I know you must be thinking, another one? Yes, this is another idea that just popped into my head one day. Dunno from where, but it was here to stay. I really have great expectations for this story and I can't wait to hear what everyone thinks about it. The title is not original because it is based on the song with the same name by Nick Lachey.
Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter or any of the characters used in this fiction. They are legal property of J.K. Rowling and I am making no money off of them or off of Nick Lachey's song, which I don't own either.
I Can't Hate You Anymore
Reading The Fine Print
An empty room can be so deafening
The silence makes you wanna scream
It drives you crazy
There is a saying that when a person has a near death experience, their whole life flashes before their eyes. Hermione Granger was not dying, nor was she about to die in the literal sense, but in the figurative sense she was walking to her death.
A woman's wedding should not have been compared to death, but for her it was. She had to admit that her "fiancé" had gone all out in planning the ceremony and the reception, but she now deduced that his mother had been the one who planned every single detail. The woman was a perfectionist with too much money on her hands. A lot of people had turned up for this, but who would really miss the wedding of the century?
Who would miss seeing Hermione Granger marry Draco Malfoy?
As she walked slowly down the jade-green velvet carpet, in a dazzling white gown resembling a dress from the medieval times that hugged all the right places and trailed behind her in a long train, she felt like a bug under a microscope. Everyone's attention was focused on her.
Hermione had never been one to worry about her looks, but Narcissa Malfoy had brought in the best stylist in the wizarding world to do her hair and make-up and her dress had been custom made for her. Her hair had been pulled up into intricate twists that overflowed a crown of white roses and her eyes were accentuated to look a very light brown, almost a hazel color.
He was standing at the end of the green carpet, looking aristocratic and smug in a long tailed, all black tuxedo. If he hadn't been who he was, she would've thought that he looked very handsome. But this was Malfoy. Hermione wanted to pitch the flowers in her hand at his smirking face; her hands were itching to do it. Maybe she should just turn and leave him there at the altar in front of everyone, humiliate him the way he was humiliating her.
Her step faltered, her mind was working up the courage to actually do it, but he sensed it and he gave her a threatening look. A look that told her that he had her in the palm of his hand and would have no qualms about squeezing the life out of her. People were starting to murmur as she stood there and stared at Malfoy. He gave her a pointed look and she swallowed hard before she started to walk towards him again.
Lucius Malfoy, who had been standing to his son's left looked faintly relieved, though he was looking just as smug as his son. For a moment he had thought that she would turn tail and flee, leaving their family name in humiliation. But she seemed to have made up her mind and gathered her courage to keep walking. He gave his wife a small smirk before they turned to see their soon-to-be-daughter-in-law reach their son.
She looked a bit green at the face and paler than usual but she was standing with her chin held high, her nose almost in the air. She would make a good Malfoy bride. Lucius wasn't stupid, he knew that having Hermione Granger the war hero, marry his son would push their name right to the very top once again. He didn't know how Draco had done it though, because by the way she was looking at his young son, she was close to cursing him into oblivion anytime soon. She really looked like she didn't want to be here.
Hermione set her jaw and let out a deep breath as the Ministry official began his formal marriage speech. She blinked back tears as she listened to his words. She wanted to die. She didn't care for this beautiful dress, or for the fancy party. The man standing at her side was not the man she was supposed to be marrying.
Up until a month ago, she had been happy and in love with Ron. Well, she was still in love with Ron, but she wasn't happy. He was the man she wanted to be with, but Ron hated her above anything now, and it was all Malfoy's fault. As the official kept talking, she tuned him out and had a flashback to when Malfoy had given her his ultimatum.
Hermione smiled to herself as she walked the path towards the backdoor of the Weasley's Burrow. Only Arthur and Molly lived here now. All the Weasley boys, with the exception of Ron and George, were now married to good women, and Ginny was living with and engaged to Harry. As Hermione approached the open door, she could hear voices coming from inside.
"…… the payment due date expired last week, ma'am. I'm afraid that we can no longer extend the inevitable," a man was saying. His voice didn't sound familiar to Hermione.
Molly's voice was high and trembling. "Arthur has almost collected all of the money! You can't do this to us now!" she exclaimed.
Hermione frowned in confusion. She normally wasn't one to eavesdrop, but this sounded very serious.
"I'm sorry Mrs. Weasley, but we found a buyer for the property. The papers have been signed and in a matter of days the property will be legally his. You will have to work something out with him. I'm very sorry ma'am, this is nothing personal. I'm just doing my job," the man said in an even tone.
"Please just leave," Molly said in a tearful voice. There was a sound of the floo being used and then quiet sobs coming from inside the house. Hermione let out a deep breath before deciding to enter.
"Molly?" she asked.
"Oh, Hermione!" Molly exclaimed, wiping at her tears and giving her a watery smile.
"Are you okay?" Hermione asked worriedly.
"Were you outside for long?" Molly asked her instead.
Hermione swallowed hard and nodded. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to eavesdrop, but I was on my way in when I heard you speaking with that man," she said quickly.
Molly's bottom lip trembled. "We lost the Burrow, Hermione. We took out a mortgage that we were so close to paying in full; we needed the money three years ago after the war. We were given the time to pay it back, but it's taken us time to gather the money. But time is up, so we lost the property. And now… now the new owner will probably kick us out!"
Hermione hugged her tightly, giving Molly a shoulder to cry on for the next hour. The older woman made her promise that she wouldn't tell her kids, it was too late anyways, or at least until they were ready to tell everybody what had happened. Hermione reluctantly agreed to keep things a secret, and had offered to help Molly and Arthur with anything they needed. She needed to walk for a while, to think of some way to help these people who were her second family.
As Hermione left Molly with her husband, who had only arrived ten minutes ago, she walked out of the backdoor and through the garden. When she was at a short distance, an eerie feeling raced down her spine. That feeling she had always had during the war right before they were about to get attacked. She slowly pulled out her wand and stopped. Her ears were finely attuned to the noises of the small forest and she heard a twig snap to her left.
"Come out where I can see you," she said slowly and threateningly, pointing her wand in the direction of the noise.
"Bravo, Granger," a mocking voice said from behind the large tree. Out stepped Draco Malfoy, looking like an angel of death in all black and with a smug look on his face.
Hermione pointed her wand at his head. "Why are you following me? Why are you even here?" she asked slowly.
Draco smirked joyously. There was something suspicious about the way he was looking at her and Hermione began to feel apprehension in the back of her skull even before he opened his mouth to reply. "I'm just… taking a look at my new property," he said evilly, deliberately slowly.
Hermione's eyes went wide. "What?! You're the person who—no, that's impossible!" she said angrily.
He gave her a bored look as he leaned against the tree. "You heard correctly. This property belongs to me now and I was just thinking about what I should do with it. You know, I always wanted my very own Quidditch pitch, one even bigger than the one at Hogwarts," he said cheerily.
Hermione was feeling the need to curse the little bastard to oblivion. "You would throw them out of their home? For a sodding Quidditch pitch?" she asked incredulously.
Draco gave her a scrutinizing look, but she hardly noticed as she kept rambling on.
"They have lived here for years, and their children grew up here! You can't just throw them out! Have some decency for the first time in your life!" she exclaimed.
Just that last little comment angered him above anything. He took a step forward, and she subconsciously took one back, mentally kicking herself. The last thing she wanted was to let this man think that he intimidated her. She shivered in disgust when his eyes slid over her from head to toe. The look was disturbing and she felt strangely violated.
"What would you be willing to do for Weasel's parents?" he asked slyly, his eyes lingering on her cleavage.
Hermione didn't even bother hiding her disgust for him. "Keep dreaming, scum bag," she spat, crossing her arms over her chest.
"Hear me out Granger. You want to help the Weasley's? Keep them in their home for many more years to come? Then I suggest you listen because I have no qualms about throwing them out on their arses, but I know that you're too much of a bleeding heart to let that happen. I've been watching you for a long time, Granger, and there is something that I want above anything in this world," Draco admitted.
She started to shake her head. "No. Whatever it is, the answer is no." She knew exactly what a man like Malfoy would want. He'd shag her and then tell Ron, killing two birds with one stone. Humiliating Ron and degrading her.
"It's really simple. Either you do what I tell you, or the Weasley's lose their home."
"You're blackmailing me, you piece of shit?" she snarled, jabbing her wand against his neck.
Draco hissed. She better not have bruised him, or there would be hell to pay. He had kept his wand in his sleeve, not making a move for it so that she wouldn't feel threatened, but if she kept poking him, he would be forced to bring it out.
"For those people I would do anything, even give up my life. I would do anything except sleep with you," she growled, jabbing harder.
Draco gave her a superior look. "This goes beyond a simple shag," he muttered. "If you want these people to stay in their home, without any problem whatsoever, you will leave Weasley and marry me," Draco told her seriously.
Hermione felt as if she had been sucker punched. This wasn't happening to her. She had stumbled into the freaking twilight zone. "You are out of your mind!" she yelled, taking a step back and contemplating if she murdered him now, how long it would take the Ministry to find his body.
"I'm serious," he said slowly. "In order to leave these people alone, all I want is you. I'll give you a few days to think about it. If I don't have an answer by Friday, I will personally throw them out and tear down the house before their very eyes," he said, taking a step back.
"And you would live with yourself after taking their home?" she asked softly.
He shrugged. "I can, but will you? I can give you all you need, Granger. More than Weasley will ever be able to afford."
Hermione gave him a look of pure loathing. "I'm not for sale, Malfoy. I don't care how rich you are or what you can provide for me. Never in my life would I deign to marry a man like you."
Draco shrugged. "I told you what I want. If you don't accept, they will be off my property before the week is over. Think about it," he said before apparating away, leaving her standing there, bewildered and dumbfounded, trying to convince herself that her encounter with Malfoy really had happened.
The tears fell then. Two twin streaks down her smooth cheeks. Anyone looking at her from the outside would just assume that she was a naturally emotional bride. No one could even begin suspect the truth. Not even Malfoy's own mother, who was at the moment smiling pleasantly.
Hermione zoned in right when the official was speaking to her. Weddings in wizarding society were different from those of the muggle world. There weren't any vows exchanged, unless the couple decided they wanted to include them. In this ceremony they obviously wouldn't. All that would be done was a union under the Ministry and the signing of a sort of family contract.
"Do you, Hermione Jane Granger, take this wizard, Draco Black Malfoy to be your provider, your companion, and your husband? To respect and be faithful until your dying day?"
The room felt large and silent, and she swore she heard a knut drop right at the very back. Why was everyone so damned quiet? Hermione stared into Malfoy's cold grey eyes as her own leaked more tears. She hadn't even been aware that they were facing each other and that Malfoy was holding her hands. He squeezed them for emphasis before murmuring her name. Hermione closed her eyes and nodded.
"I do. I accept," she said loud and clear, voice cracking at the end.
"Then by the power provided to me by the Ministry of Magic, I now pronounce you husband and wife. You may kiss your bride!" The man said jovially.
Hermione gave him a sick look as he leaned over and pressed a chaste kiss to her clamped shut lips. They then proceeded to sign their contract of marriage that had stipulations regarding their living arrangements, the duties of a Malfoy bride, and the fortune that would pass to her hands. When she put down her signature with a pure-white quill, there was no ink used, it signed with her magic.
The guests applauded for a long moment before they left their seats to congratulate the new Mr. and Mrs. Malfoy. Hermione held her tears at bay as her mother hugged her and cried. Her mother was the only person here for her. Her friends had deserted her, Harry was taking Ron's side, and her father had died only two years ago.
Bless her mother, she was the only one who had stayed with her and hadn't questioned the fact that she had broken up with one man and had turned around to marry another. Hermione still couldn't help but feel alone, even as her mother whispered sweet best wishes for her and her husband. She looked happy to see Hermione married to a "good" young man who looked like he was deeply in love with her. Little did she know, Hermione thought. Merlin, how was she going to survive this?
The reception was just as extravagant as the ceremony. The guests were seated at round tables that were covered in silk cloths, China plates and actual silverware. The flower centerpieces were composed of white roses, Asian lilies, and African Amaryllis in the center. Above them, white candles floated now that the sun had gone down, lighting the majestic garden where the reception was being held with a warm glow.
Hermione hadn't tried her salad, or the main dish. Not even the bubbly champagne had any appeal. None of the guests had figured out that the small smile on her face was a fake, nor did they see that the tears in her eyes were of sorrow. Malfoy knew. Sadistic bastard that he was. He was most likely enjoying them. She would hate the man seated next to her until the day she died.
She had been foolish to accept his proposal blindly, but she had been desperate to help Molly and Arthur keep their home; she had just accepted it without putting down some ground rules first. But as soon as they were in private, he would get a piece of her mind.
"Come along, darling," Draco said as he took her hand and pulled her to her feet.
"Where are we going?" Hermione asked in alarm. She had spent the better part of the evening brooding, so she was a bit out of the loop.
He gave her a calculating look. "We are getting our picture taken by a professional photographer and by a reporter's photographer. After all, our pictures will be front page on every newspaper and magazine tomorrow. Now, may I suggest that you get that mournful look off of your face? Remember, you're a happily married woman now. It was part of our deal," he said lightly.
Hermione cursed the fact that she had left her wand at the table. He had taken her by surprise and she hadn't even remembered to bring it with her. She forced a more cheerful look onto her face as they approached the photographer. He made them stand under a group of candles, with many magnificent flowers as a background, Malfoy's hands on her waist and her own on his chest.
Hermione had to remind herself why she was doing this. She had to fight down the repulsion she felt when his chin touched her temple, or the way his fingers barely moved against her hips. She was doing this for Arthur and Molly. Because Arthur had been ready to give his life for the lives of her parents. During the war he had almost died while protecting them, and Hermione had vowed that one day she would repay what he had done for her, for her parents.
Well, the day had come. But as the flash went off, Hermione silently mused that she never would've guessed that the debt would've been repaid at the cost of her freedom. Of her heart.
Malfoy Manor truly was a beautiful place. On the outside it reminded Hermione of Dracula's castle as described in books, though it stretched out horizontally and not vertically. Inside it was full of dark yet attractive décor. The party was over and Hermione was exhausted. Her face actually hurt after the forced smile she had worn on her face for the last four hours.
As soon as she and Malfoy had joint apparated from the reception to the Manor, Hermione had nearly tore off the crown of roses on her head. "If you would show me to my room, I need to get this dress off," she said in a clipped tone.
"Father has given us the entire East Wing. Our bedroom will be up the stairs and to the right," he said.
Hermione gave him a dark look. "What do you mean our bedroom?" she asked in a tone that was very near hostile.
"We're married and you have certain obligations with your husband," he told her haughtily.
She let out a derisive laugh. "Listen you slimy git, I may have agreed to this charade but you and I will never be a real couple. Understand? I would never let a filthy little roach like you lay a hand on me. If you don't like it, you can shove it. We are going to sleep in separate bedrooms, and if possible on separate ends of the Manor unless you want to wake up with an irreversible hair shedding hex upon your head," she informed him.
"You wouldn't dare," he hissed.
"Would you care to find out?" Hermione challenged.
Draco wasn't really afraid of her, but deep down he knew she would do it. There was as gleam in her eyes that told him that she wasn't bluffing.
"Children, are we fighting already?" Asked Lucius as he and Narcissa moved into the entry way, arm in arm.
"You're married now, do try to get along," Narcissa said, noticing that the crown of roses that had been resting on Hermione's head was now sitting on the center table, a few petals had fallen off.
Hermione pulled at the neat curls in her hair but they didn't budge until she used her wand to end the charm that had kept them in place. The curls fell in place down her pale shoulders and back, making Hermione feel remotely better. The "happy bride" façade was over and done with and she didn't care who saw.
"With all due respect, Mrs. Malfoy, marrying your son was the last thing I wanted to do in this or any lifetime," Hermione said with a scowl.
Draco's eyes narrowed and he grabbed her arm tightly. "Let's go to your room," he said through his teeth.
"No," Lucius said sternly. "What does she mean by that?" he asked Draco.
"Nothing father, she is just angry over a spat we had," Draco said, squeezing her arm harder.
Narcissa saw Hermione wince and a dark look came over her still smooth and beautiful face. "Draco dear, your father and I didn't raise you to manhandle a woman. Release her," she ordered icily.
Hermione rubbed her hurting arm when he did, making a big show of being in pain when she really wasn't. Malfoy looked angry, but she didn't care. She wanted to hurt him the way he had hurt her and it was glaringly obvious that his parents knew nothing about his blackmail stipulations.
Hermione smiled saccharinely. "I was just letting Draco know that we were going to sleep in separate bedrooms. I want him nowhere near me," she said matter-of-factly.
"Come now, Hermione. There is no need to be afraid of your wedding night," said Lucius in amusement.
Hermione and Draco both went red at the mention of a wedding night. It was disturbing, especially when it was coming from his father. "That's not it," she started.
"You'll shut your mouth if you know what's good for you," Draco snarled.
She gave him a cool look. "What? You don't want your parents to know that you blackmailed me into marrying you? That you made me break the heart of the man that I really love?" she spat, her eyes watering at the mention of Ron.
"Draco!" Narcissa exclaimed while Lucius was silent. He wasn't so surprised and he wasn't angry at the boy either, though he knew that Narcissa would be. She had always been too soft for a Slytherin. But he and Draco would be true Slytherins to the end. It really didn't matter how they accomplished things as long as they got their way, and Lucius had been very aware that Draco had been mooning over the girl since their fourth year of school. He hadn't made a comment or scorned his son for it because Draco had hated her with such raw passion Lucius figured that he would get over it.
"Tilly," Narcissa said.
Almost instantly a little elf appeared before them, looking frightened when her eyes fell on Lucius and Draco. "Y-yes Mistress?" she squeaked.
"Take my daughter-in-law to her room and prepare a separate room for my son on the opposite end of hers in the East Wing as well," Narcissa ordered.
"Yes Mistress, if Miss Hermione will please follow Tilly," said the elf as she showed Hermione up the stairs.
"Goodnight," Hermione said politely before she disappeared from sight. She fervently hoped that Narcissa gave Malfoy and earful.
Draco stared at his parents as they sat in the study. His mother hadn't said anything yet and he was feeling a bit nervous at the silent treatment he was receiving. As a child, his punishments had always been worse when they came from his mother because she had used words instead of actions to berate him, and she had a habit of getting under his skin.
"Merlin, Draco. Are you dense or are you just plain crazy?"
That was it? Hmmm, mum was losing her touch. He shrugged. "Come now mother, don't go soft on me. We have always done what needs to get done when we want something."
"Well said," Lucius complimented.
Narcissa gave him a look. "Do not encourage him, Lucius. We tried doing what was necessary to get what we wanted and look where it got us! Your father in prison for two years and our family name dragged through the mud," she said darkly.
Lucius tilted his head to the side. "We have been given a second chance to make a great name and reputation for our family once again. Marrying this girl was a wise move, but if the media gets wind of how you did it, we will bring down what little we have accomplished."
Draco nodded. "She's here now, mother. She knows that if she opens her mouth about this, I will break our deal," he said aloofly.
"And what was that deal?" his mother asked.
"The less you know, the better. Plausible deniability and all that," Draco replied.
Narcissa just shook her head. "This isn't the way to win her over, Draco. If you keep this path, she will hate you more and more each day until it becomes too late," she said as she stood. She turned to Lucius. "Don't be too long, Lucius," she said before walking out of the study.
Lucius gave his son a thoughtful look. "If your interest in her ran so deep, why not just approach her?"
Draco shook his head. "You heard her. She was happy with Weasley. She never would've left him for me," he said icily.
His father smirked. "Now that she's in your hands, you know what to do, don't you? You must woo her, seduce her, make her fall for you so deeply that she will forget about leaving you for the pauper. We're Malfoy's and we possess natural irresistible charm. She hates you now, but I am sure that you can change her mind," Lucius said.
Draco gave him a strange look. "Why are you so interested in me seducing my dear wife?"
"Did you forget that there is a clause in your pre-nup?" The look on Draco's face told Lucius that the boy remembered nothing. "She has to have a child before your second year of marriage or at least conceive before your second anniversary. Otherwise the marriage is dissolved and she gets to keep half of your inheritance."
"I seem to have overlooked that little detail," said Draco with a small scowl on his face.
"That will teach you to read the fine print before signing anything," said Lucius in amusement.
"How am I going to get her pregnant when she can't even stand the sight of me?" Draco asked with a groan.
Lucius felt like slapping him in the back of the head. "Well, find a way! Treat her right, win her over little by little. Get her drunk and seduce her. Draco, do anything short of rape. She would not keep that silent regardless of how you are blackmailing her," he said.
"I wouldn't stoop that low."
His father nodded. "You can manipulate the situation in order that she cannot blame you for impregnating her," said Lucius slyly.
Draco chuckled. His father was the perfect Slytherin. "I should get to bed, I have a lot of scheming to do tomorrow," he muttered, standing and walking to the door.
"Remember Draco, time is ticking and you have very little time to convince her not to hate you anymore."
Draco nodded and walked away without another word. He wasn't a bad person. He knew what Granger was most likely feeling at the moment. She was angry enough to hurt him, but he didn't care. He had accomplished what he had dreamed of doing for years.
He had married the woman of his dreams and showed up Weasley once again. He had stopped denying that he wanted her a long time ago. Finding out that the Weasley's were going to lose their home had been the best news he had ever gotten.
Being a Malfoy had taught him many things, one of which was to take advantage of any situation. While staring at an image of her he had picked up after it had fallen out of Weasley's hole filled book-bag, an idea had quickly formed in his mind. Maybe his idea hadn't been the most original or the smartest, but that didn't matter now. She was married to him and he had two years to make her love him or at least allow him the chance to shag her once. One time. That was all he needed to get what he wanted. To get her to stay with him for the rest of their lives.
Though she was loath to admit it, Hermione had to admit that she had slept well in her new, firm bed. She'd been up until one in the morning, but then she had gone into a dreamless sleep and was now wide awake and a little hungry. Then she remembered with whom she would be sharing the table with and her hunger went away, making her stomach ache.
She stood and made her way to her own personal bathroom. She needed a hot shower before facing the world as the new Mrs. Malfoy. When she walked out, a full thirty minutes later, she walked over to the place where she was sure she had left her wand. But it wasn't there.
"Looking for something?" A deep voice asked from behind her, placing the tip of something hard and cold against her temple.
Hermione grit her teeth but didn't move. "What did you do to my wand?" she snapped.
"It's inside my pocket. Where you can't possibly get it," replied Draco in amusement.
"What do you want?" she asked wearily, pulling her terry cloth robe tighter around her. How had he gotten into her room when she had locked and charmed it?
"That little stunt with my parents didn't work, but you did manage to make me angry," he whispered as he wrapped an arm around her waist and moved his lips to her other temple.
"Am I supposed to feel threatened? Afraid? Distressed?" she asked mockingly. "Malfoy, please. You scare me as much as my bunny slippers scare me. Now unhand me and give me back my wand," Hermione growled.
"I don't think I want to do that. I am a very skilled at Obliviation my dear Hermione. I can make you forget all that love you feel for your dear red-Weasel. Wouldn't that be so much better than just sitting here, pinning over him?" asked Draco with a chuckle.
"Don't you dare mess with my memories, you piece of crap, or I will make you wish you were never born," she snarled before she elbowed him in the ribs, turned and pushed his head down to meet her raised knee.
Draco grunted with the impact before falling flat on his arse. When he looked up, Hermione had her wand in her hand. How the hell had she—? Never mind that. She had a look on her face fit to scare the devil.
"Get out of my room," she snarled. "You will never again come in here unless I give you permission. Do you hear me? And it will be a cold day in hell when I invite you to come into my room," she spat.
"We'll see about that, Hermione. I am a very persuasive man and I always get what I want. Our marriage is just one example," he said quietly.
Draco slowly stood, careful to not make any sudden movements. There was a distinct pop of an elf appearing in the hall that drew her attention and allowed him to strike. He moved forward and pressed a kiss to her lips, slipping his tongue into her open mouth. Almost instantly she began to struggle and push at him, but he didn't give her the chance to harm him physically again. He released her so fast that she fell on her own bum and then he was gone.
Hermione cursed darkly before shutting the door to her room and placing every imaginable charm against his intrusion. Then she began to get dressed for a day out with Narcissa. Great Merlin, how was her day going to be with such an aristocratic and cold looking woman?
Well, was that a good enough start? I really do hope so. I can't wait to see what you guys thought about this. I know I'm not very constant when it comes to updating, but I'm really going to try my best. Thank you for taking the time to read my work.
For my returning readers, "Make Me Forget His Name," has been nominated for the Delicious Ideas(Most Creative) category in Round 5 of He Had It ComingSo if you have a spare moment and would like for my fic to win, go and vote and I will always be grateful to those who did. The link is in my bio, so just click and go take a look at the other great fics out there!