This is 100% inspired by a one shot by BoredRavenvlaw620: The Secret Life of Purebloods. I highly recommend you go read that first! General synopsis of that story: tiny baby Draco meets itty bitty Hermione before Hogwarts. It's a darling piece
So as always, I own nothing with a capital NOTHING. Not even the inspiration
She knows him.
Hermione Granger is absolutely sure she knows that boy with the platinum hair from somewhere. He was a rather rude little thing. All she wanted to know was if he had seen her friend's toad and he had the nerve to be salty about it. She had 'harumphed' most decisively and went along her way.
But there was something... She doesn't spend too much time focused on it but it festers at the back of her brain.
At the sorting feast she hears the name. Draco. A memory comes to her and she watches that same boy, the salty one with the white-blonde hair, reach the dais. The hat hollers "Slytherin" before its battered rim even touches his perfectly coiffed head.
The little snot.
She knows, from her research in Hogwarts: A History, that Slytherin is reserved for the most cunning, most ambitious, and most pureblooded of students. Which certainly explains why he spoke to her with such distain on the Express.
But Draco... that little boy from the... the library? The memories are hazy and vague but she knows them to be true. Maybe Draco is just a really common name amongst Wizards.
She will find out later that is not at all the case. The tradition of naming after constellations and stars is almost exclusive to the House of Black. Does he not remember her? Obviously not. Or perhaps he is ashamed of his tiny self, allowing himself to be tainted by "dirty muggles" early in life.
It stings and she puts him out of her mind as much as she can. It's hard, however, to ignore him, obsessed as he is with tormenting her and her dear friend Harry. It seems as he's always there, taunting and pushing and demeaning. In second year, when the basilisk is a real threat, the potential for her to honest-to-Godric actually die, he is so flippant about her demise it opens the fresh wounds. Her memories of him have only grown sharper the longer she is around him. After a year of knowing him as "Malfoy" she remembers sitting with their knees touching in the library, of the proud way he told her his name, and most especially, the time she confided in him that she could do magic, showing him her trick of changing the color of a flower in her hand. He had been so surprised but didn't call her strange like that little brat Susan at her primary school.
In third year he calls her a Mudblood and her reaction is extreme. Never a physically violent sort by nature, knowing that he has either forgotten her or ignoring that they'd ever met, she is furious he would insult her so. She hauls off and hits him as hard as her thin adolescent arms can hit. There is a moment of pure satisfaction when she sees his eyes tear up before he runs off. Her friends try to comfort her and Hagrid tells her she shouldn't put any stock in such nonsense, but none of them know why it hurts so deeply that her once friend has turned on her so abruptly.
For the second time, Hermione does her best to put Draco Malfoy out of her mind and get on with her own path. She is fiercely loyal to Harry and developing a crush on their friend Ron. A war is brewing and yet she finds time for young love and the heartache that follows.
In her fifth year, Draco's father is amongst a group that try earnestly to kill her. She knows then that little boy she knew was a fluke. A mistake. A moment in time that wasn't meant to last. This was his future all along. He has been groomed for this hate, following the path of his father. Seeing Lucius Malfoy on the wrong end of his wand strengthens her resolve to forget the boy she thought he was. She sees the fate of Draco Malfoy in his father's cold eyes.
Then, the following year, she sees an unknown burden crushing him; a boy still. Draco returns to their sixth year pompous as ever, but by the holidays he is haggard and worn. His weight sloughs off his already thin frame and his eyes tell a story she isn't sure she wants to hear.
He tries to murder a sick old man and fails at even that.
Harry says he was lowering his wand and she can't help the images battering against her memories. Remember the boy, her mind insists. Remember Draco the boy and tea in the park and flower petals cupped gently in your hand as he grins in awe. Remember when you visited the library every day that summer hoping he would be back and remember the disappointment when he never came.
He was lowering his wand.
She sees him again at the apex of her own misery. Tortured and starving and bleeding on an exquisite antique rug, he looks down at her, frozen. His aunt is carving her skin, tattooing her lineage and cackling madly over her as she screams and sobs. She loses sight of him but finds his mother staring at her with saucer eyes, one delicate hand hiding her mouth and she knows that Draco might have forgotten but Narcissa has not.
Hermione survives a war, riddled with scars though she is, and finds love with Ron Weasley. They try their best but it doesn't click. Not forever. Not for long. They will always love, but they will do it with distance. Her flat feels empty when he leaves, until suddenly it just feels like it's all hers.
Draco and Hermione see each other often as their lives really begin. Hermione is a shining star in the field of Mind Magic and Memory Alteration. Having perfected her skills in her attempt to restore the memories of her parents, she is sought after for her talents and finds herself teaching classes and speaking at seminars the world over. Draco, as the head of Malfoy Enterprises, seeks to tap her as a resource for his Magical Medicine division, specifically in the field of Mind healing.
She declines of course. She is older and wiser and can forgive many things but Draco, as much as he assures her his prejudice is behind him, still weighs heavy on her heart. Unfortunately, he has also wormed his way in to her social circles.
"I don't know why you can't just forgive him, 'Mione. I mean, you said you were what? Like five years old-"
"Six," she corrects, interrupting.
"Six. Whatever. Who remembers anything from when they were six for Merlin's sake?"
"Well I do obviously," she answers back smartly. Ron rolls his eyes at her.
"Give the bloke a break. He's really not so bad."
Hermione can't tell you how much she would like to return to the days when it was popular amongst her friends to hate Draco Malfoy. Now suddenly it's 'Oh Draco has the best tickets to Quidditch games' and 'did you hear Draco invited us onto his family's yacht?' and 'you know who would be great for a little two on two Quidditch?' Yes of course… fucking Draco.
"Yes I'm sure he's peachy."
Ron just shrugs and finishes his muffin in one disgustingly large bite. How they dated for three years she isn't sure at this point but she's happy to be on the other side of that relationship, looking back fondly at both the sweet memories and the overdue breakup.
"I've got to meet Harry in ten. Can you grab the check? I think I forgot my galleons in my other Auror cloak."
His smile is sheepish and hers is indulgent and she ticks off one more reason she's fond of the breakup portion of the relationship.
She throws down a handful of wizarding coin and slugs back a generous drink of her mediocre café au lait. What she wouldn't give for a Starbucks in Diagon but alas, some prejudice still lingers and even the most open-minded wizards and witches are wary of muggle culture consuming their own.
Hermione closes her eyes briefly and takes a fortifying breath before turning on a charming smile and looking up over her shoulder. Draco is standing just behind, looming over her, but with an answering smile. "Hello, Malfoy."
"Was that your Weasel of a boyfriend I just missed?"
"Not for four years he hasn't been but you keep working on that and I'm sure you'll get it eventually." Syrup would absolutely drip off her words.
He chuckles at her and flops down in Ron's vacated seat. "Just making sure things are still the same. He talks about you a lot on the pitch you know. Sure he's not trying to rekindle?" Draco wriggles his eyebrows at her and she only quirks her lip and shakes her head, not rising to his bait. He reaches across the table and snags her drink, taking a large swallow of the last of her coffee.
"Hey!" She jerks it back from him only to find the cup empty and give him a glare. "Can I do something for you? I have…" she pretends to check a watch that is not anywhere on her arm, "about one minute of prat conversation available then I really must be going."
"You wound me, you know. C'mon, Granger, your boyfriends love me. When are you going to stop playing hard to get."
Her eyes narrow. "You do want something," she accuses.
Draco, in a very uncharacteristic display, shifts in his seat and actually looks nervous. "I erm… I need your help. Please."
Well that catches her attention, though she is cautious. "If this is another attempt to get me to join Malfoy Enterprises-"
"No, no. Not that. This is a personal request."
"From you?" She clarifies.
He snorts, "What, you think I'm passing notes in class for a friend? Yes for me. Would you be willing to meet me somewhere private?"
"That's quite forward of you."
He rolls his eyes and his shoulders and just generally rolls at her. "Salazar's ballsack, are you always this suspicious?"
"With you?" She counters, incredulous. "Bloody hell yes I am."
"Fucking… just hold on." He's muttering under his breath and then retrieves from the inside pocket of his very smart blazer, a muggle phone.
"What are you doing?"
He glares at her. "I'm texting Potter to tell him where we will be so, you know, in case I murder you he'll know where to pick up the body."
Remembering that Draco is indeed a part of her circle of friends, though she doesn't exactly count him as such personally, she feels a bit chastised and reaches across the table to place a hand over his just after he sends his message, showing her agreement. "Come on then. Let's… let's just get this over with," she says with just a hint of amusement.
He smirks and snaps the phone closed. "I knew you liked me."
"Don't push it."
She follows him, against her better judgement, to his private flat in muggle London. She's been vaguely aware over the years he no longer lives at the manor. Lucius is there, under an incredibly stringent house arrest with absolutely no use of magic. Even neutered though he is, she has heard Draco mention to their friends that he can hardly stand to look at the man after so many years of living under his thumb and watching his strong and beautiful mother cower and demure under his glare.
His private home is spacious but not as ostentatious as she would have expected from the Malfoy scion. "Nice view," she notes, gazing out at the city skyline. His windows are large and the golden hue of a setting sun adds a warmth to the rather cold and lonely mood of his posh suite.
"I never really notice. Of course, I'm not here much."
"Carousing with a different woman each night, if Witch Weekly rumours are to be believed."
He frowns, pouring her a glass of sparkling water, garnished with a wedge of lime. "Which, of course, they are certainly not."
She reaches to take the offered drink and doles out an obligatory, "thank you," before asking, "Not true then? So what is it that takes up all of your time?"
He looks pensive then gestures to the leather sofa just to her right. He takes a seat beside her.
"I've been working on a… personal situation. It's actually why you are here."
"Do tell." She's truthfully only mildly interested. Hermione suspects she will have very little care for whatever scheme her old Slytherin rival has to make money or further his family name and power.
He takes a breath and then picks up a slip of paper from the glass table just in front of them. "You are very sought after, Granger. I want you to know this is a serious offer-"
"I'm not working for you."
"Merlin, witch, would you let me finish? I've given up bringing you onto my payroll. But I still need you to do something for me and this," he waves the paper to signify its involvement, "is meant to show you I respect your talents and would want you to feel rightfully compensated."
He hands over the small parchment and Hermione's eyes go wide at the number of zeros on the Gringotts promisary note. "Malfoy… this is a lot of money." She pauses and then quips, "this isn't an offer for sex is it?"
That surprises him into a bark laughter and Hermione snickers back, a little proud of his hearty response. "Rather high opinion of yourself, eh Granger?"
He grins and they both continue to laugh a little. They straighten up when he says, "but I do need you to do something for me. I've been… seeing a Mind healer since the war."
"You?" She can't help the surprise. "But you seem so… I don't know… adjusted."
He shrugs and says with complete sincerity, "I always wore my masks well."
Hermione nods. "I'm not a healer though, you know. If you have one already you don't need me-"
"I do, actually," he jumps in before she can finish. "I absolutely need you and no one else. It's what…what the healer found. It seems that… over the course of my life…" He is pausing a lot and Hermione can tell he's hesitating, unsure.
Against her better judgement, she reaches over for the second time today and covers his hand with her own. "You don't have to tell me anything you don't want to."
Draco nods and takes a breath, one last pause, before plunging forward. "I've been Obliviated. Many times."
She finds that very surprising and waits for him to continue.
"My Healer thought I was blocking at first. I have gaps, huge holes in my memory. Going back as far as the Healer is comfortable digging and continuing throughout the war. I… I suspect my father."
He spits out 'father' with so much distaste she is taken aback. Can this be the same boy who postured and peacocked and touted his lineage and his father's name? "What makes you think it was Lucius."
"The gaps stop, right after the war. After I moved out of the manor. And most of them are from when I was very young. He would have had the most… access to me at that time. And the most to gain. He always wanted the perfect heir. Meddling with my head seems an expedient way to guarantee it."
"Have you spoken to your mother?" She asks softly, but Draco shakes his head.
"She loves him deeply and I'd rather not cause her undue stress. She already has her hands full, taking care of him while he nurses his hurt pride with Fire Whiskey."
They both fall into a contemplative silence when he finally asks. "So will you accept?" He points to the paper in her hand which she promptly tears in half.
He stiffens and his jaw locks, teeth probably grinding behind his lips. "I see."
He starts to stand but, for the third time, she lays a hand on him gently and says, "I'll do it. As a friend. Or at least… as a friend of a friend?" She offers an unsure smile, proffering the first olive branch in their history since before the war. She spent the past seven years ignoring his numerous attempts to make amends, even as each of her friends accepted his apologies and his friendship. But now here he is: The boy. The man. He has given her more than apologies. He has given her trust. Maybe it's time she acknowledge the efforts he makes.
Not to mention, she's doubly intrigued by the notion he might have truly forgotten meeting her after all.
She realizes she's been staring a bit too long when he says awkwardly, "so… how do we do this? Do I need to… lay down or something? Like with one of those muggle shranks?"
"Shrink. And no. Sitting is fine, just… just give me your hand."
He offers his right hand and she takes it in her left, palm up. With the index of her right hand, she begins to trace runes, dancing lightly across his skin. It's an intimate thing, invading one's mind. In all the ways that matter, Mind Magic is very much akin to sex. It can be intrusive and hurtful or powerful and strong or delicate and gentle. She locks eyes with him but never ceases the movement of her fingers, runes forming in her mind and slowly beginning to glow with the force of her magic on his hand.
He gives no resistance as she enters and she takes stock of the doorways of his mind. It occurs to her she is about to know Draco Malfoy really well.
There are pockets and rooms and hidden doorways. A lifetime of one man is stored away with an organization that can only make sense to him. Everyone's mind is different. Some people are a machine, each piece of themselves carefully categorized and labeled for inspection. Some people are wind and chaos and let themselves take up all the spaces in disarray, but somehow finding a balance and a peace in the madness.
Hermione Granger, is a machine. Draco Malfoy, on the other hand, is chaos made to fit in boxes, stuffed where it didn't fit and shoved where it doesn't belong. There is joy here that is buried under darkness. He has laughter and smiles and a beating heart that have been cut into pieces, holes eating away at the vibrancy of his life.
Oh yes. He's been obliviated. Over and over again. Sometime hasty and incomplete. He must have such confusion, reconciling what he knows to what he should. She starts with the easier tasks, pulling together the threads of torn moments. Barely there memories, like watercolor diluted on canvas, can be coaxed to warmth and color and sharp edges. He is full of these things. Draco has entire landscapes of memory, of self, that have been stolen. It's criminal and vile and heartbreaking and Hermione starts to shine up the scuffs and mend all the broken bits.
And then she sees her. A little girl with one skinned knee and a riot of hair. She smiles brightly as they share one copy of her favorite book, her and this platinum haired boy, the pages open and spread across their tiny laps.
She's cautious with this one. This memory is the most battered. Beaten and torn down and fractured almost beyond repair. There is hate in the destruction. The spell was messy and rushed but violent in its ferocity. This memory was meant to be more than erased. It was shredded. Almost unsalvageable.
For anyone except Hermione Granger who made a career of reversing the Obliviate spell so she could save her own lost parents. She was told it couldn't be done. They were lost to her forever.
It took her four years after the war but she did it and if she can reverse the botched job her teenage self cast on the people she loved most, she can certainly help this man… the boy… who has trusted his everything to her.
When she finds herself again, easing slowly from the pages and corridors of his mind, Hermione finds Draco staring at her with tears standing at the corners of his eyes, her hand still holding his palm up and the runes fading into his skin.
"I know you," he whispers and she nods. "Did you remember?"
"Always. The moment I met you again," she answers back, equally soft, the quiet of the room a fragile thing.
"He…" Draco chokes a little, forcing himself on, "he took so much from me." He's staring at her in awe and then he removes his hand from hers so he can lay it across her cheek. "He took so much and you gave it all back."
She nods again, breath catching at his sincerity. "I'm sorry I couldn't help you sooner."
He huffs at that. Almost a laugh. "Stupid Gryffindor. Ever the hero." His smile is too grateful for her to take offense but quickly his mirth slides off once again. "No wonder you hated me so much."
"Well, you were sort of a little monster too," she offers and tricks him back to his grin.
She's keenly aware his hand is still on her cheek and then suddenly his other cups the other side and he is cradling her face delicately and their bodies have inched closer together.
"I think I dreamed of you," he says reverently, breathing warm against her lips. "There was always something just out of reach. So much I could almost find. I… I think I felt drawn to you sometimes, you know."
She nods, listening intently as he finds himself as a complete person for the first time in his life. All the pureblood prejudice, already pushed aside in his maturity, further eviscerated by the memories she found of a little boy who loved and laughed and judged the world to be a grand place.
"I could never thank you… not enough for this."
She smiles softly and tilts her head into the cup of his hand, encouraging a contact far too intimate for a mere friend of a friend. "I'll let you try."
He pretends to glance down at the ripped parchment in thought, all the while running his thumb over the bone of her cheek, "you tore up the note."
Hermione laughs and reaches to wrap her fingers around his hands. "I believe you owe me a coffee?" She hedges.
A grin, slow and cautious becomes broad in a heartbeat. He releases her and stands. "Stay right there. I'll just get us a cup."
She stares after him and then settles into his plush sofa, willing her heart to slow and her cheeks to cool. Suddenly he seems a lot less of a prat and a lot more of the man her friends have been trying to get her to see.
It's half two when Harry calls Ron to tell him they've waited long enough. She's been gone for nine hours.
Of course it's not Hermione they're worried about. It's more what she might have done to Malfoy if he crossed any lines. The stupid wizard has been pining over her for two years now but unable to school his quips and open up to her about his intentions. After such experiences as that Marietta girl with boils magicked onto her face and trapping a reporter in a jar, they are afraid of what wrath Draco may have wrought.
They burst through the door of Draco's flat, all shining armour and calvary trumpets, to find their best friends with ruffled hair and half removed clothes and Ron elbows him in the ribs. "Malfoy managed it before Halloween. Pay up, Harry."
Harry scowls at the room before trudging back the way he came and shouting back over his shoulder. "Her knickers are still on; he might still muck it up. I'm going to bed."
The couple stare as Ron shrugs. "Technically it was a bet you'd get in her knickers so, you know…"
He backs out of the room before Hermione can hex him which was very much in the cards.
I hope you enjoyed and of course am always grateful for faves, follows, and reviews. And be sure to give love to BoredRavenclaw who is completely responsible for me writing this!