Rating: T
Disclaimer: Everything recognizable belongs to the one and only JKRowling. I own nothing except putting Draco and Hermione in situations when they could have gotten together.

Chapter I

"You look like someone is stomping on your first edition of Hogwarts: A History, Hermione."

Hermione's eyes darted back to the figure sitting in front of her, belatedly realized that she had been staring at someone else for the past few minutes, and that her friend had noticed that too. She brought her chardonnay to her lips, trying to drown away that burning feeling that was threatening to explode at the corner of her eyes.

"I'm not …" Hermione contested weakly, which only earned a small sigh from her friend.

"Hermione, don't lie to me." Ginny soon-to-be-Potter shook her head. She had noticed the way her best female friend kept looking at the blond and his date ever since the two shown up at the restaurant, and the expression on her face reminded Ginny so much of most of her years at Hogwarts. "I'm the Queen of Unrequited Love, Hermione. I think I can safely spot it on anyone else's face, let alone my bestest girl friend of thirteen years."

"I don't have unrequited love with Draco Malfoy!" The brunette hissed.

"At least you are not denying that you have been staring at your coworker." Ginny put a finger to Hermione's lips to silence her outrage. "Fine, you don't love blondie, but you do like him, and it is killing you to see him so affectionate with another girl in front of you."

Hermione stayed quiet, for there was nothing she could say to that. The redhead was not one to buy lies, and she had, after all, hit too close to home for the brunette's comfort. Months of working besides the ex-Slytherin as Cursebreakers had changed Hermione's view towards him. The war had changed everyone, and Draco Malfoy was no exception. What used to be arrogance had mellowed into an air of confidence most would kill to have, and while he was still snarky and sarcastic on his best of days, he had been kind and protective toward her in all of their missions. The two had settle into a comfortable friendship for the past three years, and it hadn't occurred to Hermione that she had been hoping for more from the blond until almost six months ago. But all of her plan to capture his attention had been futile, and she knew why.

Astoria Greengrass walked effortlessly into Draco's life with a grace that Hermione envied with all of her heart. The raven-haired beauty was stunning and elegant, and Draco had been entranced with her ever since they met in a Ministry Gala, and they had started dating a month after. Hermione never blamed Astoria for falling for Draco's charm. Draco probably wasn't the most handsome man, his nose a bit crooked (from Hermione's punch in third year that never healed properly), his lips too thin and his chin still too pointy, and Draco had never outgrew his lanky form of his youth. But he made up with his intense grey eyes that made women feel like they were the only one he saw, and his heartbreaking smile, if only you were lucky enough to witness it.

He was leaning toward his date, an easy smile on his lips that seems to come out effortlessly, the same smile Hermione had always adored and categorized as hers, for she had been the only one he had shown it to during the whole time they work together. He brought his left hand and cupped his date's cheek, and the two met in the softest of kisses that seemed to last forever even though in reality just mere seconds. Hermione's heart dropped at the way Astoria's hand touched Draco's nape, her body tilted toward him the exact way Hermione had always imagined hers would have had she been in Astoria's position. Her mind screamed at her to turn away, to get out, but the young brunette just couldn't tear her eyes away from the way Draco's forehead touched Astoria's, the way his lips murmured quietly into her ears. Clumsily, Hermione stood up from her seat.

"I – I got to go to the loo."

Hermione Granger was no stranger heartbreak. It started with Ronald Weasley and his inane relationship with the first girl that snogged him during their sixth year, no matter how short that relationship was. It shown its ugly face the second time four years later, when she and Ron called its quit, both still loving one another but both wanting different things in life. Since then, Hermione had a few relationships, but none worth mentioning until she fell head-over-heels for her blond college.

Yet with all that experience, Hermione could never understood how everyone would call it heartbreak when it felt like her whole body was shattering, that her mind was numbed with only images of him and her and kisses and soft touches and Hermione broke down to tears as she stood in front of the mirror in the loo. It was quiet in here, but not quite enough because she knew they were outside and while they had been dining in the same restaurant as her and Ginny, after their initial greetings Draco hadn't even noticed her and yet she couldn't take her eyes off him. The brunette had been through Cruciatus curse from the maddest follower of Voldemort, but she just wasn't strong enough to overcome this gut-twisting pain. She was just not strong enough.


Hermione hastily wiped away the tears running on her face, but she knew it was too late for Ginny had seen them. Ginny engulfed her best friend in a fierce hug and felt the former Head Girl relax into her body.

"Hermione, please listen to me. I know how it feels. Merlin knows I had been in love with Harry since I was eleven while he sent love-sick looks to Cho Chang. Please don't shut me out."

Ginny smiled as she felt Hermione nodded. "What should I do then?" Hermione asked timidly.

Ginny pulled Hermione away and looked into her eyes. "I'm going to give you the same advice you gave me years ago. Just start seeing other guys. Draco was a fool to not notice a beautiful girl like you, but it was no reason to punish yourself. I know for a fact that you don't lack male attention, so start accepting dates again. If Draco realized the greatest mistake of his life then great, but if not, there are plenty of other great guys out there just waiting for a chance with the Brightest Witch of Her Age, yeah?"

Hermione took a deep breath and nod. That she could do.