A/N: my Hermione/Viktor obsession is getting out of control... on the other hand, I've finally managed to write something under 1000 words! That is a great achievement for me as I always tend to go overboard by like 3000 words, so I'm rather fond of this. Hope you enjoy reading it!
She was soaking his shirt with her tears. They had gone out for drinks to celebrate. He was wary, but she had insisted, and then she had a little too much to drink and all her defenses came crashing down.
Her marriage was over. Ron had officially stopped being her husband. All those years she pined after him, all the tears she's shed for him, the battles they fought, the kisses they shared, their binding vows, their beautiful children, the many therapists they've seen, the many tricks they've tried… it had all been for naught.
She had no memory of how or when they returned to the safety of Viktor's hotel room. She knew she would find comfort in his arms, so she curled next to him on the sofa and cried as the minutes ticked by and turned to hours, and he stayed by her side as he did many times before, holding her tight and stroking her hair.
"I just don't understand!" she said between sobs. "We loved each other– we still love each other! We've been through so much, before and after the war, how could… how could this happen?"
"Love is not enough sometimes," he said, never one to sugarcoat facts. "You don't understand now because you are sad and drunk, but it is better like this. You and Weasley were not happy. You were always fighting, always crying. I don't think I heard you say nice things to each other since Hugo was born."
"Oh god, the children!"
"They will be fine," he said, answering her unvoiced concerns. She responded by crying harder into his chest. "Hermy-own-ninny, if you and Ronald stayed together your unhappiness would have turned your love to hate. Believe me, I know from experience."
She looked at him, her fleeting shock at the mention of his own failed marriage distracting her from her drunken grief. He was staring ahead with a slight frown on his brow, and she wondered what he thought of his ex-wife now that four years have passed since their very aggressive, very public divorce.
"You can be friends again when you are both calm," he added. "It will be better for Rose and Hugo than seeing you screaming and fighting all the time."
"I know that," she croaked, looking away from his face. "I just– Viktor, why is it so hard to love me?"
He pulled back, his grip on her shoulders tight, eyes wide and stunned. "Who said that?"
"I'm not stupid, Viktor!" she said, glaring at him as fresh tears rolled down her wet cheeks. "I'm ugly and pushy and annoying and unlovable-"
"Not true!" he cut in, appalled. "How could you say that when you have many good friends like Potter, Ginny, Fleur and other Weasley brothers? Your children and Ronald love you, too–"
"No, they don't!" she shrieked, attempting to yank herself free only to have him tighten his hold, prompting her to use her fists to deliver several hard blows to his chest. "They don't love me! I will always be their second choice, their disposable friend! They'll forget about me and Ron will remarry and his new wife will be beautiful and young and fun and he'll love her and so will the kids and they'll start spending more time with her and call her Mum and forget all about me!"
She knew it wasn't true, of course, that this was all the alcohol talking, but at the moment it made a lot of sense to her and she couldn't stop punching Viktor's chest and it would definitely leave bruises but still he wouldn't let her go.
"And you're a liar, Viktor, the absolute worst!" the word felt like venom on her mouth and her blows softened as fresh sobs constricted her chest. "You lie because you pity me because you know I'll eventually die here alone because– because– because you know it's true, nobody loves me."
Her palms were now flat on his chest on either side of her head, her wet face once again pressed against the ruined fabric of his shirt as her words were finally swallowed by her cries.
Viktor remained still as a statue. He then sighed and cupped her face in his hands, making her look up at him.
"You crazy, silly woman," he said softly, his black eyes intense and boring into her puffy, brown ones. "I love you."
She struggled to sober up, because surely this was her drunk mind making her misinterpret things. She had always known, of course, but then Ron finally told her he loved her and she didn't see the point in confronting Viktor when he's never said anything to begin with. She assumed he moved on when he danced with her at her wedding and when she returned the favor at his a few years later, but the way he was staring at her now reminded her of a lonely eighteen year old boy that made her feel like she was the most beautiful girl in the world.
He was then kissing her, his lips longing and gentle over hers, and there was something warm and familiar but her head was spinning and her hands were shaking and nothing was making sense anymore.
She pulled away, miraculously scrambling to her feet. "But I don't love you!" she blurted, her heart racing. "Not like that, I mean! I don't… I… I don't think…"
"I know," he said, "and it's ok, even if you find love with another man. I will always be your friend. I do not wish to confuse you when you are so upset, but I think it's important to know when you are loved." There was pain in his smile and it was breaking her heart. "And I promise you, Hermy-own-ninny, that you will always be loved."