The Outdoor Market

It was storming that night as Draco lie in his luxurious bed daydreaming. He was staring at the black canopy-lost in his own world when an owl began rapping on his window pane.

'Bloody hell' he thought 'What now?'

He got up to retrieve the message, the owl pecked at him as he took the envelope off of his leg. He opened it and read;

Hey love,

Hope you see you soon,

Miss you.

Love, Pansy

He dropped the note into the fire. They had been dating off and on since his third year at Hogwarts; they had graduated 5 years ago and still saw each other when they could. She was good for shag, but not much else. She had the intelligence of a rug. He laughed in his head about this. He took a seat in front of the fireplace and stared into the flames. His silver blue eyes danced as he was deep in thought. He had postponed his arranged marriage three times already, making petty excuses. His father had died in Azkaban, and it was just him and his mum in the large mansion now. And that was how he liked it. If he had Pansy living here, well he might as well jump off the roof. He sighed heavily, looking at the clock. It was near 4 am. He had to go into London the next day to run some errands. He hated going into muggle London. It was a right pain in the neck. But he needed things, things like expensive Italian leather shoes, and Armani suits. He loved the finer things in life, that was for sure, but ever since they were down to one house-elf, mother insisted that she only do things around the house and that he was well old enough to shop for himself. Eventually he drifted off into sleep, still sitting in the chair.

The next morning he dressed hastily and ran down the large staircase.

"Morning mother" he said stiffly as he took a sip of coffee in front of him.

"Morning hon, did you sleep well?" she asked, not looking up from The Daily Prophet.

"Yes, thank you." he lied. He was plagued with nightmares and usually only got 3 hours of sleep at best. Even though his father was dead, nightmares of his abuse attacked his mind when it was at rest.

"Good" she said, still reading. She was not exactly the warm type. He rolled his eyes and walked out the large wooden doors to the driveway. He had talked him mum into getting him a car, and letting him take driving lessons. He still used magic if he wanted to get somewhere quickly, but since he was going to muggle London, he wanted to arrive in a normal fashion, and in style. He got behind the wheel of the black BMW and started the engine. It purred under his control, and before he knew it he was shifting it and speeding off down the deserted road. Not many people lived around him, and certainly most did not drive. It felt good to be in the country, after a rainstorm, driving with the top down. His short blonde hair blew in the summer wind, as the thick air entered his lungs. He was feeling good, as he hit 90mph down the sleepy country lane. He slowed down when he got to more populated areas, as to not draw too much attention from the muggles. When he got into London, it was bumper to bumper with muggles. He decided to park and walk around the shops on this fine summer morning. He took off down one of the side streets, going from shop to shop. He bought an azure blue suit in the first store; the girl behind the counter had said it made his eyes really stand out. He had flashed his charming Malfoy smile back at her, and promptly paid for it, flirting with her as she fumbled to ring him up. He had always been good looking in his opinion, but since he graduated his features became more refined. His white blonde hair was casually styled so the strands fell around his pale face. He was about 6'2", slim build, about 160lbs. He had full pink lips that the girls loved, and his pale silver eyes changed colors with the mood he was in, or what he was wearing. He was always dressed to kill, even when shopping. He left the store with the girl's phone number, promptly tossing it in the can. Getting numbers or dates just came too easy anymore; he was humming to himself when he entered the next store. Shoes. He loved shoes. Leather and shiny. He had over a hundred pair. And when he saw the brown alligator shoes in the window, he just had to have them. 20 minutes and 1000 Euros later, he emerged, carrying his treasures. He took them to his car and locked them in the trunk. Out of the corner of his eye, he spotted an outdoor market, his stomach was rumbling as he had not eaten a proper breakfast. Maybe he would pick up a cup of coffee and some fruit, and sit on that park bench by the fountain and eat quietly. Yes, that sounded good. He strolled over to the various vendors and purchased an orange, a banana, and some strawberries. He was about to go to the coffee shop on the corner when he heard something familiar. It was faint, but he knew it well.

"Thank you, have a nice day. I will be back next week." he heard the female voice behind him say. He turned around and saw the back of a woman, with long chestnut hair pulled into a ponytail.

'I thought I heard…never mind' he thought. But curiosity got the best of him.

"Hey" he called out "Hey, you …uh," 'Crap what was her name?' "Uh…Granger." he yelled after the woman. She stopped dead in her tracks and looked over her shoulder. Her posture sagged as she turned to face him.

"Hey, I thought that was you Granger." he said panting as he caught up with her.

"What do you want Malfoy?" she said with a quiet voice that did not belong to her, or at least the girl he used to know.

He looked her over, she had never been a great beauty, but she looked awful now. She was very thin, almost to the point of skin and bones. Some of her hair that had fallen out of her ponytail fell in long lank strands around her face. She wore no makeup, and big baggy jeans. She was wearing an oversized t-shirt that made her skinniness even more noticeable. Her arms were full of bags. She was now looking at him, tapping her shoe impatiently.

"I just heard your voice and wanted to see if it was you." he said quickly. "I don't see anyone from school much anymore."

"Me either." she said bitterly "So what have you been up to? Ever marry what's her name?" trying to make idle conversation. She looked at her watch. It was getting late, she needed to leave.

"Uh, no thank Merlin." he replied. "How bout you, ever marry the weasel?"

"No, I don't see Harry or Ron much anymore. Or anyone for that matter."

Was it just him, or did something not sit right here?

"But I am married." she said holding up her left hand so that he could see the tiny diamond ring.

"Nice." he said, but as she held up her arm, he noticed something strange about it. It was covered in small finger sized bruises, up where the sleeve was covering it. When she raised her arm, he could see them clearly, he cocked his head to get a better look. Her large brown eyes narrowed as she saw him glance her upper arm. She quickly put it back to her side and pulled at the sleeves of her shirt.

"You into troll wrestling?" he asked her jokingly.

"Excuse me?" she replied.

"Your arm, a little banged up eh? I thought maybe you were into extreme sports or something." he tried to put a light spin on the awkward situation. He smiled widely.

"No, I'm not." she said curtly. "Now if you don't mind, I am running late. Bye." she said before running down the road, looking back at him oddly before disappearing into the crowd.

'That was strange' he thought as he made his way to the coffee shop. He purchased a large coffee to go. His mind was solely on her now, driving other thoughts away. She looked terrible. Like a strong wind could carry her away. Frail. That was the word he was searching for. He sat there eating and drinking his coffee before returning to his car for the long drive home. He knew something was wrong with her, and it stuck in his mind like glue. She was just Granger, a Mudblood, off doing strange muggle things, probably married one. But there was just something about her, it was driving him mad. The bruises. They reminded him of his father. But he was probably just jumping to conclusions. He didn't know her, or anything about her life. So as he drove home, he pushed the thought of her out of his mind, and hummed happily.

Miles away, Hermione rushed to get home as quick as she could. She was 10 minutes behind schedule. Lunch needed to be on the table by noon. It was already 11:30. She hurried to make him some soup and a sandwich for when he apperated home. Her husband worked in Diagon Alley. He owned an apothecary. Every lunch he would apparate home to eat with her. She worked furiously and at 11:59 everything was on the table, hot and waiting. At precisely noon, a loud pop could be heard from the living room of their small home.

"Darling" the tall man said, leaning in to kiss her cheek.

"Hello love." she said smiling weakly.

"How was the market?" he asked sitting down at the kitchen table.

"Fine dear. Price of potatoes went up." she said, leaving out the talking to Malfoy part.

"Figures." he said taking a bite from his sandwich, and glancing over the paper.

They ate in relative silence as always. And when he was done, the second he was done, she cleared the table and poured him a cup of coffee.

"There you go." she said sweetly.

"Well, I must get back to work." he said looking at the clock. "I will be home at 5." he kissed her cheek again and with a pop, disappeared. She breathed a huge sigh of relief. Lunch with no incidents, no blow ups. She did the dishes in silence before starting on the rest of the cleaning.

Draco reached his large home in a short amount of time. He grabbed all of his purchases, only to notice a pink car in the drive. Oh Merlin, Pansy was here. He tried to quietly sneak off up the stairs, but she must have had radar hearing, because as soon as his foot hit the bottom step, she came bounding out of the sitting room, flinging her arms about him and kissing him deeply. Without thinking he pushed her off and she fell with a flop onto the black marble floor. She shot him a disapproving look before standing up to compose herself.

"Thanks for the warm welcome dear." she said scowling like a school girl.

"Sorry, you just startled me." he lied. "I need to go put these things away, be right back." he raced up the steps to his large room and locked the door behind him. Tossing his things on the bed, he entered his bathroom and splashed cold water on his face. This is just what he did not need today. Pansy. Silly, frilly, slutty Pansy. He looked back up in the mirror at his face it was pale with large bags under his eyes. He really needed to get some sleep, and usually afternoon was the perfect time. He wondered if Pansy would come searching for him if he took a nap. She probably would. She would probably break down the door and try to shag him silly. He flopped onto the bed next to his new purchases. He took several deep breaths. His mind wandered to Granger again. He didn't really know why, but he had felt something, something unexpected. Something like apathy, but nothing he would admit. Those bruises. He had known them well. His father would always discipline with a cane or open fist. Bruises plagued his young life. His mother was usually covered in them too. He heard arguing nightly throughout his childhood. Always ending in screaming and fresh bruises and red marks the next morning. He tried to push those past memories to the far most corners of his mind. A few minutes later he heard some stirring outside his bedroom door. Oh Merlin.

"Draco sweetie, are you all right?" she cooed through the heavy door.

"I think I am sick from some muggle fast food. Why don't you come back tomorrow to visit?" (Or never) he thought to himself.

"Do you want me to nurse you pumpkin?" she asked in a high pitched girly voice.

He felt like he wanted to throw up for real.

"Nope, got everything I need," he faked a weak voice. "See you tomorrow."

He heard her storming down the stairs and he smiled to himself. Another Pansy free day. He closed his eyes and tried to sleep. But no sleep came to him. He tossed and turned, trying to get comfortable. He looked out the window to the left of his bed; the sky was a cloudy grey like his eyes. Every time he closed them he saw those bruises, a pang of guilt filled his heart. What were they from? Five years he hadn't given her a second of his time, and now he couldn't sleep from thinking of her. He had been cruel in school, but teenage boys weren't known for their tact. Finally, he drifted off to sleep, thoughts of her stirring in his mind.