written for the tgs secret santa challenge: i tried a different summary this time, i'm going change my aesthetic to be more summary-oriented (the eye-opener was from person — one of your two reviews was appreciated. [sorry, dee...that one was CC])

also, profile remodel! my FF account has officially been here for a year and i think that deserves a bit of change

school, house: hogwarts, slytherin

points: idk, it's not mentioned? if i find out later i'll edit on my tracker [i'm probably just blind]

prompt: write for someone; pairing, DracoHermione; for Zivandre

word count: 1092

a/n: so this is dramione, for Zivandre, and ahhh i have no idea how to even start for this pairing so i decided to make it aesthetic af. i hope i didn't fuck this up too badly ahahaha (i probably did. sorry.)

. . .

He's a devil and he looks like an angel, cloudy gray eyes and the white-blond halo on his head.

And what is she? She's the girl who looks ordinary —

— She's not.

. . .

They meet and they hate each other, and then she punches him in the face — a fond memory for her. But that's not really what matters. What matters is what happens when they meet again, after there's been a war and her blood has been spilled onto the floors of his home.

The home itself is long gone; burned in the ashes of the post-war world. Maybe that's for the better.

What isn't for the better is her. She's gone, almost. There are parts of herself that have crumbled away from each other and she tries to fix them, tries to regather them, but that's not really how it works, is it?

She keeps seeing herself on the floor of that house, her blood being spilled and everyone jeering Mudblood at her.

She sees his face, rigid, impassive, but his eyes screaming, Stop, someone, make it stop…

Hermione understands. Draco was in a hard place. It had been an impossible choice, and he'd gone through with the only outcome the circumstances had to offer.

She forgives him. It doesn't erase the word Mudblood on her skin.

They meet again at work.

He's working in the DMLE, filing papers, and Hermione's working there too, trying to work her way up the ladder to someplace where she can actually make a difference.

She doesn't want the complementary gifts that come with the scars. She wants to earn what she gets.

Draco's there because he has nowhere else to go. She'll hand him the files she makes when she's done with them and he'll nod and they'll go back to it.

But he seems lonely. And if she's being honest, so is she. She and Ron had mutually split after a while. They needed to focus on their families.

A trip to Australia had yielded nothing. Hermione wasn't able to undo her own magic. And it had tore her apart from the inside out.

She and Ron still talk, of course. They're still friends. But it's all they can be.

So, she tells herself, maybe it's time to find someone who can be more than just a friend.

But him? another part of her asks. You can do better.

It's worth a shot, she replies.

And that's how it happens — how they meet again.

"Hello."

It's a word. It's a start. It's so much more.

. . .

"Hello" turns to "Hey" and "Hey" turns to "Hey" and then that turns into —

— Well, at first it doesn't turn into anything. It turns into conversations about life, about the cursed wretchedness of the office, and the cursed wretchedness of the world.

It culminates into hidden kisses during lunch breaks, sharing food and going out to dinner.

It culminates into something like happiness. She doesn't really know.

. . .

She's a white rose and he's the dark decay that sits on the edges of her petals. He tries to consume her — and does he?

Not really; there's water in the vase she resides in and that's enough to drive him back a little bit. But that decay can't be erased. It stays.

And she consumes him in the fact that she's more whole than he is — oh, yes, there's the decay, but there are her petals. Maybe a few of them have fallen, but she's more whole than him. She tries to consume him — and does she?

Not really; it's in the fact that he stays, and that drives her back a little bit.

It doesn't really matter, anyway. They consume each other.

. . .

"...Draco." She speaks the words, almost reluctantly, but they're commanding, because their chill night on the couch means just that.

"Yeah?"

"You look sad. Are you alright?" Hermione asks.

"I'm fine," he says, and Hermione knows that he's lying because she can see it in that new line appearing on his forehead and in the very slight crinkle in his brow. The Malfoy Mask is patented and practically perfect, so Hermione has to be practically perfect in order to read him.

"You're not." She doesn't ask him any questions here. They don't play around with each other. It's not how they work.

"You're always quick to tell," Draco mutters.

"I have to be," she quips. "Come on, what's going on?"

"...Does it make me a terrible person? The fact that I miss him after everything?" He's talking about Lucius. She knows. He doesn't need to say his name.

"No." She looks at him intensely. He looks back at her, confused. "It doesn't, you know why? 'Cause he was your dad. It doesn't matter how terrible he was. He was your dad. He was your blood. And that's not an easy bond to get rid of." Hermione knows, after all. It took her a spell that she couldn't undo to get rid of her bond with her parents — in a one-sided way, because she'll always have that bond with them, even if they can't remember her.

"Tell me about your parents," he says suddenly, and turns around to face her. "You never talk about them. I know it kills you."

"Well, you know — I wanted to keep them safe. So I erased their memories. And everyone kept telling me, 'Hermione, you're the brightest witch of your age,' and I thought 'I can do this,' but — I couldn't. I couldn't undo it. So they're out there living in Australia and they don't remember me, they don't know who I am, and I had to Obliviate them so they didn't remember that I tried to use magic on them...I'm such a failure —"

"— You're going to call yourself a failure? At least your parents are safe and alive. You managed to cast the spell. Your parents are living happily. They've got their chances at life," Draco reminds her. "You are not a failure. You are a winner, Hermione."

. . .

She's a white rose, but on their wedding day he gives her a red one. It's pure, undecayed, thriving, and there are a few little thorns on its stem, but she loves it nonetheless.

Later, Hermione puts a Preserving Charm on it, and she drops it into a vase.

She might be consumed, and he might be consumed, but it doesn't matter because that rose is the one thing that'll stay.

What's life, anyway? We all get consumed eventually.