Disclaimer: Everything of course belongs to JK Rowling and other people who make lots of money
Author's Notes: Written for the dmhgficexchange for Callisto. There is a Phil Connor quote in there somewhere. No betas so all mistakes are mine. I have a habit of titling my fics with song titles or lyrics that may or may not have something to do with the fic itself, other than being the fic's "soundtrack." This one came from Razorlight's you in advance for reading.
Nothing new here, just did some editing and tweaking.
Love I'll See You Later
"Don't you just hate her?"
Hermione Granger need not make the effort of cocking her head sideways to discover the owner of the voice. The bitter and condescending tone belonged to none other than Draco Malfoy. And the hateful and vindictive declaration was meant for none other than Ginny Weasley.
The location was Number 12 Grimmauld Place. The event was the tenth anniversary of Voldemort's defeat by the collective Order. The guests were members of the Order and for no good reason prominent members of the Wizarding Wireless Network, the Daily Prophet and the new and improved (saner) Quibbler. Draco's gripe was a Ginny Weasley getting all the attention and being there in the first place when she obviously had done nothing ten years back. Hermione tried not to agree with him.
"You'd think she saved the whole Wizarding World from a band of murderous flamingoes," he drawled with an underlying snort. "I'd have to contact her publicist. He must be a genius to have journalists talking about her like she's the reincarnation of Rowena Ravenclaw when all she's done is pose sans clothing on the cover of a men's magazine like the tart that she is."
This made Hermione, who was comfortably leaning against the banister, give up her position so she could walk around to the staircase where Draco was sprawled on the rungs as if he was Dionysus in a theatrical production of Mythology.
"It's for charity," she said matter-of-factly.
"For what? The Hormonal Virgin Boys of Hogwarts?"
She sighed, exasperated. "Grow up, Malfoy."
Draco ignored her and took a sip from the bottle of rum in his left hand. He looked to the left, stare fixed intently on the aforementioned Ginny Weasley, who was currently enjoying the flashing lights and quacking ducks collectively known as the media, that had flocked around her.
His voiced sounded as if it was detached from his body when he spoke. "It's just like that time we returned to Hogwarts from defeating Voldemort, you, me, Potthead, Poorboy and the rest of the Order, it was our time in the spotlight. And then she goes flying down the Great Hall like an elephant with diarrhea and practically shags Potter in front of everyone. And suddenly that was frontpage news, like their icky little kiss brought about the downfall of Voldemort. Bloody brilliant journalism that was."
Hermione bit her bottom lip and desperately reminded herself that Ginny Weasley was her friend. "It was never about the publicity or fame Malfoy. We did it…we risked our lives because we wanted a better world. For ourselves and for everyone we loved."
Draco sat up and leaned closer to her so much so that she could smell the alcohol in his breath. "Seriously, Granger, I know we're not the best of friends but I've known you for quite some time now. I have a pretty good gauge of who you are. Don't tell me you're not pissed that no one seems to care that you've found a way to reverse the Werewolf transformation?"
"So you've read page 34, bottom left corner of The Daily Prophet then?"
Hermione bit her lip as if this would take back the words that came out of her mouth and he simply smirked triumphantly at her.
"Someone's bitter," he said, smirk welded to his face.
Although she didn't fully give up the pretense, Hermione heavily dragged herself to sit beside him on the staircases and rudely grabbed the bottle of rum in his hand, shoved it to her mouth and let a few drops slip down her chin.
"It doesn't matter really," she said with a dead tone, "as long as the potion gets the right market, everyone will eventually learn about it and people who do need to pay attention will. It's a cure, not a campaign, you know."
Draco smiled wistfully at her. "You're so noble."
"Don't make fun of me."
He laughed lightly. "I'm not making fun of you. I'm merely saying, that sometimes, I do wish I could let go of small things."
"It's easy, Malfoy, just do a bit of maturing," she said.
Draco turned to his left just in time to watch Ginny drag a heavily embarrassed Harry Potter to the center of the swarm of media she created and just like in the Great Hall ten years ago, thrust her tongue down his throat.
"Seriously, you've got to hate her even just a little bit."
Hermione just smiled and rolled her eyes in a way that translated to Draco as "Oh Malfoy, you're so twelve." But in truth, Draco Malfoy wouldn't even be able to begin to explain the vitriol she held for Ginevra Weasley.
Hermione wasn't sure how it started or when it started but she was sure she knew why. Ginny Weasley was the girl who effortlessly stole Harry from her. She wasn't in love with Harry; he was like a brother to her. But they had a bond and she'd always found comfort in knowing that she was his nearest and dearest, his best friend, the girl he trusted the most, the one he ran to with his problems, the one whom he would die for, and would die for him.
And in comes Ginny Weasley, sashaying into their lives and taking what was hers. Hermione did not resent the fact that they got together and wanted to make a hundred babies. She loved Harry and wanted him to be happy. It was the fact that loving Ginny Weasley meant loving Hermione Granger less. Suddenly her deep concern was taken as condescending nagging and her always reliable intelligence became egotistical prattling. She lost Harry, she lost his love, she lost his respect and she lost them all to Ginny.
Oh yes, Hermione knew Harry still cared for her but she felt that care dissipate further and further with every time he sided with Ginny's argument (no matter how imbecilic it was) and with every time she cried and he did nothing. It didn't matter that she helped win them the war; she would always be, in Ginny's words "Insecure Hermione, always having to yap about how smart she is."
No, Draco Malfoy wouldn't even be able to begin to explain the vitriol she held for Ginevra Weasley. But she couldn't tell him that so she just drunk all the rum her body could take.
The sun shone brightly through the opaque glass of the Ministry of Magic's Potion's laboratory; and she hated it. She grabbed the bottle of muggle aspirin from the medicine cabinet and swallowed two capsules with no need for water. They will always work better than any magical concoction; especially for brain splitting hangovers just like the one she was having now.
Hermione skittered back to her desk and sat on the black leather armchair behind it. She leaned back, shut her eyes and tried to relax. But the road her mind chose to travel wasn't quite as relaxing. Exhilarating was more like it.
She drank so much last night that she could not actually remember blocked portions of the evening. Like how she got home or whether or not she called Ginny Weasley an obtuse slut before spilling wine on her dress. She did clearly recall Malfoy and how awfully adept he was in bed. The way his fingers caressed her softly from the tender skin on her heel up to the back of her knees and down to her core. The way he nipped the slopes of her breasts with interchanging intensity and gentleness. The way he knew the perfect angle to get to that rough spot inside her. The way he made her scream like a hooker with a hundred-galleon price tag.
Yes, definitely the best sex she'd ever had. It was just ultimately sad that it was a drunken one-night stand with a man she once wished to castrate.
'Damn shame that would be,' she thought wistfully. Because in all honesty, he had the most beautiful penis she had ever seen. She wanted so much to knit it a small hat and a matching scarf.
She glanced at her desk and spotted the folded up blue sticky paper on it, the note he'd left her that morning. She was half hoping he'd only gone to breakfast but then the note cemented the fact that he'd simply gone.
Speaking of breakfast, Hermione's stomach grumbled pitifully as it was reminded that she had skipped it. And it was nearing noon. She swiveled her chair to face the fireplace behind her and called out one of her best friend's name, "Harry Potter."
But instead of the familiar jet black hair and black rimmed glasses, the site of long auburn tresses and prominent freckles greeted her.
"Hi Ginny," she greeted listlessly. "Is Harry there?"
The younger witch beamed at her. "He's still in bed. He's still exhausted from last night's events, if you know what I mean." She finished her statement with an exaggerated wink.
Hermione resisted the urge to roll her eyes. "I was hoping we could get lunch and discuss that education treatise he's to present next week. He wanted me to go over it first."
Ginny laughed in that husky tone of hers. "Oh please Hermione, since when are you into politics? Seriously, there's expanding horizons and then there's you. Besides I was planning on spending the entire day with him. He's my boyfriend, after all."
Hermione wanted to smack her. "I'm not claiming to be an expert in everything. He wanted me to look over it and out of the kindness of my heart I said yes. Can I please talk to Harry?"
Ginny ignored the request. "He's still sleeping. Why don't you just call Ron? I'm sure he's free." Hermione could hear the suggestiveness in her tone.
"Ron, your brother, is busy preparing his wedding with your future in law and one of my best girlfriends Lavender," she said. Hermione was not sure if she could stop herself at this point from calling her an obtuse slut.
"I'm sure he'll make time for you, why don't I get him on the other fireplace. Harry has two fireplaces, you know?"
"Four actually, person who can't count; I bought that place with him," Hermione muttered under her breath.
"What was that?"
"Nothing at all! Well, don't bother yourself anymore. I just remembered I'm having a lobotomy and I really need to go!"
Hermione stood up and headed for the door, picking up the blue sticky paper from Draco on the way, a fake smile plastered to her face like Ginny's magenta lipstick.
She walked up the two flights of stairs and turned left towards the wing of the Misuse of Muggle Artefacts Department to which Draco was currently the head. It was one of those ironies that Hermione could never fathom.
Hermione knocked thrice before entering the dingy space that was his office. They were obviously still not getting funds.
Draco looked liked he was almost about to lash out at the sudden intrusion until he realized that it was Hermione Granger standing by his door. He cowered like the proverbial mouse under the stare of evil, killer cat Granger.
"Enjoyed the night. Have a nice day," she read from the blue note as a form of greeting.
"Er," was his eloquent response.
Hermione gave him a gracious smile. "Relax Malfoy. We were drunk; we had sex. I enjoyed it too. We're two consenting adults. I'm not sixteen, you know."
"You're not going to discuss our friendship, fragile relationship, yadda, yadda pancakes?"
"We were never that close."
"So you're not here to kill me?"
"Negative, unless you do something very stupid to piss me off in the next few seconds. Although I would like to lecture on the merits of capitalization and punctuation. Honestly, Malfoy, it's not even two sentences."
Draco let out a sigh of relief and looked like he just finally let go of a five day pee he'd been holding. "So…did you sleep OK without me last night? You tossed and turned didn't you?"
Draco Malfoy evidently had become a huge muggle film aficionado. "How long have you been wanting to say that?"
"The last five minutes. It was the first time I had this opportunity, have a civil conversation with someone I slept with the previous night," he said with a giddy smile. It looked misplaced on his strong, aristocratic face. "So if you're not here to kill me, what're you doing here?"
"I don't like eating lunch alone and you're the only other person who hates himself enough to come to work on a Saturday," she answered.
"I do not hate myself. I am simply dedicated. Like right now, I am drafting up a proposal to legally market muggle pornography," he said with a straight face.
"Do you want to have lunch or not?"
"Wouldn't you rather have another go on my freshly varnished desk? It feels quite exquisite and I am certain the experience will be heightened when you rub your naked bum all over it," he said with the same tone one would use if they were asking a person to sign over their soul.
"Too soon Malfoy. Come on, it'll be fun," she urged.
"Let me just finish this up," he reached for his quill and spoke aloud what he wrote, "And in conclusion it has been proven that pornography helps boys ages sixteen and up to concentrate better on their studies allowing them better grades and promising a brighter future."
Draco and Hermione were seated in a secluded booth towards the back end of Madam Rosmerta's. They sat in awkward silence as they waited for their food to be served.
"Tell me Granger, how is this fun?" Draco said after five minutes of painful silence lapsed.
Hermione bit her lip. "I think we're supposed to talk."
"About what exactly?"
"I don't know, stuff."
"And what does stuff entail?"
"Anything? Tell me anything."
Draco took a deep breath. "Fine then, your breasts are weird."
"One is slightly bigger than the other," he said calmly.
"All breasts are created unequal, Malfoy. It's perfectly normal for them to be slightly asymmetric," Hermione said indignantly and crossed her arms over her chest as if to protect them from Draco's verbal assault.
"I know that, but I thought yours were especially asymmetric," he insisted gently.
"You were probably just too intoxicated," she said defensively.
"That may be the case. Let me feel them then."
He reached over the table with every intention to palm her breasts. She reflexively slapped his hand away.
"You are not going to grope me in public!"
"In private then?"
"Malfoy, don't hit on me when I'm sober," she told him.
"I know. You're so much easier drunk. That worked astoundingly well with you last night," Draco replied with a slight chuckle.
Hermione buried her face in her hands. "Ugh, don't remind me. I don't know what came over me, asking you to lunch. I thought we'd have much more in common."
Draco scrunched his nose. "Really?"
Hermione removed her hands from her eyes to look at him. "Well, yes. We always thought alike, Malfoy. We're not necessarily master inventors but we derive inspiration from what already exists and tweak them to our advantage. That's why we always worked together during the war, we just complement, and we're able to build on each other's ideas."
Draco raised an eyebrow with interest. "How long have you been thinking this?"
"Well, ever since Harry told me what happened in the Astronomy Tower…with Dumbledore," Hermione paused. It was a habit to just pause a moment whenever she spoke Dumbledore's name. "When Harry told me how you had planned it and how you came about it, I just thought, that's the exact logic I would've followed."
"Yeah," Draco said simply, never wanting to comment about any of the events eleven years ago.
"That's why I was so happy when I found out that you and Snape, that Snape was still really on our side and he was bringing you along. I figured we could use your brains. You're much more ruthless than I could ever be," she finished with a slight smile.
"Snape didn't just bring me along, you know, I came on my own accord," he added.
It was the closest to an apology that she was going to get and she was happy to accept it.
He waved his hand as if swatting an invisible bug, trying to dismiss the current trend of their conversation. "But you know Granger, just because we think alike, doesn't mean we have many things in common."
Hermione went for the first thing in her head. "Well, I think we're excellent in bed together."
"I concur," he said, a naughty smirk growing on his face.
His foot was slowly climbing the bump of her calves when someone interrupted them at the most inopportune time.
"Hermione, what're you doing here?" Ginny Weasley, much like her mother Molly had absolutely zero timing. She had her arms linked like a boa constrictor to Harry's.
"I found someone to have lunch with," she answered nonchalantly. Draco gave a small nod in acknowledgment.
Harry looked at the two of them suspiciously. "You look awfully cozy."
Draco answered him, "Why yes, in fact if you hadn't come in Hermione would've climbed under the table and," Hermione kicked his shin, "tied my shoelaces for me. She's that nice."
Both Harry and Ginny just looked at him oddly.
Draco breathed a palpable sigh and stood up. "Why don't I just go to the little boy's room so you can do whatever it is that you Gryffindors do in your spare time." He excused himself politely and scurried away.
Harry and Ginny slipped onto the pew that Draco vacated. The moment the latch to the WC door locked an onslaught of questions began.
"Are you dating him?"
"What're you thinking?"
"Hermione, I'm only thinking about your safety, he's not exactly a model citizen."
"He wanted you dead, Hermione."
"He wanted me dead, I wanted him dead, and its all metastasized into this one big ball of blur after a while."
"Hermione, you have to remember that he had Deatheater roots."
"We all know he just joined the Order to save his own arse."
Hermione snapped. "You wouldn't know, Ginny. You weren't there, remember?"
Ginny flinched at her words. "That's a little harsh."
"Oh shut up."
"Harry, you were there. He could've sold me to the devil if he had wanted to but he didn't so forgive me if I just trust him a bit more than you do and if I feel insulted when his loyalties are questioned. Ten freaking years after the war!" Hermione lamented. "Besides, we were just having lunch so don't worry I'm not about to become Mrs. Draco Malfoy."
As if drawn to his own name, Draco emerged from the toilets.
He was greeted by the flushed faces and heavy breathing of the three Gryffindor alumni. "I see you've found something to talk about."
Hermione stood up and announced, "We're going."
"I thought you were famished."
She grabbed him by the wrist and practically dragged him away. "We'll find lunch elsewhere." And she left without another look at her friends.
Elsewhere turned out to be Hermione Granger's flat. Lunch turned out to be Hermione Granger.
Draco studiously nipped the thin skin on her collarbone while his left hand lazily toyed with the nipple of her naked breast. She sighed with content as he let his hand travel down to her stomach, dipping his index finger deftly in her belly button before entangling his fingers with the rough curls of her mound.
She shook; but much to Draco's dismay, out of anger.
"I cannot believe him," she mouthed.
Draco just grunted with disappointment and sat up. It took a lot of work to get her clothes off her in between her diatribes but he cannot have sex with someone who was thinking of some other guy; even if she wanted that other guy dead.
"And the nerve of that girl, as if she knew the first thing about you. Omniscient trollop probably can't tell her arse from her head," she muttered in contempt.
"This isn't going to happen, is it?"
Hermione turned to Draco who was now lying on his side next to her. His dejected face did not quite match the outstanding erection he had. He looked so pitiful that she just wanted to snog him senseless.
"I'm sorry, I'm sorry," she sighed as she reached for his face and kissed his lips softly.
"It's alright, it's not much fun to do it when you're all prickly like a porcupine."
She punched his arm lightly and snuggled into his arms.
"You'd think after seventeen years he'd have a little more faith in me. I'm not a child. He always tells me how intelligent I am and I'm the most intelligent person he knows but he never actually trusts any of my decisions. He's really become a brother to me. Annoying and a complete pain in the arse. And he was there with us, you're not the best of friends but he knows better. He can't honestly believe the horse shit Ginny feeds him from that god awful Witch Weekly articles about you. You'd think after ten years they'd wise up. Then again, you'd think after ten years Ginny would grow a brain cell."
She was fuming when she finished. She looked up at Draco only to find his face aghast.
"What?" she asked worriedly.
"Dear Lord, I was actually listening to you," he said, still reeling from shock.
"Malfoy, please be serious."
"I am serious. See, I actually have a thought to add."
"To be fair, you weren't exactly truthful to Harry about us. You said it was just lunch. I think we're dating."
Hermione crumpled her brows. "We are?"
"We're sleeping with each other and we're talking about your problems. I think that counts as dating," he argued. "And I believe we're at this particular moment, cuddling."
Hermione was suddenly aware of his arm that was curled around her abdomen while his other hand stroked her hair lovingly. "Yea, this is rather odd. Except not."
"You're so smart Granger."
Hermione took his hand now currently toying with a single curl and bit into his finger softly.
"Yea?" His hand resumed toying with her hair…on a nastier part of her body.
"Do you want to date?"
"I suppose it'll be nice. Who do you think would suit me better? Padma or Parvati? Possibly both?"
She slapped the arm around her waist.
"I guess you'll do. Do you want to date me?"
"I think it'll be nice."
"I can't believe they didn't include me in the wedding entourage," Hermione pouted.
It was raining in Hogsmeade, as if the weather decided to sympathize with Hermione's disposition. She chose to have tea with Draco in Madam Puddifoot's. The somber ambience fit her feelings just right. She had just received news of Harry and Ginny's engagement. She will be merely one guest among hundreds that were attending.
Armed with a spoon, Draco flicked a sugar cube at the tip of her button nose.
"You're being whiny again. I can't believe such an intelligent woman could whine so much," he told her, genuinely irritated.
"I know I'm acting awfully petulant, but I can't help it. Harry's my best friend and it feels like he completely excluded me from one of the most important events in his life. Ron, on the other hand, made me bridesmaid," she finished as if to make a point.
"Is Ron your bestest friend ever now?"
Hermione threw the sugar cube back at him and it just barely missed his ear.
"If I'd known you dragged me here to whine about stupid Potter I would've stayed at home and planted Venus flytraps. Seems an awful lot more fun than this," said Draco.
He was losing his patience with her these days. It was always Harry this, Harry that, or Ginny's overstepping her boundaries, Ginny's an ugly quack, Ginny looks fat in fuchsia. Alright, those last two was him.
Hermione grew quiet at his tone and eyes stared up meekly beneath her lashes. "Are you mad Malfoy?"
"Why don't you just go ahead and snog Potter if you're so in love with him?" he lashed out.
Hermione was still.
"You aren't actually going to go out and snog Potter are you?"
Hermione shook her head and laughed a bit. "No, God, ew. It's just that you made me think of where all this jealousy is coming from. I don't know, I just always thought I'd be the wild card. The one to choose. And they both ended up choosing someone else. I'm happy for them, really. Just that I wanted to keep them, until I can let them go."
"You talk an awful lot, Granger," Draco said.
"You're a horrible person."
"Yes, but I sat here and listened to you prattle on. And actually understood every word you said. I hate myself now," he answered with faux sulkiness.
"Thank you," she said in the most adorable way she could manage. Not so adorable but it's the thought that counts.
"Knock, knock," Hermione reared her head from Draco's ajar door.
"What do you want?" he asked snappishly.
"Someone's snippy," Hermione answered.
"They shot down my proposal for legalizing muggle pornography," Draco revealed gloomily.
Hermione looked rather mortified. "You actually passed that!"
"Yes, I like porn, sue me."
"Fine, well I think I'll have something that'll cheer you up." She reached for her bag and took out a lilac coloured envelope.
"Pictures of you naked and doing the nasty?"
Hermione rolled her eyes. "No, these are the invitations to Ron's wedding."
"Please don't tell me you have issues with Ron too," Draco said waningly.
"No, I don't have issues with Ron. Because he's nice to me and his fiancée doesn't continuously harass me about my single status," she said.
"You're not single," he offered quietly.
She gave him a nonchalant "They don't know that."
Hermione read the names written in neat script on the envelopes and handed one to him.
"Look at that, you're actually invited. I was worried I'd have to make you my plus one," she said cheekily.
"Were you planning on taking anyone else?"
"I was hoping Gilderoy Lockhart would be available."
"Too bad, he's still under the guise of Captain Insane-O, I believe."
"There is hope, the wedding is still a week away."
Draco smirked. He patted his thigh and motioned for her to come over. She carefully locked his door and settled comfortably on his lap. Their lips met sweetly for a second before escalating to a skin burning kiss.
When they finally let up, her curls had rebelled against her neat bun and the top three buttons of her modest blouse had magically come loose. She sidled against his chest, and let his head rest atop hers. His arms held onto her tightly to keep her from slipping to the floor.
"I haven't seen you in a while," Draco mouthed against her temple.
"You saw me two hours ago," she replied.
"I meant we haven't had sex in a while," he restated, moving his hand down to stroke her bare knee.
"We did it last night," she answered incredulously.
Draco was unperturbed. "But I told you, I need it every two hours."
"If you shut up now, I will buy you muggle porn."
Hermione thought it was the most beautiful and pure ceremony she had ever attended. The bride and groom were just so in love. She was afraid she would feel a twinge of jealousy watching someone she once thought was her great love vow forever to another girl. But she didn't. Because she knew Lavender loved Ron more than she ever could and he, the same. How could you resent that?
"You aren't going to start crying, are you?" Draco's cold voice penetrated her thoughts.
She turned to look at him expecting a scowl but was quite pleased to see he was just smiling at her with the fondness you hold for a beloved heirloom.
"I might, it's extremely touching," she whispered back.
"Well, I have a hanky, should you need it," he said, running his hand familiarly down her back.
"That's nice to know."
"Argh, it was just here!" Hermione screamed at no one. It would be difficult to scream at anyone when you lived alone in your flat.
Hermione was going to be late to meet Draco if she doesn't find her gold peep toe shoes soon. After rummaging through her closet, her pantry and her bathroom, she finally found them on her shoe rack. She smacked her forehead at her stupidity. She just always got very nervous when Draco sets up these fancy nights out.
She put on each shoe while half running and half walking towards the door. She flung it open when she reached it and almost fell backwards when she found Harry Potter on the other side.
Hermione beamed in spite of herself. "Harry, what a lovely surprise! I'm sorry; I have to go. I'm running late as it is."
Harry propped his hands on both sides of her doorjamb, not allowing her to pass.
"Ginny told me something interesting," he said redolently.
"Has she discovered knee length skirts?"
Harry ignored the obvious jibe. "She saw you and Malfoy coming out of the same hotel room during Ron's wedding looking rather disheveled."
"You sound like Perdita Purveryor of Witch Weekly Magazine," she answered with a slight smirk.
"I'm serious here, Hermione. I want to know, did you or did you not lie to me when I asked you if you were dating some weeks ago!" Harry was incensed for reasons Hermione was sure were extremely unreasonable.
"I didn't lie. It was more of a campaign of misinformation. Technically, we only decided to start dating after our little confrontation, before that we were just shagging," she replied.
"Great, his sarcasm is rubbing off on you!"
"I've always been sarcastic Harry, you're just a bit slow on the uptake," she cried, finally raising her voice to match his.
Hermione turned back to her house realizing that Harry wasn't about to just let her pass. He followed her in striding so close he once stomped on her heel.
"I just don't see any reason why you had to lie to me," he said.
"I didn't lie to you Harry. I never actually had the chance to. If you haven't noticed, we're not exactly speaking to each other. You sent me a goddamn MEMO about your engagement for Merlin's sake! So I apologise if I'm not so enthusiastic to share intimate details of my life with someone who's been treating me like a stranger! And unlike some people I know, namely you, I do not advertise my relationships to the whole world!" she screamed, losing all pretense of civility.
Hermione was mad. She was mad at Harry for being mad at her. She was mad at Harry attacking her because of one thing that Ginny said. She was mad at Harry for not giving her a little more credit. She was mad at Harry for taking her for granted all the years of their friendship. She was mad at Harry because now she was really late for her date with Draco. She was mad at Harry because his stupid glasses were askew and she had to reach over and fix it. She was mad at Harry because he talked to her as if he cared one bit. She was mad at Harry for always picking Ron, for always picking Ginny, for always picking anyone over her. And finally she was mad at herself, because she never said anything.
Harry just stared at her, mouth agape, and heart broken. "I'm sorry that I hurt you."
"Is that all you're going to say?"
Hermione wiped the tears from her face, smearing the make up on her eyes. She didn't care. "You're right, what else is there?"
She walked past him, recoiling as his hand reached for her arm listlessly. She picked up the purse she unknowingly dropped onto the floor earlier and walked out the door not bothering to close it. She was about to walk away only to find Ginny Weasley propped up against the wall outside her door.
"You're here," she said, not bothering to hide her disgust. "Go fetch your boyfriend, he's inside."
Hermione was already inside the lift but Ginny caught up to her, slipping through the sliding doors.
"I don't like you very much," Ginny said.
"You're breaking my heart," Hermione replied sardonically, eyes focused on the numbers counting down every two seconds.
"Because I think if you showed him the slightest bit of interest, he'd leave me. Because he loves you, Hermione," she continued. For the first time in a decade, Hermione thought she heard the voice of the girl she once giggled with about boys.
"You know that's not true," she reassured the redhead.
Hermione could hear the younger witch choke back a sob. "I always told myself that he left me behind because he wanted to protect me, he loved me that much. But there was that nagging truth that you were the one he wanted to be by his side."
Hermione looked sideways at the younger girl who was now sobbing freely. She couldn't help but feel sorry for her. "He loves you."
"Only because he can't have you."
"You've been together all these years, Ginny, don't sell your relationship so short."
She felt the tug of gravity below her as the elevator came to a halt. The doors opened but she didn't feel free.
It was an hour later and Hermione found him standing in front of the theater, two tickets in hand, patiently waiting for her.
"I am so sorry, Draco," she sobbed her apology and Hermione wasn't exactly sure why she was crying.
"Shh, it's okay. I heard it was a terrible play anyway." He pulled her towards his arms, resting his cheek on top of her head as he tried to rub the sobs away from her.
"Harry came to my house," she tried to begin.
Draco tensed up and Hermione could feel the stiffness in his arms building. He put both hands on her cheeks and moved her head and rested his forehead against hers.
"I'm sure you have a fascinating story," he laughed nervously, "but I just wanted to tell you, before you say anything that—"
He took a deep breath, his eyes were closed and his face was calm but there was desperation in his voice.
"You have me, Granger. You hold all the cards. You have me."
Hermione felt like crying some more even when she was all cried out. Because after such a long time all the pain, all the bitterness, all the jealousy seemed to flux away in strong gushes. And she felt the chains around her heart fall way.
She couldn't even remember any other name that came before his. She reached for his lips in the softest of kisses.
Under the pale moonlight.
Under the concealed stars.
Under the block letters spelling love.
Under the fluorescent shine of the lamppost.
She had him.