Disclaimer: It's all J.K's

Beta: something.l1k3.laughter... I've just reposted it now because I've just remembered I had to...

Title: Once Upon A Time

Warning: Kind of a dark fic- but I like it, so that's all that counts…. But if you like it, feel free to leave a review.


Once, I was a frizzy-haired child…

… that was a long time ago, thankfully. The parchment whispers as it slips from my hand. Those days are not the ones I like to dwell on. My hair, now as sleek as silk swings over my shoulder as I bend forward to pick up the piece of parchment. It glided over my bare skin tenderly like a lovers touch. I push that thought away.

I sit back, the paper in my hand, staring off into space. The action of picking it up had made me remember why I was here living like I was. He'd said "When you…"- no, I can't think about it now. He was wrong.

Once, I was the smartest witch in my class…

… that was long ago too. Now I am happy to be where I am. It is a suitable life for me. I deserve it. A whiff of sandalwood goes past my nose, bringing back more memories better off forgotten.

As I stare blankly at the paper in my hands, my hateful mind provides a memory of my last day at Hogwarts. I remember the sea of faces in front of me, smiling as I gladly took the award for "First in the Class". I see the approval flashing in their eyes as I made my speech.

But what I remember most is the clear satisfaction in his onyx gaze, the banked heat that made my heart dance and my breath catch. But no, this is another memory best left to the fickle embrace of the past.

Once, I was happy…

… I can't remember that feeling now. It is too far removed from my daily life for me to even take it into account anymore. I have all I need right here in this house. I need no one other than myself and Ron. The ones who called themselves my 'friends' are fools who thought they could change my life. They know better now. I can live my own life without their help. They do not understand that his parting words drive me to do this. I remember them again, "When you realize that-" but I cut it off before it can finish.

His final words have ruled my life. I cannot remember why I let them.

Once, I was free…

… I could travel with my friends and be carefree. I could live my life the way I wanted. But then I did this, and now I'm trapped, wallowing in my mistake. But it is not a mistake. If I was to admit that, I would be wrong, and he would be right. I couldn't let that happen.

Once, I was respected…

… I was awarded the Order of Merlin, after the war. I sometimes forget. The entirety of the Wizarding World watched as the "Heroes of the War" were awarded their honors. But he wasn't there- he'd said that it was a foolish affair and that he didn't need to go. So I went with someone else. It was his refusal that prompted Ron to take me.

It started then, the reason that my life is the way it is. Ron praised me and I, starved for the absent ones attention, drank it in. I believed the lies he fed me that night. I am here now because of them. I went with Ron because he'd promised to take care of me. He'd vowed that I would never be alone. He'd said that I would always have him to lean on. I believed him. It was hard not to. We were pledging ourselves to each other.

Ron took me home that night and had me. Even as he slammed into my body repeatedly, I could not help but think of the one I had left. I could not see Ron, or feel his dick inside me, or react to his enthusiasm. I saw only him, felt only him, craved only him. But I pushed it aside as I felt the end hit Ron, and acted my part. I've never had to before.

But I've needed to since. After that first night there has never been closeness between us- Ron just comes, does it and leaves. I have become a ravening animal- desperate for any form of human touch- but I have not been allowed it. I do not deserve it.

I went back to the abandoner after that night, and bragged. I went to him smelling of the other one, and he didn't seem to care. I should have known better. I left shortly thereafter, his words following me "When you realize that he's an incompetent fool…"

No.

No more.

Once, I would have been satisfied with this…

…but I know now that this is no more than an illusion; and not a very good one. I cannot believe that I left him to settle for this- no, you are not allowed to remember the past. It will only confuse the future.

Once, I would have been angry…

…at being treated like this. But no more. This is how it should be. I do not deserve anything better after my betrayal of him. The scary part is that sometimes, I even believe it. But sometimes, there's a need for something more. Every now and then when Ron is blissfully asleep and not controlling my every move, I can feel the gash beside my heart deepening with a need for something more than all of this.

His words weave their web through my mind, telling me "When you realize that he's an incompetent fool who doesn't-". Again I cut him off. I am falling under his spell- he is an apt wizard.

Once, I would have been ashamed…

…at how I am treated. But it is my life, and I cannot escape the life I freely chose; however distressing it is to those who profess to love me. I close my eyes, feeling the phantom hand of the past brush my face lovingly, calling me into its dream of happiness.

I remember the feel of his hands running over my face, cradling my cheek, then passing down to run across my shoulder to follow the curve of my arm to my hand. I remember when we would lie awake for hours on the grass; staring at the stars like they were a mystery the naked eye could unveil. I hear his voice saying "When you realize that he's an incompetent fool who doesn't deserve you-". I open my eyes; cutting off the dream- like state memory had placed me in. The past is a tricky thing.

Once, I was called Ms. Granger…

… but no longer. My parents name lies in the rubble my marriage has produced, smothered by lies and deceit.

There is no hope in my life for a new beginning. I have been here for so long the monotonous routine is comforting. I look at the clock. My husband should be home soon.

Joy.

Once, I used to care…

… about what happens outside. I live the way I have been taught. I am loyal to him, though he is not to me. I am a faithful wife, though his words hurt me more than his member. I am what he wants in a wife- he made me that way.

My words never scar him, like his do to me. His indiscretions are rampant and tactless. He doesn't deserve my love, but I give it to him anyway. And because anything less would prove him- the one I've tried so hard to forget- right.

"When you realize that he's an incompetent fool who doesn't deserve you or your love, I-".

No- not now- not when he's at the door, his foot tapping, waiting for the usual welcome.

Once, I would have been afraid of him…

… afraid of what he would do to me. He comes closer to me and stops when he sees the parchment in my hand. "What is that?" He asks, stretching his hand forward to snatch it from my grasp. It makes no difference. My mind is made.

He unfolds it quickly and scans the words I now know so clearly by heart.

Ron-

Meet me at the Dancing Dog at twelve o' clock. It's been too long since I last saw you- we need to get together more often.

Love, Daphne.

He looks down at me, the shame in his eyes hidden by the anger. "You read my mail!?" I shook my head slowly.

"It was open, lying on the table." I didn't expect it when he hit me. I didn't expect it to hurt. But it did. His hand was gloved with the shards of the lie I had been living. They buried themselves into my mind, ripping apart the last of my reasons for being with him.

His words followed me as I slipped my arms into the threadbare sleeves of my jumper. Where the hell was I going he wanted to know? None of his fucking business. He didn't matter now- my course was set. I left without him, not thinking twice about it.

My walk was benumbing and long; I didn't even think of Apparrating. I just wanted to get there. I had to get there. When it loomed before me I stopped for a moment before continuing on. I heard Ron's frantic pleas from behind me but I was immune to the sound. He'd followed me, bent on changing my mind, but not willing to use force against me.

Once, I would've cared about the reactions of strangers…

… but I don't anymore. I opened the door and let myself in. I heard a small, quickly smothered gasp in the sudden stillness. But I didn't stop- I just kept moving towards my destination. Every sound in the hall echoed around in my skull- the pain from the force of Ron's hand marking time with my footsteps- a dull ache that was steadily building to a roaring crescendo. I raised my hand to touch my temple and grimaced at the red smear over my fingers.

Glancing up at the people around me from under my lashes, I saw the emotions flicking across their faces. Shock, horror, rage. No one said anything. I passed in silence, my shoulders hunched to shield my body from the unwanted attention. I felt the blood seeping out of the wound, felt the puffiness where I could already feel the bruise starting to grow.

It was another ten minutes before I got to my destination- the Marriage Department. Ron was in a full- fledged panic attack now. I opened the door and walked into the room. Suddenly, I could feel a million different eyes scrutinizing my bleeding face before bouncing off just as quickly. It was like if they looked any longer, the shame would be too much, and they'd actually have to do something. I could tell that they didn't want to deal with my problem.

After a long, uncomfortable silence, I heard an office door open and close. The click of heels came closer, and their owner finally came into view. I stared at Ginny, surprised. I didn't know she worked here. She examined my face silently before turning a harsh gaze on Ron, but he seemed to be too infatuated with his own feet and the dirty little pools of water he'd tracked into the building to notice his sister. Ginny then took my hand and marched me right into her office, knowing exactly what I was there for.

Once, I was Mrs. Weasley…

… No longer. Afterwards, I stood outside.

Liberated.

Independent.

Free.

My first taste of clean air was sweet in my lungs; the streets glittered in my sight like they had been bathed in diamonds. The smell of rain invaded my body, forced my soul to be stripped of all the dirt and grime of the last three years.

I knew where I wanted to go- I always knew where he was. Ron was currently being questioned by the ministry officials for battery charges- Ginny had made me file a complaint against him. But, luckily, in the Wizarding World divorces were immediate and binding.

I turned to walk away, each step igniting a memory, a thought, or even a trace of Ron from my mind and leaving me absolved. Now I could focus on the one I left, the one I'd abandoned.

His words had chased me through the years, eventually becoming the only reason I was as I had been- dead, uncaring.

I'd wanted to prove him wrong, but it wasn't worth it. He'd consumed me, though he didn't plan it. He'd tortured me, though he couldn't know it. He'd become my focus in life. But all was calm now. It was as it should be. I was coming to him, free at last, having learned my lesson.

Oh, the irony.

Yet this is what I was supposed to do.

Once, I would have run away…

… but now there is a need to go to him that has my feet moving of their own accord. A need to see if he'd spoken the truth so long ago.

I can't imagine what I looked like as I rapped my knuckles against the wood of his door. It was now pouring and I was sure that my ragged, brown jumper clung unattractively beneath my water-clumped hair.

I thought of his parting words, allowing them to come to me fully, finally. "When you realize he's an incompetent fool who doesn't deserve you or your love, I will be waiting for you."

I wondered if he still was.

The door opened slowly, and he stood before me. Our eyes met, and, for a few moments, neither of us said anything. What could we say? He looked at me curiously, silently taking in my appearance.

I whispered "I'm sorry," and lowered my eyes.

I didn't see his onyx eyes shift from his customary, uncaring façade to something else entirely, something passionate and hidden. But I felt him wrap his arms around me, and I felt him press his hand to the back of my head and hold me close, not caring that my wet clothing was ruining his traditional black robes.

I wrapped my arms around him, and melted into him. I was home.


Once upon a time I was my own…

now I am only his.

A/N: Re-posted for your reading enjoyment.

Oh, for the joys of sappy, fluffy, Ron-bashing, Snape/Hermione fics.

Ta!