tall but broke out in tears. Dropping to her knees, I kneeled to meet her eyes. “It’s just the beginning,” sniffed Hermione. What an optimist.

I honestly could not think of a good reason for telling her what I had. I was hopeless, she was hopeful. I was afraid to break her, she dared me to try. We were not, as one would suspect, such opposites after all. Actually, I guess I did have a reason. Though I was unsure if I would admit it to myself and positive that I was not going to admit it to her, I wanted Hermione Granger.

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