A/N: This story is D/Hr. It's a stand alone. Please resist the urge to ask me to update anything else that might come to mind. Thanks – enjoy!
It was a four star hotel he took her to. Dinner, candles...whatever was to follow.
Hermione felt like she was outside her body as she laughed and flirted. What was his name? It didn't matter. He was her type. Tall, blonde...rich. It's what she liked. Tonight, in the dark, she would close her eyes and feel him again.
"What was the war like?" What's-his-name jarred her thoughts.
"I'm sure there are much more fun things we could think about," Hermione smiled, drawing circles on his thigh.
"Absolutely," he smirked and her stomach quivered in need.
She propelled them up the stairs and threw him on the bed.
It was 3 AM she finally wandered home. She never stayed the night. It wasn't him, she knew that - she didn't need to see it in the morning.
Harry and Ron were sure to hear about this newest notch on her headboard. It would be great - they'd sit down and discuss what a whore she was becoming and how she needed to move on and find some sort of nice fellow that would knit her stockings or some kind of other rubbish.
They didn't understand that it was the last thing that she wanted, that just the idea of marriage and family were destroyed in her forever.
You'll move on, eventually, they often liked to assure her.
Hermione found it often occurred right before she hexed them.
She climbed the stairs to her bedroom, her heart already pounding.
"Boo," a deep voice whispered in her ear.
She jumped a foot, she always did, and it irritated her to no end. He always did the same damn thing and it got her every time.
"Draco!" she screeched and he started laughing.
"Miss me?" he smiled and she couldn't hold her anger.
"So much," she sighed.
"That bad, huh?"
Hermione shrugged, "He was good - clearly had some practice."
"Naturally not as good as me, you can say it."
She rolled her eyes, "We were together at nineteen, sweetie, this guy was like 30 - he must have had more practice."
Draco waved off her nasty insinuation, "Nineteen is a man's sexual peak, baby, and I seem to recall a screaming incident-"
She turned pink, "I didn't know Ron would try to rescue me..."
"I did," he smirked.
She tried to smack him and as always, her hand slid right through his body.
"Honestly, Granger - it's been six years - you can't hit me. Upside of being a ghost."
"I know," she muttered and lost her smile.
"Which MEANS, I have pretty much free reign on what I can say..."
Hermione plugged her ears and started humming. It was rather unfair, really. He was dead. She was supposed to be nice to him.
She closed the bathroom door and locked it, to make some kind of statement.
"See, now you're just being childish," he slid through the door.
"Do you mind?" she dropped her robe and stepped into the tub.
"Oh, not at all," he leered at her.
"Stop that," she scolded, "I know you don't want me any more."
"Sweetheart, I will always want you - I just don't have a body with which to lead yours through the rites of debauchery I had in mind for our life together."
Hermione smiled, "Bit of a downside to the situation."
"But sex isn't that great anyway, right? Bit of a messy business, can hurt occasionally. Going down on someone? Let's be honest..."
Hermione laughed, "It was your favorite past time."
"Well, yes, but I was nineteen. Pay attention."
"And if you had a body..."
"Yes, we'd shag until we were like...100, so you best be thanking me for kicking the bucket when I did because I'm fairly sure that would be supremely disgusting."
She chuckled. "I love you."
"Of course, I'm a very lovable fellow."
"I'm told you're actually quite hateful."
"Bollacks. That poor git told you that, it doesn't count."
"Ron actually has quite a bit of money now."
"Stop it. I'm rolling in my grave."
She splashed him, flooding the floor.
"Well," he crossed his arms, "I'm so not helping you clean up."
"Figarileen," Hermione cast a spell, turning a rat into a well, a purple rat. "Bugger."
"What's it supposed to do?" Draco asked.
"Hermione Granger, you're experimenting with magic that could kill that poor rat and you don't even know what it does? That's shocking, dangerous. Why, if I was alive, I'd shag you silly."
She gave him the finger.
"You really have always been something of a bitch."
"Still here, Malfoy?" Harry walked into the room, kissing Hermione on the cheek, undoubtedly intending to try Draco's patience. Ron came in next and Draco consigned himself to a day of hell.
"Where did you expect me to go?"
"I would have liked for you to cross over into Hell and stop pestering everyone, but clearly that's not in your nature."
"Potter, you have no respect for the dead. It's truly shocking."
"Stop it," Hermione looked at both of them, "Please."
"Could we have a word with Hermione?" Harry glared at Draco, "...alone?"
"Won't even know I'm here," Draco agreed, disappearing.
"We know you're still there, you stupid git," Ron glared at the spot he just was.
"Nuh-uh," Draco would have shook his head if it existed.
"How can you handle this?" Ron bitched to Hermione, "He's always here, why can't he leave you alone?"
"I don't want him to, Ron, would you want Luna to leave you if she died?"
"Harry, would you want Pansy to just disappear if you could keep her around?"
Draco chuckled and everyone glared at him, "Sorry, I just can't get over the Potter/Parkinson hook up, it's too classic."
They kept glaring.
"Fine, I'm not here, continue your same asinine conversation of last week."
"Hermione," Harry started again, "All I want is for you to be happy, truly happy. And you're right, if Pansy died," he ignored Draco's giggles, "I would want her to stay with me, but it wouldn't be healthy and I would never be able to get over it and move on with her still there. Maybe I would do what you do - live out your physical relationship with a different lookalike every couple weeks, but it wouldn't be right. Marriage ends with death."
"Maybe for you," she whispered.
"Malfoy," Harry sighed, "I know you're a selfish, irritating git, but at your wedding, I really thought you loved her."
"Then let her go - cross over and let her grieve, let her miss you, let her move on. Doesn't it bother you that she goes out with random men?"
"They're hardly random, they look like me."
"People feel sorry for her, Malfoy, they pity her - men take advantage of her - that's because of you, for love of YOU. She can never be completely happy with you here. She should have everything!"
"I have had everything," Hermione's voice interrupted them, piercing him. Every moment of their short-lived marriage, until the moment his father stabbed him came rushing back through him.
"Hermione," he knelt down on the apparition of his knee in front of her, "I'll do whatever you want me to."
Harry and Ron, for once in their tactless lives had the decency to back off - leaving the room as Hermione looked at him.
"They're right, you know," she whispered.
"Tell me what to do," she begged him and he shook his head.
"I'll never leave without your request, Granger."
"You would be happy there, you know."
He nodded, "But I'm more concerned about you."
Tears spilled down her cheeks and she wiped them furiously from her neck, "Go," she forced, "It's over."
Draco found he couldn't leave immediately, he had to process the tremendous loss. She wanted him to go. Wanted to move on.
And she had every right.
He had known for some time that while just being with her made him happy, to her, it was just some kind of prolonged torture.
But she'd begged him not to leave.
Now it was what she wanted.
But perhaps she'd change her mind? Women had that tendency.
He'd forgotten he'd gone to see Potter. Unfortunate timing, as he and Pansy seemed to be enjoying a 'moment' as they say. But they weren't going at it yet, so Draco made himself at home.
"Just dropped by to mention I was leaving."
"Thank God," Potter muttered, "Is she okay?"
Draco shrugged, "Maybe I could stay, but be invisible, just watch out for her and stuff?"
"Wasn't that your original intent?"
"Didn't that last all of two hours?"
"I hate you, Potter."
"Enjoy the afterlife, Malfoy."
"I was until you started messing with it."
"Hermione!" Harry called, floo-ing his way into her house.
He found her in the bedroom, just staring, unmoving, but he could tell she had been crying.
"I'm so, so sorry Hermione."
She didn't say anything.
"You can blame me if you want, I just want you to be happy-"
"Hermione-" he tried to catch her eye and his stomach tightened in dread. It almost looked like-
He took her hand...
"Mr. Potter, we can't find any reason for your friend's death," the Minister of Magic shook his head and Harry looked at him sharply.
"It wasn't self-inflicted?"
"What? No, certainly not. There was no sign that she'd hurt herself, drank anything - her wand was no where near her and we'd be able to tell if she'd used dark magic. Her heart just stopped beating."
"Why would that happen? She was 25..."
"We don't know. I'm sorry."
"Harry, it's not your fault," Pansy tried to comfort him. "She's happy now."
"I made her do it."
"She didn't DO anything. Harry, she's not the first person to die of a broken heart. What happened to them is tragic, but not your fault. It's Lucius Malfoy's. Let her go, love."
"Boo," Hermione whispered.
Malfoy practically jumped from his apparition. "Fuck, Hermione...wait, what?"
"You're a ghost."
"And you're a genius. I thought you told me you were crossing over, Draco Malfoy."
"I tell you a lot of things."
"You told me, til death do us part."
He shook his head, "No, not for me."