Trees and Gardens *Oneshot* Draco/Hermione

BY : mayablake
Category: Harry Potter > Het - Male/Female > Draco/Hermione
Dragon prints: 434
Disclaimer: Trees and Gardens Set during HBP Disclaimer: Making no money, just borrowing these characters, Ms Rowling owns Harry Potter and I am not trying to infringe on anything. Thanks to my Beta reader and dear friend: L3g3ndQ.

Hermione watched him closely for any sign of difference. Would he sneer at her less or more now? She'd listened since June for any news about the Malfoys. Of course his father had been sent off to Azkaban after ...what happened... at the Ministry. For his role in Sirius' death, among other things.

He turned, caught her staring from the bench as he carried an expensive new suitcase across the courtyard, heading to the Slytherin dorms just like any other year at Hogwarts.

Just as though they were all normal young witches and wizards beginning another year. This time he met her eyes and then looked away. She sighed, right, another year.


XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX


She found herself staring at him in classes, at meals, in the corridors. He'd aged over the summer. How close were he and his father?

A horrible notion came to her - his arm! She tried to remember if she'd seen his bare arms. Had he taken the mark to make up for his father's arrest? As a sign of loyalty perhaps? Shivering, she pulled her robe tighter.

"Hermione, are you feeling alright?" Ginny smiled a bit but Hermione saw the worry.

"Gin, yes, I'm fine."

"You've been sitting here with me for well over an hour not reading, just staring off into space. We don't have to study tonight if you're tired."

Guilt washed over her at Ginny's concern. Why was she wasting so much thought on Draco? Things had to stay on track: classes, exams, and meals and other things. Suddenly she felt drained. She saw it again, Bellatrix running, screaming, "I killed Sirius Black!" She shivered again; she had to get out of there!

"Yes, I'd better get to bed, it's late."

Ginny watched her friend sloppily gather her things and practically stumble out of the library. It was only 8:30. Ginny frowned; they were all so very tired. She didn't know what else to do as she watched Hermione practically run away but get back to studying, try to learn something new, something else to save them from...you know who.


XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

"Granger, why are you following me?" Tired, he sounded so tired to himself.

"Malfoy, you obviously followed me." She didn't raise her voice; she simply finished the few steps to the stone bench and sat down, dumping her armload of books and notes carelessly on the grass. She'd never encountered anyone in this little secluded garden, if anyone, she wasn't surprised to run into Malfoy tonight.

"I was sitting right here first. You didn't even see me." "Besides," he got up from under the single large tree and sat down next to her, "usually I'm by myself out here." His weary voice lacked the usual bite and he shifted his eyes away from her, his mouth lax. "You're in a fog, Granger, did some spell go wrong on you?"


"I could say the same about you, Malfoy." A silence stretched.


"Neither of us did much good in Potions today, unusual for you not to come out first." She turned her body toward him, the toneless quality of his voice somehow worse than his usual arrogance. "I could have used that lucky day but as usual, Draco failed."


She watched her hand settle on his thigh and he moved closer until his leg touched hers.


"Perhaps I needed a smart exit line? How about, 'Damn you Potter, the famous Harry Potter, can't even go into a Potions class...'" He mocked himself, shaking his head. "What a git I am."


"I remember that day at Flourish & Blotts you know, it seems like yesterday."


"Mother has been terribly upset at what happened to ... him. To father. Azkaban, imagine."


"All we had to worry us was your father looming about."


"I really was proud of him that day. Proud. He seemed so, large, in control, so everything I wanted to be." Draco snorted and put his hand over hers on his thigh. "Have you ever wondered what I'd told him about you over the summer?"


She met his eyes, not ready to start the usual fight, drinking in his closeness. "About my Mudblood parents you mean?"

"No, that's his fight, he told me about them when we left. He always explains that sort of thing." A squeeze to her hand, an indrawn breath. "What I said was that you're beautiful, amazing, the best witch there is." He met her wide eyes, his own shiny wet. "He was so angry. Said he would sort out my foolishness."

"Why are you saying this?" It crossed her mind to not put her other hand on his leg, or to not turn closer in to him but oh, that tear rolling down his cheek. "Why Malf...Draco?"


Not his last name now that he was crying.

"I'm bloody terrified, and I have no one to talk to about this and I've never told you what I wanted to say and...' he stopped to smooth her hair over her shoulder "all of this could be over in a few months' time."

"Over?" She wet her lips, strangely drawn to the wet trail on his cheek. He really is handsome, she thought, and decided she liked the comfort of his fingers on the nape of her
neck. His features were more pleasant than Viktor's stern face, the lovely shine of his moonlit blonde hair yet another distraction her mind eagerly accepted.

"You can feel it, all this rot with Voldemort and the Death Eaters..." His voice trailed off, his eyes searching her own. "...and how I'm supposed to do something for them this year."

"Draco?" Her voice choked out, her throat swollen with dread. "What is it?" When he didn't answer, she twisted in his grasp, pushing both his sleeves up to the elbow, desperately wanting, needing, to see unmarked skin. "When?"

More tears welled from his eyes and fell onto her hands when he ducked his head. "Not yet, but soon. Father said it's my time, what I was born for as his son."

"Snape, is Snape forcing you to all this?"

"Oddly, he said he'll watch over me." Draco didn't try to explain how he felt around Snape, safe, protected; the man had become a haven, even when his own father now terrified him. "I believe him."

"It's all madness, Draco. I do feel it."

"That's why I wanted that potion today, one lucky day to replace the day that's coming. Maybe skip over it." He'd wound his hands back into her hair, pulling her ever closer to his tearstained face.


"I ... Draco." She licked her lips just before he rubbed a wet cheek against her forehead. Speak up, Hermione, her brain screamed but she could only rub her fingers against his forearms, overwhelmingly thankful for his warm smooth skin. "Your father didn't kill Sirius Black." She wanted him to at least know that as fact if he didn't. A stray thought, she opened her mouth again but he shook his head.


"Hermione, it doesn't matter. Right now I just want to be a sixth year and you're a sixth year and I want to be able to look back and have taken you to that dance and have removed you from that lovely dress...and not to have said all the things I have."


She thought back to the dance, spinning around for hours with Viktor, kissing him afterward while his hands slyly moved over her bum in that dress. As usual, she'd overthought, pondered what she should have been feeling at that moment but actually had felt very little. When she replaced Viktor with Draco, the memory became more interesting and a heat flared from her chest down to her hands.


"Yes, there are so many things."


"Can we pretend, for now, let me do this right before they kill me, and..."


She tugged him toward her and pressed her mouth to his with a sudden, fanciful notion of wiping away his burden by turning his lips in a new direction. She knew without a doubt that she didn't want to hear anymore about death: Voldemort, Death Eaters, the Ministry, dead parents, dead friends; she'd had enough for now and oh, his hands pushed her robe open and pressed into her waist.

"Can I touch you? Could you let me make it all up to you?" He stared pleadingly at her, his mouth just a breath away from her own. His hands moved slowly up her sides to rest on her shoulder blades. "I'll go if you tell me, but I, I want you to know me."

Hermione bit back a retort that she thought she did know him but that wasn't true. What she'd seen was the boy trying to act the part of a father he'd so admired. So much like Harry, she thought, and then quashed the idea out of guilt for thinking of Harry just now at all. Instead, she felt for her wand and charmed the gate leading out to the garden so that it could not be opened from within the castle, then dropped the wand to where her books and papers lay.

"Now, it's you and me, not everything else." She'd often wondered if Draco was somehow slow on the uptake, always sitting in the back of classes, seemingly not applying himself as well as his pureblood family tree would predict but in this moment he quickly followed her lead by tossing his own robe and wand.

"Or anyone else" he affirmed while sliding her robe down and off her arms. "That's better, you're so beautiful." She tilted her head back with a little gasp when he began trailing his lips from her ear to her jaw, down until he met the neckline of her sweater and moved back up to her lips.

She'd heard girls talking about him, about things they'd supposedly done with him, many of them and not only Slytherin girls. One thing for certain she thought giddily, he was a much better kisser than Viktor, his lips more pliable and his mouth surprisingly sweet, like he'd been eating pumpkin pasties. She wondered if he'd actually done all those things.

She certainly hadn't done those things with Viktor or even allowed him to snog her too many more times. Would she let Draco?

She pressed her hands into his hair. He hadn't been gelling it down this year so the strands slipped gently though her fingers.

"You're beautiful as well, Draco." She smiled and he held her closer. "I think I like saying your first name."

"Do you Hermione? Well, please don't forget... please just remember what I've done right."

"Who's trying to kill you, what's happening? Please tell me, something can be sorted out, I'm sure of it." She said it but she no longer believed anyone could protect any of them.

Something very bad lay on the horizon.

"You know neither of us believes that." He kissed her again. "I have to do something that I'm soon to find out about and that might get me killed or, I suspect, I'll be killed outright for not going through with it." He chewed his lip for a moment, looking away and up into the tree's moonlit branches. "I fear hurting you above hurting myself... always trying to impress you, get your attention."

She caressed his jaw, his chin. "You have it. Should you need anything, I can help, I can do..."

"No, no, no." His voice remained low but determined in a way she had never heard from him. "You are not going to be killed in this, no."

"Don't take the mark, please." Tears welled in her eyes thinking of it, thinking of him beside his father in Azkaban, of not having him around. This year was the first time she'd looked around Hogwarts and began wondering who would be left to make up the future. Never before had she not pictured Harry, Ginny, Ron, Draco, all of them living and doing something after graduation, something like family cookouts or vacations. Now, sitting before her was the first one who might conceivably die, the first one she really felt danger
surround, the one she'd admitted to herself she wanted most of all to be there years into that murky future. "Please don't.  I'm so sorry I hit you," she gasped, her thoughts tumbling over themselves in a mad rush to say...something.

He reached down and placed his hands over hers, trying to relax her desperate grip on his thigh. "I'm here now, me, and I want you to know I plan to do what I can to fight against it. Perhaps they will kill me, I don't know. Snape said we would speak further as things develop, when I find out what the plan is. I don't want to end up, you know, like them."

He pulled her halfway into his lap and faced them toward the towering ancient tree, his arms tightly around her. "For now, let us act like sixth years, speak like sixth years about how lovely this tree is and about the early winter flowers in this garden."

Hermione rested her head on his shoulder, more than willing to breath in the smell of him and enjoy the warmth of his body rather than think further on the fight at hand. "Draco, I think that no lovely old tree or garden shall please me ever again if you don't come through this."


He pulled her close, feeling strength seep back into his body. Somehow he would survive this mess now that he held the future in his arms. "Hold on to this memory, we may need it." She rubbed her cheek against his neck and he felt her smile.



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