Chapter 1 : The End
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These ill-fated words hung in the air, the only thing left between us. He just stared at the TV screen in front of him. For a moment I thought I had lost my mind. Did he not hear me? Had I been dreaming?
I quickly realised this was no dream, as the seconds ticked by, I realised that this was a nightmare, as he pointedly looked at his watch, and then back at the TV screen.
I left the living room, slamming the door, I thundered up the stairs to our bedroom. I was in a state of wild disbelief. Who did he think he was? I was Hermione sodding Granger, the supposed love of his life, if he didnt want to talk things through, then we were over. We had to be. I couldnt live in uncertainty anymore. I paced the room back and forth, waiting for him to follow me up the stairs. To apologise. To hold me. To do anything. But the momentary silence was deafening. Maddening.
My shoulders slumped when the theme tune of his favourite muggle TV show came on. He wouldnt come up now.
Resolutely, I started packing up my clothes, my books, my toiletries into my trusty beaded bag. I looked out of the bedroom window, watching the sky darken slowly, before making my way unsteadily downstairs. The unpleasent fluttery feeling in my stomach told me these actions were beyond remedy. I sneaked a look into the living room, and saw the beloved redhead sleeping peacefully on the sofa. My body felt cold with finality, as I opened the front door, walked down the path and disaperated just beyond the front gate.
The first place I thought of was the Leaky Cauldron, it was only nine o'clock, and I could do with a few firewhisky's before deciding on where to stay the night, now that I had nowhere to call home. The Leaky Cauldron had undergone a renevation of sorts recently, the pub now looked less grimy, and it was attracting a younger, after work crowd. I walked into the busy pub, and spotted an empty stool at the bar, amidst the hustle and bustle. I just wanted to have a few drinks, and then go home to my parents house,and have a good cry. I was feeling a little sorry for myself, and had to blink back tears.
Huffing at myself, I plonked myself down, surveying the bars assorted choice of drink. I stuck with my gut instinct, and I chuckled to myself at the irony. I was just bringing the glass shakily to my lips, when someone knocked into my right side, knocking the entire glass all over my white t-shirt. I thought I would explode with anger, as the clumsy git turned around.
It took me a moment to see through the rage to see that my clumsy git was a) apologising to me, and ordering me a replacement, and b) that it was Draco Malfoy. My jaw dropped in what I feared was an unattractive manner as he pointed his wand at my chest and dried the front of my top. I completely forgot my rage as I was lost in a whirl of teenage memories, long pushed to the back of my mind. It took me a few seconds to realise he was talking to me, and I focused on what he was saying.
"...so sorry Her-Granger, are you okay?" I couldnt help the faint blush as I looked into his eyes, and was startled by the change in his appearance in general. He was slightly tanned, and was wearing a casual emerald green t-shirt, with tan cords.
"N-no, I'm fine, unless you meant to ruin my top?" I replied bluntly, finally taking a sip of my replacement drink, and letting it thaw me slightly. His silvery eyes sparkled as he looked down at me, "No granger, I did not mean to knock firewhisky onto your top" he laughed lightly, cautiously.
"Well...then I accept your apology" I replied archly, sipping more of my drink.
"Well then let me buy you another, so you dont end up telling all your friends that I chucked a drink on your chest" he smiled, and signalled for another two drinks, as he settled onto a bar stool beside me. I eyed him wearily, but the drink was relaxing me, and I had nowhere else to go.
Three firewhisky's later found Malfoy and I settled in a booth, and talking easily with one another. We talked about casual topics at first, mutual friends, or aquaintances. As the drink flowed, the topics became more personal, and it wasnt long before I was pouring my heart out, about why the "great" Hermione Granger was drinking alone on a wednesday night.
"...and he just sat there, and continued staring at that bloody box" I was in full rant mood now, "I mean, after two years, I'd expect some kind of reaction!" I sighed in frustration, as I slurped on my drink.
Malfoy was relaxed, despite my ranting, and replied easily, keeping eye contact, "particularly with what he stands to lose".
Tom, the aged landlord approached our table, as I stared at Malfoy with bleary eyes, having ironically never seen him so clearly. "Im afraid I'm going to have to ask you two to leave, only we closed half an hour ago" Tom said apologetically.
Malfoy apologised again, as I made my way out of the pub, letting the crisp midnight air engulf me, and cool the blush from my cheeks. Despite the amount of drink I'd consumed, I felt far from sleepy, as I eyed Malfoy's tall blonde form exiting the Leaky Cauldron.
"So...what were you doing out on your own on a wednesday night?" I asked cheekily, raising an eyebrow suggestively. "I wasnt on my own" Malfoy replied, smiling warmly, easily, like a cherished memory, as we began walking down the muggle street, a bench in sight.
"What?" I asked, dumbfounded. It wasnt like Malfoy to abandon a crowd, he was the life and soul of a party these days, or so I had read in the Prophet.
"I wasnt on my own granger, I was with a few work colleagues" He answered me smoothly, and he relaxed his tall frame into the muggle bench. "So, you just left them to sit with me?" I asked cautiously, desperately hoping I sounded casual. I gazed at his face,paled under the haze of moonlight.
He shrugged in answer, and looked up at the stars. I copied him, and widened my eyes at the beauty of the sky. I sighed, after a while I began thinking of my problems with Ron, and how undesireable I felt. Sitting next to Malfoy made me question myself.
"Do you want me to apparate you home granger?" Malfoy's husky voice felt so close, I turned and was a mere inch from his face. Unbidden, hundreds of moments clouded my mind, and I couldnt help but remember those stolen few months that Malfoy had been Draco, and I had been his. "I dont have a home" I replied wistfully, not shying away from our sudden closeness.
"Granger" he said softly, as I closed my eyes, content to fall asleep on this very bench for several days. "Hmm" I replied. "I'm sorry" the words were small, but oh so intoxicating, I pondered in my drunken state. Ron had never apologized, despite how forgiving I had become over time.
"I think you've bought me enough firewhisky to replace my top Malfoy" I sighed contentedly. "No... I mean, I'm sorry. I'm sorry about school, and my house, and the war....and us. I'm sorry about your scars" He whispered, no longer sounding as relaxed. His words were like a balm to me, and I released a breath I hadnt known I was holding.
"Thank you Draco. That means more than I can comprehend right now" I smiled to myself, and opened my eyes. Malfoy was still staring at me, and it had been so long since I'd seen such a spark in anyone's eyes, that it took me a moment to place it: desire. I breathed in his scent, as I stared into his silvery eyes. My heart slowed down, and I felt my muscles tighten in sheer anticipation.
"Trust you to use long words even when you're drunk" he laughed huskily, sending a shiver down my spine. I smiled, and laughed back, "yes, i know, I'm an annoying know-it-all" I shifted on the bench, the cool evening air freezing my bare arms.
"Listen, I dont mean this in a sleazy way, but do you want to come back to mine? It's warm, I have vodka, and we can make a decision about where you are staying tonight" Malfoy suggested, standing in front of me, rubbing his own arms. I turned my head to the right, considering my options.
The following morning faw2ned a bleached glow. The light hit my eyes, momentarily blinding me. My head felt like it might fall off, and my throat felt like I hadnt tasted water for weeks. This was some hangover. I bravely opened my eyes again, and surveyed my situation. I was in a bedroom, most of the furnishings were dark, and the sheets hugging me were a black silk. The windows and ceiling were tall. This was definately Malfoy property, I smiled to myself. It didnt look like Malfoy had slept with me, as there was no tell tale dent on the other pillow, and I was wearing his t-shirt and my underwear. My jeans, cardigan and ruined top lay heaped upon a black tub chair on the other side of the room.
The memories began to cleave their way into my mind as I sat up in bed. Lying on a comfortable leather sofa, glass after glass of icy vodka, and laughing. My face ached from laughing, and my stomach muscles seemed more alert to every movement. I gingerly made my way to what I guessed to be an en-suite, and splashed water on my face, and brushed my teeth the muggle way. My hair was a hopeless case at this point.
A quiet tap at the door, alerted me to my cause of unease, and I shuffled to open it, feeling decidely delicate. A dishevelled Malfoy stood in just pyjama trousers, his arm outstretched holding a letter addressed to me. He still seemed to be asleep, and I couldnt help but laugh nervously as he shuffled into the room after me.
"Sorry" I mumbled, as I took the note, and he threw himself face down into the silky mess of a bed, I blushed considering I had slept in his bed last night, and was still wearing his t-shirt, and a pair of lacy knickers. I sat gingerly on the edge of his bed, and opened the letter, recognizing the untidy scrawl immediately.
Could you please come and collect your mad cat? As I see you've taken the rest of your stuff. I wouldnt mind, only its scratched my arms up, and taken a chunk out of my bloody leg.
Where the bloody hell are you?
I gasped in shock, realising in my haste that I had left poor crookshanks with Ron.
"Oh god" I moaned, lying back on the bed. I took this chance to greedily eye Malfoy's tanned bare back, which despite his slim frame, was fairly muscular.
"Hermione" Malfoy croaked, sounding half asleep, and I guiltily tore my eyes from his flesh, to meet his glance. "Yes Malfoy" I replied, shifting onto my side to look at him. "Did you mean what you said last night?" he asked huskily, also turning to face me, his glorious chest a distraction. I wracked my mind for what I might have drunkenly said the night before.
"Which part?" I asked, my stomach feeling fluttery as he stared into my eyes. "About you forgiving me?" he asked, seemingly oblivious to the effect he was having on my body. "Of course Malfoy" I sighed in relief, and placed a hand on top of his. It felt awkward for a moment, and then it felt natural. Too natural.
"Because I meant what I said. Ive never been more sorry, and I know a lot has happened, but I'd really like if we could try and be friends. I just want to atone for what I did, I know I have no right asking for anything at-" he sighed as I shifted closer to him, folding him into my small form. I felt him sigh against me.
"Draco..." I began nervously, "Dont." I couldnt think about our past without a stab of regret, and had cried too many tears, but ironically, now I was comforting him. I was defending him from all of my bitter thoughts. I could feel his breath on neck, and tried not to shiver.
I sighed despite myself when he wrapped his arm around my waist, and moved fractionally closer to me, our bodies flush against eachother. I felt inflamed with passion, such as I was sure I had never experienced before. I felt I might start shaking with lust if he didnt kiss me.
"Hermione" he whispered, and the bold, daring Gryffindor that I was, I lowered my lips to his, and melted into him. At first I thought he would reject me, our lips momentarily parted, but instead he shifted further up the bed, so his face was level with mine. He placed a hand on my cheek, and looked deeply into my eyes, before bringing me to him, our lips meeting tenderly as he held me to him firmly.
I felt him groan against me, and our passion was exhilerating, I felt suprinsingly clear headed as I peeled myself away from him and began tearing off my clothes...
For the second time that day I awoke alone in Malfoy's bed. Beside me lay a note, and with shaky hands opened the note fearing revulsion and rejection.
There are no words. You are a beautiful dream. I'm only sorry that I'm away in Germany for training until tuesday. Can I see you again?
Let me know, I meant everything I said.
Short, but smouldering I thought as I chuckled to myself, as I put my clothes on. Another more crumpled note lay forgotten on the floor, and I remembered Ron's early morning owl.
I apparated to the bottom of the gate, and walked the walk of shame to what had been my home, my life only the day before. I sighed, knocking the door.
An intriguingly deformed redheaded shape, appeared behind the ripple effect glass door. Ron wrenched the door open, glaring at me before stomping back into the house, towards the living room. I sighed before following him into the house, not expecting the site of total devestation. Everything was scratched or smashed, or dislodged.
"What time do you call this? I sent that owl at six in the morning, thats twelve hours ago Hermione!" He shouted, holding his watch up towards my face.
"Yes, I know what time it is- Dad!" I shouted back at him, enraged. I looked around the room, trying to locate my livid cat.
"Dont you call me dad!" he shouted, backing away from me in his rage.
"Well then, dont you tell me off like I'm a child! It was only yesterday that we were supposedly equals, partners! And today I get treated like a delinquent child!" I flared up, letting my anger catch light to the kindle, that was my resentment.
Ron approached again, rolling up the sleeves of his jumper as he got closer. "Look at my fucking arms Hermione!" He shouted again, and I was forced to look at the deep scratches on his arms.
"My god Ron! How long have you had these?" I asked, fuming at his pig headedness. I searched my bag for the essence of dittany I never left home without these days. "I dont know, a few hours!" he answered sulkily, plopping down onto the sofa.
"Come here" I sighed in frustration, kneeling before him, I splashed the essence of dittany on his arms and began weaving my wand above them, healing them. I then healed the bite on his ankle, still in silence. I felt Ron's blue eyes on me as I worked, and I thought guiltily of Draco's hands all over my skin.
I felt something brush against my ankle, and looked down into crookshanks' squashed up face. I leaned back on my heels and scratched the ginger terror behind his fluffy ears.
"I'll be off then. If there is anything else I've forgotten, send it to my mum's, and if it attacks you, get yourself healed." I said quietly, unable even to look at him, now that our anger had burnt us out.