Memoria Luxareo @tootytots1
An Apology

Hermione sniffed, letting another letter fall to the floor around her. They'd been arriving all week; dropping in front of her in piles, her name scribbled across them in hastily written hate. They were all as unimaginative and petty in their insults as the next, seeking to undermine her apparent promiscuous personality by referring to her as a man-eating Bundimun, over and over again. She was almost grateful for their obvious lack of originality and imagination because every letter that featured the overused insult instantly lost its sting.

The article Skeeter had so eloquently put together had topped all her previous instalments for its work of sheer fiction. Her hands shook as she thought of the squeaky journalist and her floating quill. She'd thought there was something desperately off with her from the get-go, now it all made sense.

Hermione leant back against the stone steps, letting her shoulders slump. The week, without doubt, had been hard. On top of the hate mail and the general looks of distaste from most of the female population at Hogwarts, there'd been Malfoy or the significant lack of Malfoy. He'd gone back to ignoring her, brushing off all her attempts at communication with a cold demeanour that, surprisingly hurt more than all the insults he'd thrown at her. There was also the issue of the Sensieve; since Malfoy's committal to the cold shoulder they had not been dragged into another memory and the lack of contact was starting to evoke some weird withdrawals that were making it a little difficult to function. The press of its magic in the air was almost suffocating, the sparks it sent her way almost stinging with their insistence. It was worse when she was trying to sleep, thoughts of Mina and Edward, of the infuriating Slytherin, working with the Sensieve's magic, making it impossible for her to find any rest.

On top of everything, she found that she actually missed the blonde. Of course, he went out of his way to make her life a misery, to hurt her as much as possibly could, but there had been those brief and fleeting occasions when he had made her laugh, had challenged her thoughts and beliefs in a way that no one else had. When she thought of the astronomy tower; the grey clouds almost the same colour of his eyes rumbling behind him as he smirked down at her, she couldn't help but smile. She was convinced though that it was yet another strange withdrawal from the Sensieve, it was utterly pathetic and stupid that a couple of occasions of him being nice to her could ever eradicate all of the dickishness that had come before. But there were weak moments and they annoyed her more than the Sensieve-based Insomnia.

"Reading love letters, Granger?" Hermione jumped as she recognised the voice, turning to see Malfoy, walking slowly down the steps towards her. His hair was, as always neatly styled, hands dug deep into the pockets of his black trousers.

"No," she sniffed, turning away and lifting her nose in the air, "just some lovely witches and wizards that share the same viewpoint as you." She started picking up the paper-littered at her feet, wiping her cheeks hurriedly, annoyed with herself that such idiotic nonsense could have made her cry.

She heard his shoes tapping against the stone as he lazily stepped down towards where she was sitting.

"And what viewpoint would that be" Hermione scowled, shooting him a glare over her shoulder.

"That I'm worthless, that I don't belong in the wizarding world. Pus, they don't seem to appreciate, how did you put it? Oh yes, the little 'Love triangle' I've drawn myself." There was a pause, the silence deafening and uncomfortably full of magic that was definitely stinging her skin now, the little sparks threatening to make her wince.

Hermione turned back to collecting her paper, only to be stunned in place, when Malfoy sat next to her, his leg pressed against the side of hers. The effect it had on the magic surrounding them was almost instantaneous and Hemione blushed when she found herself biting back a sigh. It thrummed across her skin, gentle and soothing, brushing over all the places where it had previous stung her like a cooling balm. She watched as Draco leant forward, picking up a letter with a sneer on his face.

"You shouldn't let this stuff bother you, Granger." He cast her a quick glance, before throwing the letter back on the floor.

"Wha…" Hermione was gobsmacked, confused and downright irritated. "I'm sorry, am I missing something? Are you really telling me, not to let this bother me, when you, only weeks ago, were quite happily telling me to take my mudblood self, elsewhere? Not to mention that you've ignored my existence for the last few weeks."

Draco winced as her voice echoed around them in the stairwell, her words holding a sting of truth, that made him shift uncomfortably.

"I was annoyed okay. We had an agreement, Granger, and you not so gracefully, or you know, without telling the other party, bowed out. I was angry. Can you really blame me?" He stared at the material of his trousers, tracing the pattern of stitching with the tip of his finger.

"It's not like I could help it. Believe it or not, getting kidnapped by mermaids wasn't on my to-do list." she stood quickly, shouting her words down at him, in the most condescending way she could muster. Draco stared up at her angrily.

"Really? And here I was thinking that the mermaid crap was right up there, next to not bothering to apologise, and ignoring Malfoy."

Hermione's mouth fell open in shock. She couldn't believe it, the whole mood had been because she hadn't apologised because she hadn't rushed to him and told him how eye-bleedingly sorry she was.

"Me, apologise to you?" Draco groaned, letting his head fall into his hands at the tone of her voice. It was dangerously quiet, but he knew it wouldn't stay that way for long.

"Look that's not what I…"

"Apologise to you? You bully me for years, tell me to stop, 'Infecting everyone's oxygen' and you have the gall to tell me, that I need to apologise?"

"Granger that's…"

"Well here goes then," Hermione put her hands on her hips, leaning down slightly, so every word would smack straight off the blonde's, perfectly styled hairdo. "I'm sorry that you're such an inconsiderate prat, with mood swings more varied than the weather, and a penchant for overreacting. I'm sorry that you think I deliberately went out of my way to hurt you, but considering your aptitude for making my life hell, I think it's about bloody time I got a few digs in of my own." When he didn't move or say anything she scowled and turned to stomp her way back up the steps.

"Granger...wait." She stopped, thinking vaguely that their roles had been reversed. She turned slowly, watching him suspiciously, as he climbed to his feet and looked up at her.

"Look I'm," he glanced down at the ground, his hands slipping back into his pockets as he shrugged, "I was a dick"' he said simply, admiring the brickwork to the side of him, "and I shouldn't have been."

Hermione could hardly believe her ears. It almost sounded like he was trying to apologise to her. Draco Malfoy, apologising? She'd almost been certain that he didn't even know what the word apology meant, or at least not how it related to him. He definitely didn't look comfortable doing it.

"You're...You're apologising?" Hermione breathed, uncertain whether she'd said it out loud.

"No, Granger, I'm playing quidditch," He bit back sarcastically, trying to sound annoyed, but only succeeding in sounding embarrassed, which he was. Hermione stared at him for a bit longer, her mouth opening and closing as her brain failed to supply words.

"Look, Granger, though your impression of a fish is, quite possibly, one of the most accurate and entertaining things I have ever seen, I do have better things to do so...If you'll excuse me."

"No-wait." The words were out her mouth as soon as he'd turned away and she cringed at how desperate they made her sound. She supposed that she should hold a grudge, no one would blame her. He'd been cruel and mean, and she had until recently despised everything about him. But this person, this was the new Malfoy; the one that smiled at her, laughed with her, the Malfoy that she'd missed, and that she, for some unknown reason, wanted to spend time with.

"Okay." Malfoy looked up at her, his expression hopeful.

"Okay what?" He asked, stepping towards her.

"Okay…" Hermione took a deep breath, "Okay I forgive you. But if we meet, we're going to have to be careful, and you are going to have to stop being a prat."

"I'll try, Granger, but you know it's what I do best." Hermione's breath caught in her throat, and her heart stuttered in her chest, as Draco beamed at her. The sight of it made it impossible for her to form a single coherent thought.

"So be careful, because of a nosy Potter, and don't be a prat, I got it." He stepped away quickly when Hermione moved to swat his arm "So when do you suppose…"

"Tonight?" Hermione offered, nibbling her bottom lip. Draco wiped his face with the palm of his hand when he found himself staring at the action with too much interest.

"I hear it's going to be a clear night, so the astronomy tower will be out of bounds, but I'm sure there's somewhere else."

'What about the room?' Draco cut in, looking at Hermione meaningfully.

"Okay, is this some kind of trick, because if it is, it sucks." Hermione pointed her finger at him angrily and Draco's eyes widened in shock.

"I don't know what you mean." He replied, dumbfounded.

"You, with this apologising and wanting to go into the same room as the Sensieve. You couldn't get away from it fast enough before."

Draco stared down at his shoes. He'd been expecting her suspicion, he couldn't blame her. In the weeks they hadn't spoken his thoughts had started, ended and consisted entirely of her. His eyes constantly searching for her. He'd wanted to stay mad at her, keep things the way they always had been, but he'd actually missed her. Not talking to her had actually hurt. So, he'd apologised, or at least tried to. His father would have suffered a mild stroke if he'd seen the display. Malfoy's never apologised, they were, given their namesake, always in the right, in the authority. But with Granger…

He wondered how this had happened, how she muscled in and rearranged things so quickly. He'd always been under the impression that feeling and crap took time. But Edwards memories had turned all that on its head. He'd learnt that feelings could sneak up and bite you on the proverbial before it could be told to bother some other poor beggar. Hermione had always, without fail, put him in his place, sent him reeling. Now she did it for predominantly, breath-taking, annoying, strawberry scented, bottom-lip-nibbling-to-distraction, reasons.

"Let's just say I've changed my mind." He muttered with a shrug.

"Changed your mind? Changed you...You've completely switched. Yes, you're still pompous and annoying but…" Hermione ran out of words as Draco raised an eyebrow in amusement.

"You flatter me." He smirked

"If I didn't know any better, I'd say this was invasion of the body snatchers."

"The body what?"

"The body snatchers, it's a film, a movie, a muggle thing," Hermione added quickly when he looked at her confused.

"Oh right, of course," He muttered sarcastically.

"My point is, this is…don't you think it's a little crazy?"

"Maybe," Draco shrugged, "But stop panicking. This isn't a trick, or a joke, or even that big of a deal. I just want to know how to use a powerful wand, so that it stops being a decorative stick, and stop the Sensieve's magic from being as annoying, no more, no less."

Hermione couldn't fathom why she was disappointed, but rather than concentrate on it, she sucked in a breath and straightened her back, meeting the blonde's gaze.

"Okay then, but no more attempts at apologising, you really suck at it," Hermione smirked, turning away and heading up the steps, smiling to herself when she heard his reply.

"Wouldn't dream of it, Granger."

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