Disclaimer: I own none of the characters in this story. They all belong to JK Rowling. I merely thank her for writing such a compelling series that it sparks my imagination. No copyright infringement is intended. I make no money from this, I just use it to live out my fantasies.

Summary: Draco and Hermione find themselves hitting low points in their life in the years following the war. Neither one of them are happy and both have inner demons to face. What happens when they meet up again and decide to share those demons with each other? Hermione finds herself acting very out of character but she can't help but be drawn into Draco's world. Can they help each other, or will they both just get swallowed in their own despair?

Authors Note: Everything is canon up until the end of the war. It's not epilogue compliant and is a Dramione pairing if you haven't already figured that out! It's rated Mature for bad language and mentions of sexual situations. No smut. Some angst. Some fluff. Song lyrics are courtesy of Blue October, The Weight of the World. I hope you enjoy the story!

The Weight of the World

I wake up in the bathroom, and dare not bother asking

Why the mirror's cracked and all I see are shards of glass inside of me

There's voices there to dare me, my father's here to scare me

My mother sits beyond the door, she's curled up crying on the floor

Look at what her son's done, when the weight of all the world has gone wrong

Hermione walked into the smoky little dive bar in the heart of London's nightlife. She didn't often go to places like this, but she was feeling a bit down this evening. Work was overwhelming and her heart wasn't really in it right now. She and Ron had broken up a month ago due to the fact that they were just not compatible together. They'd given it a good try after the war, but they fought all the time. And Ron had wanted to hurry up and get married and settle down and she was terrified of that prospect. Which was something he didn't understand. He wanted to have a life like his parents had. But there was just no way Hermione was ready for something like that. She had fallen into a depression after the war because she'd tried and failed to restore her parents memories. She had tracked them down in Australia and tried to explain to them who she was and why she was there, but they didn't understand. And they were not very welcoming of her because they thought she was insane. She'd even gone so far as to knock them out with a spell and bring them home where healers worked to undo the damage she had caused. But they were not successful. So Wendell and Monica Wilkins returned to their life in Australia and did not wish any further contact with the strange girl who claimed to be their daughter. So she effectively lost her family and it had been her own fault. She didn't realize that the spell she'd done wouldn't be able to be reversed. She should have known better. But that was all water under the bridge now. She'd come to accept the fact that she was virtually all alone now in this world. She still had Harry for a friend, thankfully. But they had grown a little distant after she and Ron had broken up. It left her in a funk. And that's why she was in this bar tonight. To try and numb a bit of the pain she was in. Her life hadn't quite turned out the way she hoped it would.

She sat at a small table and sipped a Cosmopolitan. The clientele of this establishment were a little rough around the edges, but somehow she liked the anonymity of the place. No one really paid attention to you, and it looked as though the rest of the bar had bigger troubles than you did, which was comforting somehow. She didn't really pay much attention to the crowd, but her eyes did scan the room a few times. And finally they settled on a blonde man sitting in the corner nursing some sort of amber colored drink. Likely Scotch or Whiskey. She wasn't sure. But he looked up and suddenly she realized that she knew him. It was Draco Malfoy. She immediately averted her eyes and tried to cover her face with her hair. She hoped he hadn't spotted her. But then she realized it probably didn't matter even if he did spot her. It's not as if he would speak to her or anything. But she didn't want any trouble if he decided to swagger over to her and say something insulting. She really wasn't in the mood to hear it. She hadn't seen him in well over a year and she didn't care to see him ever again, truth be told. She'd almost forgotten he existed at all. She signaled the waitress to bring her another drink and then she let her eyes wander back to where Draco was sitting. He wasn't looking at her. He was just staring at the glass in front of him. That was probably for the best. She was surprised she even recognized him at all because he didn't really look the same. His hair was messy and he was dressed in jeans and a t-shirt. Something she'd never seen him wear before. He looked down on his luck, just like every other loser in the bar, including herself. She couldn't help but be slightly curious about him now that she'd seen him. She wondered what he'd been up to. Nothing by the looks of him.

The waitress put down her drink and she took a big sip of it and set it down again. She kept her gaze focused on a table of women who kept laughing at intervals at some sort of funny anecdote that Hermione was too far away to hear. But they looked like the only ones in the joint who were actually having fun. She envied them a little. She wanted to get up and sit down with them and join the laughter. But that was a ridiculous notion. She couldn't very well just sit at a table with a bunch of strangers. Her gaze traveled back towards Draco, and this time he was actually looking at her. Staring, in fact. Apparently he had noticed her there as well because he didn't look away when their eyes locked. She didn't know what do at first, but she finally just looked back down at her drink. When she got the nerve to look up again, he wasn't sitting at the table anymore. He was gone. She let out a sigh of relief. He'd left. Thank God he didn't try to speak to her. She was beyond relieved not to have to face an old enemy because she wouldn't know what to say. But just then someone leaned over and whispered in her ear.

"What's a girl like you doing in a shithole like this, Granger?"

She looked behind her and found Draco standing there with his drink in his hand and he was swaying slightly, showing that he was very drunk.

"Malfoy," she said in a slightly aloof manner.

"You didn't answer my question. What are you doing in this place?" he asked her curiously.

She shrugged. "Same thing you're doing."

"I saw you look at me."

"I wasn't looking at you. You were looking at me."

"Maybe I was. But you looked at me too. Don't tell me you didn't know who I was."

"No I knew who you were. And you know who I am, so why are you speaking to me?" she wondered.

"I dunno. You looked lonely. Thought I'd keep you company," he said as he slid into the seat across from her.

She just stared at him and said nothing at first. Then she asked, "What are you doing? Why would you sit with me? Just go away."

"What if I don't want to go away?"

"Honestly, you're drunk. And obviously you're not thinking clearly or you wouldn't be sitting here. Just leave me alone. We're not friends, Draco," she told him heatedly.

"You got that right. We're not fucking friends. You hate me. Join the club. Who doesn't hate me?" he said bitterly as he took a drink and swallowed it down.

"You hate me too, remember. It's a mutual loathing."

He looked at her for a moment then he sighed. "I don't hate you," he told her.

"Yeah right."

"No I don't. I could care less actually. Hating you would mean I actually gave a damn about something. But I don't." He signaled the waitress to refill his drink and then he downed the rest of it.

"Well whatever. Just go away. I don't want you sitting with me," she told him, making a face at him.

He completely ignored her and just sat there waiting for his drink, watching the waitress at the bar. Then he turned around and fished a pack of cigarettes out of his pocket and lit one up. Hermione coughed and waved her hand in front of her face.

"Will you put that out? You smoke? Since when do you smoke?" she asked him with annoyance.

He took a drag and blew the smoke away from her. "Why do you care? And I'm not putting it out. It relaxes me."

"Well go relax at your own bloody table. I didn't invite you to sit with me."

The waitress plunked down his drink and he took a big swallow and just looked at Hermione.

"So really, why are you in this dump? Surely a princess like yourself would frequent a better establishment," he said to her taking another puff off his cigarette.

"If you really must know, I wanted to come here so I could be anonymous. I never imagined I'd run into the likes of you. What the hell are you doing in a dump like this either? Shouldn't you be someplace swanky and well to do?" she wondered.

"Yeah because I'm real welcome at those places now. Don't you realize that my family's name has been disgraced. Everyone shuns us now. Such is life, I guess," he told her somewhat bitterly.

"Surely you still have some friends," she offered.

He laughed and shook his head. "Afraid not."

"Well that's too bad. I'm sorry. But I'm certainly not your friend either so why don't you run along now and go be elsewhere?"

"Why do you want me to leave so bad? I don't see anyone else lining up to sit with you," he told her.

"I don't want anyone to sit with me. I wish to be alone."

"Where are the Wonder Twins? Potter and Weasel? Don't tell me you've parted company with them," he asked her.

"I don't really see how it's your business. But Ron and I broke up and Harry and I don't speak all that often anymore since then."

"Sucks for you. Why'd you break up with the Weasel?"

"We just weren't compatible. It's a long story. One I don't wish to recount to you."

"Suit yourself. I was offering you a shoulder to cry on."

"I don't want your shoulder. I don't want you near me at all. What I don't get is why you're speaking to me. Aren't I beneath you?" she asked him.

"Beneath me? Love, I've sunk so low that you'd have to be in middle earth to be beneath me now. I could give a shit less where you come from. I don't care if your parents are fucking Martians. Makes no difference to me anymore," he explained to her.

"Well that's a stark turnaround from your usual feelings. I can't even count the number of times you called me a filthy mudblood and practically spit on me."

"Yeah, I was a real bastard, wasn't I? There was this one time when I thought you were actually gonna kill me. But you just punched me instead. Man, I deserved that shit," he laughed and took another drink.

"What is wrong with you? You're acting very weird. Are you remorseful? That doesn't seem like you," she said with confusion.

"Do you know what it's like to grow up believing in something and then finding out later that it was all just a fucking load of bullshit? That in the end, none of it mattered at all?"

"No, not really," she admitted.

"Well I do. You spend some time in the company of true evil and you learn a lot. Like what actually matters and what doesn't. I had the weight of the world on my shoulders for so long and I had no one I could actually talk to. Do you know how lonely that is?" he asked her sadly.

She felt really uncomfortable and still didn't understand why he was talking to her. "I know what it's like to be lonely," she admitted softly.

"Yeah? When were you ever lonely?"

"Right now."

"Well that makes two of us."

Both of them were quiet for a long time, just sipping their drinks and trying not to look at each other. Draco didn't know why he was sitting with her at all except he was rather drunk and just feeling the need to connect with someone. Anyone. It didn't really matter who it was. Plus some part of him wanted to apologize to her for the way he'd acted for so long, but he just couldn't really get the words out. He didn't know how to apologize for the things he'd done and said. And he knew she likely wouldn't accept the apology anyway. Why would she?

"You want another drink?" he asked her finally.

"You buying it?" she asked with a raised eyebrow.

He nodded and signaled the waitress over. "Two more, please," he told her. She hurried off and went to get them.

"So how drunk do you plan on getting here tonight?" she wondered, noting he was already pretty far gone.

He shrugged. "As drunk as they let me before they toss me out." He lit up another cigarette, much to her dismay.

"You really shouldn't smoke those. They'll kill you," she told him.

"Yeah? I hope so," he said.

"Draco, what happened to you? I don't understand why you're doing this to yourself."

"You don't understand? Do you have any idea the horrors I've seen? The things I myself had to do against my will?" he asked her. Then he lifted up his sleeve and showed her his Dark Mark. "You see this? Should I be proud of it? Does this make me a good man?"

"That mark doesn't have to define you. You can be whatever you want to be."

"I don't want to be anything."

"Self pity won't get you anywhere. You're choosing this life. It doesn't have to be this way," she told him seriously.

"And you care because?"

"I don't care. Not really. But you're sitting here in my space telling me your tales of woe. What else am I supposed to do?"

"Look I don't need to be saved or anything. I just want to sit here and finish my drink."


"You drunk, Granger?" he asked her curiously.

"Not as drunk as you are," she told him.

He laughed slightly. "Well keep drinking then."


"So we can be on even ground. You fancy a drag of my cigarette?" he asked her.

"No, I don't smoke."

"Well you should. It's fantastic. Plus my parents always told me not to do it, so it makes it that much more fun."

"Are you cross with your parents?" she wondered.

"My parents? I don't see them at all anymore. I've got my own place."

"Where do you live?"

"Why? You wanna come home with me?" he asked with a raised eyebrow.

"Of course not. I was just curious," she scoffed.

"You were always such a goody two shoes. Probably never did even one single bad thing in your life. Think you're better than me," he rambled drunkenly.

"I've done things that were bad, " she informed him.

"Like what? Go to bed without flossing? Give me a break. You don't know anything about what it's like to be bad."

"I do too."

"Name one bad thing you've done," he dared her.

"Well I'm sitting here with you, for starters."

"Is that the best you've got? Consorting with the enemy? You're a real rebel, Granger," he laughed at her.

For some reason, he was getting under her skin. She didn't want to be a goody two shoes. And she didn't want to always do the right thing. She was sick of it. She was tired of always being reliable and supposedly perfect and above reproach. And she was just drunk enough to do something about it.

"I can be a rebel," she told him haughtily. "I can do bad things."

"Really now? Tell me, what bad thing would you like to do?" he said leaning over the table and getting in her face.

"Where do you live?" she asked.

"Close. You wanna see the place?"

"Take me there," she said against all her best judgment. She didn't care anymore what anyone thought. She wanted to go home with him. She was sick of being alone and lonely.

"Alright." He threw money on the table and then he took her hand and led her up towards the door. She followed him willingly. Her mind was fuzzy and clouded and she knew she was making a huge mistake. But she couldn't seem to bring herself to care.

They walked out of the bar and went down the street. They walked along together wordlessly. Hermione's mind was very altered and she was having trouble walking straight. But so was Draco. He kept drifting over towards her and would bump into her constantly.

"How much farther? I'm having a bit of trouble walking," she admitted with a small laugh.

"It's not far. It's right over there," he said, pointing at an old apartment building.

He grabbed her hand and dragged her across the street with him and they walked up the steps. The place was old but well kept. They stepped into the ancient looking lift and let the doors close. They went up to the third floor and then he pulled her off with him. She followed him to his door and he opened it up. He ushered her inside and turned on a light.

"This is it. Home sweet home," he announced.

She looked around and noted that the place was a mess. There were items of clothing lying around and blankets and pillows tossed everywhere. There was an old pizza box sitting on the table and a bunch of empty liquor bottles lying in the corner in a heap.

"You actually live here?" she asked with surprise.

"Yep. It's a hell hole I know. But they say that the way your home looks reflects how you feel inside. So I say it suits me."

"So you feel dirty and full of trash and old pillows?" she wondered.

"Something like that," he told her. He grabbed up some junk off the couch and threw it across the room. "Here, sit down."

She did as instructed but she couldn't help but worry what she might be sitting on. "I have to admit I expected you to live better than this," she told him.

He shrugged. "Did you expect me to be in the penthouse suite or in some palace somewhere?"

"Honestly? Yes. This place is rather disgusting," she made a face at him.

"I'm sure if my parents could see it they'd have heart attacks. Their only son living in a hovel. It's kind of amusing to imagine the looks on their faces," he told her.

"Don't you have a trust fund or something like that? Can't you afford better?"

"Sure I could afford better. But the money runs out faster if you spend it on something you don't need. And I don't need a fucking palace for just me," he explained to her.

"You need a maid or something."

"You volunteering?" he asked with a smirk.

"Hardly. I don't even know why I'm here."

"I don't either, but what do you say we drink some more?" he offered her.

"What do you have?"



"You don't have to drink it," he told her as he grabbed a bottle out of the kitchen and sat down next to her.

"Don't you need a glass?"

"Nope," he said as he took a swig out of the bottle. He tried to hand it over to her. "Here, just try some."

She hesitated for a moment and then shook her head. "That's okay."

"What? Do you think I have cooties? Just drink it."

She stared at him for a second then she just grabbed the bottle and took a swig. She wiped her mouth and made a face. "Oh yucky. That's horrible. How do you drink that?"

"After you're drunk enough, you can't really taste it."

He was right about that. She sat there with him and they passed the bottle back and forth to each other until it was almost gone. Hermione was completely inebriated, more so than she'd ever been in her life.

"Draco, I need to go home. The room is spinning," she told him, holding onto his arm for dear life.

"You can't go home. You're way too drunk. Just stay here," he urged her.

"Right. I don't think so. I don't want you taking advantage of me," she scoffed.

He laughed. "Give me a break. As if I'd do that."

"Why wouldn't you? Is it because I'm just a filthy little mudblood? Too disgusting to touch?" she asked heatedly.

"I don't give a fuck about that shit. I already told you that before," he said giving her a glare.

"Then why wouldn't you take advantage of me?" she asked drunkenly.

"Because I'm a fucking gentlemen, that's why. Just because you're fucked up beyond the telling of it, doesn't mean I'm gonna take your clothes off. Give me some credit, will you? If I want to get shagged I'll go find some willing bint and shag her," he said angered that she thought so little of him.

"Oh. I just thought maybe it was because you still thought I wasn't good enough Or pretty enough," she muttered softly.

"Bollocks. You're plenty pretty enough. And good enough. I'm the one who's not good enough for you. I mean, why the fuck are you in my flat getting drunk with me anyway? Why'd you ask to come back here?" he wondered.

She shrugged. "I don't know. I didn't want to go home. It's lonely there. Plus I guess I just assumed if I came back here with you something would happen," she admitted.

"Something would happen? Like what? Me taking advantage of you? Is that what you wanted to happen?" he asked with a raised eyebrow.

"No, of course not. I mean, I don't know. I just figured you would make a move or something. But it's not like I wanted you to or anything," she said insistently.

He just stared at her for a moment and said nothing. Her face was turning red and he had a feeling it wasn't from being drunk. She was embarrassed. "You wanted me to make a move then? Because I could," he whispered leaning over closer to her.

"That's not what I want. I should leave," she said weakly.

"Then go. I won't stop you." His face was only inches away from hers now and he was staring right into her eyes.

"I'm going," she told him feebly.

But then something inside of her just snapped. She lunged for him and kissed him and he kissed her back just as hungrily. They fell back onto the couch and she was on top of him, clawing at his shirt and trying to rip it over his head. He let her do it and she went back to kissing him.

"Looks like it's you taking advantage of me," he said breathlessly between their frantic kisses.

"Shut up. Don't talk. Just keep kissing me," she told him as she grabbed him again.

Soon they were nothing but a tangled mess of limbs rolling about on the couch. All of their clothes disappeared and soon they were locked in a frenzied coupling. They ended up knocking over the coffee table and somehow ending up across the room on the floor amidst a pile of pillows and liquor bottles. Hermione wasn't thinking at all about anything. Nothing except getting lost in his touch. And Draco wasn't thinking either. It didn't even really register to him who he was shagging senseless. Not until he actually looked in her eyes and found them glazed over and dark. He couldn't tell if she was in the throes of lust or just plain drunk off her ass. Or both. But she kept propelling it along and he didn't stop her. Soon they both just lay there on the floor in a heap, breathing heavily. Neither one of them spoke. Draco lay down beside her and grabbed a stray throw blanket and pulled it over them. The next thing either of them knew, it was morning.

Hermione opened her eyes groggily and had no idea where she was. She looked to her right and saw a pile of liquor bottles in the corner, and then she looked to her left and saw a man lying face down with a pillow over his head. He appeared to be naked and when she further examined herself she realized she was naked too. And then it all came crashing back to her in bits and pieces. She sat up straight, clutching the blanket to her tightly and pulled the pillow off Draco's head. She saw the messy blonde hair and then she saw his arm where the Dark Mark glared at her right in the face.

"Oh my God!" she cried, not believing what she had done. "This isn't real."

"What the hell is going on? Be quiet. I'm trying to sleep," Draco mumbled at her angrily.

"What did we do?" she asked him hurriedly.

He rolled over and looked up at her. "What do you think we did, love? We played chess," he said sarcastically.

"Oh my God. Did we have sex? Please tell me we didn't do that," she said horrified at herself.

"You don't remember?" he wondered.

"No. I don't. I mean, I sort of do, but I thought I dreamt that. This isn't happening. I think I'm going to puke," she said feeling suddenly nauseous.

"The bathrooms down the hall. If you puke on my floor, you're cleaning it up," he told her as he pulled the pillow back over his head.

She grabbed the blanket and wrapped it around her and then she ran down the hall and found the bathroom. She barely made it in time before her stomach revolted on her. She wasn't sure if it was because she'd drank so much or because she just realized she slept with Draco. It was probably a combination of both things. She just sat down on the floor of the bathroom and laid her head against the toilet. Everything was fuzzy in her memory but she had the distinct recollection of kissing Draco and ripping off his shirt. And then the rest of it was all jumbled up and hazy. She'd never drank that much before in her life and she didn't ever want to do it again. It had been a huge mistake in more than one way. Did she really shag the enemy? He was a Death Eater. They hated each other. And yet somehow here she was. Naked on his bathroom floor. She didn't even want to come out of there because then she'd have to see him again. She contemplated jumping out the window but it was too small, they were on the third floor and all she had on was a blanket. She didn't even have her wand so she could apparate out of there. It was in her purse somewhere in his living room. God only knew where.

Just then there was a knock on the door.

"Are you okay? Or are you still puking your guts out?" Draco asked her.

"I'm fine," she called back. She wasn't really fine but the nausea had passed at least.

"Well can I get in there then? I need to use the loo," he called back to her.

She supposed she couldn't stay hidden in his bathroom forever. That would be a crazy plan. She pulled herself up off the floor and hugged the blanket tightly to her body. She opened the door cautiously and he stood out in the hallway wearing nothing but a pair of boxers.

She covered her eyes. "Couldn't you put some clothes on?"

"Love, you've seen me naked. Now you're hiding your blushing eyes over my underpants? You're a strange bird," he said pushing past her and readying himself to use the facilities.

"Oh my God, don't just whip it out! Let me get out of here first. What is wrong with you?" she asked horrified at his behavior.

"Well hurry up and get out then because I have to go. I drank enough shit last night that I'm about to bloody burst."

She turned quickly and slammed the door behind her. She rushed down the hall and into the living room, searching for her clothes. The place was a disaster area though. It was already messy before, but they'd completely wrecked the place in the throes of passion. It looked like a bomb went off. She was throwing clothes and blankets and the old pizza box across the room when Draco entered. The box almost hit him in the face but he ducked out of the way at the last second.

"Where are my fucking clothes?" she asked him frantically.

"I don't know. Around here somewhere," he shrugged as he sat at the kitchen counter and lit up a cigarette.

"Will you put that bloody thing out? It's going to make me throw up again. Be useful and help me find my clothes!" she shouted at him.

He sighed and put the cigarette in the ashtray, but refused to put it out. He got up and helped her root through all the junk and he found her knickers under a pillow. He held them up in front of her face. "Looking for these?" he smirked.

She looked mortified and grabbed them out of his hand.

"You know, you have sexier knickers than I was expecting from you. You seemed like the type of girl who would wear huge knickers like grandma's wear. But these were quite pleasing and lacy."

"Shut up about my knickers! I can't believe you even saw them," she said with horrification.

He laughed. "I saw more than your knickers. I've seen all of you. Up close and quite personal. You really are a feisty bird. I figured you'd probably never even seen yourself naked much less anyone else. But there you were ripping off my clothes."

"Please don't talk. I don't want to hear about what I did. I was obviously out of my mind with drink. And you knew that! You knew I was drunk and you should have stopped me!" she yelled at him accusingly.

He grabbed her arm and pulled her towards him. "Don't play that card, love. You came onto me. I told you I wasn't interested and you kissed me. So don't act like I fucking took advantage," he told her heatedly.

"Let go of me."

"Not until you admit that you wanted it."

"I mean it. Let go of my arm," she said firmly.

He just looked at her for a moment, then he let go of her. "Fine." Then he bent over and picked up his shirt from the night before. It was ripped at the collar. "See this? This is what you did to my shirt. You bloody well ripped it right off. So stop playing Little Miss Innocent."

She ignored him because she knew he was probably right. The memories that were coming back to her were not good ones. She had been acting like a sex crazed lunatic. Who was that girl? Is that really who she became when she'd had that much to drink? She had no idea what to think at all. But she did find her pants and her shirt finally. Her bra was still missing in action.

"You want this or shall I keep it as a souvenir?" Draco asked her as he held up her bra.

She gave him a glare and went to snatch it out his hands but he pulled it back. "Ask me nicely," he taunted her, enjoying every minute of her righteous indignation.

"Give me my sodding underwear back or I'm going to find my wand and hex you to death," she said angrily.

"You wouldn't kill me. You haven't got the stones," he challenged her.

"I've got stones. I've got plenty of stones. Just give it back. Why are you being such a fucking wanker?"

He tossed the bra in her face. "You're annoying as hell, you know that? You act like I did something wrong when all I did was exactly what you wanted me to do. Get over yourself, will you?"

"Get over myself? You get over yourself! You're acting like I meant to shag you when it's clear I would never do anything of the sort if I was in my right mind," she hissed at him.

He went over and picked up his already lit cigarette and took a drag. "I don't get you. First you act like you hate me. Then you wanna come back to my place. Then I don't make a move and you act all hurt and offended. Then you fucking attack me with your lips and rip my clothes off and somehow I'm a wanker?"

"Look Draco, I don't care what I said or did last night. This never happened. You got it? Do not tell another living soul about this. I mean it," she said, getting in his face. Then she grabbed his cigarette and stubbed it out angrily. "And I told you to put this thing out!"

He just stared at her and watched her run off to the bathroom with her clothes to change. He didn't understand her at all. But she did surprise him, that's for sure. He may have been drunk too, but he remembered what happened. He remembered it all. And he wouldn't be forgetting it any time soon. He just wished she wasn't being such a crazy loon about the whole affair. So what if they shagged? Who cared? And who was he gonna fucking tell anyway? He had no friends anymore. And it's not like he'd be skipping off to the Ministry to tell Potter and all her other work friends about their little liaison. He didn't get why she was so upset. The night was bloody brilliant as far as he was concerned.

She finally emerged from the bathroom and was fully clothed. She walked past him and searched for her purse.

"Where is my purse?"

"How the hell should I know?"

"Help me look for it so I can get out of here."

"Why should I help you do anything?" he asked. "Last night was like a bloody revelation to me and you're acting like I forced you to do something you didn't want to do. You instigated that. Not me. So stop acting like I'm the asshole here," he told her bitterly.

"Fine. Maybe I did instigate it? But that wasn't me! That's not something I do. I was crazed. And I don't know why you're strutting around acting like it meant something because it didn't. It didn't mean anything. And I just want to forget all about it!"

"Now my feelings are hurt. It didn't mean anything to you?" he said to her with a smirk.

"No, it meant nothing. And don't expect it to ever happen again. It was a mistake. You're a mistake. And I'm getting out of here."

"Don't you want your purse?" he asked holding it up in front of her.

"Where was this?"

"I dunno, I just found it."

She grabbed it out of his hand and slung it over her shoulder and marched toward the door. He got up quickly and stopped her path. He stood in front of her and put his hands on her shoulders.

"I know who you are now, Granger. You can pretend it didn't happen, but I know you now. I've seen the real you. I've tasted it. And believe me, you'll be back for more," he told her seductively.

She shoved him away from her as hard as she could. "Leave me alone. I detest you. This is never happening again. And you don't know anything about me. So just sod off and let me go!"

He stared at her and said nothing. She stared back and her eyes were full of anger and fear. But he wondered who she was really angry with and who she actually feared. Him? Or herself? He just let her walk out and slam the door. He'd see her again, he thought to himself. This wasn't over. It was just beginning.

Hermione got home to her place and immediately threw off her clothes and got in the shower. She wanted to scrub away the dirtiness she felt for having done what she did the night before. It was completely out of character for her and not something she'd ever done before. She'd only been intimate with one person and that was Ron. She'd never once gone home with a strange guy from a bar. Much less someone like Draco Malfoy who she actually couldn't even stand. What was wrong with her? She had no idea. He'd just seemed so broken and miserable that part of her wanted to help him feel better. But then there was also a part of herself that still thought he was a smug arrogant jerk and she didn't care if he was miserable. But she herself had been feeling miserable that night. She was drunk and lonely and those are bad combinations. Plus something stirred inside of her that wanted her to do something completely bad and unexpected. That's why she'd really gone home with him. Because she was sick of always being level headed and smart and noble and righteous. For once she just wanted to shirk all of that and do something outrageous. She had no idea why though. But she'd definitely done something outrageous. Something she wasn't sure she'd ever get out of her mind. At least what little of it she remembered. But more of the evening kept coming back to her like flashbacks in a movie. But they didn't seem real. They seemed like they'd happened to someone else. But she knew it had really happened and she hated herself a little bit for it.

When she stepped out of the shower, she wiped off the mirror and stared at herself. That's when she noticed the hickeys on her neck. She grabbed her throat and gasped out, horrified by what she saw there.

"Oh my God. How am I going to hide this mess?" she asked herself in the mirror.

She didn't have a turtleneck or anything. All she had were winter scarves. And seeing as how it was July, she doubted she could pull that look off. She figured there was a spell to cover them but she wasn't sure what it was. She wasn't a healer and her knowledge of healing spells was sadly limited. But she had plenty of books lying around that she could look in to find out what to do. She pulled on her bathrobe and went into the living room where her bookshelves were. She pulled down the book she was looking for and flipped through the pages quickly until she found a spell that healed bruises. Perfect. Just what she needed. She ran over to where she'd thrown her purse and opened it up to get her wand out. She couldn't find it. She rooted through the bag and found nothing but all her usual junk, but no wand. She dumped the entire thing out onto the floor and rooted through the mess until she realized it just wasn't there.

"Damn it, Draco Malfoy I'm going to bloody kill you," she muttered under her breath. He had to have taken it out of her purse when she wasn't looking. That was the only explanation. It's not as if she'd taken it out at the bar and waved it around or left it on the table. She hadn't touched it the entire night or on the walk home to her place. And she always kept it in her purse because she never went anywhere without it. This meant if she wanted it back, she had to go back to his place to get it. He'd set it up this way on purpose, she fumed to herself. He was a complete and utter git. She got up and shoved all her crap back into her purse and then she went to get dressed. She put on a t-shirt and jeans and grabbed her old Gryffindor scarf out of the closet and wrapped it around her neck. She realized she looked like a moron, but she didn't care. She grabbed her purse again and headed out the door and back to Draco's place.

She got there and pounded loudly on his door. It took him forever to open it up but he finally did. He was standing there in jeans and an open button up shirt and he had a cigarette in his mouth.

"Back for more already?" he asked with a smirk.

She shoved him back as hard as she could and watched him stumble and lose his cigarette. He stomped it out on the carpet before it caught fire and then he looked up to see one very pissed off witch staring him down.

"Where is my wand?" she demanded angrily.

"How would I know?" he asked innocently. "Nice scarf, by the way. Is it cold outside?"

"Shut up. Just tell me where my wand is."

"Why would I know where it is?"

"Because it was in my bloody purse and now it's gone. You had my purse. So just give it back to me or I swear I will kill you," she hissed at him.

"Kill me? Without a wand? I'd like to see you try that," he said with a grin.

"Stop playing games! I know you have it. And I will throw everything you own out that window until I find it," she informed him.

He walked towards her and pulled on the scarf around her neck.

"Why are you wearing this anyway? Got an attack of school spirit and decided to put it on for old times sake?"

"Stop changing the subject."

He pulled the scarf off and saw the marks he'd left on her neck. He started laughing. "Oh my God. Look what I did to you. Oops. My bad. You look like you've been strangled."

"I wish you'd just strangle me then I wouldn't have to deal with you anymore," she said with an irritated sigh.

"Look, let me fix that up," he said walking into the kitchen and pulling his own wand out of a drawer. He walked over to her and said a spell and he watched as the bruises disappeared from her neck. "Good as new," he told her with a smile.

"Thanks. Now give my own wand before I wrestle you to the ground and grab yours."

"Fine, fine. I'll give it back. I thought you'd miss it a lot sooner than you did. What kind of witch doesn't even keep track of her own wand? Not very smart, if you ask me," he said strolling casually over to a desk where he'd put the wand in one of the drawers.

"I wasn't exactly thinking clearly when I left here. I just wanted to get out of here," she told him as she grabbed her wand out of his hand. "Why did you take this anyway?"

He shrugged. "Because I wanted to give you a reason to come back."


"I don't know. I guess I kind of liked having you around."

"Well I won't be coming around again. Unless there's something else of mine you'd like to steal?"


"Well then I'm leaving. And remember, I was never here. Last night didn't happen," she reminded him.

"Right. Never happened."

She looked at him for a moment, then she just turned around and walked out. He watched her go and he felt a pang of sadness for some reason. He didn't really want her to go. He didn't know why. He didn't know what had compelled him to steal her wand in the first place. He just knew he wanted to see her again. He'd been so depressed and lonely for so long that seeing a familiar face had really cheered him up. Even if it was the face of a girl who completely detested him, with rightful reasons. But he meant what he told her before. He didn't hate her anymore. He didn't care where she came from or who her parents were. None of that mattered. And she'd surprised the hell out of him by acting the way she did with him the night before. That wasn't the girl who he thought he knew. Not that he ever actually could claim to have known her. But she certainly wasn't the person he expected. She had always been such a prissy little thing who seemed so perfect. But that wasn't who he met last night. He liked this girl much better. She was much more fun. And he didn't understand why they couldn't keep having that fun together. So what if she said she never wanted to see him again? When did that ever stop him? When he wanted something, he went after it. That's just who he was. And for some reason, he wanted her.

He quickly pulled on his shoes and buttoned up his shirt. He hurried out the door and hoped she hadn't gone too far yet because he wanted to follow her. He wanted to see where she lived. It had to be close by because she'd walked. She hadn't apparated. He ran down the stairs because they were quicker than the lift and he saw her walk out onto the sidewalk in front of his building. He stayed back until she'd crossed the street and then he took off after her, keeping a safe distance away so she didn't see him. He was ducking behind newsstands and lamp posts and felt like he was some sort of spy. But he watched her stop at a street vendor and order a coffee. He stood behind a doorway and kept peeking out to see if she'd moved on yet. She had, so he took off after her. He watched her come to an old red brick building and walk up the steps and enter the building. He waited a moment, then he dashed inside behind her but she was already gone. She'd gotten in the elevator and he didn't know which floor she was on. He'd lost her. But he still knew which building it was. That was something. And it was literally only blocks away from his place and the seedy little bar they'd met at. It wouldn't be so strange for them to run into each other again. At least not if he staked out her building and just happened to run into her. He'd turned into a crazy stalker, he realized. This was stupid of him. What was he doing? He needed to just leave her alone. She hated him. She made that quite clear. But then why did she sleep with him? That was the million dollar question that he couldn't get out of his mind. Obviously she was attracted to him even if she tried to pretend she wasn't. But was he attracted to her? He must be or else he wouldn't be following her home like a stray puppy. She had gotten under his skin somehow. More so than usual. He liked tormenting her, which he knew made him a total git, but it was so much fun. It always had been fun. But now the game had changed a bit. Or rather a lot. She might have wanted to pretend last night never happened, but he wasn't going to let her.

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