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Chapter 1 : If Only They Knew
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He kissed her, running his fingers through her brunette hair. He knew that he should be at home; that his wife was waiting for him to come home, believing that he was at work. But she was addictive; every time he looked into her bluey-grey eyes to tell her that he had to leave because of his responsibilities at home, he felt the compulsion to stay.
So he stayed. He fingered the gold wedding band on his left ring finger, wondering what his wife would do if she ever discovered his sordid little secret. Scream? Cry? Curse him? Walk out with their baby in her arms? He hoped none of them would ever happen. He loved his wife, he truly did. He just needed someone who understood and she did, more than his wife ever could. He never thought, when he and his wife first started to date, that his wife would ever be as distant as she was now. She claimed that it was because of the baby she'd just given birth to, but he knew it couldn't be, because she had a child the same age as theirs and she still talked to him about anything and everything under the sun, and she still made love with him, while his wife didn't.
She broke free first, gasping as she fought to catch her breath again. He watched her; her heart-shaped face illuminated in the light of the small cottage they rented for their trysts. Sometimes they came here for lust-fuelled passion; other times, they simply took picnics out into the nearby fields and laid upon blankets, talking all night as they watched the stars. Talking of their dreams, past and present of what ifs and could have beens and maybes.
He knew, without a doubt, that if he didn't love his wife as much as he did, he would have run away with her a long time ago. If he cared about her more than he cared about his wife, they wouldn't be hiding away and sneaking behind people's backs and lying to the people they loved. But he loved his wife more, and she took second place in his heart, just like he took second place in hers. And yet was sure that if he had gotten to know her before he had fallen for his wife, he would have chosen her to marry.
Gryffindor versus Slytherin. That was how it had been when they had been students at Hogwarts, and he wondered if he'd have changed his behaviour if he'd known her from the very beginning. But now, as she unbuttoned his shirt and he undid the back of her dress, it was Gryffindor with Slytherin: an intermingling of red and gold and silver and green.
Would this be happening now, if he hadn't gotten in a fight with her husband and she'd come to his aid in secret later? If she hadn't cursed her husband's stupidity under her breath while she healed his wounds, would they be tumbling into bed now? Maybe, if that fight hadn't happened, then neither would this sordid affair?
What ifs. Could have beens. Maybes.
They were all useless now, he knew, but that didn't stop him from wishing. Wishing that he didn't feel so guilty for seeing her behind his wife's back, or feeling guilty for everything they did. It seemed to be a never-ending cycle: he felt guilty about the time he spent away from home, so he spent more time with her because she made him feel better and forget all his anguish but afterwards, he felt guiltier still. And sometimes, he wondered if it was worth all of those emotions running though him emotions he'd once couldn't comprehend just for her, for second place in both of their hearts. For second best.
And then he shook his head, and tilted her head so that he could resume kissing her while running his fingers through her brunette curls. If it was a choice between second best and not having her in his life at all, he would always choose second best.
Because Hermione was his drug, and he was addicted, and he knew that he could never let her go.
Do you think they'll get together? Scorpius and Rose? she asked, turning to look at him, her chocolate-coloured hair sprawled across the blanket and some of the surrounding grass.
He raised an eyebrow sceptically, lying on the picnic blanket with her, the stars hiding beneath clouds on this particular night. He always hated it when that happened; he lost the opportunity to listen to her point out the stars and the constellations Astronomy had been one of her favourite subjects at school, and she never shut up about it.
I doubt it, he lied.
I think they might, she shrugged. After all, we're practically kindred spirits. If they have our personalities, they might find themselves in love.
Or in the same position that we are, he answered cynically. Lying to everyone just for a few hours a week together just as we have been for nearly twelve years. How romantic's that?
What is wrong with you? she sighed in frustration. Did you have a bad day at work, or something?
In fact, his day at work had been fine neither bad nor exciting. That was probably the best kind of day, considering his profession. What had turned his mood sour was the realization that if their children ever became a couple, he would have to give her up. It would be too sour, too awkward, knowing that their babies were doing the very same things as them and she would agree, once that day came.
He loved her, and he didn't want to give her up. They had spent the last eleven years in a haze of secrets, and whispers in the dark, and lying to their spouses with the full knowledge that there was always a risk that their affair would be discovered. They had danced a line of precarious danger, loving the adrenaline and he knew, far too painfully, that now their children had started school and would undoubtedly meet, that their days were numbered.
He knew that he could always hope that they wouldn't fall in love, but he couldn't deny that she was right: their children were far too similar to them for them not to. It was simply a matter of time before he lost her, and just the thought of it broke his heart.
She might have been second best to his wife, she might have been his way of trying to replace the woman he loved but losing silver wasn't any less worse than losing gold.
He sighed as he walked into the cottage that had become a second home to the both of them. It had been a turbulent day, and instead of seeking solace in his wife, he had come here. To her. He wasn't quite sure when his mistress had turned into the woman he loved most, instead of the wife who had remained loyal to him for over twenty years. He wasn't even sure how the differences between them had blurred so uncontrollably that even he couldn't tell them apart.
You heard they've started dating, then? she asked, and he nodded in response. Witch Weekly's been asking me for an interview. Of course, I declined.
The Prophet's worse, he said, running his hands through his ginger hair. They're under the impression that Malfoy and Hermione are together. Rita Skeeter's even got a pet name for them Dramione.
Even saying the word made him shudder, but when he looked at her and saw the laughter bubbling from her lips at the thought of an affair between Draco and Hermione, he couldn't help but join in with her hysteria.
Oh, Ron, Astoria laughed. If only they knew.
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