Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter.
Summary: After her parents die, Hermione finds out she is a pureblood. Months later she realises she has no other choice but to marry Draco Malfoy in order to save her life. Hermione and Draco both tell their past story and try to cope with it in the present time.
A/N: This is my attempt at Hermione's pureblood and forced to marry Draco idea.
-This is story is not compatible with the epilogue.
-Half the story is told from Hermione or Draco's POV, and the other half is the present time, that's until the second part of it.
-This first chapter is the longest (8,000 words), the following usually aren't more than 4 thousand, in the second part (since chapter 9 I think), they are 2 thousand words long.
Hermione's Story - Part I -
"This can't be happening" That's what I first thought when I, Hermione Granger, found myself standing on an altar and staring silently at Draco Malfoy. Life could be funny sometimes; not in a humorous way, but in an odd disillusioned way.
I was wearing antique white robes, while his were black. My hair was tied in a bun and decorated with tiny white flowers. Expensive and traditional jewelry adorned my neck and arms. And my make up covered the dark circles underneath my eyes from a sleepless night.
Draco didn't look happy either, and he tried to act indifferently. But I could tell he felt pity for me, much more than for himself. I had grown to know a thing or two about him in these past few months, after all. Perhaps he didn't feel badly about getting married to me at all, perhaps he didn't really care. But I hardly believe he would have chosen me as his bride had he had the chance.
It turned out he actually had feelings, like a real human being. But that didn't mean I had completely changed my mind about him. I just didn't think he was a cold hearted idiot anymore.
He had tried to be nice to me so I could have a chance to like him in hopes that it wouldn't be that bad to get married. He didn't mind losing his freedom, I learned, he said he had never had any freedom anyways, and neither had I... Though I disagreed with him at first, later I realized he was right. I was tied to this and there was no way out.
He wouldn't be about to marry me if I were a muggleborn, like I thought I was ever since I learned about the wizarding world, about 10 years ago, when I received my letter. Those were such happy times when I think back...back when I was so young and innocent, back when I didn't have to deal with things like an adult and I only had to worry about studying and my friends...and about the Dark Lord some time after.
Half a year after the war, I realized strange things started happening around me. They weren't just happening to me, but to my parents, too. It is so hard when I think back on how they sacrificed themselves for. It all began the first week of December, when a chandelier almost killed me. I was inches away from death...in fact, I would have probably died if Ron hadn't been close by. He instinctively threw himself at me and we rolled and rolled on the floor, far from the crashing. We didn't understand how could that have happened. The chandelier's chain just broke off...for no apparent reason.
I didn't think much about it anyway, strange things do happen, after all...but I couldn't thank Ron enough for saving me from such a painful fate, so I decided to bake him a cake.
What I couldn't understand was why half an hour before the cake was due, the oven was on fire. Thank Merlin I had my wand and I could control the fire myself. But blimey, no magic I knew could fix the ashes of a burned cake.
After cleaning it all, I started preparing another cake, I was not going to give up. Luckily for me, there was no problem that time. I managed to prepare the chocolate cake I had planned to bake before with no accidents. Ron liked it so much, I still remember his smiling face when I gave him the cake, he looked like a sweet little boy who had just received a present he had longed after for so long.
That day he shared the cake with all of his family, I was there as well, of course, nothing too terrible happened-but the chair I sat on broke. Mrs. Weasley thought that it was just another one of Fred and George's jokes...and broke down in tears when she realized what she had just said, for Fred wasn't there with us any longer.
George, who had been depressed ever since his twin had died, broke down along with his mother as well. The family reunion was completely ruined, and somehow I felt it was all my fault. When I realized that was a selfish thought I started crying, too. It didn't make it better that Ron realized it and hugged me gently, for I should have been the one comforting him. He wasn't going to cry, I guess he had shed enough tears already.
About a week later, I found my mother cleaning a wound my father had on his arm, it was a deep cut. I worriedly asked them what had happened. My father told me to calm down, he had fallen off the roof. I didn't ask why nor how, I was just so relieved he was fine.
I wanted to help him, but he wouldn't let me, I didn't understand why then, he only told me it wasn't something for me to concern myself with. My mother told me to obey and go to sleep. It was odd, it wasn't normal for them to tell me to go to my room and sleep as if I was a young child. I did it anyway.
Not too long after, I was hanging out with Harry, who had come by to visit me. I told him what had happened at the Weasleys' house. He felt badly about Fred, too, it still was something hard for all of us to digest. Fred had been such a happy person, he had felt such joy for life, seeing him could make anyone's day. He and his twin could make anyone laugh and smile, despite all problems.
Days passed by normally, it had been almost a week since my father's accident. Nothing terrible had happened, but both him and me seemed to have bad luck chasing after us. We would get bruises out of nowhere, my father would get headaches quite often, I would lose things every now and then...
Just a few days after breaking up with Ron over a stupid fight, I fell sick. I hadn't been sick since I was about 8 years old. I had a surprisingly strong case of...a cold. It was a rough winter.
I got such a strong fever I barely realised what was happening around me. My parents were so worried about me, my mother stayed by my side most of the time, though I barely noticed her.
I didn't see much of my father those days, and my cold didn't seem to be about to leave. One day, when my fever finally fell a few degrees, I was finally awake, laying down on my bed, alone and hungry, which was an improvement, for it had been really hard for me to eat. I also realized I had spent at least three days laying there on my bed, only getting up to go to the bathroom, with my mother's help, for I could have fainted had I gone alone.
At first I thought it had been the fever that made me hear things, but later on I knew I wasn't that sick.
Since I felt like getting up that night, I went down the stairs carefully, passed through the living room and directly to the kitchen. Before I could get in there, I heard my parents' voices, my mother was almost hysterical, my father, I could tell, was trying not to lose his calmness. He sounded so worried though.
"This is not normal, you have to fix this!" my mother said, I didn't understand why she was so upset with my father.
"I have been trying for 16 years. I think there's no other way out, but it would be so unfair for Hermione." He sighed so loudly I could even hear it behind the closed door.
"Perhaps...perhaps if you contact her, perhaps she has a solution."
"You know as well as I do what her solution is. I can't let that happen..." He sighed again. "I have been fighting for her freedom for so long." He added as an afterthought.
"This is going to take you down, too. And when that happens, what will be of Hermione? The spell will wear off and they'll find her! You are trying to avoid the unavoidable! Just let her find Hermione before any of you gets killed, please... try to get to an arrangement...besides, this is going to affect your, son too." By then I honestly believed I was hallucinating. My mother didn't understand anything about spells...and my father couldn't have a son. I was their only child.
"I am not so worried about him, I know his mother is protecting him well..."
"Then it's not unavoidable, is it? Use dark magic if you have to!"
"Even dark magic has a limit, darling, and I have been out of practice for a long time. I think we should tell her first."
"You are giving up." By then I had accepted I was dreaming.
"You are only a muggle! You have no idea of how big this is!" My father was screaming at this point, and my mother started crying.
"You had never called me that before." She seemed to take it as an insult, but in that context, I would have probably taken it like that as well. My mother had to stop dead in her tracks when she stormed out of the room for I was there, right in front of her when she opened the door.
My fever was going up, for I started feeling colder and colder. I was still thinking I was dreaming.
"How does the dream go on, mum?" I asked innocently, half conscious.
"Oh dear..." she said worriedly, both because she realized I had heard too much and because I was about to faint.
I could feel my mother's arms catch me before I hit the floor and everything went black.
I woke up five days later from what I have been told. I was lying on a hospital bed, next to me there was a beautiful woman, with blond hair, really deep brown eyes, tender pale skin, her blond locks tied in a perfect bun, she couldn't be older than 40, she looked perfect, so elegant, and somehow familiar. She stared dreamily at me, it kind of scared me at first, but when she realized I was awake, she showed me such a warm smile, it just felt right.
She caressed my head lovingly, like a mother, and said sweetly to me: "My dear girl, you are finally awake."
"Who are you?" This was the first thing I needed to know, I had easily realized I was in a hospital room.
"Let's say I am a friend. Don't you worry about anything, you need your rest. You have been here for three days, we were worried sick. Thank Merlin the healers could control your disease. I think everything will be quite all right for now."
"You are a witch."
"You are such a bright girl." I would have thought that was sarcasm if she hadn't been staring at me so lovingly and speaking with her sweet voice.
"Where are my parents?" I wanted to tell her she was making me feel uncomfortable, but it would have been rude.
"Oh, don't you worry about them, why don't we feed you something now? You haven't had any real food to eat for days!"
I was a little bit dizzy, I wanted to see my parents and I didn't understand who that woman was. It was all too odd. She saw me place a hand upon my stomach and realized I wasn't feeling well.
"You haven't eaten solid food for days, dear, I'll get you something." I saw her take out her wand and summon food, from the hospital's kitchen I guessed.
"Who are you?" I was getting annoyed.
"Honey, please, just eat this and try to rest..."
"Why should I obey you? Who are you to me? You don't look like a healer, you certainly don't look like someone to assist the sick! Where are my parents?" I was regaining consciousness and I couldn't bear it anymore.
She looked kind of hurt, she was about to say something when a healer entered the room. A woman in her 40s as well, she shooed the blond woman out and tried to calm me down. I felt helpless.
"What's going on?" I asked sadly.
"If you could only calm down, my child. You've got to breathe, breathe deeply."
I did as I was told and it worked just fine, I calmed down, but I was still in a hurry, I needed to know were my parents were.
"Why aren't my parents here with me? I don't understand..."
She didn't hesitate to ignore my questions. "Your friends have come to visit, I'll let them come in here if you eat all your food, can you do that, sweetie?"
I just stared at her. "Where are my parents?"
She just sighed and said, "They had an accident."
Understanding hit me like a sack of bricks. My parents were dead.
Tears began straming down my face, I couldn't believe my ears. "They are...are they..."
"Yes, they are dead. I am sorry for your loss." She tried to soothe me with her soft words, she even tried to hug me but I pushed her away and threw the food tray at the wall.
The healer left, realizing I needed some time alone. I don't know how long I cried before I fell asleep again. But I slept all night long and through the whole morning as well...I didn't want to wake up, I wanted it all to be a dream, a really bad dream.
When Harry and Ron entered the room, I was refusing to eat. Two healers were trying to convince me to do so, I think they would have forced me if my friends hadn't arrived.
I felt like dying. Honestly, what was there for me to live—what purpose? My friends couldn't say anything, they knew no words they said would make anything better. They just hugged me.
I don't know how long it was when I finally had no more tears, I just couldn't go on crying, I was so tired. Perhaps it was an hour, perhaps two.
Harry and Ron sat one at each side of my bed. Harry gripped my hand strongly. Ron didn't know what to say, he was so concerned and nervous, I could tell.
We were all silent for a while, until I asked softly: "How did it happen?" Then, Harry told me, still holding my hand, that my parents had been in a car accident, apparently while they were taking me to a hospital. I suffered a concussion, and the fever didn't make it any better. If the paramedics hadn't arrived there on time, I would have died in a matter of minutes. They didn't arrive soon enough to save my parents, though.
"It was an awful tragedy," Harry said sadly.
"We are so sorry, Hermione, if there is anything we can do..."
I started crying once again before Ron could finish his sentence.
I cried myself to sleep again, I woke up about 10 hours later, so weak I couldn't do anything. Harry and Ron were still in my room, talking to a couple of healers. When they realized I had woken up, the healers left, leaving me alone with my friends again.
I stared at them tiredly. They showed me a tray of food and asked me to eat; I refused.
"You've got to eat something, Hermione, come on."
I said nothing, I only stared to the wall.
"It's not the end of the world, Hermione, I know it might seem as it is...but-"
"How come it's not? What am I going to do without my parents? They were all the family I had...they were my family! Don't you realize it? I have no more family, they are gone..." My voice was broken, just like my heart; I shed some tears again, I was so tired of doing that, but I couldn't help it.
"But it's not about me...it's about them...they...they didn't deserve to die!"
Ron went by my side and hugged me again, letting my sob on his arms. He didn't say anything, he just stayed by my side. That made me feel a little bit better. Only a little.
When I could stop crying, Harry spoke, slowly: "I always thought of you and Ron as my family...and the rest of the Weasleys. I can't say I have no one left, Hermione, because I actually do."
I looked at him sadly, and said, "I didn't mean that, Harry."
"I know you didn't mean that, I am just saying you are not alone." Ron let go of me and nodded.
"Thank you," was all I managed to say.
"Will you eat something now?" Ron asked. I sighed and nodded, I wasn't really ready to move on, but I knew I had to.
I was quite weak, but I managed to sit up and eat. Ron tried to distract me.
"You'll never guess who we saw here!"
"Who?" I asked, not really interested.
"Narcissa Malfoy. We heard something about Malfoy, I bet he's here."
"We didn't actually see him, we saw his mother talking to a healer." Harry added.
"Oh..." I didn't know what to say, Draco Malfoy wasn't a subject of interest for me.
Days passed by, but my depression wouldn't go away. Being in a hospital is very difficult, whether it's muggle or not. As a patient, a lot of things are done to you at inconvenient times and it can feel very much like you have no control. The healers tried to make me eat, to bathe me, to talk to me...I had no control over anything; especially over myself.
I wasn't hungry most of the time, so I refused eating and I lost some weight; I refused to be bathed, so I wasn't too clean; and I refused to speak to my healers when they tried to help me, so they didn't trust me much. They even offered me potions to make my depression go away, but I wasn't going to just "erase" my pain with magic.
My parents were dead, and I had to deal with it.
Two weeks later, I was still in the hospital, dealing with my depression. My friends would visit me almost every day, they tried to cheer me up, but they couldn't get one single smile on my face. Until one day Ron said something stupid and I laughed.
It wasn't much, it wasn't strong, but it was something. My friends stared at me happily, I didn't realise why until they told me.
"It's so good to see you smile." Harry said.
I was still sad and depressed, but after two weeks, I felt I needed to get out of there and move on.
"It's good to smile...I guess," I acknowledged sadly. "My pain won't go away, boys, but I've got to move on."
"You can, Hermione, you can. We'll help you."
"You can live with me at the Burrow!"
"Or move with me at Grimmauld Place."
Both made me smile slightly again. "I don't know, I don't want to think about that right now."
They nodded and kept talking to me about silly things to distract me. Ron mentioned something about his father's obssesion with muggle cars; that made me remember the day I woke up at the hospital and a nurse told me about the accident. I shed a single tear...and I recalled the moment when I woke up and saw that strange woman waiting for me.
"Guys, do you know who the blond woman waiting here for me was? She was here when I first woke up, she wouldn't tell me who she was...she was too nice to me, it was kind of weird." I wasn't all that interested, but I was desperate to change the subject.
Both boys stared at each other silently.
"We were hoping you would tell us. We thought she would be some relative of yours." I could smell the lies.
"I don't have any." I couldn't say much more, my voice was cracking again. "Don't lie to me!" I almost shouted.
Ron was the one to spill it out, "She's your real mother."
I stared at him blankly, I barely realized Harry pushing him and calling him stupid.
"She was going to start crying again!" Ron tried to defend himself.
"She wasn't supposed to find out so soon, you idiot! It's too much for her!"
Realization hit them when Harry said that; both boys recalled I was there, and stared at me, worry all over their faces.
"Hermione, are you all right?" Harry asked.
I was silent for a moment. "You mean I am adopted?" I asked slowly.
Both of them sighed and sat down again. Ron on a chair, Harry by my side on the bed.
"We don't know how the story is exactly. All we know is that when we got here, there was a blond tall woman complaining because they didn't let her see her daughter, right outside your room. The healer she was talking to told her the girl's parents were dead, and she said she was her real mother. Then they went into an office and they didn't come out until an hour later. Some other people from the hospital kept going in and out of the office. Narcissa Malfoy suddenly came and went there as well. When they came out, the healers let the woman go into your room."
I listened carefully to Harry, not fully understanding, it was all so unreal.
"Ron's parents were here too, they asked the healers what had happened and they told us that woman was your real mother."
"They told us she said your father ran away with you when you were two years old, and she couldn't find you until your father died because of some antique magic he had performed on both you and him so you wouldn't be found by her until he died," Ron added carefully.
I said nothing for a while, until Harry asked me if I was all right.
"I can't handle this anymore, boys...I just can't." A lonely tear fell down my face and I laid down on the bed again, staring at the ceiling. I didn't really feel like sleeping, I only wanted to think.
"You don't have to see her just now; she said she would wait for you as long as you need." Ron assured me.
I took my time to answer. "Good; because I don't really feel like seeing anyone right now." I said softly, not really willing to hurt their feelings. Fortunately, they understood.
"We'll leave you alone to rest, then. We'll be out there in the waiting room if you need us." Harry emphasized.
I nodded silently, still staring at the ceiling. I sighed when I heard them closing the door.
It was all so hard...I wondered if my life could get any worse; later, I learned it could.
After the boys told me that, I refused to have any visitors in days. I was so down in the dumps. It wasn't until a week later I decided to meet her.
I still think of her as "biological", I can't think of her as my mother...as my mum.
She was so happy to see me when I let her in; but I couldn't even say "hello" when I saw her, I only wanted answers.
"Why?" was the first thing I asked her, not really willing to be more explicit.
She sat on a chair next to me and attempted to hold my hand; I didn't let her; she didn't seem to be under stress of any kind so I assumed it was for me. She seemed perfectly content anyway.
"I never meant for this to happen, Hermione. Your father left with you and I could never find you, not until now," she said softly.
"Why would my father take me away from my mother? He loved me...he wasn't a selfish person; you must have done something to hurt him."
She sure knew what I was going to ask, and exactly what to answer.
"Nothing I tell you will change things, honey. You can guess what happened. Human relationships are not always logical; he didn't want to be with me anymore, and neither of us wanted to leave you behind. He knew the law wouldn't give him full custody, so he ran away with you, he just loved you too much to leave without you."
I only stared at her. She seemed to be telling the truth, or perhaps she just was very good at lying. That seemed to be a reasonable explanation though. My father did love me a lot...he couldn't have been better. "No...he wouldn't have...he couldn't have..." My heart was in my throat, but I didn't want to cry.
"I'll understand if you don't believe me, dear. You have a perfect image of your father, and I am just a strange woman who claims differently. The worst thing is no one you know and trust can tell you for sure I am telling the truth. But tests have already been performed and proven what I am saying. I know that doesn't make me any better, but at least you can know you really are my daughter."
A healer had already shown me tests results. I didn't want to believe her, but I did, I had no choice.
"I know," I almost whispered. I didn't want to look at her, I didn't feel comfortable; I just stared at the wall.
She was quiet for a moment, I could tell she was smiling even though I wasn't looking at her. "My picture has been in the magical media for some years now, ever since the Triwizard Tournament. How come you never recognized me? You don't read newspapers?"
"Of course I do, darling. Your father had placed a repelling charm on you. No one in your family, except your father, could recognize you. I saw photos of you lots of times, and I read about you and your friends, but I could have never imagined it was you."
" I guess it makes sense." I looked at her, straight in the eyes, not saying anything, just thinking; it did make sense, and she actually was my mother. I still didn't want it to be true though; my other mother, the one who had raised me most of my life, still was the person I had loved the most, along with my father. "But you can't replace my mum."
She didn't look hurt, she just didn't seem to have been affected by that. She didn't hesitate to answer. "I don't expect to replace anyone, darling, I only wish to be a mother to you. The way it should have been ever since you were born."
I didn't answer, I didn't want to. "You are of age now. You can do whatever you want with your life. Regarding the muggle world, you have now everything your father and his wife had, so I am guessing you don't have to worry about having a house and furniture; but I would really like you to come back to live with me, we could recover the lost time."
I thought about it. I wasn't too sure about what I wanted to do with my life, but I was getting tired of living in a hospital room. I had imagined myself living with her in a very elegant house, with lots and lots of books. She looked like a smart woman who enjoyed reading. I had wondered lots of times, lying there in that bed, what kind of mother she would be.
"I don't know." I sighed.
"We could get to know each other, you, me and your brother too." She said that excitedly as she took a picture from her purse.
"My brother?" I hadn't thought about having any siblings. That was something new.
"Yes, my sweet boy." She showed me the picture, there she was, sitting in the grass, with two little children on her lap. I recognized myself, I had seen pictures of me at that age, I just had never seen any magical one. I was giggling, my biological mother was laughing, and the other baby was waving, he had blond curly hair, he looked so adorable.
"Your brother and you were a year and a half old back then. Such happy times."
"We are twins then...is he a wizard? Did he go to Hogwarts?"
"Fraternal twins. You don't look alike, but you do have the same curly hair, you got that from me. And you have my eyes and my mouth too, but you look so much like your father, Hermione."
I realized she was right, we did have the same eye colour. It was kind of comforting, but weird too.
"Your brother is a wizard, yes, everyone in our family is. He is such a bright boy. I hope you two will get along just fine. He went to Hogwarts, of course. He told me you were a classmate of his."
"Who is he?" I thought of every single classmate I had, and I couldn't imagine any of them could be brother of mine.
"Blaise Zabini, surely you know him."
Saying I was startled would be an understatement.
"I am a Zabini?" The idea of being a member of a rich and old pureblood family whose members were all Slytherins didn't suit me much..."I am related to Slytherins..."
"I was in Slytherin too, honey. I guess you weren't sorted there because ever since you found out about magic, you didn't know you were a pureblood, and thus, wouldn't care enough about that house."
A sudden surge of anger came all over me, anger and fear. "You are a deatheather?" I didn't like the whole scenario.
"No, no. Not everyone in Slytherin is a deatheather, honestly. No one in our family was one. The Dark Lord didn't care enough about us, nor did we care enough about him." Her eyes were calm, and her voice was so gentle I could tell she wasn't lying.
"But you did not fight him."
"I don't fight if it doesn't affect me or my family." That was so Slytherin-like. And I did not like it.
She realized it, probably by my fierce and piercing stare.
"Don't be unfair, Hermione. You can't hate me because of that. If I had known he was after my little girl, I would have fought him in every way I could."
"It's not that." I said, not wanting to meet her eyes anymore.
"I know it will take time to remake our relationship, dear. But do remember that I will be there if you need me."
Two days went by and my friends came by again. Harry and Ron already knew I was a Zabini by then. They assured me my family couldn't be that bad, Ron even told me his family had a couple of Slytherin friends; now that was something, especially coming from Ron.
I wasn't too sure about trusting a Slytherin anyway, even if she claimed to be my mother. But perhaps it wasn't all that bad.
I asked the boys what to do. That in and of itself was something quite odd, it's usually them who ask me what to do. The thing is, I really didn't know if I should accept her offer and go live with her and Blaise, I mean, what was that going to be like? Was Blaise going to be nice to me? I couldn't even remember having spoken to him back at school.
They urged me to try, the Zabinis were my family, after all. And if they weren't good enough for me, I could just leave.
I didn't know if I was ready, but I knew they were right. I was scared, but at the same time, it was something I wanted to do, though I still hadn't gotten over my parents' death.
As a matter of fact, I still haven't gotten over it, and it's now been around half a year.
"Hermione!" Draco whispered, trying to get her to pay him attention.
"Huh?" Hermione looked up suddenly, the priest was talking to her; she still couldn't get used to be called "Zabini", especially when daydreaming.
The ceremony was being held in the great hall of a huge castle, a place were magical weddings were usually celebrated. It was summer time and the sun was setting.
She only watched as Draco took her hand and placed the ring on her finger, he was expecting her to do the same thing, but she hesitated. It was something he had foreseen, of course.
"Don't be scared." Draco whispered softly to her, hoping she would listen and go on with the ceremony.
Hermione stared at him, she did look quite scared and nervous. She knew she had no choice. So, slowly, she placed the ring on Draco's finger, never daring to meet his eyes. All she could think about was how her now-meaningless dreams were taken from her, how her hopes had been shattered.
"Please, do hold hands now," said the priest.
Draco grabbed both her hands this time and tried to meet her eyes. He could tell by her trembling ones that she didn't want to hold his.. Draco was a short-tempered man, but he understood what Hermione was going through.
Fortunately, it was a private ceremony, and everyone invited knew why they were getting married. So it wouldn't be a surprise if Hermione decided to disapparate and leave him at the altar.
The magical wedding ritual included the exchanging of rings and an incantation the groom and the bride had to pronounce together.
"Look at me, please," Draco asked her softly. Hermione forced herself to meet his eyes, even though she didn't want the incantation to work, both of them needed it to.
"Ab imo pectore..." Draco started calmly.
Hermione sighed as she raised her head to meet Draco's deep gray eyes and repeated: "Ab imo pectore..."
"Auferat hora duos eadem." Both finished together.
Their rings sparkled; and both felt a warm sensation go through their bodies. They were married.
"It's over," Hermione whispered as she let go of his hands and snapped her eyes away from his.
"Don't be so sure." His lips were upon hers as soon as the sentence had escaped his mouth and she could feel his arms quickly winding their way around to the middle of her back.
When he broke the kiss, Hermione wasn't smiling. Her stare turned to one full of anger.
"It is not a lack of love, but a lack of friendship that makes unhappy marriages." The priest finished the ceremony with a wave of his wand; Hermione took the chance to disapparate, the ceremony was over anyway.
"I guess this means there will be no reception." Draco said to his mother as he walked down the altar.
Narcissa hugged him and kissed him on the cheek. "Oh, that's not a problem."
Mrs. Zabini, who had been standing next to Narcissa, sighed and smiled when Narcissa let her hug her son.
"Do you think she'll come back?" Draco asked as Hyppolyta hugged him.
"No, of course not. You'll have to go look for her.".
Blaise shook his hand and smiled. "Good luck, you'll need it."
Wedding days should be filled with love and joy, even for the groom. But this was an arranged marriage, Draco reminded himself.
"I know." Draco drawled as he disapparated.
Hermione was on her parents' house, sitting on the couch and watching news. She was still wearing her wedding robes. There was a look of sadness all over her face.
Draco apparated suddenly in front of her, blocking the TV.
"How did you find me?" She didn't look sad anymore, just plain angry. Normally, news would sooth her troubled mind, distracting her, but tonight was her dreadful wedding night. Her mind was a whirlwind of anger and depression.
"Where else would you have gone to?" Draco said casually as he sat next to her on the couch and smiled.
"You do realize we have been married for about fifteen minutes and you are already getting on my nerves, don't you?" Hermione snapped.
"Hush, darling, there's no need for anger. Anger only breeds conflict. We shouldn't fight on our wedding night." His chiding and smug tone didn't make her feel any better.
She closed her eyes and bit her lips to keep from cursing aloud. Hermione hated to admit it, but Draco was right, she had to control her emotions.
"I know what you are trying, Malfoy, but nothing you say tonight can make this be alright." She said warningly as Draco smirked.
"It could be alright if you wanted it to be alright. I want things to work out between us. The least we can do is try."
Hermione turned to look at him; he didn't look too troubled, he was even smiling at her. She didn't feel well, her head was aching, her heart was in her throat, and it just was not fair.
"I don't want to be married to you."
Draco could only sigh, his smile now gone. He wasn't going to give up though. He only had to be nice and pay her lots of attention, Lucius explained to him that girls always were demanding care and attention.
"Come on, I can't be that bad. As you can see I am handsome and charming, too." Hermione knew he was just joking, even though he actually believed what he said. Anyways, she was not in the mood for jokes; she didn't want to fight either, so, she chose to ignore him and keep watching the muggle news.
"So, we are married and you don't want us to live happily ever after, that's alright. You'll come around some day." His voice was commanding and in control, but at the same time had a playful quality.
She didn't even flinch though. Draco wondered if she was actually listening to him. He sighed and looked up to the ceiling. He remained calm, trying to "enjoy" her company, and hoping she would feel better eventually.
Silence didn't last long.
"When are you planning on leaving?" she asked, narrowing her eyes at him in a very challenging manner.
"Will you like me any better if I leave?"
"Not really." She let out a sigh.
"Then I see no need of leaving you alone." Draco said coolly as he casually placed his arm around her shoulders; she could feel his breath upon her neck as he got closer to her.
Hermione felt the urge to slap him, but she couldn't bring herself to do so. She felt powerless, helpless and quite frustrated. It was quite annoying to have Draco trying to get her to like him.
He gently caressed her neck, but she shifted nervously, turned her head and pleaded: "Please, don't."
Draco opened his eyes and stared at her, wondering how long it would take her to like him. He had thought she would like that, at least he thought women liked being held and caressed.
"You only make things harder," Hermione said sadly as she tried to push him away.
"So do you." This time, his voice was dry and hoarse, as he got up and turned the TV off. One thing he had learned about muggle objects was that the bigger button always shut them up.
"I just don't know what do you expect; honestly, Malfoy, I don't love you, I don't like you, I never wanted to have anything to do with you. Do you really believe that if you behave nice around me, as if you had been gentle towards me your whole life, I'll end up falling for you and we'll have children and become a big happy family?" she snarled, determined to say everything in her mind.
Draco was troubled. He was getting tired, the truth was that he liked Hermione, he felt attached to her, not only for the marriage deal, but also because he had grown to know lots of things about her, he really felt he knew her, he felt they could be a happy couple some day; but she wasn't cooperating at all, and he couldn't help getting angry after a half an hour of trying to reason with her.
"Look at me in the eye and tell me you hate me." His voice was demanding, his tone was even more stern.
When her eyes met his, everything seemed to freeze until she spoke again. She felt as if she had swallowed broken glass as she softly said, "I don't hate you."
"Then we still have hope." Suddenly, he smiled again, and became animated. Perhaps some day she would like him...but why was she sobbing?
"You don't...you don't get it, do you?"
Draco felt it was better not to answer back to a depressed and hysterical Hermione.
"My father's death was in vain! Everything he fought for now is lost. My father left the magical world and spent 16 years of his life hiding... he died...and my mum with him, and she had nothing to do with all this! And I could do nothing...I just gave up."
He was about to say something and counter her irrational logic, but she dismissed it with her hand.
"And this useless marriage...it's loveless, hopeless, what's the use of it? Honestly, if I weren't a pureblood you wouldn't be this calm and happy, you'd be outraged! If we hadn't been betrothed...if there had not been a curse upon our families and us, would you have even looked at me? Of course not! You would have married some other rich girl. And what if I wasn't rich, huh? What if I wasn't a Zabini? You never, ever cared about me until you found out who I really was!"
"But why would you have? I was never the prettiest girl back at school, nor the richest, I was never up to your standards; I wasn't even considered a pureblood back then. That's all you care about: looks, money, and blood." She was screaming at this point, and Draco couldn't help feeling outraged.
"Do you think you are the only one with problems, Granger?" He got up and stood in front of her, anger written all over his face; but what scared Hermione the most was his controlling and loud tone.
She felt scared enough not to answer.
"My father died, too! And guess what, If you would have agreed to marry me sooner, he wouldn't have fallen vicitim to this bloody curse! He would still be alive!"
She was about to answer, but the sight of Draco breaking a flower vase just to prove his anger, shut her up.
"I know what you're thinking: My father's life just wasn't worth it. That's it, isn't it?"
Neither of them expected an answer.
"Despite how badly he might have treated you, he was my father, and even though he never said it, I know he loved me. You can't say I don't know what it feels like to lose one's father."
As Draco kept on cursing and breaking things, Hermione took her wand out, but he was faster.
"Expelliarmus!" Draco disarmed a surprised Hermione, who flew across the living room and found herself knocked into the wall.
Her head was aching and fear was written all over her face. Her wand was lying too far away; now she was defenseless against an outraged wizard.
Draco's voice became calmer as he approached her slowly, not showing any emotion now, only indifference.
"Time and time again you condemn me because I have a different way of thinking. I know I am not innocent, but how innocent are you? Everything has to be about you, you are the only one in pain, you are the only one who suffers, you are the only one who feels. You can't say you aren't selfish and self-centered."
He knelt by her side; even though his expression was emotionless, Hermione could tell he was still upset.
"I know what it's like to lose a father, and what it's like to be involved in an arranged marriage. I can also say that I know what it's like to try to make things work between us, but you cannot say the same, can you?"
Draco took her chin with his hand, forcing her to look at him; but she showed no interest in meeting his eyes.
"You may not know me as well as you think you do. As a matter of fact, you haven't even tried to get to know me."
He let go of her chin and caressed her cheek. His eyes had taken on a cold, hard glare. Draco was staring right through her.
"I know you don't love me, and I don't love you either, but believe it or not, I am glad to be married to you."
Hermione found it hard to believe, but she somehow knew he was telling the truth. It was kind of fishy, she couldn't quite bear Draco being fine with her, and she couldn't bring herself to be fine towards him either. It was just wrong.
"Perhaps you'll never feel the same way I do, but life goes on...you know. As far as I know, we can't change the past, nor the present. We can build our future together though."
It wasn't the first time he said that phrase she dreaded; the pit of her stomach dropped and queasiness washed over her every time she heard him talking about the future...their future.
Draco knew she was not going to retort, and Hermione knew he wasn't actually expecting her to do so; so silence conquered all the sounds for a few seconds, as Draco placed his hand on her shoulder.
"Did I hurt you?" Anger now gone, his voice was calm and soft, his eyes showed some concern.
"No." She lied as she got up, taking his hand off her shoulder and trying to avoid eye contact with him.
He was about to get up when she spoke: "I want to be alone tonight." Her back was to him.
"Don't worry, I wasn't planning on crashing into your room anyway."
Yet again, Hermione didn't answer. She just disapparated into her old room, which she charmed well enough so Draco wouldn't be able to get in.
"I still can't believe this is happening" She muttered to herself as she cried herself to sleep once again.
-Latin translation of the incantation:
"Ab imo pectore" means "With all my heart" or "From the bottom of my heart".
"Auferat hora duos eadem." Means "Let the same hour take us two."