Author's note: This idea was originally going to be for an Angst Drabble challenge, but I exceeded the word limit by quite a bit (the limit was 1.000 words... this is 2.479, oops). But in any case, I wrote it and I hope you like it. The prompts are from the lovely people at the Dramione Fanfiction Forum (18+ only) on facebook. The prompt was this: Howling wind - ticking clock - "Don't ask me to give this up". I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I liked writing it.
Ps. as the prompt suggests this is angsty, beware! (and enjoy)
Hermione trailed her finger over the contours of his chest, moving in languid circles, watching his steady breaths in time with the ticking clock on the nightstand.
"Something wrong?" Draco asked. "I can feel the cogs turning."
She took a second to gather her thoughts, before asking: "Are you happy?"
He opened his eyes to look at her. "Yeah, I'm happy. Aren't you?"
"I… I think I am. I'm just scared that you might get bored of being with me. Because," she hurried to say. "We've gotten into this routine. And though I like living with you… I don't want you to lose interest if things get boring."
He shook his head, taking a deep breath. "I'm content, not bored." His smile was genuine. "But if you feel like it's getting boring, let me know and we'll spice things up." He grinned.
She let out a soft laugh, leaning her head on his shoulder. "Alright."
"Take out?" He asked, leaning against the door frame to her study.
"Sure," she replied, her nose deep in a file as her pen flew across the page.
"You know you'll have to come out of those reports to eat."
"I know. But I think I'll eat in here. I really need to finish this."
"Alright," he said and ordered the take out. Once it arrived he brought hers to her study, kissing her cheek. She thanked him with a 'love you'. Then Draco ate his dinner in front of her muggle television alone. Again.
Hermione grabbed the empty bottles of beer and fire whiskey off the sticky coffee table. She made her way down the hall, meeting Draco on her way, still in his boxers.
"You know," she said. "There's this thing called a trash." She raised the bottles for him to see.
"Sorry," he said, rubbing his red eyes. "We were just having fun, I forgot. Would have taken care of it later."
"Right, like you were going to last time?"
There was a loud blonk as the bottles clanged together in the recycling bin.
He sighed. "Is this a problem?"
"No, no problem," she said and walked away, dropping it.
Hermione could finally relax on the couch with a cup of hot chocolate, the first night in too long. The front door slammed, catching her off guard and she sloshed her drink, splashing drops on the carpet and blanket. Draco stormed into the room, throwing his cloak with distaste on the floor. She waited for him to speak, watching him pace as the wind howled outside. Finally, he saw in the armchair, pulling at his dirtied hair. She set her cup down gently on the coffee table between them.
"Fucking pricks all of them."
"They're kicking me out of the Auror program."
"They can't do that."
"Actually, they fucking can. See, they don't want "a rat in their midst," so I can just take my fancy hair and fortune and shove it up my ass on my way out."
"Draco… that's terrible," she said.
He sneered. "Yeah, you're probably really banged up about it."
She sighed. "What does that mean?"
"You didn't want me to apply in the first place, you're getting your way – like always."
"This wasn't my doing."
"Might as well have been."
"Hey! I've been nothing but supportive since you started training."
"Yeah, really fucking supportive."
"I told you why I didn't want you to. It's dangerous and you could die in the field."
"So could Potter and Weasley."
"And I'm just as worried about them. But they have their own lives outside of mine but ours are twined."
Hermione looked at him like he just slapped her in the face. "You're upset," she said after a levelling breath. "I get it."
"No you don't fucking get it. You can't. Because you're doing what you like, you're spending all your fucking time at work with one case after another and what am I doing?" His face seemed dull, almost sallow as he talked. "Sitting at home trying to figure out what to do with myself. No one out there wants me. They decline before I even apply. I'm like the fucking plague."
"It's not that bad, you're upset right now, but it's going to-"
"If you say: "get better" I will scream. You don't know how it's been because you're never around anymore."
"Well what do you want me to do? Quit my job?"
"Of course not! I wouldn't ask you to do that. But maybe let this big case take the backseat for a while. I miss you. Even if you don't miss me."
"I know you don't. You're too busy to miss me. But I have all day, whole weeks of being alone and wonder who my girlfriend is saving or spending her time with now. For once, I just wanted to try something and they just…"
"I could try coming home earlier…" she said.
"That's not enough."
"Don't ask me to give this up Draco. Please, this is the biggest case of my career. Once that's finished we can-"
"When that's finished another will take its place. You know that it won't ever stop Hermione, because that's what your job is. A fucking climb, a ladder to a top notch that you are going to accomplice because you are great at what you do. And I want you to get there. But just… don't sacrifice us on the way there, please. Don't ask me to give us up."
Hermione stood and sat down in his lap, leaning into him. "I won't. I promise, I won't."
"Thank you," he said, wrapping his arms around her, clinging to the warmth of her, the steady beating of her heart while a storm raged outside.
Hermione let her mind drift to the day she had imagined so many times before, but no longer expected or ached for. After the war, she didn't want to get married in white. It didn't feel right anymore because her soul was forever tainted. But red, purple, or blue were most prominent in her daydreams. In her mind, she stood before the closed double doors of her old hometowns' church, holding a bouquet of forget-me-not's, because they were small and quaint, like her. She waited for the sound of the wedding march on the other side. But once it started she would be flooded with dread. Because when the doors would open, and Hermione – in dreams and imagination – just couldn't be certain the groom would be standing on the other side. And she would be left deserted, abandoned.
Draco Malfoy had often mentioned he didn't want marriage, and Hermione could respect that. But now, she could no longer delude herself that he would do it if she asked.
His gaze was vacant as he ate. He got letters daily, by post not owl.
Throughout their relationship, Draco often imagined proposing to Hermione. But the thought of marriage seemed too wrong to him to follow through with it. So, his mother's ring gathered dust in a shoebox at the bottom of his wardrobe. The years passed and he didn't feel the need to propose anymore because they were so close already, why would they need to hold a party to celebrate? He loved her, it wasn't any more complicated than that. The years took their toll. Before, Draco didn't believe the spark would die down. By the time he found a career he realised they no longer spent their days together the same way they used to. Everything seemed automatic. Then she got a big case after big case, working more and longer hours. She had a co-worked… Draco didn't trust that guy. He was handsome, he was a workaholic. They had a lot in common and Draco was afraid. Could he imagine existence without Hermione? But then… how long had it been since she looked at him with that spark in her eye? How long ago was it she promised him to not let her job overtake their relationship?
Fuck, what he wouldn't give for that spark back, to just feel it again.
Hermione missed the thrill. The excitement of touch, the anticipation that there might be more to explore, more to find. She and Draco still touched and kissed, of course. But it no longer had the feeling. It was going through the motions – the routine. She missed the heat- the fire of a newly bursting flame.
In her fantasies, she had that. But Draco was not a part of those. Sometimes it was no one in particular. Other times it was her co-worker. He had a shirt that clung to him, with a few buttons undone after long work hours. The days he wore tight jeans were difficult days for Hermione, she had to try not to stare. They were colleagues, friends by now, their easy conversations were sometimes laced with light flirtations. Hardly anything – nothing of note. But there was that undertone of possibility. Which Hermione didn't want to acknowledge.
She was sitting at her desk in her office. It was late. He had left. But she let herself imagine that he would come back and kiss her. Sit her on the desk and touch her because he just had to. Her hand slid down her hip like he would do.
Her co-worker opened the door to her office, startling her. She blushed.
"Sorry," he said. "Am I interrupting something?" God there was that cocky grin, as if he knew all too well what she was thinking.
"No, no, not at all. What is it?" Hermione said in haste.
"I forgot to get your signature on the contract." He walked over to her side of the desk, putting the papers in front of her. But Hermione, quickly stood. However, not in complete control of her faculties timed it wrong and they bumped into each other. He laughed, steadying her. Hermione felt uneasy.
"Are you alright? Feeling a bit hot under the collar?" he chuckled.
"What?" she blushed. "I just… it's been a long day, I should head home."
"Right," he said, and gestured for her to sign the contract. She scribbled her name worse than she ever had before. Their hands brushed and she tried her best not to look at him. There was a thick tension in the air and she had to ignore the feeling – anticipation.
"Hermione," he said, his voice low, an invitation.
Hermione stumbled through their doorway in a hurry, needing to find him. Her lips still tingled after tasting betrayal. She wanted to wash it off, throw it all away because she had realised how stupid she had been. That wanting something else wasn't the same as needing. Because she realized that she needed Draco Malfoy in her life, to breathe, to live. She needed, needed, to fix their routine. She found him in their bedroom, sitting on the bed with his head bent. The relief was almost instantaneous. Hurriedly she kicked off her shoes and knelt in front of him.
"Draco?" She touched his knee, needing the contact. "I just… I have to tell you, and I'm way too late I know. But I've been unhappy, for a while and I… I kissed someone tonight and, and I regret it, I'm sorry I did that. But I… it helped me realise how much I love you and how much I don't want to let you go. I don't want anyone else but you, ever. I want to make an effort, a real effort to fix us." She wiped at her eyes, she didn't want to be saying this while tearing up but she couldn't help it. Why wasn't he saying anything? "I… I know it's hard to hear but it was barely a kiss…"
He shook his head, and Hermione wondered if there was something more serious going on. Had he gotten some bad news that he didn't want to tell her?
He looked up, locking eyes with her and immediately there was a darkness there she hadn't seen for years and years. She backed away from him, giving him space that he might need.
"I've been unhappy too," he said, his voice low and sad. As if his whole being had been turned into nothing. He swallowed, and it made stones settle in her stomach. "I don't deserve your forgiveness, could never… never ask for it. Fuck." He stood up abruptly and Hermione flinched.
"Wh-what do you mean? Forgive you for what?"
"What? Draco-" she stood to grab his arm. "No, don't. I told you I'm sorry and I… I don't want this to end. Remember? Remember my promise, I still want to keep it. Please, don't… don't ask me to give us up."
"It's not giving us up, Hermione…." He closed his eyes and turned his head down to the floor. "I slept with someone."
The shock of it jolted her arm off him, snapping her legs into action, moving back. Because this couldn't be real. "What?"
"Don't make me repeat myself." He grabbed a bag from the closet and started piling clothes into it.
"No…" Hermione couldn't process what was going on. She just lost faith in the person she loved most… and at the same time he was leaving… leaving her alone. No, no no no. She grabbed his arm to stop him from putting more clothes into the bag. "Please."
"I have to leave."
"Please don't leave me, I can…" she swallowed the word forgive because she honestly wasn't sure if she could but she couldn't live- couldn't breathe without him. But could she continue living with him after this?
"Hermione please." His voice was pained. "You deserve better than the fucked up shit I did. You… you even… fuck." He rubbed over his face repeatedly. "You could stop after a kiss and I didn't."
"Don't say that. I can't… I can't survive without you Draco, don't leave." She held on tighter. "We can work through this."
"I don't think we can."
She let out a wail as the truth of everything set in her bones. It was crushing her. "How could you?" she practically whined through her tears.
"I don't know…" was his miserable answer. His unworthy answer.
He pulled away from her grasp and she slid to the floor, unable to find any strength left in her body without his trust. He filled his bag with clothes, then hesitated as he picked up an old shoe-box. Hermione heard him choke on a gasp-like sob and saw through blurry eyes that he sank to the floor opposite her, back to the wardrobe. Their eyes locked and they cried together. They reached their hands out and touched. She felt it more prominently than she had in years and it broke her. It broke them.
Author's note: I cried writing this, guess it just hit close to home. Not sure how it would affect others. Let me know in your reviews :) Thank you for reading