Author: Reetinkerbell PM
"What do you hate most?" he asks. "A lie. And you?" "Ownership," he says. "When you leave me, forget me." The English Patient. DracoxHermione, written for dmhgficexchange.Rated: Fiction M - English - Romance - Draco M. & Hermione G. - Words: 4,373 - Reviews: 12 - Favs: 35 - Follows: 2 - Published: 06-29-10 - Status: Complete - id: 6094874
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Fandom: Harry Potter
Characters: Draco Malfoy, Hermione Granger.
Summary: "What do you hate most?" he asks.
"A lie. And you?"
"Ownership," he says. "When you leave me, forget me."
The English Patient, Michael Ondaatje
Word Count: 4032
Author's Note: Thanks to my beta, shagmedraco for everything.
Distribution: Link only please.
Written: January 2010 - For dysenchanted2 for the dmhgficexchange (at LiveJournal) Brew A Love Potion For Draco And Hermione Fic Exchange. Her request is at the end.
They only ever met at her flat (aside from the one time they met in a coat room during a boring Ministry event) because he still lived in his parents mansion (where there were plenty of spies and bad memories) and hotel rooms were an unnecessary expense when they already had far more privacy at her home. And meeting him in a hotel room would've made her feel cheap and dirty.
They hadn't started at the beginning, as most people did, for their beginning had been childish and juvenile. They had started at the end of something else.
Though the actual war had ended the night Harry had defeated Voldemort, it had taken a long time for it to truly be over – to round up the last of the Death Eaters, put them on trial and deal with them, to open Hogwarts and find qualified teachers to cover all the classes and for Diagon Alley to flourish once more. It had taken time, but though people remembered, most had now placed the events of the war in the past and done their best to move forward.
People had been lost during the war and it wasn't always easy to move on without them, but people could be (and were) lost every day without a war being the reason behind it and while the losses were mourned, the Wizarding Community of Great Britain couldn't stand still while everyone grieved.
Not any more.
They started by running into each other on a rare bright and sunny morning, quite literally. Hermione had fallen over from the force of the impact – for they had both been in a hurry – and Draco had offered her an ungloved hand. She'd accepted it, because she was an adult now and childhood pranks and rivalries were behind her. Also, she'd actually needed the help.
No words had been spoken aside from their respective surnames in lieu of a proper acknowledgement before they'd both hurried off in the direction they'd previously been going. The meeting had been brief, but their eyes had held (as had their hands, because neither had remembered to let go of the other even after Hermione was safely standing on her own two feet again) and it'd only been when a bell in a church tower further down the street had rung that they remembered themselves and left each other behind.
Hermione's heart had pounded as she rushed to her meeting, her nerves out of control. For five days, she pretended her reaction had been because of the upcoming meeting. After five days, they met again and she could no longer lie to herself and pretend her fluttering had had anything to do with the meeting.
It'd all been him.
When they met again, it was at a Ministry function she'd been forced to attend. He had been too, though his reasons had not been the same as hers. The room had been crowded, and yet their eyes had managed to meet across the room as she stepped through the doors.
Hermione was short and it hadn't taken long before someone had stepped between them, blocking him from her view for a moment. That moment was enough to break the odd spell Hermione seemed to have fallen under and she blinked and turned away. Before the man had had a chance to move and show Draco to her again, Hermione had moved to another part of the room.
He'd found her an hour later by the bar and offered to buy her a drink. Hermione had glanced at the sign in front of them, proclaiming it to be an 'Open Bar' and raised an eyebrow at him, making a joke she couldn't remember five minutes later about the state of his finances. He'd smiled slowly, before telling her he meant a real drink, in a real bar, just the two of them.
She'd accepted, even though the last time she'd seen his face before the incident with the falling in the middle of a busy street had been a snapshot of him in the Daily Prophet following his trial. It'd been a short trial, but had garnered a lot of media attention – not just because of who he was, or his family's connection to Voldemort, but because of his age at the time.
A lot of people, after his side of the story had been revealed to the press, had stood firmly by his side and as many people cheered as did people complain when he came out of the trial found not guilty for the crimes he'd been accused. Three years had passed since then and he was only just then coming out into the public eye again.
They never did go out for a real drink that night. Instead, they went back to her flat for what turned out to be the first time of many.
The second time he came over he did so on his own without an invitation, only two days later. He'd simply shown up at her flat, bearing a smirk and she'd let him in while shaking her head. They hadn't spoken, but he'd kissed her and Hermione hadn't thought about anything but him in that moment and things had been good.
Before he left that night, he'd asked her what she was doing the following night. She told him she hadn't any plans and he said he'd drop by, if she didn't have anything against it.
She didn't and he left her in bed, both of them smiling.
There wasn't a set schedule to it, to them, but after that, they did plan ahead.
They could go days without contact (and often did, at least at the start of it) besides the odd scraps of owl messages they exchanged, only when necessary. The messages would appear at her side when she wasn't looking (she rarely sent him one in return) to change the time or date of their next meeting.
Hermione hadn't had time to worry about the lack of real communication between them because she had more important things to worry about, with her new and demanding job, her worry over her two best friends off on a work-related missions and trying to convince her parents to move back from Australia.
It hadn't been until nearly five weeks into their relationship (if one could call it that, and she'd really tried not to) when she unexpectedly ran into him in the stacks of Flourish & Blotts that she realised it. There hadn't been any falling or touching of any kind at the time, and he'd barely acknowledged her (though she knew he'd seen her and he'd admitted as much the next time he came over to her flat) before leaving the shop without a backwards glance.
He'd made up for it and given her excuses she'd accepted because she hadn't been overly bothered by it once she knew and could prepare herself for it (because they weren't friends, not really, and if they started chatting amicably in public and people saw, there would be questions she wouldn't want to have to answer) and on the following occasions they ran into each other, she ignored him as he ignored her.
It worked for them, if only because they so rarely saw each other outside of her flat (for a while anyway).
Hermione had never thought she'd be the type of girl who engaged in a sexual relationship that was nothing but just that – sexual. But life was short and she'd learned the hard way the dangers of letting her heart get involved and as she hadn't had the time for a real relationship then anyway, the arrangements worked well for her.
She wasn't sure if she liked him, but she did know she no longer hated his guts (if she ever had, truly) for annoying as he was, still, she wouldn't have slept with him (nor continued) if she'd truly disliked him. And if she found herself missing him or looking forward to seeing him or feeling disappointed if he had to reschedule, she blamed it on her hormones and not her mind (certainly not her heart).
Things worked for them. They were together when they could, sometimes several times a week and sometimes not as often. They had their own lives and though they had at times after a particularly bad day complained to the other about work or if they discovered the other had read a particular book and they discussed it, most of the time the outside world didn't intrude on their time together.
He made her happy, if only when they were actually together, and they both went away satisfied.
They were together, without any emotional baggage getting in the way (of which he probably had as much, if not more, as her) or a care about what their friends and family might think or do if it ever came out – because they never planned on it getting out.
They never talked about what they were to each other; they simply were.
They'd only had a more serious talk about it once, after Draco ignored Hermione in the book store the first time, and then only because Hermione had asked him about it. And even that hadn't been much of a talk – they'd simply agreed to continue what ever it was that they had, without any real obligations to each other. Draco didn't want to be tied down or feel trapped by her and Hermione had understood and agreed, for she had had no intentions of tying him to her.
All she'd asked for had been his honesty – that if he found someone else, she wanted him to let her know in a very timely manner so they could stop their things. Because even if they weren't really together, she deserved better (as would whichever other girl Draco might've met and started seeing) and Hermione didn't want to be a part of any lie.
He'd agreed and that'd been that.
But then things had changed.
It had been little things, at first.
He'd come over with a bottle of her favourite wine one night, and they drank it as they talked about books. They laughed together and argued good naturedly about a particular passage in one of her favourite books for hours (he'd disagreed only because he liked seeing her flushed and argumentative he'd admitted just before leaving).
When they finally kissed, they did so still sitting on the couch and eventually they began undressing each other. It had been unhurried and more romantic than most other times between them and Hermione had retired to bed (alone) a little confused (but mostly buzzing from the wine and his touch).
Some nights were still frantic and spent mostly in her bed enjoying each others physical company, but slowly but surely, they began to talk more, share more of themselves.
They learned a lot about each other, even though they weren't supposed to. Hermione hadn't been sure why they weren't supposed to get to know each other's persons better, but she was sure Draco had implemented a rule about it – even if he had neglected to inform her of it. But as he himself often was the instigator of their talks (he once sprang a question on her that had her explain to him in great detail how to use the stove, demonstrations and all) so Hermione figured she was in the clear if she asked him questions in return.
She found out that he'd spent most of the three years since his trial ended in France, working on something relating to his family's company (though she'd asked, he'd never given her a clear answer as to what exactly the company did). The first year he'd spent holing up at the Mansion, reading books and ignoring everyone but his parents, the following two hiding out in the Malfoy's Paris apartment, doing very little but work and sleep.
Though she didn't ask, he also revealed that the day they met, when she'd fallen and he'd helped her up, had been his first day back in England. He'd not planned on staying long, but then had simply not left again.
And he found out what had really happened between her and Ron and how difficult it'd been for them both at first to remain friends after their breakup. A breakup that hadn't had anything to do with infidelity on either side – Ron had simply begun listening a little too carefully to his mother's hints about marriage and Hermione hadn't been ready. They hadn't been ready and in the end, the split had been mostly amicable. It had helped that Ron had left on a mission shortly after their breakup, which had given both breathing room and emotional distance.
He alone found out how hard it was for her to not see her parents as often as she pleased. He alone heard the story of how they'd grown apart during her years at Hogwarts – how her parents hadn't fully understood the world she lived in and how she hadn't wanted to worry them. It'd been fine until she started spending her summers and Christmas holidays away from home also – and now, now that she had the time to visit them once a week, they were no longer close enough for her to do so.
Draco had listened, not once commented on the obviousness of her Muggle parents not being able to understand the Wizarding World.
And then the little things became bigger things.
Save for a few times, times Hermione could count on one hand, Draco had never stayed the night at her flat. While he didn't rush out right after they'd finished and she rarely saw him actually leave, she knew he left before the hour became too late (or too early) so as not to risk falling asleep next to her.
The first time he did spend the night, three weeks in, had been a complete accident. Hermione had only known he'd stayed because when her alarm blared to life the morning after, she hadn't been the one to hit the snooze button. Ten minutes, when it blared again, she'd blinked awake and found that he'd already left. She would've thought she'd imagined it, if not for the warm spot in bed beside her.
The second time, he stayed only long enough to grab a quick shower before heading off to work in yesterday's clothing. While he showered, she magically changed the colour on his tie so it wouldn't be too noticeable. He'd thanked her, given her a long hard kiss and left with a promise of bringing food with him after work.
The third, a Sunday nearly two months after they started, he'd stayed for a cup of tea after his shower (no breakfast) before heading out. It'd been raining that day and Hermione had spent it cleaning her flat from top to bottom – she'd cleaned it all except for her bed. The sheets had stayed on for two days and she only changed them when she did because Draco was coming over again and she hadn't wanted him to know she'd slept in what'd been left of his scent.
As she'd changed the sheets (they'd been blue and she hadn't known why she'd focused on the colour as intently as she had been until much later when she realised they'd been the same shade of blue as the dress she'd worn to the Yule Ball in her fourth year) she'd realised for the first time that maybe Draco had begun to mean more to her than she'd led herself to believe.
She'd wanted to pull away, back of a little, but couldn't bring herself to do so.
He'd come over that night, and the one after that, and then told her he'd not be able to come by again until the week following because he was going on a business trip over the weekend.
Hermione had stayed with Ginny, sleeping on the redhead's lumpy couch.
She hated lying (especially to herself because she knew she knew better) so she hadn't even tried – she'd simply refused to think of why she hadn't stayed home and slept in her own bed.
And then Draco had begun blurring the lines too.
Before their meeting in the street, she'd not seen him in the flesh since the night of the Final Battle. Even after that meeting, even after they started to sleep together, she hadn't seen him often.
Until nine weeks in, when all of a sudden it felt to her as though he was everywhere she turned. She'd tried to ignore him, as she thought she was supposed to, but as time went on, it became more and more difficult to do so.
Not just because she was starting to get annoyed by him always being around when she couldn't do anything about it, but also because there was something inside of her that'd refused to let her ignore him completely and she was sure he was doing it on purpose somehow.
She could be walking down a street, intent on her target and her thoughts focused. Her eyes would be forward and she'd not have even a speck of a thought in turning her head, but then, something would happen (a particularly nasty gush of wind, a car honking or a shout) and her eyes would be pulled in whichever direction Draco would've just happened to be standing in at that exact moment (for no reason or explanation) and their eyes would meet and her feet would falter and she would want to go over to him.
She never had.
When Draco returned from his business trip – a trip that had ended up taking a few days longer than originally thought – he'd gone over to her flat the very same day.
For three days, they'd only left the flat and each other for work.
Neither of them even as much as hinted of this change, (just as they didn't talk about any of the other things that made up their not-relationship) even as she made him breakfast, as they showered together or even as she asked him, phone in hand, what kind of dinner he wanted that particular day.
Not even when they both laid awake on their third night and talked – Draco obviously with no intentions of leaving, his arm wrapped around her and his hand on her back, her chest flush against his side as she played with the silver pendant he wore around his neck.
When they fell asleep that night, it was not from exhaustion – instead, they'd simply fallen asleep together.
The day after, they ran into each other outside of the old Ollivanders shop, neither of them alone. They continued to walk in opposite directions, but their eyes had met and Hermione's heart had skipped a beat because she knew he'd seen her hesitate as they passed each other.
An hour later, she'd received an owl from him, with an excuse as to why he couldn't come over to her flat later that day. It was the first time he'd made an actual excuse and she hadn't been sure how she was supposed to feel about it so she'd put the note in the bin and made plans with Ginny.
Two nights later, he came over, a book he knew she hadn't liked in hand. Things went back to how it'd been before his trip and they started seeing each other often – more often than before.
They continued to simply be and they continued to ignore each other in public.
Or, she had continued to try, but she was no longer sure about him, given that it felt as though he was orchestrating their not-meetings with the sole intent of seeing her flustered.
And then Ginny sets her up on a blind date.
Hermione had long before run out of excuses as to why she wasn't interested in meeting anyone, and Ginny had been persistent. She'd finally relented with a sigh, not sure what she should tell Draco (if she should tell him anything at all).
She knows she'll have a lousy time with the man Ginny had found for her, and though she was the one who'd told him she didn't want to be a part of a lie in which another person was involved, she figured that as she went into the date knowing she wasn't going to enjoy it and as she was only doing it to protect their secret from Ginny, it didn't count. She almost tells him, the night before the date, but she doesn't know how to broach the subject (or how he'll react, because she thinks he might think she's trying to make him jealous) and so instead she kisses him, nice and slow.
Things progress between them as they always do and she forgets (ignores) the tingle of guilt she feels at not telling him. She knows how she'd feel if he went out on a real proper date with someone, regardless of the reason why. Without him knowing it, she tries to make it up to him that night; raising above him, over him, sucking lightly on the skin just below his left ear (just as he likes it). She smiles into his neck as he groans, low and deep, his fingers gripping her hips tightly as they move together on her bed.
The date is a bust (and he tries to kiss her) and she hopes she'll be able to use the unsuccessful date in the future when she's refusing Ginny's matchmaking schemes. She returns home to her lonely flat early and after a quick glance at her clock, she's owling Draco, asking him to come over if he's not busy. It's the first time she's ever owled him such a note, but she doesn't pause to think of that as she scribbles down the words and sends it off.
He arrives fifteen minutes later (she's just changed out of her date dress) and it takes them less time than that to enter her bedroom and fall on the bed, the shirt she'd just put on already lying forgotten on the floor behind them.
Draco stays the night and in the morning they have breakfast together.
Hermione nearly jumps out of her skin when he greets her one day among the bookcases of Flourish & Blotts, only a week after her blind date (of which he still knew nothing). She glances around, sees a handful of people moving about at both ends of the row they are in before her eyes meet his.
She blinks a little as he stands in front of her, looking handsome as ever, without seemingly a care in the world. He's holding a book, but she can't see the title of it and she focuses on the red cover in his hands instead of his eyes.
"Hermione?" he asks; his voice carrying easily. But he doesn't seem to care. Neither does anyone else around them.
She meets his eyes again and breathes.
"I was wondering if you would like to have tea. With me?" he asks her, as if they've not been sleeping together for over five months already. As if he didn't wake up, arms around her as late as earlier that same morning and as if he hadn't given her a kiss in the kitchen before leaving for the day.
"Tea?" she asks, feeling incredibly dim-witted.
He hesitates and it's that slight shift in him that makes her insides twist in the way she'd been so sure, back when they started, they never would over him.
"I would love to," she says before he can take back his offer and slink away.
He smiles and she smiles and the sun shines through a window and Hermione can't believe she's ready for this, for him, for real. She can believe even less that he's ready for her, for them.
Their tea turns into dinner and their dinner turns into a drink at the bar located one block west of her flat, the very same they had passed and nearly entered on their first night together.
Would you prefer an art or fic gift?: fic
Song, Poem, or Quote (title/original creator) (optional):
The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje
"What do you hate most?" he asks.
"A lie. And you?"
"Ownership," he says. "When you leave me, forget me."
Describe your ideal gift in as few words/keywords as possible
(plus rating): follows canon (preferably including DH) but can be EWE, some angst
Dealbreakers (absolute no-no's): AU, non-con, PWP