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Title: Afraid to Try True Love
Author: Tyrror
Pairing: Draco/Hermione
Rating: PG-13


“If I could cry a little harder,
And get a little less sleep at night…”

Hermione stared blankly at the tightly closed maroon curtains about her bed. It was true that she had cried for a time, but now it was going on five in the morning and she simply had nothing left to give. She was certain that her eyes must be large and red and that her cheeks must be pulling off a close resemblance, but she simply didn’t care. Through the haze of her curtains she could see the red of dawn approaching, though she guessed it would be at least another hour until the sun truly rose. Slowly she lowered her head back to her knees, which had been pulled up to her chest for the past forty-five minutes, and let out a long sigh.

‘How could he? That…that…rodent!’

Her thoughts had been running through her head like this for the past few hours. She knew that Malfoys were naturally slimy and pig-headed, but she never expected him to pull off a stunt this big just to get her goat. For a second she had almost believed him, but then she realized that it could never be true, even if she wanted it to be so. There was some part of her that still wanted to believe, and that’s what hurt the most. That was also the reason she was still up…she had been fighting with herself all night.

‘I should have cursed him…’ The thought came unbidden. ‘No, that would just put me on his level…’

She lifted her head again and glanced at the little hand-wound clock on her bedside table. Three minutes had passed. Sighing again, she fell backward and collapsed into her pillows, needing something to cling to besides her own knees.
_____________________________________________________________________________

“Should we wake her?”

“I don’t know, maybe she’s sick…”

“But you know she never misses class…Never…”

Hermione’s head swam with unknown voices. Light burned on the other side of her eyelids and she was quick to not open them and cause her head more pain. Burying her face in her pillows she groaned softly to herself before everything fell together.

“What time is it?!?”

The words tumbled from her lips and she had to stop and repeat them to the shocked seventh year girls swarming around her dorm. Finally a girl whose name she was sure she should know by now took what might be considered a step forward and spoke to, what appeared to her at least, the head floating between Hermione’s curtains.

“Umm…nearly ten…”

“Ten!”

Hermione burst from her curtains, tossing them into the air around her and causing the girls to scatter while she muttered softly to herself and attempted to locate a robe.

“Shit…sod…bugger…”

A girl with long brown hair turned to Lavender and asked when she was sure Hermione couldn’t hear,

“Is she always like this in the morning?”

“No…normally she’s worse…trying to be earlier to the class than the professor…but at least then she’s not cursing…”
___________________________________________________________________________

She entered the hall, the last to leave the room. Slowly she lifted her hand for the fifth time in the past two minutes and attempted to straiten her hair. She couldn’t believe the fact that she, Hermione Granger, Head Girl and brightest witch of her age, had fallen asleep during History of Magic. She felt like calling herself Ron and knocking her head against a desk a few times, but sadly she didn’t have to worry about the last part. That was how she had woken up. She rubbed her forehead where it had hit the desk once again after resigning to the fact that her hair would not stay down before turning the corner and loosing her balance.

She braced herself for impact, but it never came. Instead she found herself held a few feet from the ground by a strong pair of arms. It was him. She knew it was him. Hoisting herself back into a stately position as best she could, she attempted to straiten her hair one last time before looking up at the platinum blonde that stood before her, well, crouched before her. Nearly on all fours, Draco Malfoy was gathering her things from the floor. With all the dignity one can muster when rising from all fours, Draco handed her back two notebooks, a textbook, and three quills.

“You…you dropped these…”

His voice wasn’t what it should be, and it wasn’t until he spoke that she had a chance to look him in the face and see the bags under his eyes, not to mention that his hair looked almost worse than her own.

“Thanks…”

She blushed slightly, but she had no idea as to why. Taking her things back, she turned around, even though she knew that wasn’t the way she needed to be going, and started to walk off.

“Gran…Hermione…wait…”

His voice was small and she almost actually missed it, which gave her the thought that she should pretend to have never heard him and just keep going, but something inside told her to stop.

“I may never win your respect, or your friendship, and after last night I can see, by the gods, I’ll never win you…but if it’s the last thing I do I’m going to let you know what I feel.”

She had never turned to face him, he was talking to her back, and so she didn’t know that he was staring at his own shoes.

“That first day I saw you, we were just kids, but I knew there was something about you, I knew that you would be special to me one day, but I couldn’t let that happen. You were a muggle-born, and my parents would never have it. So I did the only thing I could think of, I faked it. I tried to make myself believe that I hated you, and your choice of company only seemed to make that easier for me…”

Here she flinched, but he didn’t stop.

“I tried with every fiber of my being to believe that you were nothing, that you were just some filthy little mudblood, but it never worked. I never once could believe it…I couldn’t tell myself that I didn’t…”

“Stop…just stop…”

Her voice cut him off, but she still didn’t turn to face him. Rather he stared at her now shaking shoulders.

“This is some act Malfoy. I never thought even YOU could ever sink this low. You couldn’t even give me two months could you? The war just ended, you know, that war were I FOUGHT you.”

“That war where I switched sides when I saw the truth, you mean!”

It was odd to him, fighting with someone when he couldn’t even see their face, and that’s when he let the first one slip, hot and clear down the side of his face, but she kept going.

“I was happy. I WAS happy, but you just couldn’t let that last. I had found someone who loves me for who I am and you just had to ruin it didn’t you. You had to come up with some off the wall story and hope that I would believe it. Didn’t you Malfoy?”

Another tear slipped down his cheek as she spun to meet him, her face inches from his own and just as equally tear-streaked. It almost scared him how calm his voice sounded. This meeting was all he had left, and she was throwing him out again, but somehow he managed to retain some shred of dignity as he spoke, quaver and all.

“It wasn’t fake. None of it was fake. I’m sorry to tell you that not all of us are perfect.”

Here ice blue crossed with hazel as their eyes passed only inches away from each other and she blinked.

“Not all of us are like you…”

Something in the back of her mind made the connection of how very Snape-like he looked as he spun on one heel and walked off, cloak billowing out behind him. She unclenched the fist that she hadn’t realized she’d been holding this entire time and vaguely heard a few quills rattle as they hit the ground. Slowly she lifted one hand to her face and touched the tears that were still wet there before holding her fingers further out so that she could see them.

‘It wasn’t fake…’

She knew now that it was true. There was no way in hell that Malfoy would cry, not even for a good joke with her as the punch line.

‘Not all of us are like you…’

She wanted to hit herself...she wanted to hit him...she wanted to hit something! It was all too much. She had Ron. She had everything she needed, and now he hovers this in her face. It seemed like her mind was going to explode. Everything was going to fast and even the empty hall seemed to be spinning, then she remembered something that made time stop, if only for an instant. Grandma Granger’s voice rang through her head, that soft but firm voice that it seems all the best grandma’s have.

‘There are two kinds of love in this world, deary. There’s forever love and true love. Forever love is just that, you never have to worry about loosing it because you know they will love you forever. True love, now that’s a different story. True love is you, and not them. True love is one way, and is risky. When you find your true love, you may wake up every morning wondering if he will be there next to you, but some say that all the worry is worth it. It’s up to you what you choose, but it’s your choice to regret.’

The words rang true in her mind, but that was about all that rang true.

‘So I can wonder forever…or risk the only good thing I’ve found so far…’

In an instant she had made up her mind.

‘It looks like…I’m taking the lesser of two evils…’

Her robes billowed out behind her, doing a wondrous imitation of her hair, as she dashed down the hall, leaving the quills where they lay.

‘I’m going to hate myself for this later…’

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tyrror

December 2012

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