Her apartment was quiet when she entered but after living alone for seven years it didn’t bother her any longer, she was used to the silence.
In the small living room Mimpfy, her grey-striped cat sat on the windowsill looking out over the streets of London. The weather was bad as usual, it was foggy and sometimes the rain poured down all day. Most days she couldn’t even see the building cross the street, it was one of those days. She put out the food-bowl for Mimpfy and filled fresh water in.
But her heart wasn’t in it. All she could do was to think of Draco’s proposal. It had so many benefits and very little downs. With a name like Malfoy she wouldn’t have to work a slave job for her annoying boss Amanda or live in a tiny apartment that cost her almost two thirds of her monthly salary. She would be free to do whatever she wanted. Live the life she always wanted and be the witch she always wanted to be.
Quietly she strode back and forth in the narrow hallway leading from the kitchen to the bedroom. Back and forth. She needed to make this decision, he wanted an answer by tomorrow and it was only fair that she would have one by then.
She stopped midway in the hall and turned to look at the photos on the wall. Photos of her along with Harry and Ron at Hogwarts, at the Burrow and other places smiling. Would they understand? Could she ask them for advice?
She decided that she had to if they simply couldn’t accept it then she would turn down Draco’s proposal.
Glad that she finally had made some kind of decision she headed to the living room where her fireplace would take her to Harry’s apartment.
He was sitting on the couch with his legs up reading a book when she arrived, but closed it and stood up to greet her as she stepped into his living room.
“Hi Harry,” she smiled and he smiled back and offered her to take a seat.
She seated herself in the comfy chair by the fire facing the green velvet couch where Harry sat down again. His apartment looked a little messy, there were books lying in piles on the floor and papers spread all over the couch, but she knew he worked a lot to on his auror training and all that so he probably didn’t have the time to clean that often.
“So,” he said, “What brings you here?”
It didn’t surprise her that he had sensed she was there for a reason. She closed her eyes for a second trying to calm herself. Explaining was more difficult than she had thought.
“I wanted your advice on something.”
He sent her a questioning glance she usually made all decisions herself.
“Okay,” he said and muffled his hair just like everyone had said his father James used to do.
“I have been proposed to,” she admitted and he looked at her with wide eyes.
“I didn’t know you had a boyfriend.”
“I don’t. And it came completely out of the blue, but it’s has a lot of advantages and I’m seriously considering to say yes,” she explained.
He didn't answer right away chewing the end of his pencil thoughtfully
“If I marry this guy I will have part in a fortune of about seventy million galleons plus a Manor and a good name.”
Harry looked even more surprised.
“Who is this guy?!” he asked.
Hermione went quiet; this was the most difficult part.
“Draco Malfoy,” she whispered.
“Could you repeat that?” Harry asked, “I thought I just heard you say that Malfoy asked you to marry him” he grinned. She looked down and his smile faded.
“WHAT! WHY!?” he started pacing up and down the floor, looking confused and not noticing that he was stepping on some of his notes that had fallen of the couch as he got up from it.
“Because he will inherit a lot of money if he marries a mudblood and I was the only one he found worthy.” He stopped and turned to her.
“And now you are asking me for advice?”
She nodded. He sat down on the armrest of her chair.
“I can’t make the decision for you. Marry Malfoy if you want, I trust you can take care of yourself.”
That was an extremely mature answer that she actually hadn’t expected to get from him. She had expected the confusion and the surprise but not this. Not the sudden sensibility. She had expected him to advice her to decline.
She smiled at him; “Thanks Harry”.
He smiled back: “For what?”
“For not telling me that I’m completely insane and should be taken to Sct. Mungos immediately.”
Later that evening she lay awake in her bed still thinking. What if she married Malfoy and they tried to kill each other after living together for a while? There was no assurance that they could even get along, let alone live together. They didn’t know each other that well and it had been several years since they were in school together. How much had he changed over the past seven years? How much had she changed? Could they make it work, would they have to sleep in the same bed, should she talk to a lawyer?
All the thoughts were playing in her head making one big mess and she had no idea what to do or how to sort them out. Being Mrs. Malfoy would definitively make a lot of things easier, but which things would be harder, and were the advantages larger than the disadvantages? She twisted and turned through the night only sleeping in short periods interrupted by strange dreams, guilty thoughts and crazy ones too.
At two thirty she got up and went to the kitchen to make a cup of tea.
Outside the fog was still lying suffocating all noises. She stood in her small nightgown with bare feet on the cold wooden floor. The kitchen was so small that there was barely room enough for a one-person table and a chair but it had a large window and on the windowsill she had placed a few plants trying to light up the atmosphere of the boring grey room that had no personality at all. But it was also just a room she used to keep her kettle and teacups in.
With a sight she thought that it had been a long time since she had actually lived in her apartment, most of the time it felt like she was just sleeping there, but it had nothing to do with her as a person.
Often she had considered to re-decorate, but then Amanda had called and she was off to work before she could set any of her decorating plans in action. There were so many things she had thought she wanted to do but over time it just didn’t seem like she had the time and energy to make then plans reality. With Draco’s money maybe she could?
With her cup in one hand and Mimpfy in the other she walked back into her bedroom and lay down again eyes wide open.
Could she only decide if it was madness to accept or madness to decline, no matter what she did it would be the wrong choice. It would be insane to decline seventy million galleons and it would be completely insane to marry the ferret.
She wasn’t getting anywhere.
After lying down for about five minutes she got up again and went to get her coat in the hallway. From her left pocket she took the little jewellery box Draco had given her earlier. She hadn’t opened it yet. She hadn’t dared open it. Now she put it on her nightstand and lay down on her bed again.
She still couldn’t sleep and it felt like the box was daring her to open it. She reached out and pushed it out of her sight behind the pile of books she always kept beside her bed. She still couldn’t find peace and again she got out of bed and went into the kitchen to get a glass of water.
More time passed twisting and turning. Suddenly her small bedroom seemed claustrophobic and her normally peaceful looking picture of water lilies on the opposite wall seemed scary and nightmarish. She hid her head under her duvet but it didn’t help, she knew that the box was waiting for her to open it and it wouldn’t let her rest in peace before she had.
Finally when her alarm clock shoved fifteen minutes past five in the morning she pushed back her duvet, turned on the light and quickly with a sudden feeling of urgency opened the box with a little plop. Inside the dark green velvet box she found green silk surrounding an elegant silver ring with several bright green emeralds. It was beautiful but clearly came from a Slytherin family. Green and silver.
Now the box was open she picked up the ring examining it closely. Inside it she found that an inscription was engraved in the silver: Malfoy
It was an old piece of family jewellery!
Thinking the word family suddenly a new thought hit her; What happened with Draco’s parents? She thought she remembered something about Narcissa being killed in the final war and she knew for sure Lucius was dead because Ron had sent a bodylock curse after him and Lucius had stepped aside trying to avoid it but instead stepped in front of Bellatrix’ killing curse and had died. But what about Narcissa, had she really died and if not how did she feel about Draco’s proposal?
None of these thoughts were helping her so finally she got up for the twentieth time that night, found a light sleeping potion in her bathroom cabinet, and swallowed enough to make her sleep for two hours. At least then she would get two whole hours of sleep that night.
That morning her head was clear, she had made her decision and was happy about it, no more twisting and turning.
She got up, made tea and got dressed feeling happier than she had in a long time, finally she had had the chance to make a real decision and even though it had cost her a night of sleep she had had something real to think about, she was alive
she could do things.
For the first time in a long time she had the energy to sing in the shower and even though it didn’t sound very well and her neighbour banged on the wall to make her stop, it still made her feel happy inside.
Not even Amanda could get her down that day, because she was floating around in her own little bubble not noticing the world around her.
She couldn’t wait to see Malfoy’s face when she told him.
He would be surprised, very surprised.
A/N: Thank you to those who reviewed chapter one, I hope you'll do the same with chapter two and for those who didn't; now is your chance to tell me what you think!
And yes, reviews - especially constructive ones - sometimes makes the next chapter appear a little faster...
In case you need something new and funny to read check out the story called 'Off limits!' by the hilarious author Green, who is also a fantastic friend and reviewer!