Hermione was distressed, VERY distressed. Malfoy had just stormed off, slamming the door behind him. She hoped the walls were soundproof; she didn't want Ginny and Harry, who were next door, to hear them.
Since she had nothing else to do besides mentally complain about what a prat Malfoy was, she decided to go down into the common room to see if Ginny was up for a girl talk.
There was no one in the common room, so she picked up a pamphlet that read "Marriage Law Rules (GIRLS)" from the coffee table.
This is what it read:
"All couples must be engaged by Christmas. Each pairing must be married by the Easter holidays. You must be pregnant by the 1st of June. You must have at least three children by June three years from your first pregnancy."
What? This what not what she had envisioned for herself. Engaged by Christmas? Married by Easter? PREGNANT by June? And how was she supposed to have three children in three years? She hadn't known that she had to be pregnant by a certain date. And with Malfoy's child? This was too much to bear!
Suddenly, Ginny came out of the "Potters" room and sat down on the couch beside Hermione. She noticed her devastated expression and said, "What is it, Hermione?"
"Have you read this?" Hermione squeaked, waving the pamphlet.
"No," Ginny answered quizzically.
"We--we have to be engaged by Christmas, married by Easter, PREGNANT by June, and have at least three children by June three years from our first pregnancy!"
"That's not so bad," Ginny said.
"Easy for you to say!" Hermione groaned. "You have Harry! I have to have Malfoy's children!"
"Oh, right." Ginny gazed at her thoughtfully. "Well, you do have to admit that he is hot. That'll make it easier for you to warm up to him." Hermione blushed. Ginny gasped. "Hermione! Do you like him?"
"No!" Hermione denied it, but her face said it all.
"Denial! That's the first step! You think he's hot!" Ginny's eyes widened. "This is good!"
"Don't tell Ron, or Harry," Hermione whispered. "I don't think they're ready."
"I won't," she promised. Then she grinned mischievously. "He is sexy. Just imagine him with his shirt off. I bet that'll make you drool." Hermione's eyes glazed over. Then she shook her head.
"Ginny!" Hermione scolded. The redhead giggled evilly.
"But seriously, 'Mione. If you're going to be his bride, you might as well try to be nice to him. You might find that he's changed."
"That's what he said, Gin. But I don't know if I can be nice to him if he's not to me." She sighed and bit her lip. "I mean, I guess I could give it a try." Ginny smiled.
"That's the spirit." Sighing again, Hermione stood up and said,
"Thanks, Gin. Now I've got a--ahem--future husband to look for." She turned around and walked through the doorway out into the corridor. Since it was almost dinner time, she set off for the Great Hall, thinking Malfoy would be there with his cronies.
But when she arrived, no one was there. She thought about where she would hide if she were mad. Then an idea came to her brilliant mind. The Room of Requirement! That had to be it. So she set off for the seventh floor. Breathing hard as a result of climbing all those stairs, she thought, "I need to find Malfoy. I need to find Malfoy. I need to find Malfoy." She repeated this as she paced back and forth three times.
Nothing happened. That was weird. Maybe she needed to be more specific. "I need to find Draco Malfoy, who is mad at me, Hermione Granger, for accusing him of being a Death Eater." As she thought this, she realized how awful she'd been to him. Finally, the door to the Room of Requirement revealed itself, and she slowly opened it. This time, the Room had morphed into a small bedroom with nothing but a narrow bed and a fireplace. This seemed too shabby for Draco Malfoy.
Quietly, so as not to alert Malfoy of her presence, she made her way to the bed. There, she saw a very sad sight. Draco Malfoy, curled up in a ball, his body shaking. She covered her mouth to hide a gasp. Draco Malfoy, crying? Had she really hurt him that badly? A wave of guilt flooded over her like a tidal wave. She wanted to run, to cry, but something in her stopped her from doing either. Silently, she sat down on the bed and hesitantly stroked his back. He turned and stood up immediately.
"What are you doing here?" he croaked, attempting to sound angry, but sounding broken instead. He looked terrible in the dim light. His eyes were red and bloodshot, and he looked as pale as ever. A single tear ran down his cheek.
"I--I came to find you. I wanted to make peace, but..." she trailed off, not knowing what to say.
"But what?" he demanded. "Never mind, just leave me alone. Aren't I just a cruel Death Eater?"
"Mal--Draco, I--I didn't mean to hurt you like this. I was just tired of being treated like a--like a Mudblood." Draco sat down, and his quiet sobs ceased. He looked up at her.
"Mudblood's just a cruel name that Death Eaters use. And I'm not a Death Eater anymore," he said quietly.
"So what does that mean?" Hermione said.
"It means that blood status doesn't matter to me anymore. Pureblood, Halfblood, Muggleborn...they're all the same to me now."
"You really have changed," Hermione whispered. Draco looked at her with guilt in his eyes.
"I--I'm sorry for the way I treated you. I was a git, but I'm not like that anymore. I've been hurt, too, by Lord Voldemort, but mostly by my father. He forced me down that path, but I shouldn't have let him. I'm choosing my own path now. I've changed. Hermione, I--" He began to cry again. It put a dent in Hermione's heart to see him like this.
But she couldn't bring herself to embrace him. The guilt was weighing her down still. And then she began to sob, too. The guilt, the shame, the years of pain and heartbreak, it all came crashing down on her. Suddenly, she felt an arm around her shoulder. Then, a warm body enveloped hers. And she cried into his chest. She never thought she'd live to see the day when she cried into Draco Malfoy's chest. But there she was.
What seemed like hours later, she stopped crying and lifted her head. She found herself staring into those seemingly endless gray orbs that were Draco's eyes. And then he was inching closer, closer, until their lips were just millimeters away. It was happening, this was happening, and then...she suddenly broke away. She stood up hastily, and, after taking one last glance at his eyes, which were now filled with confusion and hurt, she turned and ran.