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In Search of the Truth by never_too_old
Chapter 3 : It's Been Awhile
Rating: 15+Chapter Reviews: 2

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Twelve Years Earlier 

After the war, most students had already learned so much that there was no need for them to finish their last year of school. The Golden Trio remained inseparable, as they found jobs in the newly reformed Ministry of Magic. Harry and Ron both worked in the Auror department, even though they were considered “a bit too young” in the beginning. The Ministry’s fears didn’t last long, however, as they were quickly reminded how those two fought heroically in the last battle. Hermione had also found her niche in the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, wanting to change some of those preposterous pro-pureblood laws.

Harry and Ginny married after she graduated from Hogwarts, making Harry a true member of the Weasley family. It didn’t take long for Ron to follow with Hermione, making them one big, happy family.

Hermione was sitting at her desk, reading through some pleadings, as she heard a light tap on her door. She looked up from her documents and smiled when she saw her husband in the doorway. “Hey stranger,” she joked.

Ron smiled, as he entered her office, closing the door behind him. “Sorry to interrupt,” he began, as he sat down in the chair in front of her desk.

“What’s going on?” she asked, sensing the uneasiness in his voice.

He lowered his head, staring intently at his hands. “Harry and I have been called away,” he mumbled.

She shook her head, not able to hear him clearly. “What was that?” she asked.

He looked up and frowned, “Harry and I have been called away,” he repeated.

Her smile faded, as she glanced toward the window on the side. “Ron, this was to be our weekend,” she sadly responded.

“I’m sorry, Hermione,” he said, hearing the sadness in her voice.

She nodded, as his words filled her head. She had first found them to be endearing, but his apologies were more mechanical now. She’s heard it so many times that it doesn’t faze her anymore when it’s uttered. She knew not to get her hopes up, as she waited for him to break the news.

She turned toward him and put on a fake smile - one she has used so many times before. “I understand, Ron. It’s the life of an Auror. In a way I’m actually a bit relieved,” she lied.

He furrowed his eyebrows, “You are?”

She nodded, as the smile remained on her face. “It gives me time to look over a few of these old laws I recently found.”

He smiled, amazed by her ambition in fixing the world. “You truly are a wonderful person,” he acknowledged.

“Thank you, Ron,” she genuinely smiled. “But I do need to get back to work now.”

He nodded, as he stood up from his seat. “I’ll write to you as soon as we get there.”

She nodded, before she watched him leave her office. She waited a few minutes, making sure the coast was clear, before slamming her head on her desk in annoyance. She continued to hit her head on the desk, feeling the pain begin to numb her.

“I was wondering how all those dents got there,” a man chuckled, causing her to quickly sit up.

She blushed in embarrassment, never allowing anyone to see her frustrations. “This one law is driving me crazy,” she lied, not wanting the man to know she was upset about Ron.

“Can I help at all?”

She shook her head, as she straightened some of the papers. “I just need to get away from the office for a bit,” she said, as she stood up from her desk, walking closer to the man. She leaned in and lightly kissed him on the cheek. “You two be careful out there,” she told him.

“I’m going to have to, seeing as how there’s a new baby on the way,” he slightly frowned, a bit apprehensive to leave.

She smiled, seeing how much love he still had for his wife. “Don’t worry, Harry. I’ll take care of her while you’re gone.”

He nodded, although he still felt scared to leave her at this fragile stage. “I know you will. It’s just,” he paused, running his hand through his hair, “I hate leaving her all the time.”

“That’s what makes you a great husband,” she expressed, wishing her own could show these same types of feelings for her.

They hugged one last time, before they separated down the hall. She couldn’t take being enclosed by these walls anymore and needed to break away. She hurried her steps, knowing freedom was calling for her a few feet away. 

As she stepped out onto the sidewalk, she leaned her head back, allowing the sunlight to hit her face. The weather was beautiful where she was standing, but she had noticed a few stray dark clouds off in the distance. She knew they would probably have a few thunderstorms later, which made her excited. She always loved thunderstorms, finding them a nice distraction from her worries.

She walked down the sidewalk, traveling to her favorite little coffee shop down the block. As she stepped inside, she looked around, noticing some familiar faces from the Ministry. She smiled at a few, as she neared the counter to place her order.

Unbeknownst to her, someone from her past suddenly entered the shop a few minutes later, standing just behind her, staring up at the signs to see what he wanted. He continued to look up, unaware of the person he had tormented for seven years standing right in front of him.

After she paid, she stood off to the side, waiting for her order. She drummed her fingers on the counter, staring at the person who was making her drink. Suddenly, her body tensed, when she heard a very familiar voice off to her side. She looked to her right, watching as the man eloquently placed his order.

Once he paid, he turned to walk to his left, stopping when his eyes met hers. He was very shocked to be standing in front of her, not having seen her since the battle seven years ago. He couldn’t believe how much she has changed since their school years. He watched her continue to stare, wondering if she was thinking the same thing about him.

Hermione turned away, as she took her drink from the man behind the counter. When she turned back around, she couldn’t help noticing how more refine he looked now. She hadn’t seen him for seven years, unaware of what he has been doing this whole time. “Draco Malfoy,” she smiled, shaking her head in disbelief.

“Hermione Granger,” he smiled, which stunned her even more. She couldn’t even remember a time when she had actually seen him smile. “It’s been a long time, hasn’t it?” he asked, as he turned to grab his drink.

“I didn’t think you still lived here.”

“I don’t,” he commented, as he blew on his drink and took a sip. “Just visiting the in-laws this week.”

She nodded, as she took a sip of her own drink. “You look good,” she stated, surprised by their civility. “I guess you’ve been doing well for yourself.”

He shrugged, taking another sip of his drink. “Can’t complain,” he answered, as he glanced around the coffee shop. He then turned back toward her, a bit nervous to ask. “You in any big rush?”

She shook her head, “Not really.”

“You maybe want to,” he paused, not sure if he should continue with his thought.

“I’d like that,” she answered with a nod, not sure why she agreed so quickly.

He smiled again, as they walked toward an empty table and sat down. They didn’t know why, but they found themselves very curious about the other, not having talked for so long, even though they never had any pleasantries during their school years.

“So, did you end up marrying Pansy?” she began first.

He chuckled in amusement, as he shook his head. “Definitely not. Do you remember Daphne Greengrass?”

Hermione began thinking about their class, trying to place the correct face with the Slytherin girl. “I think so,” she replied.

He nodded, as he took another sip. “I married her younger sister, Astoria,” he answered, as he looked down and saw the ring on her finger. “So, which one finally won you over?” he smirked up at her.

“Which one?” she curiously wondered.

“Yeah. Potter or Weasley?”

“Oh,” she blushed, as she twisted the ring around her finger. “Ron.”

He nodded, almost as if he knew the answer before she even said it. He tried to congratulate her, but something was holding him back. There was still a part of him that couldn’t stand the Weasley boy. He would have thought those childish thoughts would have left him after all these years, but he still felt this huge dislike for him. He was a little shocked to even think that a girl like Granger would even be able to put up with his ways.

“So, what have you been doing now?”

He looked over at her, as her question broke him away from his reverie. “You wouldn’t believe me if I told you,” he smiled.

“Try me,” she urged.

“I’m a Healer.”

“Really?” she asked in awe.

“Told you,” he smirked.

“I just never would have thought it.”

He nodded, as he leaned back in his seat, crossing his arms over his chest. “So, what do you do?” 

“I work in the Department of Magical Law Enforcement,” she answered. “Reviewing laws and whatnot.”

He nodded, before smirking, “I thought you’d be doing something with magical creatures.”

“Well, I actually did work in that department before transferring to this job,” she smiled.

He laughed, as he continued to stare at her. He didn’t know what it was about her, but he couldn’t keep his eyes off her. He was also very surprised they were having a nice conversation, without wanting to hex one another.

She suddenly looked over at a clock on the back wall and frowned, as she looked over at him once more. “I really should get back to work, now,” she stated.

He looked down at this pocket watch and nodded, as they both stood up to say goodbye. “Would you maybe want to meet up again?” he blurted out.

She was caught off guard by his question, but surprisingly, she nodded. She really was enjoying their time together and hated that she had to leave so soon. She was glad to know he felt the same way. “How long will you be in town?” she asked.

“What’s today, Thursday?” he thought out loud, before seeing her nod to his question. “I’ll be here until Sunday,” he answered.

Hermione nodded, remembering how she was going to be alone this weekend, with Ron having been called away. “Well, seeing as how my weekend just became open, I think it’s possible for us to meet up again.”

He smiled as he took another sip of his drink, never letting his eyes leave hers. She felt some fluttering movements in her stomach, as he continued to stare.

“Okay, well, then, I’ll owl you later?”

She nodded, as they walked out of the coffee shop together. “Just in case something comes up and we don’t get to see each other again, it was really nice catching up with you, Malfoy,” she said.

“Draco,” he insisted. “And I promise we will meet again before I leave.”

She smiled, as she watched him quickly Disapparate. She began walking back to her office, still confused about what just happened. She knew people could outgrow their childish behaviors, like she has, but never did she think Malfoy would be one of them. He actually was pleasant to her, which still continued to shock her. Then again, it has been seven years since the war and a lot of people have changed since then.

A/N: Hey guys.  So, as you can see I'm trying to keep everything pretty canon as much as possible.  The only thing I kind of rearranged was Ron being an Auror.  JK Rowling had first said he was, but then later mentioned that he worked with his brother.  I just decided to keep him as the Auror.  

Oh, and just to let you know... each chapter will be going from present to past.  So, the next one will be back in the present with Scorpius and Rose.   Thanks everyone for reading this.  :)

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