Disclaimer: Most of the characters aren't mine, they were the creation of a much better writer than I am.

A/N: This is my first fanfic, although I write my own stories all the time, in the hope that one day someone will publish something of mine. There are so many great writers out there who write this stuff so I thought I'd give it a go. So bear in mind that this is my first time writing about someone else's characters.

A young woman sat in front of a mirror, the large expensively furnished room reflected along with her pretty face. She was pretty, her face smooth and free of wrinkles, tanned with only light freckles around her nose. Once she had reached maturity she had lost the excess weight that had plagued her throughout her childhood, leaving her fairly slim, but on the whole a very average build.

She had large brown eyes that almost perfectly matched her hair that had split ends from where she had attempted to straighten it but damaged it in the process. It reached just below her shoulder blades and was curly despite her efforts.

She put on some black mascara that made her eyelashes look longer and fuller. She fully believed that women didn't need make up to look beautiful, but she never went out without it, funny that. Behind her she saw the white glossed door open, and a man walk in. He was quite short, but still taller than she was, and he had sandy hair that was swept back and stuck down with gel. His eyes were dark blue and where framed with long eyelashes that matched the colour of his hair. His skin was pale and he was clean-shaven, sandy coloured facial hair just looked odd. He was dressed in a smart black suit accompanied by a grey tie and was reading the newspaper.

"Hi," she said to him smiling.

"Good morning," he replied not looking up from the paper.

"Anything interesting in there today?" She asked inquisitively putting the top backon the mascara.

"Not really, work has been really slow since your man what's his name was killed."

"His name was Voldemort, Greg, and don't call our man that makes us sound like we were in league with him or something."

"Come on Hermione, you know what I meant, he was one of your lot, you know magic."

Hermione sighed. It was pointless Greg Layton just didn't understand about anything magical. Greg was a Muggle that was working for the Ministry of Defence. When Voldemort tried to exercise his power to try and get control, him and his friends from the MoD where brought in to lend a hand, and where told to keep what they knew of the magical world a secret. Hermione had met him while still at school, but she had fell in love almost instantly. Well why not? He was very handsome. They spoke very little about the war years, and most of the time she was grateful, not wishing to relive some of the horrible things that they witnessed, but sometimes she felt the way they were denying it happened was not healthy.

"Well, I for one am glad he's dead, so are a lot of people," Hermione said putting on some lip gloss accentuating her lips, which she believed to be the best feature on her face. "I'm really looking forward to tonight."

"Yes should be good fun," Greg commented still reading the paper, now sitting on the end of the large bed. Hermione smiled at him in the mirror. She stood up and made her way over to him. She sat on his lap blocking his view of the paper.

"Are you really looking forward to it?" She asked kissing him on the cheek.

"I've just said haven't I? Charles and Margaret are looking forward to meeting you finally."

"Charles and Margaret?" She asked absently, kissing his neck.

"Yes, my friends form the Ministry," Greg said craning his neck to look at the paper ignoring Hermione's attentions.

"From the Ministry?" She asked in a slightly higher voice looking at him in confusion, her brow furrowing.

"Yes, Hermione it's their party," Greg said finally looking up from the paper. Hermione suddenly realised that they had been talking about completely different things.

"Their party? We're supposed to be going to Draco's engagement party. Remember?" Hermione said feeling angry with her husband.

"Sorry pet, I don't remember," he said as she slid off his lap and back onto her feet. "We can't let Charles and Margaret down."

"Bugger Charles and Margaret, Greg! I can't let Draco down, he's my friend and he's getting married, I have to go!" Hermione was really angry now, she should have known that his Ministry friends would be considered more important than hers were.

"I am in line for a very big promotion, Hermione. Think about all that extra money that we'll have," Greg said putting down his paper, annoyed at his wife's irrational behaviour.

"I don't care about the money, Greg," Hermione pleaded but Greg rolled his eyes.

"Of course you care about the money, everybody does. Now stop being silly and come to the party with me." Hermione shook her head sadly.

"Sorry Greg but I can't, this engagement party is too important to me." Greg stood up suddenly, he was angry now.

"Fine!" He shouted making Hermione jump. "Fine! I'm so glad I can count on my wife! Well I want you to know that if I don't get that promotion and they give it to someone who is far less qualified, then it's all your fault!"

It was emotional blackmail, but Hermione had fallen for it too many times now. She had become immune to all the emotional little mind games he tried to play with her, and bribery hadn't worked for over a year now.

Everything had seemed so rosy and happy when they first got married. Basking in the glory that fame had brought them all they had quickly married despite everyone telling her what a mistake she was making. Greg had been intelligent and handsome, everything she'd dreamed of in a man, and he'd seemed to like her for who she was, which for her was a big turn on.

But it had quickly faded. Greg had turned out to be an exaggerated version of Percy Weasley who, although she empathised with him a great deal, had always seemed a bit too obsessed with work. She admired dedication, but she had once made the mistake of living for her work and it had took two mischievous, trouble seeking little boys to show her how unhappy with that she was.

But Greg didn't have a Harry or a Ron and he had continued to live to work rather than work to live. Hermione wanted to have some fun in her spare time, not worry about the next rung on the ladder.

She had got used to Greg's workaholic attitude but he seemed so humourless at times. She wasn't allowed to laugh about his job or his boss, despite his boss' eccentric behaviour, and stories from her childhood angered him. He'd sit and lecture her about how foolish the three of them had been, and she suddenly realised what a complete bitch she must have sounded when she made exactly the same speech to Harry and Ron.

They never went out, rarely talked about anything besides his work, and they never made love. That was something which she told herself and him that she could live with, but no matter how shallow she thought it sounded, she longed for that attention, needing to experience the pleasure that only that act could bring. Greg found it embarrassing and the first few times they had done it where a total disaster. Just as she thought he was getting the hang of it he stopped saying that he wasn't in the mood. He had been using that excuse for two years now.

Every time they had an argument like this, Hermione promised herself she wouldn't cry, but she always did. At first she'd cried because she had upset Greg, the man she loved, but then that faded and the only feelings that made her cry were the feelings of failure and regret.

She removed mascara that had run from her eyelashes down her cheeks and applied some more, using a charm to make her eyes look less puffy. She couldn't go to Draco's engagement party looking like that.

Draco Malfoy. If you'd have told her nine years ago that she would one day be going to his engagement party she would have laughed until it hurt. But here she was, getting herself made up to do just that. It was so unbelievable, that the same stuck up, pompous rich kid who had made hers and her friends lives as miserable as he could make them turned out to be a good friend when they needed him. He had been afraid of his father, after witnessing the brutal way he treated his wife, Draco's mother. But his love for his mother outweighed his fear for his father and when she died as a result of her injuries he realised the only way his father could be made to pay would be to have him finally convicted of the crimes he had committed in the past. A year ago Lucius Malfoy died in Azkaban prison, nothing more than a soulless shell.

It as the death that had freed Draco and he'd finally been allowed to get on with the rest of his life. He had net a girl and they had fell in love, and now they were getting married. She only had to look at them to realise that what was between Greg and her was no longer love.

"Hermione?" Came a soft voice from behind her. She turned and saw Greg standing there, an apologetic look on his handsome face. "I'm sorry love," he continued, "it's just, well you know how important my job is to me."

"I understand Greg, I always have but my friends are important to me," Hermione said not quite forgiving him.

"Look, I phoned Charles and Margaret, they understand said we can drop by another time."

Hermione ran up and hugged her husband, feeling happierthan she had for ages. It had been the first time that Greg had ever backed down and apologised, she felt they were making good progress.

"Thank you!" She said kissing him. He got embarrassed and pushed her away, but kept her arms around his neck.

"Well, we'd better get going," Greg said wiping her lip- gloss from his soft lips.

Hermione beamed at her husband and grabbed her handbag. She was dressed in a simple medium length black skirt, and a dark purple silk top, with a blackleather jacket over it. She looked very pretty, the tailored shirt showed off the curves that she had once hated but now found she rather liked.

"How do I look?" She asked doing a little twirl. He looked at her and gave her a thin smile.

"You look very nice," he said turning away. She shrugged at his rather dismissive behaviour and smiled.

They left the house and Greg walked towards the car, but Hermione stopped him.

"You won't be able to get there by car," she said laughing a little. Greg didn't like the way she laughed at him; he didn't like to be a figure of derision.

"Well how do we get there?" He snapped.

"Follow me," she said and walked off down the road.

The area they lived in was very Middle Class. She'd always lived in areas like this ever since she was a child. She liked the comfort of the large houses but she often wished that she could live somewhere less ordinary, unusual, like where Ron lived.

"I set this up this morning," she said.

They got to an alleyway that ran between two roads, lined with expensive double garages. Once they were out of sight she held Greg's hand, touched a coke can that was lying on the floor and they disappeared.

They landed rather unceremoniously outside a house that was quite crooked and small. It had two floors and windows dotted all around, some in the most unusual places.

"What sort of house is this?" Greg asked looking at the house with distaste.

"This is Draco's house, cool isn't it?" Hermione said. She loved this house, she loved the obscure door that was just as crooked as the house.

"They're going to hold a party here, there isn't enough room."

"Never judge by appearances," Hermioone whispered in his ear and then dragged him to the crooked door.

"Passssssssssword?" The serpent door knocker hissed and Greg jumped back in surprise. Hermione laughed again, earning another glare from her husband.

"Tying the knot," Hermione said, then turned to Greg. "Draco really likes that expression."

They walked through the door and were greeted by a glowing transparent ghost. Greg jumped again but Hermione reassured him that it was all right. The ghost was dressed in a long robe and he had long hair and a small pointy beard.

"Hello, Hermione," the ghost said in a soft calm voice.

"Hi Marcus," she said smiling at the ghost. She turned to Greg who looked horrified. "He's the old owner of the house, but don't worry he's very friendly."

They walked through another door and found themselves in a cavernous room, with high ceilings and massive windows. What had looked small from the outside was in fact huge inside.

"Are we in the same house?" Greg asked quietly.

"I told you not to judge by appearances," Hermione said smiling. Greg was not smiling, he didn't like the obscure thing s that went on in these magical places. He wanted to be somewhere where the door didn't talk to you, where there were no ghosts called Marcus, somewhere that didn't look small outside but turn out to be as big as a castle.

A young blonde man walked towards them smiling broadly, reaching for Hermione's hand and kissing it lightly.

"So glad you could make it," he drawled, then turned to Greg. "Greg, I haven't seen you in ages." He took Greg's hand and shook it.

"Hello again, Draco, congratulations," Greg said grinning somewhat reluctantly.

"Come and join the party. Harry and Ron have been here for ages, I think they'd better lay of the alcohol, they've had quite a lot already."

Hermione laughed and dragged Greg of to see Harry and Ron. Harry was drinking a glass of whiskey and watching Ron dancing with a pretty brunette.

"Hermione!" He shouted throwing his arms around her. He was still quite short and skinny, but his cheekbones had become more defined making him look very masculine.

"Hi Harry, good to see you."

"Hi Greg, how are you?" He asked shaking Greg's hand.

"Hello Harry, I'm fine thank you, working hard, and you?" He asked.

"Oh great thanks, were playing Puddlemere next week, should be interesting, especially as we're trying to buy their keeper, you remember Oliver Wood right?" Harry shouted over the loud music.

"Go Cannons!" Hermione shouted and Greg shushed her. Harry looked at Greg in confusion, wondering why he'd shushed Hermione.

"Hi Hermione!!!" Ron shouted from the edge of the dance floor before being dragged back by the brunette. Harry and Hermione both laughed.

"He's been dancing for about half an hour now, he's gonna be knackered." The two friends laughed.

"Hermione!" Came a woman's voice from behind her. She looked round and saw a tall thin blonde woman standing there, in a beautiful green dress. Her blue eyes shined with happiness, well why not, she was engaged to a handsome rich man.

"Claire, you look lovely," Hermione said giving her a hug.

"So do you, your figure looks great in that shirt." Claire worked in a tailors in Hogsmead, along with Parvati Patil who was currently draped over poor Seamus who was trying to shake her off.

Claire showed Hermione the ring. It was beautiful; a diamond set in a platinum band, very expensive but not flashy or tacky.

Hermione looked around seeing a lot of familiar faces. Dean Thomas dancing with his wife Rachel who must be about three months pregnant by now. Hermione couldn't help but feel a bit jealous but then there was plenty of time left yet.

"That guy there is Neville, you know the one I've told you about," Greg nodded and Hermione continued, "still hasn't got a girlfriend I see."

She walked over to the drinks table while Greg started talking to Bill Weasley, who was as handsome as ever she noticed absently.

She reached for a bottle of vodka and poured it into a glass, making sure not to out too much in it, she had to get home tonight and she wasn't looking forward to having a disapproving Greg dragging her back, tutting and lecturing her about alcohol poisoning.

"Good evening," said a smooth, very familiar voice. She looked round and sure enough standing next to her was Professor Snape. She jumped rather startled by his appearance at the party. He looked very much the same as she remembered him, although he looked less fatigued and irritated, but he had done since the war ended. He looked much better in fact, and she'd always thought he looked rather sexy anyway. At first she thought she was mad and she denied she felt anything other than hate towards him. Then she had made friends with a Ravenclaw sixth year, when she was in her seventh year, who frequented the library. They got to know each other quite well and she became a sort of part time member of the dream team. She had also confessed less than A sexual feelings for their bad tempered Professor and both were relieved that they were not alone in that thought.

"Professor, what are you doing here?" She asked realising as soon as she had said it what a stupid question it was. He humoured her though, and refrained from saying something sarcastic, he must be in a good mood.

"Draco invited me, I was his guardian when he left home if you remember," he said his voice as silky as ever but lacking the edge that it had developed during the war years.

"Yes I remember, sorry."

"Quite all right, Mrs Layton," he said. It sounded weird to here him call her Mrs Layton, but not unpleasant. There isn't a word in the whole world that could sound unpleasant when said in that voice.

Greg came over to them.

"Oh Greg, this is Professor Snape he was one of my teachers at school," Hermione said. Greg turned to look at the tall man and was slightly startled by his gothic appearance. Snape gave the smaller man a nasty smile which unnerved Greg. Snape allowed himself an inner smile of triumph at Layton's reaction. He'd still got it.

"A pleasure," he said and then turned around to Hermione. "Hermione," he said and Snape raised his eyebrow in what looked like amusement. Hermione blushed, embarrassed by her husbands rudeness. "I have to go, I have an early morning meeting tomorrow."

"Greg, I can't leave now I've only just got here," she hissed. Snape turned his attention to the drinks in the table and pretended not to listen. Hermione knew that he was only being polite and that he was really listening. This made her even more embarrassed.

"Well, I have to go Hermione," Greg said annoyed.

"Fine!" Hermione snapped. "Touch the old shoe that's on the floor outside the house, you'll end up in the alley by our place." He looked shocked that she wasn't coming with him.

"Bye then!" He said in a harsh whisper and stormed off.

Hermione turned back to Snape.

"Don't say anything," she said thinking that he was about to make some vicious sarcastic comment.