The next morning Hermione was roused from her deep slumber feeling very annoyed. She lay there for a moment as the dull bothersome screeching noise became louder and louder until it was practically deafening. Her alarm clock. Hermione shot upright, feeling as though she had been hit by a triple decker. How long had her alarm been going off? Hermione scrambled for her wand and mumbled an incantation under her breath in order to stop the screeching which became more piercing the longer she let it go off. Thankful for the quiet that followed her spell she glanced at her clock and felt panic coursing through her body. 7:54.
"Oh no..no..no." Hermione leapt from her bed kicking off the sheets she had been entangled in. Her head felt clouded with exhaustion and dread as she frantically rummaged through her closet. She threw a dress blouse over her head, and hopped wildly into a pair of trouser's managing to fall over into her night stand hitting her arm painfully.
Hermione yelled picking herself up and desperately running to the bathroom to brush her teeth.
She shortly thereafter made it into the kitchen where she outwardly groaned at seeing her papers strewn over the kitchen table.
She quickly opened her brief case and started shoving papers inside. She had been up late last night going over last minute details to prepare herself for her meeting. She should have put them away last night but she had been so tired she didn't even remember walking to her room.
"Hugo!" She called out for her son, until she remembered he had begged her to stay at his friend Hustavo's house last night.
Hermione slammed her briefcase shut and scooped up the rest of her papers in her arm and ran for the fireplace.
Hermione arrived at the ministry only moments later and glanced at her watch. 8:01. She inwardly cursed as she raced towards the lift. How could She have done this? Waking up late on what could be the most important day of her career. What must the board think of her? Would they cancel the meeting?
Hermione made it to the elevator just before the doors slid shut, running inside and startling the elderly Hilda Gorta Head of Pest Advisory Board. She immediately pressed the button for level ten and then waited impatiently for the doors to reopen. The board meeting would be held in a room near the courtrooms, and Hermione cringed at the thought of all the board members awaiting her late arrival. It seemed like eternity before the elevator stopped and announced her destination. Hermione practically sprinted off the lift and hurried her way down the dim lit corridor. Hermione reached the double doors that led to the court rooms and in particular the room where her meeting would be held. As she swung open the doors and continued hurriedly forward she collided into something knocking her to the ground. Not something…someone.. Hermione realized as she looked up and saw a tall man in a dark suit towering over her. Malfoy. The papers Hermione had been carrying were now strewn across the floor and she scrambled to retrieve them. Malfoy bent down to assist her.
"Should I be expecting this as as a regular rendezvous between us?" Malfoy said coyly to Hermione looking her in the eye.
Hermione rolled her eyes at him. She was so worried about making it to her meeting that she practically didn't care that she had yet again run into and been knocked over by Draco Malfoy. The only thing that bothered her was being delayed even longer from her meeting. Though as she stood up and faced Malfoy she became more self conscious, her unbrushed hair suddenly felt like a frizzy afro. She knew she must look horrendous.
"I am sorry for running into you…again." Hermione briskly apologized.
"I suppose I'll have to accept, seeing as you're always running around this place like blazes.. I should have been more cautious." Malfoy replied.
"I am not always running around like……well.. that is beside the point I'm late for a very important meeting and I have to go now." Hermione was desperate to arrive at her meeting without being another moment late..she certainly did not have time to argue with Malfoy.
Hermione began to walk past Malfoy when he stopped her.
"Wait." Malfoy told her with a peculiar look on his face.
"Your arm…it's bleeding." He took her arm gently and it shot electrifying hotness through her body. She was taken aback by the sudden sensation as she looked down at her arm and saw that it was indeed bleeding…but it was mostly dried blood. Hermione suddenly recalled her collision with her night stand earlier and knew that it had caused the injury.
"You hurt yourself." Malfoy looked concerned…no not concerned Hermione thought..he would never show concern over her.
"I…I ran into my nightstand this morning..I didn't realize I was bleeding." Hermione managed to say still fighting the strange sensation.
"Let me heal it." Malfoy said decidedly
"I don't have time, I need to go." Hermione tried to turn but Malfoy caught her arm again.
"If you go into your important meeting with your hair…like that.. and your arm bleeding all over the place they'll think you've been mugged." Malfoy told her.
'Well that may help to explain my tardiness…"Hermione retorted but stood still as Malfoy administered a simple healing spell on her arm. The dull stinging that Hermione had not been paying attention to was now gone, and her arm was clean and injury free.
Hermione looked up at Malfoy not knowing quite what to say. "Thanks."
Hermione turned away from him hurrying to her meeting that she was now ten minutes late to.
"Good luck." Malfoy unexpectedly called after her.
Hermione briefly turned her head and caught the sight of him walking away through the double doors.
Hermione was out of breath when she reached the room. She opened the heavy door and some several members from the board had already gotten up from their seats and were collecting their things.
"I am so sorry, that I'm late." Hermione apologized to the room clearly out of breath.
The board looked up at her somewhat startled….probably the hair.. Hermione grimaced.
"Miss Granger this meeting was to take place precisely at eight o'clock and you are now eleven minutes late." It was Celia Janesken who spoke.
"I know and I am so sorry, I have no excuse…but if we could please just begin now..I can assure you that I'm prepared." Hermione pleaded.
"Miss Granger myself and the other members of the board have very busy schedules…"
Hermione cut her off " I know Mrs. Janesken..I know you're all very busy and I cannot apologize enough for wasting your time but I beg you to please just hear my proposal."
"Alright Miss Granger but we really don't have much more time." Celia re- took her seat and the rest of the board followed looking disappointed that they would have to stay after all.
"Thank you..so much." Hermione said breathlessly.
"Well..get on with it." Celia said impatiently.
About fifteen minutes later Hermione reopened the heavy door and walked towards the lift. They hadn't accepted her proposal. Unnessesary…they said. They said they had gotten on just fine the last thousand years with the way elf relations were and they could get on just fine the next thousand without any drastic measures.
Hermione was fuming. How could they not realize how important this was…all of her hard work…all of her preparations…none of it had worked. That weren't ready for the change..radical they called it. What a bunch of utter rubbish, Hermione thought of the close minded board members in their stuffy suits and wanted to scream.
She had somehow managed to get to her floor without even realizing it and went straight to the office and slammed her door. She sank into her desk chair.
She was crushed…she had been so hopeful..but she should have known better. They were right…things hadn't changed in the last thousand years.. how could she expect that she alone would be able to change anything…make any difference at all.
Hermione spent the rest of the day sulking in her office. When she finally got out of her chair she was stiff as a board. She couldn't wait to get out of there. It seemed the ministry held nothing for her now. It wasn't a place where she could spend her days working alongside her husband…not a place where she wanted to relive any memories because they had become too painful…and now not a place that held any kind of meaningful future for her. The ministry was nothing to her now and she found that she despised it.
Hermione climbed into the lift and almost didn't notice Malfoy climbing in after her. Great, she thought. He was the last person on Earth that she wanted to be spending an elevator ride with right now…well maybe besides Celia Janesken.
They stood in silence for a few moments before Malfoy finally spoke up.
"So how was your big meeting?" "Did you Wow them?" Malfoy said.
"As a matter of fact I didn't." "They thought it was a load of rubbish…in fact they probably thought my big frizzy hair was more interesting than my proposal… that I might add I have been working on tirelessly for years." Hermione finished her rant and they stood in silence once again.
"Sounds like you need a drink." Malfoy finally replied.
"I could use more than a drink." Hermione told him.
The elevator stopped at the atrium and they stepped off.
"So?" Malfoy asked her.
"So…what?" Hermione asked half annoyed but also genuinely confused.
"So how about those drinks?" Malfoy said unchanged.
"I….what?" Hermione stupidly replied.
"Do you want a drink, or not Granger?" Malfoy asked impatiently.
"Well I wasn't aware you had asked…but I suppose.." Hermione was cut off.
"Alright, let's go." Malfoy said decidedly walking towards a fireplace leaving Hermione behind.
Hermione stood still for a moment shocked. Never in her life did she think she would be joining Draco Malfoy after work for "drinks".
She somewhat snapped out of her stupor and jogged to catch up with him. Malfoy glanced down at her for a moment before they both stepped into the ashes.
"Diagon Alley!" Malfoy clearly shouted and they swirled dizzyingly into darkness.
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