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Draco opened his eyes to the velvety green drapery edged with silver that cocooned his bed. Beyond, the faint sounds of the others waking—sheets rustling, springs creaking, feet sliding into slippers—reached his ears. He stretched, back bowing, and let out a quiet, drawn out half-yawn, half-mewl of pleasure as he reveled in the loosening of his muscles. Smiling, he threw the sheets and coverlet off and sat up.

 

Winter hols began tomorrow. Winter hols and Christmas and presents and praise from his father because he’d never done better in school or at Quidditch, Hermione Granger and Harry Potter’s successes in those respective areas notwithstanding.

 

Relaxing his mouth into his usual grumpy scowl—Draco was not typically a morning person—he pulled open the bed drapes and swung his legs over. Looking down at the floor, he frowned, for real this time.

 

“Goyle, where are my slippers?” he groused.

 

Crabbe approached instead, supple leather slippers in hand. “Sorry, Draco. Greg had to, er. Well, something he ate last night?”

 

Draco rolled his eyes and snatched the slippers, dropping and sliding his feet into them. He didn’t bother making the obvious crack about all the possible things that could be causing Goyle’s upset stomach. He had a prefect meeting to get to, the last for blessed weeks.

 

He quashed another smile and got ready for the last day of the term.


“In short, I think all the House Elves should be given gifts,” Granger finished, a determined set to her strong little chin. Belatedly, she beamed. “Don’t you agree?” She took a sip of tea and looked around the Ravenclaw’s table in the Great Hall where they gathered that week before breakfast.

 

Weasley looked confused, as per usual. “But wouldn’t that free them all, and I thought—”

 

“No, Ronald,” Granger huffed, and Draco had to grin at that, her bossiness more amusing when directed at the ginger sod. “I didn’t say clothing, I said...”

 

Draco let his head drop back and rolled his neck. Granger always had to bring up some completely irrelevant business at meeting’s end as if none of them had better things to do. Well, she couldn’t make him listen, at least. He tapped his feet and looked at the conjured snow softly falling, the dazzling Christmas tree, the shimmering fairy lights.

 

Then his eyes roved to study more wondrous things, like Cho Chang’s pouty lips, Pansy’s long eyelashes, and Granger’s ample chest before he realized he was staring at Hermione Granger’s chest.

 

He jumped when he noticed the others getting up to leave and blinked stupidly a moment. Granger raised an eyebrow but said nothing, swallowing the last of her tea and putting the cup down. Gathering his bag to head over to the Slytherin table, Draco stood at last, Pansy grumbling in his ear. “At the Parkinson estate, the House Elves give us gifts,” she said in a voice just above a whisper.

 

Granger scowled and opened her mouth, presumably to retort, but Weasley intervened, a hand on her shoulder. Draco snorted his laughter and shared a smirk with Pansy. As he swung his leg over the bench and turned to go, his eyes fell on Granger’s teacup.

 

There, at the cup’s bottom, he saw the leaves form the stark figure of a raven, black against the porcelain.

 

Divination was one of Draco’s best subjects, and he didn’t even have to try very hard at it. What moron had to? He recognized the supposed omen instantly and snickered.

 

“Hey Granger, I’d be careful, if I were you,” he grinned, gesturing at the cup. “Your tea leaves say you’re going to die.” He shrugged as if it were nothing to him. “Might want to get those House Elf gifts sorted.” With one last smile, he joined Pansy, prepared to go about his day.

 

“Shame Tasseomancy’s a load of rubbish, but thanks for your concern, Malfoy!” Granger called cheerily to his back.


“No, no, you add the lacewing after the newt and stir counterclockwise.” Draco pointed to a spot in the Potions book and shook his head, frustrated. Daphne’s little sister, Astoria, flushed and Vanished the contents of her cauldron for the second time that afternoon. He didn’t understand it; she was a smart enough girl. Why did she keep mucking up this basic level potion? He ran his hand through his hair and sat back down, casting Tempus to check the time. Soon his own Potions class would be starting.

 

The door to the classroom slammed open, and Crabbe and Goyle came crashing through. Astoria knocked over the jar of fish eyes, which went rolling over the desktop. Draco caught a few. “Bloody hell, what is it?” he snapped.

 

“It’s Hermione Granger…” Goyle trailed off, looking more dumbfounded than usual.

 

“What? Did she manage to free all the House Elves?” Draco said wryly. Beside him, Astoria giggled.

 

Goyle stared at the floor. “She’s been killed.”

 

“What?!” Draco leaped to his feet, knocking over his stool. Crabbe and Goyle were too thick to be playing sordid jokes on their own; it must be true.

 

Something stabbed at Draco from the inside, beak-like. “Who, how?” The Dark Lord had been defeated, all known rogue Death Eaters captured, killed, or, like his father, “reformed.”

 

“An accident,” Crabbe clarified. “An icicle fell from the Astronomy Tower, they think.”

 

Draco almost fell, forgetting there was no seat beneath him. Astoria righted the stool, and he sat, nauseous. He could feel whatever color there was to his skin draining from his face.

 

Astoria touched his hand lightly. “Are you all right? I didn’t know you were, er, friendly with Granger.”

 

“I’m not,” he murmured and withdrew his hand.

 

Coincidence. It was a coincidence, what he saw in the teacup.

 

Goyle’s voice cut through his thoughts. “Classes have been cancelled for the rest of the day. Snape said as a prefect you’re supposed to report to him for further instructions.”

 

Draco nodded. His hands curled into fists, confusion turned to anger, which was a much easier feeling. Granger just had to go and ruin the fucking holidays, didn’t she?


The rest of the day passed by in a blur of meetings with professors and the headmaster, followed by the corralling of grieving and/or gossiping students. Dinner was a subdued affair, a sort of makeshift memorial where teary-eyed staff and students spoke about Granger (or tried to), and they were informed they’d all be coming back from hols a day early for a proper memorial. Potter and Weasley both looked as if they’d been hit multiple times with Stunners.

 

Now Draco lay in bed, thinking about his mood upon waking that morning and how utterly fucked the day had gotten thanks to a bloody icicle and bloody Granger standing in the wrong place at the wrong time.

 

He wished he’d never seen that stupid teacup with the stupid dregs that looked like a stupid raven.

 

Coincidence. The word echoed in his head like wind blowing through a cave, in ghostly gusts.

 

And anyway, it wasn’t his fault. Even if Tasseomancy wasn’t utter shite—which it was—seeing the sign didn’t mean he caused the icicle to break off from the Astronomy Tower and crack Granger’s skull.

 

Draco shuddered and turned onto his side. Tomorrow he’d be going home, and, aside from the endless Prophet articles sure to be written, thoughts like these would leave him.

 

Because he didn’t care. He. Did. Not.


The next morning, Draco opened his eyes to the same green and silver drapery overhead but without the feeling of excitement that typically filled him on a day of homecoming. He sighed and rubbed at his eyes, disturbed when afterimages of the raven troubled his vision.

 

All would be well as soon as he stepped off the train and saw his parents, he was sure.

 

He shoved the drapes aside, only slightly surprised to find his slippers missing once again. The evening hadn’t exactly been a usual one, not even in Slytherin house. He looked around for Goyle but couldn’t find him.

 

“Sorry, Draco,” Crabbe said, slippers in hand. “Greg’s not, er, feeling well. Something he ate.”

 

Draco frowned. “Again? I didn’t think he ate much last night for a change.”

 

Crabbe’s prodigious brow furrowed. “Same as always, I thought.”

 

Draco shook his head, ignoring his friend’s increasing density of mind in favor of going about his day. He showered, dressed, and put a few last minute things into his trunk to tidy up.

 

Theodore Nott entered the room and approached, looking over his glasses at Draco’s activities. “What are you doing?”

 

“What do you think I’m doing?” Was everyone daft from grief?

 

Theo shrugged. “I just came to pass on a message from Pansy. She says you’re going to be late for the prefect meeting if you don’t ‘hurry your arse up,’” he air-quoted.

 

Yes, everyone had gone barmy. Or was playing what even Draco would consider to be an insensitive prank.

 

“Honestly.” Draco slammed the lid of his trunk shut and stormed out. Pansy was waiting for him in the common room, hands on her hips.

 

“Let’s go, Draco. I don’t want to have to listen to another one of Granger’s lectures on punctuality.”

 

His jaw tightened. “Granger,” he grit, a challenge, not a question.

 

Pansy rolled her eyes. “Yeah,” she affirmed, “duh” the clear subtext.

 

Draco knew he had said and done some cruel things in his life, some of which he felt bad for, some of which he didn’t. This game was something else, not to mention that the reason behind it was beyond his comprehension.

 

Fine,” he managed. “Let’s go.” Let’s see how far his housemates would take this and what, exactly, they were up to. And why.

 

Pansy acted perfectly natural as they made their way to the Great Hall, even repeating the same rumors and worries she’d expressed the day before (Daphne was getting better grades; Theo wasn’t returning her affections; Weasley and Granger had broken up—Draco’s jaw muscles twitched at the casual reference to Granger—Potter’s broom wasn’t regulation; Ginny Weasley knew a thing or two about Potter’s broom, if Draco knew what Pansy meant).

 

By the time they reached their destination, Draco was confused as ever and nauseous again to boot. On top of that, he noted prefects from other houses entering the Hall. So it’s not just the Slytherins. He shook his head, angry and annoyed to have to deal with this when things had already been ruined.

 

And then he saw her.

 

Granger. Alive. Drinking tea and talking with Cho Chang, hands animated.

 

Draco stopped suddenly, Pansy having moved on ahead, oblivious.

 

Which is when Luna Lovegood walked into him.

 

“Oh, Draco. My apologies. Sometimes I get distracted by…are you all right? The nargles are positively swarming—”

 

“She’s not dead.”

 

“Who’s not?” She followed his gaze. “Hermione? No. Were you expecting her to be? You shouldn’t feel bad. Sometimes I expect people to be dead so that I’m quite happy when they’re not.”

 

Draco turned a confounded gaze on Luna. He blinked. “It was a dream. I was dreaming.” He laughed, thinking it would be an expression of relief, but it sounded more like mania.

 

Luna tilted her head. “Dreams can be clearer than reality, it’s true,” she began, but Draco was rushing over to the table where the other prefects gathered.

 

Eyes fixed on Granger, Draco squeezed past his fellow prefects until he was standing beside Weasley, who looked at him askance. “Problem, Malfoy?”

 

Draco caught the genuine concern beneath the annoyance in Weasley’s voice. He supposed he wasn’t hiding his shock well, and it didn’t help matters when everyone else sat down for the meeting but him.

 

“Do you have an announcement, Malfoy?” Granger asked, still alive, solid, unghostly Granger.

 

He blinked and licked his lips, heart thudding. “I-I...no.” He looked around for a seat, but it was like his eyes couldn’t see anything but Granger and her tea.

 

“You can sit here, Draco,” came a soft voice, and a gentle hand curled around his elbow, guiding him down to the bench so that he sat between Weasley and Lovegood. Luna smiled at him.

 

Throughout the meeting, he uttered little more than acknowledgements, half-listening to the same duty talk from yesterday. Or, well, the first version of today because what the fucking fuck?

 

He was still waiting to wake up, for the joke to be revealed, the elaborate scheme to be explained. That, or to be taken away to the Janus Thickey Ward at St. Mungo’s.

 

Clearly either he’d gone mad, or the world had. Draco didn’t know which he preferred, or if there was really a difference.

 

Granger was making her House Elf gift-giving speech. Discussion followed.

 

She lifted the teacup.

 

Without thinking, Draco shot up from his seat, swiped the cup from her hand, and dashed it on the ground where it shattered.

 

Gasps.

 

“Are you mad?” Weasley barked, drawing his wand. Granger simply stared at Draco, open-mouthed.

 

An odd sense of elation stole over him. “This meeting’s gone on long enough. Again. I’ve got things to do,” he added, and strode out of the Great Hall.


Draco lay curled in a tight ball on his bed.

 

He was waiting.

 

For his sanity to return. For nothing to happen. For Granger to not die because it was a different fucking day. For tomorrow to get here so he could go home and hug his mum.

 

A knock.

 

“Draco?” It was Daphne Greengrass. He sighed.

 

“Come in, Daph.”

 

He unfurled himself and sat up, not caring that his hair was mussed, his clothes rumpled. Daphne entered and joined him, sitting primly on the bed.

 

“You made quite a stir this morning,” she laughed lightly, but Draco could see the worry in her eyes. He did not reply.

 

“I don’t know what’s going on, but I wish you would have told me you wouldn’t be able to help my sister with her Potions work. She’s been waiting ten minutes.”

 

Draco pressed fingers to his temples and rubbed. He’d honestly forgotten. “Sorry. I’ll help her after hols, I promise.” He was 65% sure he could keep that promise.

 

Daphne nodded. A small smile quirked her lips. “Don’t tell her I told you, but she doesn’t really need the help. She just fancies you.”

 

He laughed, feeling a bit lighter. “Sweet, but she’s a little young for my tastes. And she would endear herself to me more if she didn’t attempt to woo me by wasting my time and pretending to know less than she does.”

 

“She’s trying to get a head start, but noted on the latter point.” She knocked her heels together where they swung above the floor. “Sure you’re all right?”

 

It felt like the day had wore on, but he hadn’t checked the time recently. “Maybe.”

 

Daphne slid off the bed. “Well come on then. Time for Potions.”

 

His stomach roiled. At least two sets of footsteps approached the sixth year boys’ dorm.

 

Crabbe and Goyle. Draco’s fingers clenched the bedspread.

 

Draco knew it before Goyle opened his mouth.

 

“It’s Hermione Granger. She’s been killed.”


Green, silver.

 

Draco didn’t move, just listened. Just thought.

 

The day before had passed as the first version of it had, with little variation. Shock. Grief. Sleep.

 

Given his odd behavior that morning, he had expected questioning, though he had a ready alibi in Daphne. He’d even asked a few nonchalant questions of Snape, who told him they were certain it was an unfortunate accident, and was Draco all right?

 

Having skipped every meal or done little more than moved food around on his plate, Draco had gone straight to bed, hoping the dream, madness, illusion, joke, whatever, would pass.

 

Lying in bed this (next? same?) morning, the usual sounds came, nothing to distinguish the day from any other.

 

Draco sat up. Moved the drapes aside.

 

No slippers.

 

Crabbe, with slippers.

 

Draco got dressed and headed for the Great Hall.


It was no surprise to see that Granger was the first to arrive. Already she was sipping tea as Draco walked up and sat beside her. She looked at him suspiciously, one brow lifting.

 

“Look, I don’t really care, but...” he paused, wondering exactly how to put this so that he didn’t sound mad as a hatter (which there was still a chance he may very well be). She needed to believe so that the world, his world, would be set to rights, sod it all.

 

She sipped more tea.

 

He was going to skip the Tasseomancy business altogether, that’s what he was going to do.

 

“You’ve got to watch where you’re going today.”

 

Both her brows lifted.

 

“It’s not me, but I’ve heard some younger Slytherins are planning a prank on the other houses. Something outside. So, just, stay inside today.” There, that sounded feasible and not crazy.

 

Brows now lowered, eyes narrowed, Granger nodded slowly. “Right. And you’re warning me because you suddenly care so much?”

 

She had a point.

 

Other students began filtering in for the meeting, so Draco picked the first response he thought she might buy.

 

“Granger, I’m doing my best with this whole post-Dark Lord-defeat-thing, and I thought you’d be a good place to start. Mending fences and all that,” he rushed out.

 

As Cho Chang and Weasley approached, talking Quidditch, Granger offered Draco a half smile. “I appreciate it, Draco. Harry, Ron, and I have to go to Hagrid’s, but we’ll be on the lookout.”

 

Draco returned her smile weakly and joined an aggravated Pansy. All he could do was hope it had been enough.

 

But as the meeting ended and he caught another glimpse of her tea leaves, he knew it wouldn’t be.


On the fourth day (or the fourth version of the same bloody day), Draco decided enough was enough.

 

He went to see the headmaster.

 

After obtaining the password from Snape, Draco sat in Dumbledore’s office, sucking on a lemon drop and watching the slumbering assortment of former headmasters as he waited.

 

“Draco, what brings you here? You’re having an exceptional year, so I’ve been told.” Draco startled in his chair as Dumbledore emerged from the recesses of his office and sat before him.

 

Exceptional is exactly the problem, Draco thought and straightened. “Yes, sir. Thank you. I am experiencing...something odd lately, however,” he said, cutting to the chase. “Something involving Hermione Granger, I think.” Draco had considered the possibility that Granger’s death had nothing to do with time repeating, but had discounted the idea relatively quickly due to the significance of the event.

 

“Oh?” Dumbledore templed his fingers and leaned forward.

 

“You see,” Draco swallowed. The headmaster smiled encouragingly. “This day keeps repeating, the day before winter hols. And I’m the only one aware of it, as far as I can tell.” He waited for Dumbledore to laugh, to suggest it was the stress of schoolwork, potion fumes, anything that Draco himself had considered, including insanity.

 

“You mentioned Miss Granger?” he prompted instead.

 

Draco breathed out and nodded. “She dies. Every day. I’ve tried to stop it.”

 

“That is quite a burden,” Dumbledore intoned, sitting back.

 

“Quite a burden?” Draco repeated to himself, struck by the absolute lack of shock the headmaster was exhibiting.

 

“Y-yes,” Draco agreed.

 

The headmaster stroked his beard and thought a moment while Draco gripped the arms of his chair.

 

“I think it will turn out all right in the end,” Dumbledore said finally, smiling once again, eyes twinkling pleasantly, knowingly, irritatingly, behind the half-moon spectacles. He stood, and Draco followed him to the stairs.

 

“But, what if—”

 

“I’m confident you will find the way, Mr. Malfoy.” He patted Draco on the back. “Good luck!”

 

Draco nearly stumbled down the stairs, dazed and still sucking on a lemon drop.

 

At least he knew there were people crazier than he was.


Draco lost count of the days as he awoke again and again to no slippers and a prefect meeting.

 

After his disappointing meeting with Dumbledore, he tried going to Snape, who simply sent him to Pomfrey. He even tried Trelawney, who nodded sagely and told him he couldn’t change what was foretold.

 

He didn’t bother with Potter or Weasley; they’d never listen in a million years. Granger was clearly the reasonable one of the trio, and telling her had done no good.

 

He remembered Lovegood, and she was unsurprisingly open to the revelation that he’d been reliving the same day where one of her friends died over and over. However, it seemed Granger wouldn’t even listen to one of her own friends. Not that he blamed her.

 

He was on his own.

 

One “day” he decided to be more proactive. Less talk, more action.

 

After breakfast, he followed Granger. He heard her tell Potter and Weasley that she was going to stop by the library to return some books and seized his chance. He passed her and found a quiet hallway off the one that led to the library to wait. He cast a quick Disillusionment charm, and as soon as he saw her, alone, he whispered, “Expelliarmus!”

 

Surprised, she didn’t have time to see or react before he’d followed up with a Full Body-Bind curse. He caught her as she fell, stiff, grabbed her wand from the floor and dragged her down the hallway, along another, and into a closet. He carefully propped her up inside, pocketed her wand, closed the door, and locked it.

 

She wouldn’t be happy, but she’d be safe.

 

He’d return for her in the morning the next day (the real next day, he was confident), or, more likely, tip off her friends. He was sure she hadn’t seen it was him. No one had seen, and no one would be able to find her.

 

At a safe distance, Draco lifted the Disillusionment charm and headed off to find Astoria Greengrass, whistling along the way.

 

He was going to “help” her with Potions, whether she needed it or not.


Except Granger had been found, somehow, as if someone had had a map and followed it straight to her. She’d been found, and she’d gone outside with Potter and Weasley, and the icicle had fallen, and she’d died.

 

Bloody fucking hell.

 

Given Granger’s brief time in the closet, this time rumours were stronger that foul play was involved, but the headmaster and professors assured them all that the way the ice had detached from the tower had been quite natural. Tragic, but natural.

 

At dinner that night, after those who would had spoken, Draco shook his head at the absurdity, the randomness of it all. He shook his head and couldn’t stop, and then he was laughing and couldn’t stop, and other students began glaring or worrying over him, and Madam Pomfrey led him from the Great Hall. He confessed he put Granger in the closet to keep her safe, and the matron looked on with concern.

 

He fell asleep in the hospital wing but awoke in his bed with no slippers and a prefect meeting to attend as usual.


It was time to go outside, to see it happen.

 

To stop it from happening, he had to know exactly how, exactly where...exactly everything.

 

Draco may never have liked Hermione Granger, but he never truly wanted to see her die. He’d never realized it until he was faced with her death. And here it was, over and over.

 

Instead of tutoring Astoria, he put on his coat, scarf, and furred hat, and followed Granger outside on her way to Hagrid’s with Potter and Weasley.

 

It didn’t take long.

 

The day was bright, brisk, sun glittering in snow, and Draco saw a flash in the air, movement, and he clenched his eyes shut despite his mission.

 

There wasn’t even a scream.


Draco was prepared this time. There’d be no mistakes.

 

He held his wand by his side surreptitiously and crunched in the snow not more than three paces behind Granger, Potter, and Weasley.

 

With precision and perfect timing, he cast a Cushioning charm right above Granger’s head.

 

And saved her.

 

He saved her.

 

She gasped as the icicle hit the ground and cracked to pieces. Potter and Weasley joined her in staring at Draco, wide-eyed.

 

“Did you just—what just happened?” Potter asked, a hint of suspicion creeping into his voice.

 

But Draco couldn’t be bothered to care. He watched the sun glint on the icicle shards a moment. Finally, he looked up, eyes locking with Granger’s. He shrugged.

 

“Saw an icicle about to kill Granger here.” He saw her breath coming fast, puffs of it on the cold air. “Thought I’d save her.”

 

Potter and Weasley gaped at him. Granger looked down at the icicle, then touched the crown of her head.

 

“You’re welcome,” he said, spreading his hands graciously.

 

He turned on his heel and ran all the way back to the castle, down to his dorm room, and into bed, exhausted with joy.


Draco jolted from sleep when a hand touched his shoulder.

 

Theo.

 

Draco closed his eyes and prayed.

 

“Pansy told me to tell you—”

 

He held his breath.

 

“—that you’re going to be late for your prefect meeting.”

 

“Nooooooo!”


Draco spent several “days” letting Granger die. He owled his parents, asking to go home early, even though he knew it was futile. He pointed his wand at himself, prepared with an Avada Kedavra, but even so desperate, he couldn’t muster the desire, nor could he poison himself. He snapped his wand, just because. He slept with Pansy, he considered seducing Astoria Greengrass. He got hold of some firewhiskey and never let it go.

 

He tried staying awake all night.

 

He couldn’t.


Draco could not figure out if the world revolved around him or Hermione Granger.

 

Why was the universe trying to kill her? Why the fuck did he have to be the one punished with saving her?

 

He had one idea left that might solve everything.

 

Draco skipped breakfast, heading outside immediately after the prefect meeting. He skirted the castle, looking up at the Astronomy Tower. He’d tried and failed, several times, to melt or remove the icicles himself, but was always prevented by something—usually Professor Sinistra, who’d see him hovering on his broom, wand in hand.

 

For now, he waited in the cold, telling Snape beforehand that there were ingredients he had to gather. He squinted in the bright light, the crisp air feeling clean in his lungs.

 

If he hadn’t lived this day so many times, if Granger hadn’t died just as many, it would be peaceful.

 

Eventually, the trio emerged, and Draco did his best to look like he wasn’t waiting. They eyed him as he passed, and he thought Granger smiled at him. (He’d been uncharacteristically pleasant at the meeting, suggesting they offer a collective holiday card to the House Elves that they’d all sign.)

 

At the moment he knew so well, Draco rushed forward and knocked Hermione Granger to the ground.

 

There was a splitting, ice cold pain, and blackness.


Brightness woke Draco.

 

This was new.

 

This was new.

 

Tentatively, he opened his eyes.

 

He was in the hospital wing. Beside his bed sat Hermione Granger reading a book.

 

Draco’s chest clenched. Everything in him clenched.

 

This could still be the same day, he warned himself. It could start all over again tomorrow.

 

He began to push himself up from his belly, but a dull pain between his shoulder blades stopped him. Granger noticed and closed her book.

 

“Good morning. How are you feeling? Still tender?”

 

“Morning?” Draco forgot the pain and shoved himself to his knees.

 

“Yes...” She looked toward the doorway where Draco could see Madam Pomfrey and Dumbledore speaking with his parents. “I should go get Madam Pomfrey.”

 

“No!” he cried. She stopped and turned back to him.

 

“Are you sure you’re all right?”

 

Draco gave himself a moment, bringing his knees out from under him and sitting properly on the bed, facing her. His throat felt thick, closed up. He nodded.

 

“Is it...hols?” The hope made it hard to breathe.

 

“Yes. Madam Pomfrey insisted you stay here for observation, but I think she’s releasing you to your parents.” Granger smiled. Draco watched the light streaming in through the windows glint in her hair and eyes, golden.

 

“What about you? Why are you here?” She couldn’t possibly understand the magnitude of his second question.

 

She laughed. “I’m pretty sure you saved my life, Draco. I thought I might make sure you were okay.” She bit her lip, and he nodded, looking away. It was going to take all of winter hols to process this. Maybe the rest of his life.

 

“I can’t believe you risked your life for me.” She sounded both disbelieving and apologetic, afraid she might be insulting him.

 

“It was the only way,” he said with no hesitation, meeting her eyes again.

 

“To save me?”

 

“To save both of us.” Draco knew he was heading into crazy territory but had neither the energy nor the desire to care.

 

She tilted her head and considered him. “Luna told me there was a raven in my tea leaves.”

 

“Guess it was a load of rubbish,” Draco grinned. There was something unlocking inside him, loosening. A chaos. He was a little afraid now of what was coming, unused to there being a real future, especially one where he’d saved Hermione Granger.

 

Granger watched him thinking. She leaned forward, slowly, and kissed him on the cheek. “Thanks anyway,” she whispered.

 

Draco held her there with one hand curled sweetly at her neck. “You’re welcome.”

 

He was certain the world revolved around them both.