Chapter 1 : The Present Tense Of Love
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-edited March 21 2012
Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter or Romeo and Juliet.
A/N: Hello hello! Here's a little one-shot that I wrote for javct45's Language of the Flowers challenge and EverMalfoy's Taylor Swift Quotes challenge!
Her laughter. It was one in a million.
The way her lips turned up slowly at first, her eyes taking on a mischievous gleam. She would always bite her lower lip, teasing it under her teeth before her eyebrows scrunched up together and a dimple would appear in her left cheek. Then she would throw her head back, the golden brown ringlets of her hair flying back, her smooth, long neck bared. It was musical, a harmony of husky notes and girlish giggles. He loved it...he loved her.
Forcing a loud swallow, he turned his head away from the window of the Three Broomsticks, his eyes bright. He pulled up the hood of his cloak over his face and eyes. It would not do for her to her eyes to light up in recognition, then anger and hurt. At least not yet.
He slumped down in the snow, his back leaning on the brick wall of the pub. His head was bowed down so that no one would be able to take note of his white blond hair, hanging over his grey eyes raggedly. No one would be able to see the inevitable tear that slid down his pale, sharp face and froze in the snow beside him.
His long limbs longed to rush into the warm, hearty pub and wrap his arms around her. Hold her close and whisper age-old secrets and promises into her ear. She would shiver from the warm breathe on her sensitive earlobes but he would only hold her closer, and this time he would never let her go.
But it was impossible. It had been impossible then, and even more impossible now. They were never meant to be, he believed. Like Romeo and Juliet, the Muggle couple she had forced him to read about, telling him it would be a good experience... Although, she could've asked him to kiss Snape and he would've done it for her.
Romeo and Juliet had had a love stronger than the feuds of their families but in the end, their actions had sentenced them to death, never to truly be together. He scoffed at the irony of it.
However, sitting in the snow with only a warming spell to keep him company he thought about Romeo and Juliet. How their love had been doomed for the start and how they had gone to all lengths for their love, putting their faith in its power. He grimaced, their story reminded him of his own. The simple tragedy that it was. It was the cliché of couple in love, couple breaks off...while still in love. The kind of cliché that she had always made him read. He never thought that he would live to be in one of those kinds of stories though. He never realized that his life could turn out to be so painful. But then again, Romeo never did either.
Two years ago.
Something prodded him in the side. He groaned. It poked him harder, this time in his ribs. He groaned louder. He heard an exasperated sigh and felt fingers creeping up his chest, fluttering. He stifled a chuckle. She never failed to forget the fact that he was ticklish since the day he accidently let slip his weakness.
"Mhhm?" He moaned, his eyelids still shut close.
He could imagine she was rolling her eyes. Her fingers began to do the fluttery thing, this time downwards from his chest. His eyes opened immediately and caught her petite, dainty fingers in his calloused hands, entangling them together.
He smirked up at her. "Morning Granger."
This time, he got the pleasure of actually seeing her roll her eyes. "We're going to be late for Potions again, Draco." She frowned at him. "You know Professor Snape will take points off of Gryffindor and pretend that you had been in your seat the entire time."
"And you know I really don't care."
She cocked her head to the side, clicking her tongue. "Yeah, I know."
Still, she waited for him to roll out of bed, bringing the sheets along with him to the floor. He stood up and stretched, making his joints pop. He shook off the covers, leaving him in just a pair of boxers. He turned to grin at Hermione, looking for the blush that was there every single time she saw him shirtless. It wasn't like she hadn't seen it all and more before. Last night in fact.
How she managed to be so passionate and fiery while making love but shy as a babe at the innocent image of his chest he would never understand. It was one of the things he loved about her though. That she would forever be a mystery to him, a challenge. She would never be boring or dull, with her, life would always be exciting.
They walked down the Great Hall together, hand in hand. His engulfing hers like it did every time. They still attracted shocked stares and gasps on the way down. Really, one would think that people would have gotten used to it by then. He glared right back at them, and received a glare in turn from Hermione. Sometimes she would scold him lightly with, "They're not doing anything wrong Draco, just leave them alone" , and "Honestly Draco, I know as a personal experience what your glares felt like from the other end, just ignore them." He would then stare at her in disbelief for being so trusting, so innocent.
She may as well have been an angel. The pureness, the innocence, the beauty...It was definitely all there. He didn't deserve someone like her.
But before he could dwell further on this thought, she dragged him down to their customary spot at the Gryffindor table. The red and gold together in such large amounts had been overwhelming at first but as he couldn't go back to Slytherin, he learned to cope.
Once he had established a solid, real relationship with the brains and heart of the Golden Trio he had been shunned from all Slytherin society. The Malfoy family, fortunately had died off in the war. His father headed off to Azkaban and his mother dead from grief. At the time, he had mourned for them greatly but he soon came to realize after the war had been won, that they had brainwashed him into someone he really wasn't.
It took him months to come to that realization, months that Hermione Granger had helped him through.
The start of their friendship had been a strained one. She tried to help him and he couldn't accept her help. It was as simple as that. But she kept trying, the persistent Gryffindor she was and soon he broke.
He told her everything, from start to present and she listened attentively. Offering comfort and wise words of advice. And he couldn't believe it.
He had been a foul git towards her, ever since their first year. She had had no reason at all to want to help him, quite the opposite really. He honestly didn't understand.
But as their friendship progressed and it came to the point where they were nowhere without each other and they told each other everything he brushed their beginning off as unimportant. In the midst of finding love, he had plain forgotten about it.
But it came back to haunt him, all beginnings did.
She used to always fall asleep on the couch while they were reading together so he would carry her up to his room and lay her on the silk sheets. Sometimes he would lift his hand and sweep her golden threads of hair off of her face and tuck them behind her ear. He couldn't pinpoint when exactly he had fallen in love with her, only that he knew he had. Perhaps it had been when she had first reached out to him. Or the first time he made her cry when they got into their first fight as a couple. Or perhaps the first time they made love to each other, breathing heavily and collapsing in a tangle of limbs. Exhausted but happy and in love.
It might've been when her eyes glowed with delight when he finally asked her on a date after months of hesitating. He hadn't wanted to ruin their cherished friendship but he wanted to make her his. Make it known to the world that he care for her and more than as a best friend. It was a simple way to get rid of other boys who approached her with lusty stares and wandering hands, throwing him furtive glares. She was his after all.
Maybe he had fallen in love with her on their first date where he presented her with a bouquet of white everlastings. It was a rare flower, only found on the highest mountain tops. It was expensive but worth getting when he saw her face light up in recognition. She breathed in its scent and smiled brightly at him. "I'll never forget you either, Draco." He grinned, he knew that she would understand it. Everlasting was the flower that represented never ceasing memory. It was his way of telling her that she was forever in his mind without seeming too sappy.
Even her friends had come to accept him, much quicker that he would've thought. After seeing how happy he made her and how she seemed to glow and bounce wherever she went, they consented and for the most part they kept away from any fights, if only for Hermione's sake.
And as egocentric and arrogant as it sounded, he knew she loved him too. It was in the way that her eyes smiled at him and in the music of her laughter. She would always reach out for his hand or his arm and she always told him, at every chance she got, that she was in love with him and that he was ever important in her life.
She had put so much of her trust in him. She had given him all her love and he had thrown it away. All he gave her was goodbye.
He stood up again, restless. He brushed the snow off his dress pants. He would feel the agony every time he saw her, every time he brought up memories of their time together. It felt so far away already. He peered through the glass as the Weasel, whom she had been in a relationship with for the last year brushed his arm against hers, smiling. He handed her a bouquet of flowers, wrapped in yellow tissue paper. Fool. Draco thought, she detested the color yellow. Even he knew that. Hermione however, didn't comment on Ron's choice of color, instead she clasped his arm in turn, giving him a hug and a light kiss on the cheek, albeit a bit hesitantly. They sat down together at a table, he could see their hands laced under the chipping wood of the table, Hermione's a bit limp but nonetheless his heart tore a little more.
However, he forced himself to keep watching, invisible from the window. Hermione deserves to be happy he told himself. She always has, and you can't give that to her. After all, she gave him all her love and all he gave her was goodbye.
Two years ago.
This was the night. The night that would change everything. He ran a nervous hand through his hair and closed his eyes in self-loathing. He loved her so much. But he believed that this was the right thing to do. She deserved so much better than him.
He faced the window, staring with seeing out at the sky. His back was to the door but he heard clearly when it opened, the hinges creaking. His chest seemed empty, numb. In all the Muggle stories, the main character's heart was always described as pounding or throbbing but he couldn't feel it at all. It was almost as if it wasn't there anymore. It would be fitting though, he thought. After all, his heart belonged to Hermione. She would always have it, even if she didn't know it.
"Draco?" Her voice filtered through his brain. Her voice rose in pitch. "Hello?"
He turned slowly. Every moment felt like a thousand. His desolate eyes found hers. She had concern in her warm chocolate eyes. He closed his, he could not bear to see concern for him. He didn't deserve her concern, he was pure evil compared to her. He was right to keep them closed. That way, he didn't see the pain and hurt flash across her paling face when he said the words that would be their relationship's demise.
"Hermione." He let the syllables roll of his tongue, his voice cracking. His eyes were still closed.
"I don't think we're right for each other." He paused, letting this sink into his as well as her thoughts. Then rambled on. "Our relationship has been a mistake. I've thought it out and I don't love you anymore. Not that I don't appreciate everything you've done for me, it's just that I can't function with you, we're too different to be together." Even his head, the words sounded false and forced. He hoped she wouldn't realize that. Saying he didn't love her once was bad enough, it already tore at his chest, making it hard to breathe and left him light-headed. He felt like he was having an out of body experience, like he was dreaming about the fact that he decided that she would be better off without him and wasn't selfish enough to keep her.
He dared to open his eyes. She was in shock, her eyes large, her mouth open in an 'O'. Her fists were clenched at her side. He knew, after years of studying her, watching her habits and facial expressions that she was barely holding it in. He couldn't bear to see her cry because of him, so like a coward, he fled the room. But not before the first flashes of anguish and distress appeared on her face and she blinked furiously, restraining her tears.
He didn't emerge from the Room of Requirement for a week. Hermione's owls pecked at his door for a month. They didn't speak for two years.
He watched as she carefully opened the wrapping paper to reveal several pink everlastings. His stomach dropped to the floor and he felt a shortage of breath. Never ceasing memory. That bastard. He was stealing his flowers.
A barrage of memories rushed through his mind and he pushed them all back, concentrating on the moment at hand. He thought for a second that he had seen a moment of suppressed agony on her face but it passed so quickly that he brushed it off as wishful thinking. She was happy now, she didn't need him anymore. And that was the way it should be.
He couldn't stop himself from wondering if she remembered though. If she remembered how he had given her white everlastings, how they had let them dry and then pressed them in a scrapbook. He wondered where that scrapbook was now.
He sat idle as Ron and Hermione ate dinner together, his hand occasionally brushing against hers. Draco missed the feel of her hands, of her. Soft and satiny. She felt like home.
He started as she excused herself to the washroom, patting down her skirt as she got up. He sighed. As much as he loved her, still loved her and as much as it hurt so much to see her, this was his reality. After that night of false lies they had never talked again. He had ignored her owls and her friends' threats and desperate pleas. He loved her enough to wish her the best in her life. He thought that her life would be better; fuller without him in it.
But for weeks, they had both been in a sort of coma. Hermione with her continual puffy eyes, blank stares and her robes getting bigger and bigger on her thinning frame. Draco with his gaunt face, bags under his eyes and his inability to sleep or eat. He had wanted more than anything to take back the words that had ruined them but he had long convinced himself that it was for the best. Her best.
He squeezed his eyes shut. It had been two years, and he was still following her around discreetly like a lost puppy. Would he never be able to forget her?
He then felt something poke into his ribs.
He opened his eyes, blinking. And almost fell to the snow in shock.
"Hi Draco." She twiddled her fingers nervously. "I saw you from the window so I thought I might come say hello." She smiled half heartedly.
He was shaking. He had dreamed of meeting her and talking to her again ever since he told her he didn't love her. The foulest lie. "Hermione." He breathed, shuddering.
He was on the verge of breaking down, of telling her the last two years had been a lie. But then his sacrifice would be wasted.
"Are you waiting for someone?" She asked to fill the silence.
He stared at her. He hadn't heard the question. He had been studying her, memorizing her features newly. The freckles on her nose, her long eyelashes now sparkling with snow. How he had missed her.
"Oh? Who are you waiting for?"
The words came out before he could stop them. "A friend. My best friend really."
She raised an eyebrow questioningly, her eyes big.
He blurted out, "I love her."
Here she gasped. "Love...as in the present tense of love?"
He shook his head. What was I thinking!? What was I saying? "Umm, yeah."
He could've whacked his head with a Bludger. Multiple times.
She gave him an almost hopeful look. "You do realize that me and Ron booked the Three Broomsticks for ourselves tonight? There's no one else here."
He froze. Damn it. He began stammering, "Well, I- I, you, I mean, no!"
She took pity on his state and said, "Ron's waiting for me, I should get back now." She swallowed, he saw her throat contract and blurted out rapidly, "We should get together sometime, talk and everything, meet up?"
Against his will, he could feel his head nodding sluggishly, falling prey to her eyes and her smile.
She smiled and walked back inside, looking back to wave.
Draco didn't bother to watch the rest of the date, instead walking home in the snow, my feet dragging. he didn't know what happened today. Whether it would turn out for the better or the worse. Hell, he didn't even know what he wanted or what the better or the worse would even be.
A tawny owl tapped insistently at my windowsill, hooting and pecking. Draco pulled himself out of bed, groaning. He could feel the effects of the firewhiskey he threw down last night. He gave the owl some bread and watched it fly out to the horizon.
It had delivered his daily subscription of the Daily Prophet. He flipped open to the front page and rubbed his eyes frantically to make sure he had read the front page headline right.
Hermione Granger refuses wedding proposal by Ron Weasley
There was a picture of the two walking hand in hand and the article began,
"Hermione Granger says she is 'just not ready yet' and that there 'are other issues that have come up that I need to take care of'. Ron Weasley proposed to her in an empty Three Broomsticks with a large diamond ring and a simple bouquet of expensive everlastings. She seems a bright young woman and we hope that she'll..."
Draco was in shock to say the least. He held back the overwhelming hope that his appearance had had an impact on her decision. But in his heart, he understood that this was Hermione's way of saying that she remembered the flowers he had given to her long ago and that she had stayed true to her word and never forgot him.
He shook his head disbelievingly. This girl was an enigma. She had given him all her love and he had only given her goodbye. Well that, a bouquet of everlastings and his never ceasing memory.
A/N: What did you guys think about that? Can any Taylor Swift fans guess what the quote I was given was?
I adore suggestions and constructive criticism. So leave a review and let me know what you think please!