There was a strong smell of liquor and dirt in that bar, noises of laughter and an unnecessarily loud music. It was a horrible place to be at, and yet, people there seemed to like it. What was it that they were looking for? One could tell by just looking at them: men, women, money, or, sometimes, as in Draco Malfoy's case, they just wanted to be alone in a multitude and forget their pain.
He wasn't the type of person to hang out in a bar, neither was he the type of person to get drunk; he was good managing his drinking, but that day, he wanted to get drunk. He wanted to get drunk enough to forget why he was even there and then wake up in some deserted alley with no idea of how he got there. Or, better yet, not to wake up at all.
Wouldn't it be nice? To go to sleep peacefully and never ever wake up? Sometimes, when one's seriously depressed, that idea can easily cross your mind. And why not? Perhaps if he ingested enough alcohol… his liver would fail and he could just die.
Dying would bring relief, both for him and Hermione. If he died, she could just go to that idiot Weasley and marry him and live happily forever after.
"Anything else I can get you? Maybe a lift home?" Asked the waitress in front of him. She was beautiful, with her long red hair and blue eyes, her large red lips and white teeth underneath. She had a tattoo on a side of her face, long dark lines with a root-like shape. He wanted to reach that tattoo and touch it; he wanted to check for himself if it was truly moving like a snake.
"Is your tattoo moving or am I too drunk?" He asked, half concerned, half curious.
"You are too drunk." She replied trying to repress a sigh of disgust.
"You know," He started saying, "you don't really need that tattoo, I bet you'd look better without it."
"Thank you." Said the girl, "But I like it the way it is."
"I've just realized what you can get me." Suddenly, he smiled brightly. "Another drink."
"I think you've had one too many." Insisted the waitress, a concerned look upon her pretty face.
"You know what the problem with you women is?" He asked, but expected no replies and went on immediately. "You always think you are right. And I need another drink." So, he pulled out his wallet and offered a considerable amount of galleons to the girl.
The waitress was tempted to accept them, but, instead, she preferred to be the better person. She noticed the ring on his finger, and decided the man could use a little talk.
"Problems with your wife?" She asked him.
"Tell me about it." At this point, Draco was barely able to think straight. "I'll tell you all about it and more if you get me another drink."
"I won't get you another drink. And I am sure your wife wouldn't approve of you being here."
"You know her?" He arched an eyebrow, suspicious. Could Hermione have a spy on that bar? Being that drunk, any crazy thought was possible.
"I've never seen you here before, and I can guess you are not the drinking type. Therefore, your wife probably would have a problem finding out you've been hanging around a bar."
"Well, guess what: my wife is the almighty Hermione Granger. She doesn't forgive anything." He claimed, unable to look at the girl in the eyes, he pressed his hands against his forehead.
"Hermione Granger? Harry Potter's best friend?" The girl exclaimed surprised, suddenly, a few of the people around went silent and stared at Draco and the waitress. Both ignored them.
"Why is it that everybody thinks of her as Potter's best friend? Why can't they think of her as my wife? She is a Malfoy for Merlin's sake!" He almost, almost yelled, but his vocal cords were flooded with alcohol. If that was even possible.
"Well, she is national hero." The waitress reasoned, still surprised. "You should be proud to be with her."
Draco nodded his head slowly for it hurt a little. "I should, but I don't really care about that." He explained. More heads turned to listen to him, some with anger in their eyes, others with awe. "I just happen to love her for whom she is, not for what she's done."
"Oh, Draco." To his own astonishment, it was Hermione who said that. He quickly turned around, blushing slightly which was probably due to the alcohol, although it could also be from embarrassment. There she was, standing among a dozen people who stared at her in many different ways: some smiled at her and greeted her with kind words, others whispered among themselves, shocked to see her, and others toasted in her honor. Draco was surprised himself to realize just how much appreciation was there for his wife.
"Your wife is pure goodness, Mr. Malfoy." He heard someone say. "Congratulations" said others.
But Draco ignored them all; he only had eyes and ears for his Hermione. She looked so beautiful, even with all the blurriness around her, and the double sighting that made her look like she had two heads. "Hermione!" Clumsily, he got up from his seat, and trying not to lose his balance, he walked up to her. "What are you doing in here? This isn't a place for you." He managed to say.
Looking at her closer, he realized she had a slight frown on her face. It seemed she couldn't breathe as she would have liked to. "Neither for you." She replied. "Let's go home, Draco."
"Home?" He laughed, hard. "Which one? There's your parents' house, your mother and brother's, our Italian manor, our French chateau, Malfoy Manor…"
"Of course I mean Malfoy Manor, Draco." She said, disgusted by seeing him in such a deplorable state. "Sweet Merlin Draco! How much have you drunk?"
He stepped closer to her and rested his chin on her shoulder slowly allowing all of his weight be supported by Hermione's body. She held her arms open for him, fearing he might fall if she didn't hold him. "That girl over there said I had one too many." He whispered in her ear.
"Do you think you can manage to Apparate?" Hermione asked him repressing a sigh.
"Not without throwing up." He replied in a funny mood.
Hermione sighed, it wasn't like Draco to get drunk. It had been only one hour since their little episode; she had not liked one bit that "goodbye of his", she thought it over and feared he'd do something stupid for the millionth time. So, after a while, she decided to try and use their bond to find him. "Come on, Draco, let's get out of here."
It took them longer than usual to get out of the bar, since Draco had a hard time walking by himself, and it was a tough job to help him, since he was much taller and heavier than Hermione. At least he was in a good mood, she thought, it would be harder to stand a depressed drunk.
"You know, I think that waitress was hitting on me." He commented to Hermione while they walked down the busy street. Hermione was trying really hard to help him walk, and didn't feel like laughing.
"I think we have more important things to talk about." Mumbled a tired Hermione as they both continued walking in direction to a park just a few blocks away from the bar.
"Don't you worry; I like you better than her."
"I know." She said rolling her eyes. When they reached the park, Hermione helped Draco who had been leaning on her the entire time sit down on a bench. She remained standing in front of him.
Draco was fighting his urge to fall and sleep either on the floor or the bench.
"Why did you get drunk?" Hermione asked, arms crossed over her chest, annoyance on her face.
"Why did you come to rescue me?" Draco retorted, probably thinking it was a good answer.
"You are my husband." She said. "I feared for you."
"Is that so?" He wanted to stand up to face her and have a better look at her, but his eyes hurt and he couldn't feel his legs. So he remained there, trying with all of his strength to continue looking into her eyes. "I thought you came because you cared about me;" He said, and then, on a second thought, added: "or may be to scold me."
"You know I care about you, Draco."
"Because I'm all you can have?"
Hermione had wondered that same question a thousand times. She was sure she loved him, but what if she had a choice? Somehow it didn't seem to matter anymore. "No, because I love you. And I don't want to lose you again."
Hermione unfolded her arms and let them hang loose for a moment before she sat down next to her husband. Draco was still staring at her, she did the same. "So you forgive me?" He asked with curiosity in his voice.
His wife remained silent, thoughtful as she stared into his grey eyes. It took her a moment to open up her mouth to speak: "What if I do forgive you? What will you think? Won't you wonder if I forgave you because I don't have any other choice?"
"Never mind, I probably don't deserve your forgiveness anyway. I behaved like an idiot. But it's hard being with you, you know? You never behaved like a proper wife," Hermione decided to let that one pass. "You never made it easy for me. I had to fight my way to your heart, a heart which had already been claimed by someone else."
"I know." She said honestly, and slowly rested her head on Draco's shoulder. He was surprised by her attitude and didn't know how it would be best to react. It would be better to see it as something positive, he thought. Hermione continued speaking: "It took me time to realize it, but now I know that, if I had a chance, I would choose you over Ron any day."
"And why is that?" He asked suspicious. It was surprising indeed to hear her say something like that, and somehow hard to believe. But Hermione was pure goodness, as they had told him before at the bar, she wouldn't lie.
"A long time ago I realized you made me feel good about myself in so many ways Ron didn't. With Ron, I had to be very careful not to make him feel inferior, so I had to try and keep a low profile around him. With you, I feel I can be myself, we can fight, we can argue, we can do stupid things, yes, both of us and yet you always accept me for who I am. I know Ron loved me sincerely, as I loved him… but I can't help but feel you are a better match for me, intellectually and even emotionally. You said it once, we are more alike than you think. Now I know it's true."
A strong pain spread all over his head; so he slowly tried rubbing his temple. Hermione noticed this and unattached herself from his shoulder. She stared at him worriedly, and once again asked: "Why did you get drunk, Draco?"
"I wanted to forget about you, about the pain I caused you, and forget how stupid I was." 'And may be have a liver failure', he thought. "And so far I haven't achieved it."
Hermione considered his words carefully, and after a long pause, she spoke again: "Will you promise me, Draco, you'll never lie to me again? No more deceiving?"
Draco reached for one of her hands and held it on his own. He stared at their entwined hands for a moment, and then looked up at her face again. "No more deceiving." He said, and she kissed him.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------15 years later.
A child was running along the gardens of Malfoy manor, she giggled as much as she could while she run. She was a very beautiful 4 year old, with straight blond hair that reached barely above her shoulders, her hazel eyes were sparkling as she gazed around innocently, pale white skin like porcelain; her tiny legs were barely fast enough to keep up with the game. It was just her luck that her brothers allowed her to participate.
A boy, barely three years older than her, saw her and ran up to her. He was very much like his little sister, with his pale skin and straight blond hair, his eyes, however, were grey. "Come on, Hecate, run!" He reached for his sister's hand and grabbed it, intending to make her run faster.
Both children aimed to hide behind a tree. This tree was wide enough to keep them both out of sight for a while. They were panting when they managed to get there. Hecate immediately sat down on the ground, not minding if the grass stained her sky-blue dress.
"Don't sit, Hecate. We haven't got time to rest." They boy said impatiently, although he was also tired of running. Sweat all over his face and clothes.
Hecate stared at him. Her smile was now replaced by childish worry. "I am tired, Darien." She said lamely.
"Well, just half an hour ago you were whining because you wanted to play with us. Now that you are playing are you going to give up?" He asked kind of exasperated, although he'd never lost his patience with his little sister.
"No, I am not giving up". She said with a determination very similar to that of her mother. Then, she looked up to the top of the tree. "Do you reckon we can climb the tree? They won't get us up there."
"Unless they see us and climb to catch us, we can't run up there." Darien replied; and then, added in a hurry: "Come on, Megara is coming."
Megara was their cousin, a Zabini with dark brown wavy hair, her skin was white, but not pale white like the Malfoys', she had a slight tan. Large eyelashes adorned her flecked green eyes. Much taller than her little cousins, she was eleven years old, the eldest of her sisters. Dressed in a green dress that matched her eyes, she approached them before little Hecate could start running.
"Wait!" Her yell made them stop suddenly, and the older girl took her chance to throw tiny water-filled-balloons at them. Both balloons collided perfectly with the children, who were instantly soaked wet. "You're out!" She said between laughter, for her youngest cousins were easy to fool.
"That's not fair!" Yelled Hecate, about to have a tantrum. She looked up to her cousin with angry eyes, her childish voice could be heard miles away. "I thought there was something wrong."
"That was the idea, silly." Replied Megara as she stepped closer to both of them. She took a handkerchief from her pocket and used it to scrub Hecate's face. Darien was already scrubbing his face with his hands.
"How come Julian and you always win?" Wondered the little girl.
"Because we are older." Replied Megara. Julian was the eldest of the Malfoy children, at thirteen years old, however, he considered to be too old for childish games.
Megara grabbed Hecate's hand and held it lovingly, she did the same with Darien; he walked them both across the immense garden up to a deck with chairs and little tables were the grownups were chatting. Draco, Hermione, Blaise, his wife, Narcissa, Hyppolyta and Julian were sitting there. It was a family gathering that they had every week, in which the adults would talk and the children would play; all except Julian, who preferred to read his magic books, very much like her mother used to do. In fact, he was there reading, only looking up to laugh at his sister's face.
"Daddy, I lost again." Complained Hecate to her father. Draco Malfoy had to suppress a laugh. Megara let go of her cousins' hands and walked with a bright smile on her face to her own father. Draco took his wand out and murmured a drying spell for his two soaked children.
"There you go, now you can play again." He replied, but Hecate shook her head, she didn't want to play anymore, instead, she went to her father and sat on his lap, resting her head against his chest. Her little brown eyes were stern with fury.
"It's just a game, sweetie." Interjected Hyppolyta, trying to reassure her.
"Yeah, besides, you'll get better when you grow up." Said Darien as he sat between both his grandmothers. The older women loved to spoil their grandchildren, and were already offering him tea and scones.
"When I grow up I won't like to play games, like Julian." Hecate stated. "I don't want to ever grow up." She said.
All the grownups laughed, and even Julian smiled. Julian was a tall and thin boy, with brown curly hair like Hermione, and grey eyes like Draco's. Even though he was almost a carbon copy of his father, his attitude was very much like Hermione's: calm and focused, always determined, and just as bright—if not brighter. He was constantly reading, it was his life's obsession. When he was little, it was child's books, as he grew older, he realized he had to get ready for Hogwarts, and started reading magic books. At thirteen years old, he was in his third year at Hogwarts, and was the top student of his class. Unlike his father and brothers, he wasn't interested one bit in sports. He liked flying though, but he preferred reading above anything else.
"You'll simply find out there's more to life than playing games, Hecate." Said Hermione, smiling sweetly at her daughter. As the youngest of 4 children, she was the sweetheart in the family.
The child listened carefully to her mother, however, she did not want to believe her words. She wanted to play forever and ever. She couldn't understand why grown-ups were so distinct from children. Why didn't they like running in the sunlight, chasing butterflies, and building castles in the sand? Why was it that all they did was talk? Had they forgotten how good it was to be a child? According to her favorite brother, Darien, children changed when they arrived to Hogwarts, the school changed them. His theory was based in the fact that Julian used to play with his brothers until he had to go to school. Ever since then, they only saw him on summers, and he wasn't eager to enjoy life like he used to. So, secretly, Hecate didn't want to go to Hogwarts, for she feared it would change her. But she couldn't tell her parents, she didn't want to disappoint them; they were already discussing in which house she would be, they already had one child in Slytherin, and the next one, Lysander—who was eleven years old—had just received his letter; their mother was betting he'd be a Gryffindor.
Lysander, however, wasn't anything like Julian, or his mother for that fact. Actually, he was more like his uncle Blaise. Fun-loving, always eager to take part in games, mischievous. He had his mother's eyes, dark blond hair like his grandmother Hyppolyta, but straight like his father's. At the moment, he was playing around with the rest of his cousins. The Zabinis had four daughters, and a fifth on the way—for Blaise's misfortune it appeared he'd never have a son to continue with his part of the family legacy. There was nothing in the world that Hyppolyta loved more than spending time with all of her grandchildren.
Hyppolyta was holding a two-year-old baby girl, with dark brown hair and big blue eyes, dressed in a tiny pink dress with violet flowers. Darien was making faces at his baby cousin. Hecate was thoughtful for a moment, she stared at the baby, and then at her aunts' growing belly. Her uncle and aunt picked all Greek names for their children: Megara, the twins Ariadne and Athena, and Persephone. Hecate, although she wasn't a Zabini herself, had a Greek name, unlike her brothers who had Latin names. They had told her it was a tradition going through generations from mother to daughter, calling the first-born daughter with a Greek name starting with H, it was the way the women had to pass on their Greek legacy. Hecate had been named after the Greek goddess of witchcraft, which was rather appealing for the child, since she had started showing her magical abilities from a very early age. The Ministry had complained about Hecate dozens of times, but it wasn't her fault, she couldn't control her magic, and neither could her parents.
Dinnertime was approaching, and the grandmothers started calling for the rest of the children to get into the house. As the grownups were getting up and leaving the gardens, Draco and Hermione held hands and smiled at each other. With so many children, they rarely had time for themselves; it was one of those moments in which they appreciated how much they had accomplished together.
"I love you, Draco." Hermione whispered in his ear, ignoring the children giggling and running around them.
"I love you, Hermione." He replied and kissed her tenderly on the lips. Despite all of these years, he still tasted the same, he still felt the same way. And so did Hermione. Right then, as the sun was setting and their family was all reunited, it was one of those rare moments of her life in which she actually was glad that her mother had made her marry him.
N/A: So, this is it. Anyone else sad that the story is over? I am, I just can't believe I won't have to write BCM anylonger! It's been so long since I started it, it took me so long to finish it, now I'll have to focus on my third story (which I'll first publish in spanish). I thought for the ending I'd write something nice, since it's all been so full of conflicts in this story, what do you think? I hope the ending was good enough for you, my dear readers. Thank you all for reading, and reviewing. :)
PS: I've just published "A Gift from the Future" in English, you can see the first chapter here in . I invite you all to read it, it's the story I am focused on translating now. :) It's about a child who travels back in time without ever knowing he did so, and he gets to meet his mother, whom he had never known of. Obviously, his parents are Draco and Hermione ;) One of the many questions in that story is, how will those two end up together to produce a child in only three months time?
PS2: Special thanks to all of my beta readers; in orden of apparition: Molly, Gittika, Elena and Katherine. This story wouldn't have been possible without you!
Lots of Love, Nebel Engel.