A/N: Written for the Sing Me a Rare prompt challenge in the Fairest of the Rare FB group. My prompt was to write a fic with the song "Ghosts" by Laura Marling in mind.
Hope you like it.
Thorfinn Rowle hurried down the street in the direction of the café where he was to meet his betrothed. He hadn't met her unaccompanied before, and he was nervous. He clutched a picture in his hand and he didn't speak before he approached the table in the café where she sat, her dark hair cut into a harsh bob, a thick frontal fringe hanging into her green eyes. She watched him curiously, the kind of morbid curiosity he'd come to expect from the other witches in his life when he got agitated like this.
He knew he made people nervous when he was on edge, but she did a fine job of concealing her concern and her fear. He almost bought it. Would've done, if he hadn't learned how to see past such things.
"Good morning, Thorfinn," Pansy Parkinson greeted him politely and had he had a hat, he'd have removed it respectfully as he bowed his head in greeting. He didn't speak before he set the picture he clutched down upon the table and slid it toward her.
"What's this?" she asked, picking it up carefully.
"The ghost who broke my heart before I met you," he replied in a low voice, waiting for her to explode. He knew there would be trouble. How could there not be? The ghost in the picture was a woman Pansy was familiar with. They'd shared a classroom, after all.
He hadn't wanted to tell her, but in the essence of full disclosure and courtesy, he'd decided it would be best to unlock his heart and let her catch a glimpse of it. She had a right to know. After all, they would likely cross paths regularly. His ghost and his betrothed worked in the same field.
"Broke you heart?" Pansy raised her eyebrows. "Hermione Granger broke you heart?"
Thorfinn nodded, his jaw clenched, awaiting her rejection. Hoping for it, if he was honest.
"You dated Hermione Granger?" Pansy frowned at him. "You? A Death Eater. Granger? The mudblood with the bushy hair I shared a classroom with for seven years?"
"Don't call her that," Thorfinn said through clenched teeth.
"Still mourning her, I see?" Pansy raised a sardonic eyebrow before turning the picture over and sliding it back across the table toward him. "What happened? She didn't forgive you for turning Death Eater?"
Thorfinn looked away, clenching his fist. A sharp jerk of his head was the only answer he could give her.
"And I thought my past was complicated," Pansy replied. "Let me ask you something, Rowle. You're only marrying me because our families arranged it, correct?"
Thorfinn shrugged. He didn't want to lie to her, but the truth was that if Hermione would forgive him and take him back, he'd drop Parkinson in a heartbeat.
"And I'm only marrying you for the same reason. Sorry, love, but your skin is the wrong shade and your hair the wrong colour and your face is hidden under that bushy beard. I prefer black… well, everything really."
She chuckled and it was an amused sound.
"You have someone else?"
"Blaise Zabini," she nodded.
"Why don't your parents let you marry him?" Thorfinn frowned. "He's a pureblood."
"They're considering it, but they can't allow it without a way to dissolve our betrothal that won't offend your family. So here's my plan… You still love Granger, correct?" she raised her eyebrows.
Thorfinn's mouth twisted unhappily and he nodded.
"Good. Then I will be having a word with the jumped up little swot when I get back to the office and you will repent your sins and declare your undying love for the witch and I will marry the man I love while you gallivant off with your mudblood. And can I just say I dread the hair the any child the two of you birth will be saddled with."
Thorfinn lifted his gaze to stare at her.
"You're… going to help me get her back?"
"It's that or fuck you, lover, and as I've said, I prefer my men blacker than you," she smiled wickedly and Thorfinn wondered if he was dreaming.
"I heard the most interesting bit of gossip while I was at lunch today," Pansy Parkinson declared as she sauntered back into the office she shared with Granger in the Law department for the Wizengamot.
"Oh?" Granger asked, her nose in a book. She obviously wasn't listening, but Pansy smirked, knowing just how to get the witch's attention.
"Mhmm," Pansy hummed, clicking closer in her high heels until she was standing directly behind Granger. Taller than the petite brunette, Pansy pressed right up behind her until their bodies were touching and she lowered her mouth to nuzzle at Granger's ear.
Granger went ramrod stiff, frozen in surprise.
"I heard that you and Thorfinn Rowle used to fuck like rabbits every spare second," Pansy whispered in the witch's ear and Hermione dropped her book.
"Where did you hear that?" she demanded, spinning to glare at Pansy, her wand drawn, the tip pressed threateningly to her throat. Pansy stared the other woman down unflinchingly.
"Thorfinn is my betrothed."
She smirked all the more when Granger's face crumpled in pain at the expression. She swayed on her feet and she actually looked like she might faint. Pansy caught her elbows before that could happen.
"Lover, please," she rolled her eyes. "Don't fall to your knees."
Granger blinked at her with wet eyes and Pansy could tell in a heartbeat that the silly chit still loved Rowle as much as he obviously loved her. Gods, it wasn't like she believed in everlasting love, but maybe they had it.
"Now," Pansy drawled. "It just so happens that despite our betrothal, Rowle and I are not well matched. He's not my type and I obviously am not his type since he's still maddeningly in love with you."
"He's not," Granger shook her head.
"Shush," Pansy snapped. "I'm trying to tell you that despite being betrothed to the wretched Viking, I'm no happier about it than you and certainly no happier than him. Now, I happen to know of a way to transfer the betrothal bond to someone else and I would be only too willing to transfer Rowle into your delicate little hands. There's just one catch."
"Oh?" Granger asked frowning.
"The way I hear it, you haven't forgiven him for being a Death Eater?" Pansy said, raising her eyebrows.
Hermione looked away and Pansy knew it wasn't that she hadn't personally forgiven him.
"Ah," she hummed. "Not you. Your friends. Mmm, I don't imagine the Weasley's would welcome a branded Death Eater into their hovel, would they? And they're all you've got left. And of course Weaselbee will recognise Thorfinn. Everyone knows the story of how he and Dolohov went after the three of you while you were on the run. They were tortured for months because of that memory charm you did on them. Did you know that? He writhed and screamed on the floor of Malfoy Manor just like you did, Granger. He did it because of you, because of something you did."
"He came after us, I had no choice," Hermione argued.
"We all have choices, Granger," Pansy said unforgivingly. "And I'm making mine."
Before Granger could gather her wits, Pansy knocked aside the wand at her throat and caught the other witch by the back of her neck. She pulled the curly haired witch close and claimed her lips. Granger made a sound of protest, but Pansy ignored it, licking at her lower lip until her lips parted. She pushed her magic at Granger, shoving the bonding link from herself into the other witch, passing the beacon, as it were. Granger groaned when she felt it collide with her magic and Pansy smirked against her lips when the shorter witch buried her hands in her hair, snogging her hotly.
She knew it was the effect of the magic transferral, but Pansy didn't mind. Part of her had always wanted to snog the pretty mudblood and if it would rid her of her bond to Thorfinn, she'd gladly fuck the little chit.
When they broke apart, Granger's eyes were wide and she was panting. Pansy wiped at the corner of her lips, fixing her smudged lipstick.
"What did you just do?" Granger asked, her hand pressing to her chest where the bond to Rowle would now be resting. Pansy herself felt lighter without it and she couldn't wait to tell Blaise she was finally free.
"I transferred my betrothal bond with Rowle over to you. Passed the beacon. It's an old ritual, but my mother taught it to me. I'm finally free and you are bound by magic and blood to marry Thorfinn Rowle. Congratulations."
Pansy rolled her eyes when, despite the warning not to, Granger fell to her knees. Gods, what was wrong with these people and their belief in everlasting love?
Thorfinn stared at the empty chair across his flat, thinking of the number of times Hermione had sat there. She'd sat and shared tea with him. Spoken. She'd sat there reading while he bored her with Quidditch talk.
He took a swig from his bottle of whiskey and wiped angrily at his eyes. He was so fucking lost without her.
He stared at the chair all the more. He was pretty sure he'd fucked her in that chair, now that he thought about it.
A thrum across his magic went almost unnoticed, he was so drunk and so lost to his despair. He was fucked. He loved her, he knew. He had since she'd been a tiny, buck-tooth, bushy-haired brat tattling on his for getting blowjobs in the library.
He snorted to himself, recalling her indignation back then, back before she'd been the one sucking his cock. Gods, what he wouldn't give to have her do so now. Hell, he'd take a sideways glance from her these days.
The roar of his Floo barely registered as he kept staring at her chair. And it was her chair. That was where she sat, before she broke his heart.
"Thorfinn?" her soft voice filled his flat and Thorfinn lifted his eyebrows, glancing at the bottle and wondering if he was going crazy.
Soft footsteps echoed inside his head and Thorfinn didn't look up, expecting he knew who it would be. His little sister was going to get sick of picking him up from the bottom of his bottles before the year was through.
"Thorfinn?" she asked again. "Can I come in?"
Thorfinn frowned. Reina never asked permission. She just stomped over and pulled him up off the floor before giving him an earful about alcoholism.
Glancing toward the fireplace, his eyebrows shot up and he nearly choked on his tongue at the sight of his witch.
Dressed in one of his old Quidditch jumpers and a pair of jeans with a rip in one knee, she looked like his Princess and Thorfinn supposed that he really had gone mad, after all.
"Hermione?" he asked, frowning before glancing at the bottle of whiskey in his hand and wondering if this was a hallucination.
"Can I come in?" she asked in a small voice. "I… I really need to talk to you."
Narrowing his eyes, he thought about telling her to fuck off. But he couldn't. Setting the bottle of whiskey down, he got to his feet, stumbling slightly and wondering just how much he'd had to drink. She frowned at him.
"You're drunk?" she asked. "You're sitting in your flat, alone, in the dark, drinking by yourself? Really?"
"What do you want, Princess?" he asked. "In most of my hallucinations you fuck me rather than lecturing me."
"Proof I'm not a hallucination, then," she retorted.
"Why are you here?"
"I'm here about the betrothal bond between you and Parkinson."
Thorfinn's frown deepened. "Heard about that, eh? Bit late to be jealous, Princess."
"She transferred it to me," Hermione blurted and Thorfinn's eyebrows shot up in surprise when she looked at him, wide eyed and scared like she might run for it at any moment.
He shook his head. This was definitely a hallucination. Only in his dizziest daydreams did his witch do things like admit association with him, let alone discuss betrothal.
Hermione held her breath, waiting for his reaction. Waiting for the explosion of fury she expected from him. She ached with the need to cross the room and burrow into his arms. Gods, she'd missed his scent and his warmth. She'd missed the way it felt to crawl into his arms and let him hold her all night long. She'd missed the way it felt when he kissed her and she'd ached with how badly she wished that love could be everlasting.
"She transferred it?" Thorfinn blinked at her slowly and Hermione frowned. He was very drunk, she suspected.
"She snogged me and she pushed the magic at me and now there's this niggling warm weight inside my chest, and I'm here even though you probably hate me, and I don't know what else to say, but I'm sorry," Hermione blurted all in a rush, her heart pounding inside her chest.
"Aw, Princess," he shook his head, his lips twisting sadly as he spoke the endearment that always melted her heart. "I could never hate you. I love you too bloody much for that."
Hermione's breath caught and she realised he must be drunk enough to think he was hallucinating. She closed her eyes as tears leaked from beneath their lids to trickle down her cheeks. When she opened them, he was closer and his face was wet with tears, too.
"Fuck, baby girl," he whispered brokenly, reaching toward her cheek carefully as though he believed her an apparition that would disappear as soon as he touched her.
The ragged sob tore from her chest and she couldn't hold back anymore. She threw herself into his arms and buried her face in his chest, crying with the ache of having missed him so long. She cried with the pain of the betrayal she'd felt when he'd taken the Dark Mark, and she cried with the agony she'd known when he'd come after her that day in the coffee shop before she'd modified his memory.
He hugged her tight, crying into her hair and muttering about how much he loved her and how sorry he was and how he'd do anything if he could just have her back. Her heart broke inside her chest and Hermione did the one thing she'd been longing to do since that day in her sixth year upon the Astronomy Tower. She tangled her hands in his messy blond hair and she pressed her lips to his.
He kissed her with enough intensity to make her dizzy and Hermione mewled at the familiar taste of him on her tongue. He hauled her up his strong body and Hermione wrapped her legs around his waist, clinging to him desperately and wishing she'd never let him go.
Her back hit the wall and the breath rushed from her lungs as he ground himself against the junction of her thighs. Mewling again, Hermione rolled her hips in response, snogging him hotly and feeling like she'd finally come home.
They stripped each other in a flurry of kisses and seeking hands, and when he lowered her to the mattress in his bedroom she was naked and his skin was so warm and the angry mark on his forearm that had so torn their relationship apart meant nothing. She cried when he pushed home and he cried with her, his forehead resting on her shoulder while he muttered tender endearments and swore fierce vows of everlasting love for her if she would just forgive him.
Hermione swore them in return. She swore she'd never let him go ever again. She swore she loved him and she swore she'd forgiven him even as he'd hurt her. He fucked her hard, desperate in his need to claim her, to ensure she was real, to make certain this wasn't a hallucination. When she broke, it was with a joyous shout of his name and when he followed her into bliss it was with the promise that he'd never break her heart again and that she would his for all of her days.
Afterward, she clung to him, watching the last of their heart-breaking ghosts melt away and when he curled around her protectively, cuddling her close and kissing her bare shoulder, Hermione could almost hear Pansy muttering about everlasting love and just; lover, please.