“He hasn't come out of his room at all except for toilet breaks.”
“Let the bastard rot.”
“Professor Dumbledore promised him protection; I'm honoring his promise.”
“He was just trying to win his sympathy.”
“You didn't see his face.”
“Well he can fool you and Dumbledore, but I'm not buying it.”
“I think he's right.” Stare. “Don't give me that look! I'll keep an eye on him.”
“Harry said you volunteered to watch over Malfoy. Was that a serious offer?”
Sigh. “If the Order needs me to, I will.”
“Well, we're moving him to the fourth floor so he can be unsociable out of our way.”
“I'll move to the third. Do I need to keep a record?”
“If you feel it's necessary. We won't read it.”
-3 Months, 29 Days-
He came down for dinner today.
-5 Months, 2 Days-
He went to his first Order meeting today.
-6 Months, 8 Days-
His first assignment is in a week. I showed him some Muggle things to prepare him. He didn't say anything for the duration, just sat slumped in his armchair with a blank stare.
-8 Months, 19 Days-
He ranted at me today about toasters. Said they were “evil blasted things” and walked away.
-10 Months, 15 Days-
He makes eye contact with me every where.
He had another nightmare last night and woke up gasping. I checked on him a couple minutes later and he had already drifted.
-12 Months 8 Days-
Things have changed. He rarely sleeps now, avoids sleep all together. I hear his door, then the floor boards creak for the rest of the night.
-12 Months, 22 Days-
I hid on the stairs last night to see what he was doing. Smoking a cigarette.
I was reading a book this afternoon when I received a phone call. It was him. I was impressed he remembered how to use the telephone. He said his assignment was going well. I asked him if he's sleeping; he avoided the question by asking how many kilometers were between us. I said I'd find out and asked why he called. Click.
-19 Months, 10 Days-
He called again today, asked whether I knew the distance. 340 kilometers. I asked again why he called. Click. Guess I should stop asking. I also decided to move up to the fourth floor. If he has problems with it when he gets back, he can sleep on the third.
-19 Months, 21 Days-
I woke up last night and couldn't figure out why. I glimpsed the clock: 1:02AM. Why did that time seem familiar? Then I realized that was when he used to get up and walk around, chain smoking like there was no tomorrow. 2:02 where he is. If he's awake now, he's definitely not sleeping. I called him. Blocked my phone number so I didn't have to answer any questions later. It rang twice then he picked up.
“Hullo?” Crisp and clear, no groggy tone. I hung up on him.
-20 Months, 29 Days-
I called him again, this time at 3:02 his time. He picked up, wide awake like last time.
“Hullo?” Then I heard the click of a lighter and a deep breath. I let him hang up on me this time. Curious, he decided to start using a lighter instead of his wand. I guess he wanted to feel more authentic.
He called today and said he'd been getting phone calls in the middle of the night. I acted surprised and said that must have been botching up his sleep schedule. He ignored my quip and chose to mention that 340 kilometers wasn't too far since he could apparate and be here in 2 seconds. Click.
-22 Months, 14 Days-
He got back yesterday. I fully expected him to make me move back to the third floor but he didn't. He dragged his trunk to his room and never came out. I debated getting up to see what he was doing but didn't want to risk it.
-22 Months, 18 Days-
He's been back 4 days, and every night he's been in his room all night. I peeked in on him yesterday; he was sleeping.
-22 Months, 26 Days-
I told him today that I'm happy to see he's better rested. He played dense.
“What are you on about?”
“I'm not thick. Before you went on assignment I could hear you walk around all night, and judging from how peaky you were when you got back, you didn't sleep much in France either.”
“I slept fine.”
“Bull. You've only slept and eaten since you returned, and you're looking loads better. I was worried about you.”
“Well maybe if there were people nearby I wouldn't have been so uptight. Besides, last I checked it wasn't your concern if I can't sleep.” He stalked into his room and slammed the door. I don't know if he realizes, but he just indirectly said I help him sleep at night.
“We've been living under the same roof and on civil terms for two years. If that's not grounds enough to be concerned for you, I don't know what is.”
“Actually it'll be two years in a month.” Slam. Thanks for the door in the face.
-23 Months, 7 Days-
I realized today why he's had trouble. I had forgotten that for the first year he was here they let him have a calming draught before bed. They cut him off after month twelve citing they needed the ingredients for more important people. That and they probably didn't care whether he slept at night. If his nightmares were that bad with a calming draught, I'm not surprised he couldn't sleep. Guess that explains the nicotine craving too.
-23 Months, 23 Days-
I was watching the telly this evening, and he walked in and sat in an armchair. He dozed off in less than five minutes. I had to rouse him about an hour later so I could sleep. He didn't give me lip like I was expecting, just stood up and trekked upstairs. Before he went in his room, he gave me a nod.
It's not a thank you, but it's something.
-24 Months, 19 Days-
We had a row today. I mentioned that he hasn't been having nightmares, and asked what they were about.
“Stop. Being. A nosy. Cow.”
“Stop being pathetic.”
“Stop playing parent and mind your own damn business.”
“Stop acting like a five year old who's afraid of the monsters in the closet! You think I don't notice how you don't sleep when I'm not-”
“Shut your mouth before you say somethi-”
“And the best part is you won't even-
“-have a problem. You just smoke yourself to death when I'm not around.”
“You're such a prude.”
“So you're running out of insults. There's always the old standby, not that it's very effective any more.”
“What? It's not like anything has changed between us. I still think you're a bastard; you still think I'm a Mud-”
“No I don't.”
-24 Months, 27 Days-
I've been sleeping in Ginny's room for the past week while she's on assignment. I've heard the floor boards every night. He passed out in an armchair again while we were watching the telly. I'm moving back to my room tomorrow. He doesn't deserve this.
We haven't talked since the row. I don't know what to say.
-26 Months, 19 Days-
He returned from an assignment today, and was badly injured. They were healing him for two hours. I'm going to sit in his room.
-26 Months, 20 Days-
I fell asleep leaning against the wall in his room. When I woke up he was staring at me.
“Sorry, Malfoy.” He nodded.
“You look like hell.” He showed a shadow of a grimace.
“I want to help you quit smoking. It's a filthy habit, and I feel partly responsible.”
-26 Months, 22 Days-
He's binned all his cigarettes and is trying the cold turkey method.
“You know that's the hardest way to quit.”
“Well if I didn't like a challenge, I wouldn't be friends with you, Granger.”
-26 Month, 24 Days-
“I wonder what would have happened had we gotten on with each other in school.”
“I think we would have torn each other's throats out, Granger.”
“You know, we're rather fitting.” He gazed at me for several seconds. Then he leaned forward, paused, tucked a hair behind my ear, stood up, and left.
-27 Months, 1 Day-
He left on assignment yesterday. He called me today.
“How many kilometers between us? Look it up.”
“That's nothing.” Click. He's so weird.
-28 Months, 10 Days-
Neville Longbottom died today. I was in my room crying. Malfoy knocked on my door. I didn't answer so he just walked in and sat down. I hugged him. He didn't pull away. It only took him a few seconds to hug back. We sat like that long enough for me to stop crying. When I pulled away, he was staring into my eyes.
“How many kilometers between here and Heaven?” I smiled.
“You tell me for once.”
“There's no distance. As long as you remember those who have passed, they'll never truly be gone.”
“That is the most sentimental thing I've ever heard you say and it made me want to vomit.”
“Oi, I'm trying to be consoling right now and you're mucking it up.”
“I thought you liked challenges.”
“Have it your way then. I'll be leaving.”
He got up and started walking out. I grabbed his arm. He stopped and turned to me.
“How's the no smoking coming along.”
“You haven't become addicted to something else, have you?”
“Good, because that's just as unhealthy.”
“I have something in mind though.”
“I just said that was unheal-” His lips were on mine. I froze for ten seconds. Then my body took over.
It lasted a few minutes. When we pulled apart, he put his forehead on mine.
“I've been waiting a year to do that.”
“I've been expecting you to for three months.”
“Well I have three months to make up for then.”
-32 Month, 5 Days-
I don't know what this is, but it works. I also don't know if anyone else has noticed; we're not hiding it, but we're not displaying it either. It just... is.
“I see my mother dying.” I stopped washing the dishes and turned to face him.
“She's begging him to let me live, to kill her instead.” I set down the dish rag and sat down across from him. He was boring a hole through the edge of the table with his eyes, his hands folded in front of him.
“We're at the Manor, and there's a circle of Death Eaters around her. I'm one of them.” I grabbed his hands and squeezed. He looked at me briefly before looking back down stubbornly, but not before I saw his eyes, shining with tears not shed.
“He just sneers at her. All the Death Eaters cackle. He pulls out his wand, points it at me, then lowers it towards her. And then... he does it. And I just stand there.” I made to sit in the chair next to him when I heard people walk into the hallway. At the sound of footsteps, he bolted out of his seat and ran upstairs, all the while holding my hand and dragging me with him. When we arrived on the fourth floor landing, he yanked me into his room, slammed the door behind me, and pulled me into a hug.
I wouldn't call it crying. He didn't gasp or make a sound, just stood there like a statue, every muscle of his body tense and tears streaming down his face. I don't know how long we stood there. Seconds turned to minutes and gradually his muscles relaxed, and he began to pull away. I took the hint and let go, turning to leave; I wasn't going to make him ask. But he caught my hand, so I froze and let him make the next move. I knew I was in uncharted territory, and I didn't want to push him. He walked around to my front and tipped my chin up, capturing my eyes. I felt like the table from the kitchen. He stared for a minute and a half at least then leaned forward halfway, as if asking permission. I nodded, and his lips met mine in a kiss that was so different than any other I'd experienced. It was simple, but I could feel it in my entire body. My toes tingled and my hair stood on end. There were no fireworks or massive revelations, just my nerves set on fire.
-34 Months, 18 Days-
“Don't act like you don't know what we're talking about, Hermione. Why?”
“I don't know.”
-35 Months, 9 Days-
“Why are we doing this? Why are we here? Why are we... 'we?'”
“Do you mean literally or metaphorically?”
“I'm serious, Malfoy.”
“Potter and Weasley put you up to this, didn't they.”
“Why does everything have to be so black and white with you?”
“I just think-”
“There's your problem. You think too much. We should work on that.” He smirked and walked over to me. “Now what can I do to get you to stop thinking?” He sat down next to me on the stairs and captured my lips. Right at that moment I heard voices and footsteps heading down. I waited to see if he would pull away. He didn't. Neither did I. I guess we are official now.
-36 Months, 2 Days-
“Okay.” Now to get Ron all right with things.
-36 Months, 4 Days-
He told me that him and Ron are all right.
“I still think you're a bastard.”
“I still think you're a bastard.”
-36 Months, 14 Days-
He had a terrible nightmare last night. I went and knocked on his door. He opened it and turned me around. I walked back to my room and started to close the door behind me when a hand shot out to stop it. He had followed me. I didn't ask what was different this time, just hugged him. He hugged back for a few seconds then pulled away.
“I'm tired.” Patience Hermione.
-38 Months, 23 Days-
He received an owl from St. Mungo's today. His mum died, apparently in her sleep; the house elves found her and owled the proper authorities. I was on assignment when he received it, but as soon as I returned, I went upstairs to his room. I didn't knock this time, just walked in and sat down next to him on the floor. He was a statue again, every muscle tightened. I kissed his cheek.
“There's no distance.” He buckled, completely leaning into me. I wasn't fully prepared and almost fell over, but righted myself just in time. He shook but didn't sob, still maintaining his silent tears, and breathed deeper.
-38 Months, 26 Days-
Her funeral was today. Harry and Ron attended and I didn't even have to ask them. They nodded at him as they exited, and he nodded back. I stayed with him after the funeral was over for thirty minutes or so, just standing next to him as he stared at the plot. I knew he would need to be alone, so I grabbed his hand and squeezed. He glanced up at me and nodded. As I was walking away, I heard him speak for the first time in three days.
“That's Hermione, that infuriating girl I used to talk about.”
“Am I really that infuriating?”
“More than you know.”
-41 Months, 15 Days-
He found this journal today.
“What did you do over the summer breaks?”
“I read, visited relatives, visited Muggle friends. Occasionally we went out of the country for a grand vacation.”
“I've always imagined a Muggle summer as being boring as hell.”
“Well you should try it some time. A day completely filled with Muggle and nothing but. Maybe even a week.”
“Only if you try it with me.”
“Deal.” He got up and started snooping on my shelves.
“This journal... it's about me.”
“So it is.”
“They told you to watch me at the beginning, didn't they?”
“You know what this means.”
“I get to read this.”
“Why would you want to read it? It's all about you!”
“Exactly. The best topic to discuss.”
-43 Months, 6 Days-
Harry has one more to find. I've been researching as much as possible for the past week, but I'm finding nothing. This is so frustrating. Malfoy walked in on a research session.
“Come eat something.”
“That wasn't a request. I'm telling you to come eat. You need a break.”
“No.” He walked in and grabbed my hand, trying to pull me out of the armchair I had been occupying for the past eight hours. “Let GO.”
“You need to eat.”
“I need to find this last bit of information.” He reached down and closed the book I was poring over. I lost it. I jumped up, throwing the book on the ground, and rushed at him, pushing him into the wall. “Why would you do that?! Do you know how long I've been sifting through that?!”
“Not long enough! It's never long enough! I think I've found something useful and it ends up being a dead end or completely false! WHY CAN'T I FIND THIS? This is my job to find this! This is what I'm good at! I can't do anything any more! All the assignments they give me now are research! How am I supposed to do research when all my friends are out there fighting, getting injured! You're out there FIGHTING, getting injured! I'm sitting in here all day and people are dying! YOU could be dying! And I still haven't found anything!” I needed to hit something, anything. He was the first thing I found. I hit his chest with every word. “I want this to be over! Why can't this be over?!” He grabbed both my arms and pulled me into an embrace, and my knees collapsed. I was so frustrated and drained. He lowered us to the floor, and I sat there in his lap, sobbing angry tears that I had been holding back for months. His warmth and heart beat calmed me. He shifted.
“You needed that.” I nodded and tried to get off his lap.
“Where do you think you're going?”
“To get something to eat like you wanted.”
“Oh no you don't. Now I have you here and I get something before you get up.” I leaned in and met his lips with mine. There was a slight spark. Maybe from all the energy in the air. Or maybe because this was the first time I had kissed him while sitting on his lap. Either way, he felt it. As soon as it happened his hands, which had previously been behind him holding his weight, shot up to pull me closer. His breathing became heavier. That was my cue to stop, so I hopped up and walked out of the room without a glance back.
-44 Months, 21 Days-
It's happening today. This could be the end of everything. I hope it's the end.
“All right. You've had years of battles leading up to this. This is the one that counts. Remember, if you see a comrade fall, mark their body. It'll cut our recovery time in half. Stay low. Constant vigilance. And get out of my sight.”
“Draco.” He turned around. I kissed him with everything I had.
-44 Months, 22 Days-
It's over. Harry got him. The Death Eaters surrendered. We're still trying to account for everyone. Draco is missing.
-44 Months, 25 Days-
He's been found, but he was badly injured. They've been working on him for five hours. They won't let me see him. They said his father's body was nearby.
-45 Months, 9 Days-
He hasn't woken up yet. They said he has a scar on his chest from the impact of the curse.
-45 Months, 17 Days-
Harry and Ron stopped by. They're both in the process of moving out of headquarters, and getting a flat together. I haven't even thought of that yet.
“How is he doing?”
“He's stable and making progress, but he hasn't woken up... I'm so glad you guys are all right.”
“Can't get rid of us that easily, Hermione.” They hugged me, and I held on for dear life.
“Let us know when he wakes up. We'll bring him something.”
“Thank you.” They smiled. Harry left, and Ron turned to go but stopped and turned back around.
“Malfoy saved my ass out there. I would be dead if it wasn't for him.”
“You sure as hell would be, Weasley.” Ron laughed and left the room. Draco tried to laugh but winced a lot.
“Of course you would wake up with some snide comment.”
“Of course you would lecture me about it.”
-45 Months, 29 Days-
I've been to so many funerals, and I remember every single one of them. The ones without Malfoy there were the hardest, but Harry and Ron were always there ready to support. If there's a God, I'm so blessed. I don't know where I would be without them.
-46 Months, 3 Days-
“Let's move in together.”
“We practically live in the same room anyway.”
“Malfoy, we've been living in headquarters for four years. I don't even know what it's like to live normally anymore, and I don't think figuring it out with someone like you there is going-”
“Someone like me there? And who exactly is 'someone like me'?” He gave me a hard stare.
“Don't 'Draco' me. Why would I be a hindrance? Tell me.”
“Fine. This. This right here. I say something offhandedly that I didn't mean any harm by and you shut down and get pissed as hell.”
“I have the right to get pissed as hell! How would you feel if I said, 'Oh no, I can't eat lunch with someone like you'?”
“Eating lunch is not the same situation as moving in together. And even if you did say something like that, I would assume you were just being pissy and let you cool off.”
“Bullocks! I'm sick of this. This double standards thing you do. You can say whatever the hell you want and if I get angry it's me overreacting but as soon as I spout something off you hit the ceiling.”
“That's not true! I let you get away with murder comparatively.” I shouldn't have said that. His stare hardened even more, his teeth ground together, and his fists clenched. He decided to leave the room rather than deal with me, and I was thankful for it. I still hadn't seen him fully angry, another reason why I was reluctant to move in with him.
-46 Month, 7 Days-
I went over to Harry's and Ron's today.
“You still not talking to the bloke?”
“What started it anyway?”
“Nothing doesn't start something.”
“It does when you're dating Malfoy, Ronald.”
-46 Months, 10 Days-
I'm officially moved out of headquarters. I'm staying with my parents until I sort things out. I still haven't talked to him, and I refuse to budge on this. He has to make the first move this time. I'm sick of his moody brood-
Knock knock knock. I went to the door to see who it was.
“How did you find my house?”
“I beat it out of Potter and Weasley.” I stared.
“Fine. I had a shifty at the phone book and called all the Grangers.”
“How did you figure out it was this one?”
“I asked them all if they would answer a survey for the Ministry of Magic. Your mum didn't hang up on me.”
“...I never showed you what a phone book is.”
“I'm not completely obtuse.” I let him into the house, and stood there with crossed arms. He rocked back and forth on his heels. We stood that way for two or three minutes. Finally, he sighed heavily.
“I found your house. Using a phone book. Isn't that enough?”
“Would it be for you?” He stared at me. There was another awkward pause, during which I walked into the kitchen to get a cup of tea. When I returned he was peering at photographs on the walls.
“You're not going to awkwardly stand in my sitting room. Say what you came to say or leave.”
“I didn't come to say anything.”
“Well I guess it's time for your exit then.” I walked to the front door, opened it, took a sip, and waited for him to walk out.
“Okay. Let me just put this in perspective. We both just survived one of the deadliest wars in wizarding history, during which we grew a lot closer than was socially acceptable. Now we've gained approval, but we're in a standoff because we both said things in the moment that weren't meant and had no bearing on anything.”
“And you're okay with this?”
“Well, I kind of have to be. I realized how daft this was two minutes after you walked out. You, however, chose not to talk to me for a week. Now explain to me why I want to live with someone who chooses not to see me for a week.” He stared at me with a mixture of incredulity and wounded pride. “Exactly.” Then his features twisted into triumph.
“You said you wanted to live with me.”
“What? No, I said 'explain to me why I would want to.'”
“No, you said 'why I want to,' so I think this discussion is null and void.” Blasted. There goes my subconscious, mucking up my thoroughly thought out discussion. “But, if you still want me to explain why you want to live with me, it's because I'm dashing.” He took a step towards me. “I drive you barking.” Another step. “You can't resist me.” Another. “And we both realize that, in this world, there are only certain people that can put up with us. We just happen to be able to put up with each other.” He shut the door, grabbed my cup, set it on the nearby coffee table, and turned back to me. I chuckled to myself and uncrossed my arms.
“You won't always be able to talk your way out of trouble.”
“I know.” In one step he was grabbing my face and pulling me towards him. He practically sucked the life out of me with the power of his kiss. I guess that proves he missed me.
-46 Months, 12 Days-
He came over for dinner tonight to meet my parents. I wanted to get that milestone out of the way before I moved in with the man. They got along splendidly, and he even managed to make a few Muggle jokes here and there. I had no complaints.
-46 Months, 30 Days-
“Is that the last box?”
“You tell me; it's your rubbish.”
“Well, I appreciate your help moving my rubbish.” I gave him a peck.
“That's all I get?”
“You get a better kiss when everything is unpacked.” I started opening boxes. The first thing I found was this journal, and he saw it.
“I still get to read that.” I rolled my eyes.
“You want to hear one right now?” He nodded. I read him the entry from Month 19, Day 21. “I had forgotten about that night.”
“So it was you.”
“Well, I was worried.”
“So you decided to call and possibly interrupt what little sleep I was getting?” I shrugged, and he shook his head. “Not the most logical plan you've ever had.”
“Well no, I suppose not. But you substituting cigarettes for calming draught wasn't exactly brilliant either.”
“I was desperate?” I raised my eyebrow.
-46 Month, 5 Days-
We visited Harry's and Ron's today. It was a bit surreal.
“So you guys really enjoyed living together?” Malfoy, Harry, and Ron looked at each other then chortled.
“Yeah.” They said it simultaneously. I blinked. They laughed and exchanged grins.
“Okay, where's the hidden camera?” Malfoy and Ron glanced at each other in confusion. Harry chuckled.
“There isn't one. It's actually kind of sad how wasted our school years were. We get on real well.” Ron nodded.
“Yeah and Malfoy can play a hell of a game of wizard chess.”
-47 Months, 18 Days-
I ran into Professor Lupin today. Er, Remus. Anyways, he appeared well.
“How many times have I told you, it's Remus. I taught for one year.”
“Old habits die hard.” He chuckled.
“So I heard you and Malfoy finally moved in together. I hope things are going well.” I smiled
“You know, I always thought you took my 'watch over Malfoy' spiel a bit too seriously.”
“I'm glad I did.”
-47 Months, 24 Days-
We were laying on the couch today, me with my head resting on his chest, watching the telly when he shut it off. I glanced up to see what he was doing, and he smiled at me.
“I've read them all. Every entry. And I must say, you were a bit obsessed with me.”
“I was not!” I smacked his chest, and he grinned. “I was asked to watch you so I did. Don't even act like you didn't need me to keep you sane.”
“I never said I didn't.” His expression had grown serious. “Actually, I realized just how much you were there for me without me even noticing. I treated you like shit in school-”
“The past is the past. I knew you were different and-”
“No. I never apologized for any of that. You just ignored-” I raised my hand to his lips.
“You apologized to me the day you let me cry on you for three hours about Neville.” He shook his head.
“You just won't let me say anything nice, will you? Always have to cut me off so I end up seeming like a git.” I smiled sarcastically, and he continued.
“Let me get this out and it will be the last sentimental thing I say for a while. I promise.” He sighed. “You put up with me. I was expecting you to disappear one day and never come back just so you didn't have to deal with me any more, but you didn't. You would tolerate my ridiculous phone calls about distance. You would wake me up when I had passed out watching the telly. You would sit with me when I was injured. You would continue to pry even after I yelled at you repeatedly to leave me alone. You cared despite the fact that I gave you every reason not to.” He reached down and grabbed my hand, squeezing it during this last part. “You sure as hell know I hate to show weakness and hate to show my vulnerability, but I'd like to be completely honest. If you hadn't been there I would not have survived that war. I would have killed myself within the first year: overdose of potion, hanging, jumping out the window. I thought of it all. But you... you soothed me. You pushed me. You poked me. You... you made me feel when all I wanted to do was shut down. You saved me when no one else would have. I just...” I stopped him with a kiss. I thought of all the insults he'd ever thrown at me. All the fights we'd had. All the tears I'd shed because of him. All the times I wanted to smack him in the face. All the days I wanted to leave him and everything behind. I channelled all those into that kiss. I'd like to think that he felt it, but he probably didn't. Typical male.
We went out for dinner tonight with Harry, Ginny, and Ron. All of us were eating and talking. There was no strife, just laughing and cheerfulness. Ron was telling some ridiculous story about work. I caught Draco's eye, and he smiled, reaching down for my hand and giving it a squeeze. It was at that moment I had this weird sense of fate, as if no matter what decisions we made in the past, we would have ended up here, at this table, smiling. I grinned wildly and interrupted Ron.
“You realize it's been four years exactly since we all moved into headquarters together?” Everyone paused. Then Harry raised his glass and everyone followed
“To a hell of a four years as well as a lot more to come. We made it.” We made it.