Meeting, Loving, Departing

AN: Hey, sorry for the slight delay, I promise I'll work on it, and thanks for the reviews :D
PS: thanks Critic007, you've been incredibly helpful and inspired a coming chapter =)

Chapter 5 - Same Time, Same Place Tomorrow?

Draco's POV

"Well, aren't I your friend?" I asked her.

Call me strange, but I swear I heard her choke on something!

"Hey, you okay? You don't sound so good."

After an eternity, she finally replied, "yeah, I'm good, it's just, the wind caught in my throat and," she paused to cough, "it caught me off guard."

I stared up at the ceiling, perfectly aware that there was no wind in the Room. I knew she was just taken aback by my last comment, hell; I was taken aback by it. It was like word vomit, it came out before I could stop it, and then I regretted it. But I decided not to dwell on it or point out to the Gryffindorian her mistake.

"Right, yes, well, that makes perfect sense." I tried to drain out the sarcasm, but I didn't do such a hot job.

"No! Really, it had nothing to do with you!" Another thing I learned about her, she couldn't lie to save her life. I knew that if I was face-to-face with her, she'd be blushing.

"It's okay, I understand. It's not every day that some random Slytherin declares you as his friend, trust me, I get it."

"Seriously, it's not that, I so didn't choke because, you, you know, said what you said. It wasn't like that! It's just, you know, Slytherins, they're like, arrogant, and self-centered, and they don't care about anyone but themselves! And I just," she started mumbling, "I didn't realize you were even capable to feel the same way I did."

"Hey! Not all Slytherins are arrogant and self-centered! Only, like, most of them. And besides –" that's when I really heard what she said. "Wait, 'feel that same way' you did? You mean you; I mean you also see me as like, you know, a…friend?"

"Well, I wouldn't exactly say it like that, but, yeah. More or less. But it's ridiculous because we've only known each other for like," I could almost visualize her checking her watch before exclaiming: "OH MY MERLIN! Is that the time? We have five minutes until we'd get unbelievably screwed for staying out so late. If Filch catches me, I'd just die! I can't take two detentions in one day!"

I couldn't help a chuckle at her distress. "Who's the idiot now?" I taunted mockingly.

"Now it not the time! Can't you tell I'm having a nervous breakdown?"

"Oh no, it's not obvious at all." I think this only freaked her out even more. "But come on, rationally speaking, this is the Room of Requirement, all you need is to 'require' a secret passageway back to your dorms ensuring Filch doesn't catch you and you'll be fine." I mimicked her 'know-it-all' tone, hoping it would irritate her as much as it did me.

"Wow, yeah, I completely forgot about that. You're actually quite smart, you know that?"

And before I could help it, I felt myself being engulfed into another memory of the girl in the woods…

I'd been meeting her for a few weeks now, bringing her provisions like food and clothing. I had borrowed some of my mother's old things that I knew she's never wear again and stole snacks from the kitchen, knowing those pesky elves wouldn't dare rat me out because they knew that would backfire on them and make it look like they were stealing. I hadn't told Celestiel of my unconventional methods of keeping her alive because it was obvious she'd disapprove, but she was fully aware that my parents didn't know anything about her, and that was how I intended to keep it.

She knew as well as I that my parents wouldn't be as forthcoming about her practically living in our backyard as I was, despite how easy she was on the eyes. She might be beautiful, but, as I soon came to know, a half-breed living off the Malfoys wouldn't sit too well with them. So we kept our rendezvous' a secret.

It was a couple of months after our arrangement began that I noticed the scars and scratches. I expected she'd tell me about them, but she never did, so I confronted her myself.

"Celestiel?" I approached her one day.

"Hm?" She looked up from the twigs that lay on the floor and were currently making patterns in the soil without her even touching them. Magic. Her clear eyes pierced my own, sending shivers down my spine.

"What are those?" I gestured my thumb at her legs which seemed to have fresh new cuts on them.

She quickly pulled the hem of her silk dress over her knees. "Nothing." She brushed it away with her hand, the motion sent a few branches flying away.

"Celestiel, I know 'nothing', that's certainly not 'nothing'." I scrutinised her. "I thought you said you were used to sleeping in the woods?"

She glanced up enthusiastically. "I am! My family and I went camping all the time!" Celestiel went back to messing with the rocks and grass.

I caught her in her white lie. "Camping? You mean like with tents and sleeping bags?" Silence. I knew that meant a 'yes'. I sighed and sat down next to her. By this point, sitting on dirt had become a usual occurrence for me, so I wasn't even bothered by it. "You should've told me Celestiel, you should've told me that sleeping on the hard ground was hurting you."

She shook her head sadly. "You've given me so much, Draco. You're the reason I'm alive. You feed me, you clothe me, you practically bathe me! How can I ask any more of you? I will never be able to repay you for your kindness, the least I can do is focus on what I have rather than what I wish I had." More of her usual philosophical crap.

"Lestie, I care about you, I give you clothes and food because I want you alive and happy. Well, I can never make you happy, but I can certainly try. If you're in pain, or if whatever your living conditions are are less than satisfactory, I want to be able to help. I'll do anything." I gave her my most sincere look, but she turned away.

"Draco, I'm living in a forest with hooting owls and biting ants. Satisfactory is a long way away, but these 'conditions' are liveable, and for now, that's enough. And you are helping, as I said, you're keeping me alive, that's more than what I could've hoped for at this point had I been alone." She took my hand, her warmth radiating through my veins. "Thank you, Draco, thank you for saving my life, and thank you for being the only one on the planet who cares about me. I honestly don't know what I'd do without you."

I stood up abruptly, brushing off the leaves from my pants, trying to remove any evidence of my visit. I pulled Celestiel up and looked her square in the eyes, though I had to tiptoe slightly. She was a few centimetres taller than me, much to my mortification. "You're coming with me." I headed back for the Mansion, but when I stopped hearing the constant rhythm of her delicate footsteps, I turned around to see where she was. She was right behind me.

"Where are you taking me?"

"Home. You're staying in the Malfoy Mansion."

"No, Draco, you just don't get it, do you?" This was her favourite line, I lost count of how many times she'd said this to me. "I can't take any more from you, and I know introducing myself to your folks will not go over well for you. I can't place you in any trouble, and I certainly can't live in your house without causing a mess."

"Celestiel, just stop talking for a second and listen to me. There's a basement in my house, it's more like a wine cellar, but there's a little room tucked away in it with a tiny bed and bathroom. It's small, but it's better than out here." I regarded the forest with disgust, though I had become very fond of the musky scent and peaceful atmosphere.

"But I like 'out here'! It's beautiful and quiet and, best of all, there's almost no chance of getting caught! It wouldn't be right for me to stay with you."

"Listen to me, Lestie, and this time, really listen, I want to help you. Whether you want my help or not, I don't really care. The point it, you're my friend, and I've watched movies, I know what friends do for each other, they help each other. So, you're going to sneak in the back door and go down those stairs and you will stay there, or so help me Merlin, I will drag you back myself."

"And how do you suppose we'll get in undetected?"

I pulled out a small cloak from my robe pocket. "I got this from my father's room, it's got a Disillusionment charm on it." She raised her thin, golden eyebrows. "Camouflage, basically." I smiled triumphantly.

She shook her head again, but this time with amusement. "You know something, Draco Malfoy? You're actually quite smart." She grinned, flashing me her brilliant, white teeth.

I pulled myself back to the present, shaking out of the temporary, but painful, reverie.

"Well, thanks. But we should probably end the compliments around now and start leaving." Yes, I was trying to put some distance between us, I would miss her, but she slightly scared me, she reminded me too much of the girl who broke my heart, and being near her and listening to her hurt me too much to bear at the moment.

She giggled softly, and again, I mentally kicked myself for falling for a Gryffindork. It was appalling, and for all I knew, she could've been (Merlin forbid) friends with the Boy-Who-Just-Couldn't-Shut-Up-And-Die and that pathetic Weasel.

"I don't suppose you want to come back? As in, like, with me?" She quietly suggested, obviously frightened of being rejected. Normally I would've rejoiced in the chance to emotionally damage a Gryffindor, but somehow, a completely different set of words escaped my mouth.

"Sure, when?"

"Same time, same place tomorrow?" She offered.

I groaned. "Can't, detention with Snape will definitely run through 8. Unless I say I'm ill…"

"No, trust me, he won't let you leave unless you're actually ill and have proof."

"I can take care of that, I'll just snag a few of those Puking Pastiles from Weasel-bee, I'm sure the Weasley twins have supplied him with a handy stash." It may not have been the smartest thing to insult a handful of people in her house, even though it probably didn't matter, there was almost no way she was that girl who's name sounded like a Gin & Tonic, so she hopefully wouldn't take much note of it.

Hermione's POV

"That could work, but only if you're very good at covering it up. But, just in case, wait until like 8:30, then eat them. So, meet here at nine?"

He laughed; the sound gave me goose bumps. "Definitely, nine. That's it then, goodnight Gryffindor Girl."

"Night, Slytherin Boy. I'll see you tomorrow, or, you know, whatever this is called." I smiled.

Even though I couldn't see him, I knew he was smiling too.

Just as I though about needing an escape passageway, I heard a grinding on the other side of the fogged glass. A dark tunnel formed before my eyes. I whispered softly, "I'll miss you," I knew he couldn't hear me, but I meant it. Somehow, I'd come to like the unique Slytherin, despite his house. So there was the odd person every now and then, like that vile Draco Malfoy, who cast aspersions on a house, it obviously didn't mean that all Slytherins were like him. Some were different, some like my Slytherin Boy.

I worked my way through the tunnel, having to climb a few short stairs was a small feat to pay in exchange for not getting caught by Filch. In fact, the tunnel led me to one of the portraits inside the Common Room itself, I didn't even have to face the Fat Lady. I hoped that the Slytherin Boy had the same luck as I did.

After scurrying up to my room and changing into my nightgown, I lay down in my bed and fell asleep almost immediately, ignoring the piles of unfinished essays on my nightstand.

That night, I dreamt of possible appearances of the Slytherin Boy, the first image that came to mind was dark brown hair and blue eyes, possible with a tan. I thought of Theodore Nott, but dismissed it after remembering that he didn't even take Potions.

I even ruled out the chocolate-colored hair and the warm eyes after recalling that he referred to the Weasley's as the 'Weasel-bees'. No one could look so nice and welcoming if they had such a sour personality and grim outlook on life. Someone like that would have to look something like Malfoy, only; hopefully Slytherin Boy's eyes wouldn't be filled with such hate and malice. The thought of my Slytherin Boy even being acquainted with Malfoy made me scowl in my sleep.

After all, it's not everyday that you find a Slytherin who's not like Draco Malfoy. It's even rarer to find yourself falling in love with one.

AN: And your opinion is…? Please review! I'm finding this new writing roll I'm on to be quite interesting :P I hope I don't lose it!
Constructive criticism is much needed and loved!