Bloody Hell, she thought. This is harder than I expected.
Hermione Granger, usually full of words, arguments, and supporting facts for those arguments, was completely wordless. For once in her life, she felt as if she had nothing to say. Any really, there wasn’t anything to say. Her actions had spoken quite clearly for themselves. But as Harry had said, she had “a lot of explaining to do” and she did. So she grit her teeth and kept trying.
I know that you probably think that I did this while disregarding Ron…and the fact that he still has feelings for me. But Harry, all those months ago I had to break it off. It didn’t have anything to do with…with who you saw. I had made up my mind before then. I just don’t love him like he wants me to, and I can’t force myself. But that doesn’t explain everything you saw so here it goes.
Before continuing, she drank in a giant breath of air and let multiple expletives drip out of her mouth as she contemplated her own stupidity. Of course someone would see if they met in Diagon Alley. It was so foolish of her to assume she could meet with him there and not be seen. ‘Idiot’ Hermione thought to herself as she let her memory take her back to the very beginning of it all.
~60 days before~
Ironically, it was ten months to the day that Harry defeated Voldemort when they met again. Even more ironic, it was in a muggle café on the outskirts of London, a cozy, quiet little place where Hermione often liked to curl up on one of their enormously oversized sofas with a good book.
“You always have liked to read, haven’t you?”
She looked up from her book, titled Reading for the Aspiring Auror. There he stood, Draco Malfoy, looking down at her with the faintest ghost of a smile on his pale lips. Hermione was dumbstruck; for one his sentence hadn’t included any derogatory slanders toward her blood status, for two that he was standing somewhere so open after what he had done, much less a muggle place, for three he was speaking to her at all. She had no reason to feel ashamed in his presence, rather he would feel inferior to her. The faintest trace of nervousness graced his pointed features, confirming this suspicion.
Her response should have been a ‘Why are you talking to me?’ or a ‘Leave me alone’ or at least a ‘What are you doing?’ instead she blankly uttered, “Would you like to sit?”
And so it began.
It began with an apology, not fake or watered down or plain unoriginal. It was a straight up, unassuming and unguarded one with no excuses for his behavior. He didn’t try to tell her that he was raised to hate her, he didn’t say that he was forced to be a Death Eater and to fight her friends with the intent to kill (though she assumed as much from his new and humble demeanor). It started with an ‘I’m sorry’ and ended with an ‘I’m a work in progress’.
And something in level headed, heroic Hermione Granger was honestly touched.
You see, Harry, he’s not like we always thought he was. He was scared. His whole family, no, his entire life had been training him to be a Death Eater killing machine since his birth. But he never was, he couldn’t be. He’s good, Harry. It’s why he didn’t kill Dumbledore that night in the tower and why he didn’t kill anyone at the final battle.
Hermione re-read her own words and inwardly laughed at herself. She sounded so whipped. Was she? Leaning back in her chair, she smiled to herself as thoughts of Draco filled her mind.
She wasn’t lying to Harry when she said he was good. He was, or otherwise she wouldn’t have ever gotten involved with him. She would have left it at that first meeting and accepted his apology and moved on. Hell, she would have probably kept on with Ron and eventually married him, had his kids and lived out her life as everyone had predicted for her. But though Hermione honed her title as the brightest witch of her age, she didn’t want to be solely defined as boring as she most always was. For once, she didn’t want to be boring.
He didn’t make her feel boring.
~52 days before~
It continued about a week after their reunion of sorts. Hermione was wandering the racks of Madam Malkin’s alone, having split up with Ginny and Luna earlier in the day. They were to meet later at the Leaky Cauldron, and secretly Hermione reveled in the time alone. Since the War, it had just been one thing after another. The few minutes were she retained any sort of solace was more precious than gemstones to her.
But she was not alone for long before she literally bumped into him.
“Sorry!” they both said in unison. When she turned to face the figure she had run into her, a part of her wasn’t even surprised. She had a feeling they would meet up again.
“Hi…” he started awkwardly.
“Hi.” She replied. Hers was much more assured than his. After that first night talking to him, she had come to a sort of agreement with herself to be civil. Perhaps he would one day even be her friend. But she kept her guard up despite that, for Hermione Granger guarded herself carefully.
Staring at him, she looked at his eyes the most. Really looked into them. They were pools of silvery gray with flecks of blue that seemed a bit cold and deep all at the same time. He stared right back, not breaking the gaze between them. Suddenly, a sense of guilt washes over her. Their whole world was struggling to recover from Lord Voldemort’s reign of terror and they were there, together, supposed enemies. Both seemed to sober to this fact at the same time, but he spoke first.
“So what brings you to Madam Malkin’s?”
Hermione let her gaze stray away from his. “I-I’m in need of dress robes for a Ministry function.” She knew that he probably had figured out exactly what she was referring to-a ball honoring all those who had lost their lives in the War that was coming up in the next week. It seemed odd to mention, given Draco’s circumstances.
“I never took you for the unprepared type.” Draco stated. She looked at him again; glad he had alleviated the awkwardness with a draw-away type of statement.
“That is why I’m here you know.” Now Hermione smiled, and so did he, but the sadness in his eyes was still there. “What brings you here?”
Now he was the one to cast his eyes away from hers. “My father’s hearing is this Monday.”
Silence hung in between them. Hermione didn’t know if Draco had been acquitted, but she assumed his father probably had not been. As far as his mother, Narcissa, she had no idea. But at this point none of the Malfoy’s, out of Azkaban or not, were in a good position.
“I was lucky. Since I got the Dark Mark as an underage wizard they deemed that it was my father’s doing…his fault that I even got involved with Voldemort when really he wasn’t even there. All the things I did are being blamed on him.” His eyebrows furred closer together, “My father’s not a good man, Granger. But he didn’t deserve my punishment too. He loves me, and my mum. He’s do anything for us.”
“Hermione.” She corrected quietly.
“You can call me Hermione you know.” She looked back up at him now.
He stared at her for a long time before answering. “I know.”
I didn’t plan any of it, Harry. I didn’t plan to run into him again. I did plan to see him again, and it was me who asked him. So don’t go claiming he’s some rotten character just out to clear his name by being with me because that’s not the case. He’s a good man. He treats me like I’m the most important thing in the word, Harry.
I want you to know that I was careful. I thought this through; I didn’t just leap into it. This is what I want.
Hermione didn’t know if that would possibly be good enough for him. Actually, she didn’t know if it would be good enough for him at all. Would he still tell Ron? The entire Weasley family? Would they all hate her? She couldn’t bare that thought, but neither could she stand the thought of leaving Draco behind. Hermione knew she had fallen fast and hard, but was that such an awful thing? She was happy; for the first time since the darkness that overshadowed them during the war, she was finally happy again. He could make her laugh and smile. She never expected him to be the one who brought her to life again, but he did. And how could she ignore it? How could she just let it slip by?
She couldn’t. And that was her comfort.
~38 days before~
The turning point came when they had finally resolved to meet, planned and everything. Hermione would be lying if she said that she wasn’t nervous, or scared, or even a little giddy and excited. She would be lying if she said that she didn’t feel even the slightest bit guilty for having to lie to Ron to get there. But she knew about his incredibly uncontrollable temper, and they were a bit off anyways. Why give any catalyst, especially one like Draco Malfoy? Besides, it wasn’t like she was cheating on him. Hermione didn’t have to tell Ron before she went to meet a friend.
As she sat in the coffee shop where they had first met up again, she contemplated that word. Friend. Someone you can rely on, someone that you like having in your life. A good person, trustworthy. Did she define Draco as all these things? She knew that he had been rotten to her in school; she knew that he fought for the opposite side. She even considered that he only wanted to meet with her so that someone would see and plaster it on the Daily Prophet. She was Hermione Granger, war hero and brightest witch of her age. If Draco were to be seen with her, she couldn’t deny that it would give his reputation a little boost from it’s now ultimate low.
But he seemed so different. The last time she had seen him had been at the end of the final battle, sitting with his family, looking confused and unsure of his fate. Granted, she hadn’t paid him much attention considering everything else going on around her. But she had noticed the way he looked at people, sallow, like he was apologizing with his eyes. She had never planned on seeing him again, but fate had other ideas.
As that thought crossed Hermione’s mind, Draco walked through the door. His hair was messy and disheveled from the gentle March rain, as she had never seen it before. He was actually casually dressed; jeans, loose blue t-shirt, and a light black jacket. It was rather shocking at first. When had Draco Malfoy, who had all the money and privilege and pride in the world, ever dressed belong a dress shirt and pants? At that moment, she realized that she could never see him the same way again. He was changed, irrevocably.
Of course, she realized that she was staring at him too late. He caught her gaze as he smiled and came to sit across from her at the small round table she sat at. Immediately, she looked down at her small coffee cup, half filled.
Hermione gazed back up at him. “Hi.”
I didn’t kiss him or sleep with him that day, Harry. It was nothing more than two friends meeting up for lunch at that point. But he was changed, Harry. I don’t know what happened to him. And I don’t ask because I’m glad for who he is now. But I didn’t just fall at his feet. He still has a lot of making up to do and he isn’t ignorant to that fact.
She looked back on that day now and almost felt like laughing. It was awkward at the very best. They talked about how Hermione’s training to be a Auror was going, but avoided the War which seemed to make both of them uncomfortable. They talked about Quidditch teams, which Hermione was not well versed in so it mostly ended up with both of them laughing and Draco correcting her ever so often.
But the one thing Hermione took away from that day was that Draco wasn’t putting up an act. He did try to hide his sadness from her, though. But nobody wants anyone to see their sadness, as she knew from personal experience. Sometimes it was hard to be sad. But that day, she wasn’t sad anymore. She smiled and she meant it.
Hermione read over her whole letter, at least ten, fifteen, or twenty times over again while biting her nails down short. She felt as if she had said her piece; explained herself. But she didn’t tell Harry the whole story as to how she got where she now was; with Harry, with herself, and with Draco. She knew that she at least owed him that. Come to think of it, she owed a lot to Harry and Ron both, for their friendship and love and support through all of these years. But she owed it to herself and Draco to see what they could become.
So she kept writing, knowing that what she was about to write would be the hardest to tell Harry, especially in a letter. But he wasn’t accepting anything else. Hermione drank in a gulp of air and put pen to paper.
~The Day Of~
This would be their seventh meeting. Since their first lunch meeting, Hermione and Ron has a giant blowout fight. Words were said, things were changed. The day after the fight was her second lunch meeting with Draco. He knew that something was wrong, and it took him nearly 20 minutes to finally crack her. To her surprise, he just sat and listened, with no judgment, no comment. When she finished, he asked her if it felt good to let all of her stress out. Mildly shocked, she hesitantly said that it did. As their conversation steered to other topics, she realized that he was right.
It had helped to tell him everything.
However, tonight was the first time they both decided to have dinner. Every other planned occurrence had taken place at lunch hour; advantageous for Hermione’s Auror training and Draco’s rather demanding schedule. However, Hermione had late training that particular Friday, causing Draco to rather spontaneously ask her to dinner instead. At the time of her acceptance, she hadn’t fully realized what the implication of the invitation could be. But now, as she stood in the bathroom of her small flat, she was starting to get nervous.
She fidgeted with the hem of her long sleeved black sweater-like dress and straightened her matching leggings as she contemplated what this could possibly mean. Did Draco Malfoy actually desire to go on a date with her? Hermione didn’t even know if she’s ever been on a date since she was fourteen. Sure, Ron had the boyfriend title, but he had apparently overlooked the actual dating part of the relationship. Despite that, she still knew the meaning of a date. A date meant you were getting to know someone, someone you could potentially see yourself with in the future. She agreed with herself on the first part; she was just getting to know Draco. They had gone to school together, yes, but they hardly ever paid attention to each other except to hurl insults or curses at one another. Remembering those days made it even harder to picture her, Hermione Granger, and Draco I-am-a-spoiled-brat-turned-Death-Eater-but-now-reformed Malfoy sitting together at a table eating dinner and talking like too mature, normal adults. Much less could she begin to see herself being with him in the future. Her mind continued to run as she twisted her hair up into a low bun.
But the truth was that the world was a different place from the time when they hated each other with every fiber in their beings. The war was over. Voldemort was dead, gone forever. The dangerous Death Eaters were either in Azkaban or dead. And Draco was an acquitted, changed man. A really, really good man, as Hermione had come to know.
Up to this point, they had just been friends. She had only barely begun to even give them that label, but now it seemed like things were moving along quickly. What surprised her even more was how much she liked it. It had taken Ron seven years to figure out that she fancied him, but it took Draco a matter of months to see that despite the fact that they had a past they weren’t proud of, they had potential.
Though strange and foreign, Hermione decided that she had to give it a shot. Glancing at herself in the mirror one final time, she giggled a little at how spontaneous she felt.
When she arrived at the restaurant, Draco was already there. It was a rather casual place, but it had a certain charm to it that Hermione liked quite a lot. The relaxed atmosphere and the perfect smell of fresh brewed coffee mirrored the little café where they had first run into each other.
After eating their dinner and having a good chat about things such as her training and the rebuilding of the Ministry and such, they left the restaurant and before Hermione even realized it, she realized she was on a walk with Draco. It was twilight; the bridge between night and day when the sky was a warm, bleeding red. She couldn’t help but feel like she was in a movie or a romance novel, because everything seemed so perfect. Or, at least it was when her mind didn’t process what Harry or Ron or anyone might say.
As the sky started to fade purple while they talked, Draco led her around a park where new flowers were blooming, welcoming spring while bathed in the golden light of the setting sun. Warm colors splayed across the sky, and the sheer beauty of it drew Hermione’s attention away from the conversation. She stopped walking and just stood, mystified at how beautiful it was and wondered why she hadn’t noticed before.
Draco came to a stop beside her before she noticed. “It is quite beautiful, isn’t it?”
His voice immediately jolted her out of her temporary trance. “Yes. I don’t remember it ever looking like this.” Hermione looked over at him, watching the fading light cross his sharp features. “What are we doing?” The words had tumbled out of her mouth before she had a chance to control them.
He looked at her with a bewildered expression. “We’re walking through a park.”
“That’s not what I mean, Draco.” She turned her entire form to him now. “Why do we keep meeting up?”
“Well,” he started, “I see you because I enjoy your company. You’re surprisingly non-judgmental. And you have a good head on your shoulders.”
Hermione’s eyes pierced into his, “Is that it?”
His voice was hardly even a whisper, his gray eyes leaving hers to stare back off in the direction of the sun sinking behind the horizon. She watched, trying to fathom what his statement meant though a part of her knew instantly.
“But I’m not good enough. Is that what you’re asking? Whether or not I think I’m worthy of your friendship?’’ Draco’s mouth was a thin line as he waited for her answer.
Her eyebrows furred. “No. I want to know why I want to keep seeing you.”
His mouth turned up ever so slightly at the corners. “Well, I can’t answer that for you.”
For some unfathomable reason, that answer frustrated her so much that she hit him in the arm.
He jumped away from her in mock horror. “Owww! Hey!”
“Why?! Everyone I know would say that I’m an idiot for trusting you.” Hermione didn’t realize that she was raising her voice.
“You trust me?” The smile slipped of his face, replaced by mild surprise.
“Yes! Why the hell else would I continue to see you? If I thought you were going to exploit our friendship I would have already ended this.” She began to pace, her face in her hands.
He came up behind her, his face inches from her ear. “What exactly is this?”
“I don’t know.” Hermione whispered.
Draco didn’t move. “Just friendship?” His voice seemed to drop the slightest bit.
Her body turned to face him now. They were less than an inch apart, but not quite touching each other. She had to stare up because he exceeded her in height and stature. Even so, she still managed to look into his stormy irises.
Maybe it was him, or maybe it was her. Maybe it was both of them at the same time. They didn’t know who started it, but they knew what was happening, at least faintly. His mouth was on hers and she was kissing him back like she was going to die that night. Behind them, the sun dropped below the landscape and the world was enveloped into the dark purple haze of night. But just as they broke away, Hermione’s lids opened and her heart was weighed down in dread, brought crashing down from its seemingly infinite high.
A man stood about thirty feet away. Hermione would know him anywhere, from any angle. She knew those eyes that stared at her now in horror; those emerald orbs that she had seem in laughter and smeared in tears and ablaze in anger as they were now. They lay behind circular, unmistakable glasses. His fists clenched up.
“Harry.” Hermione said breathlessly.
You know what happened next, Harry. I know that it must have looked like more than it was. But make no mistake Harry, it was something. There is…there’s something that I have with Draco. I don’t quite know what it is yet, but what I do know is that he’s important to me. And I swear, once you and I sort this out, I will tell Ron myself, Ginny too. After that, it’s out of my control who knows, but I refuse to feel ashamed because I do care about him.
Harry, you are the closest thing I have to a brother. I love you so much. We’ve been to hell and back together and we came out of all of it with our friendship intact, strengthened. Please, please come and see me so we can talk about this.
Hermione Jane Granger
The worry creases flattened out of her forehead as she sealed the letter and sent it off with an owl. There was nothing else she could do now. The letter was gone, and Harry would read it and know everything about her and Draco. She sighed as she touched her hand to the glass of the window while she thought about how much she and her life had changed since just sixty days before.
Hermione heard his slow, lethargic morning footsteps as he came up behind her. Arms encircled her waist as he dipped down his head to rest of her shoulder. “He’ll respond, Hermione. He will.”
His velvet voice was a comfort to her still worried heart. She knew that the ache of waiting would be soothed as long as he could be near her. “I know he will. I’m just worried as to how he will.”
One arm released her waist to brush a piece of stray hair from her face as Draco pressed his lips to her ear. “Everything will be alright.”
She craned her head to place her mouth to his. They kissed for a long moment, and then broke apart. “So begins my proscriptive relationship with Draco Malfoy.”
A/N: This is basically a blurb of Dramione that I got the idea for randomly. Hope you enjoyed the one shot. Holler if you want a sequel!