Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter. That right belongs to J.K. Rowling.
Something to Talk About
Hermione watched as her children boarded the Hogwarts Express, sadly waving goodbye to yet another year. The summer had been trying for Hugo and Rose; they had to deal with the messy divorce between her and Ron. It was quite shocking to the unknown eyes that Ron and Hermione had chosen that path.
Everyone thought they were such a perfect couple. Everyone thought that nothing could tear them apart. Everyone though that their love was true.
But that was exactly the thing; everyone thought.
No one knew that behind closed doors, there was no ardency. After marriage, Ron focused more on the Ministry and less on his family. It was as if the vows he said during his wedding were meant for work instead of his wife. He would always miss the important moments in his children's lives; in his own wife's life. Ron forgot about Hugo's birthday, about Rose's final Quidditch match where she won the cup for her house, and for pity's sake, his own anniversary.
She could not handle it any longer. Hermione refused to be the submissive wife who pretended all was well when in truth, all was wrong. To her relief, she did not get much hassle from her family or Ron's. The only person remotely disgruntled at the divorce had been Ron. He attempted to change his ways, but in the end, plans always fell through with him.
The news was unnerving to Ronald. He knew the faults of his ways, but he truly wanted to work things out. After much persistence, Ron accepted the divorce, no matter how damaging the situation inflicted upon his pride. He made more time for his children and surprisingly, the small gatherings at the Potter's and Ministry parties were not awkward.
The summer had proved to be stressful indeed. Every gossip magazine and tabloid in the Wizarding world commented on the divorce, stating stories of scandals to adultery. But the pathetic gossipers moved on to another story. It seemed as if it were the summer of divorces, for Draco had split from his wife. No further discussion was required because the papers would eventually find another thing to report about.
Hermione turned around as the train took off, and saw the devil himself. He stood there, his silver snake tipped wand in one hand, and a parcel in the other. His platinum blond hair always reminded Hermione of the Veela. A short giggle escaped her lips as she noticed the receding hairline that Draco so desperately tried to cover up.
"Ah, Granger." His liquid silver stare caught her expression.
"I believe you had a pleasant summer."
Hermione laughed, waving her hand in dismissal. "Oh yes. Being called a harlot from every Wizarding tabloid was just marvelous."
Draco coughed, a smile forming on his lips. "I was subjected to the very same ridicule. One of the papers said I fancied men," he said, narrowing his eyes in the process. "That Parvati girl never did like me."
"How far we have come." Hermione smiled and began to walk out of the train station, Draco in tow.
"So where is Weasley? Should he not be here to see his own children?"
"I could say the same thing about the former Mrs. Malfoy."
"She was pissed drunk in Cannes, last I heard."
Hermione stared at him sympathetically. "Pity."
"Not for me," Draco snorted. "I loved the idea of a Prenuptial Agreement. She was drunk when she signed that as well. If that bint thought she could runaway from her family and with—" a pained expression shot across his face. "I'm afraid I have said quite enough."
The two walked down the crowded streets. "Ron is in Norway," Hermione started, easing the tension. "He had business to attend. And the man wonders why we cannot work things out."
"Honestly, Granger. What was Weasley thinking?" Draco asked, amused.
"What do you mean?"
"How daft could Weasley be? You are not one to be acquiescent." He laughed gently, as if finding the whole situation humorous. "You are obstinacy personified."
Hermione shot him a wry grin. "Well, you are not the most compliant person ever. Were you not the boy who constantly terrorized Harry, Ron, and I? You were quite the brat, Malfoy."
"And here we are. Walking down the bustling streets, chatting as if we are the closest of friends," Draco said, his voice dripping with disdain. "Did I not apologize for my behavior when we were children? It is a pitiful attempt, yes, after all that degradation and slurs."
"I have forgiven you long ago."
"Ah, but I have not forgiven myself."
"Dumbledore said people find it far easier to forgive others for being wrong than being right."
"Who knew that the nutter was actually right?" Draco asked. "Alas, I still feel horrible for what I did."
"Well look at you." Hermione stared at Draco, stopping in front of a café. "You truly have changed, Draco. You need not to worry about past resentment. From what I have seen, you have been doing wonderful. Scorpius is a fine young man."
"My own son was horrified of my past when I lectured him about sincerity," Draco chuckled, reveling on his memories. "He hates it when I preach about equality. These children do not know that the war was only years ago. These things still happen."
"Oh. I know," Hermione said with a grim smile. She then checked her watch. "I think I will grab a coffee and scone. Would you like to join me, Malfoy?"
"I must decline, madam." Draco checked his pocket watch as well and frowned. "I have a meeting in less than one hour."
"Perhaps another time," she said upon entering the café.
"How about tonight?"
Hermione stopped and turned, staring at Draco incredulously. "Tonight?"
"If it is not a problem."
"Oh. Well." Hermione bit her lip gently, feeling as if she were a teenager again. "Sure, why not?"
"How about we indulge on the new restaurant I have opened. Do you know where Illuminati is?" Draco asked.
"Yes. I have wanted to go there for quite some time," Hermione said, her eyes sparkling with youth. "Who would have thought that Draco Malfoy would open a fine culinary place?"
"Scorpius actually opened it," Draco confessed. "He wanted to invest part of his inheritance in something fun."
"I believe Rose told me."
"It seems as if your daughter and my son are thick as thieves."
Hermione laughed. "Now that is peculiar."
"Quite. Well, I must be off. Does eight o'clock sound okay?"
"Perfect. Er. What shall I dress in?"
Draco cocked an eyebrow. "Anything you wish—but I suggest slightly formal clothing."
"I will see you tonight."
Hermione stepped into the café, placed her order, and left as soon as she received her cup of coffee. She would be starting her Healer position at St. Mungo's in just a few short days. After having Rose and Hugo, Hermione wanted to spend more time with her family, causing her to quit her position as Head Healer.
With her job starting in a short amount of time, Hermione decided to run her daily errands within a shorter span of time. She went shopping for new stationary and quills, care packages for her children, and other frivolous items. As she passed a boutique window, Hermione stopped for a moment, staring at her reflection.
She hardly changed since her days in Hogwarts. Her unruly, frizzy hair was still present though manageable, and she had grown only a few inches. Motherhood had taken its toll on her body as her stomach and hips no longer had their shy and flat appearance. Her body had rounded after her two children, and yet she did not look her age of forty-two. The faint trace of wrinkles creased on her every worrying face. She remembered how Rose would always tease her, saying that if she made the effort, her mother could be a knockout.
As she turned, her eyes caught Ginny Potter's. Hermione smiled and waved at her friend. "Hello, Ginny."
"Running errands I assume?" the redhead asked, laughing.
"I have to prepare myself before I go back to work," Hermione replied, sighing. "The children have gone off to school and Ronald is no longer around—I start at St. Mungo's in only a few days."
Ginny smiled sympathetically. "How are you holding up?"
"All is well."
"Where is Ron? I thought the two of you were supposed to see the children off."
"You know your brother," Hermione said, her eyes dancing with mirth. "Detained in Norway. There was a dragon infestation."
"That careless prat," Ginny muttered under her breath. "I do not blame you for leaving his sorry arse."
"It is a wonder how you two are related." Hermione shook her head, smiling, and then remembered what had happened only a while ago. "You will never guess who I saw at the station."
Ginny shrugged. "How is Malfoy? I have not seen him since the Ministry Ball in June."
"Doing well. I am actually having dinner with him tonight," Hermione said, nonchalantly.
"What?!" Ginny exclaimed, staring at her friend with shock. "You are having dinner with Malfoy?"
Ginny, with her eyes still wide, stared at her friend in expectance. "So?"
"Are the two of you dating? I heard he divorced…wait—" Ginny gasped. "Do you fancy him?"
"Are you insane?!" Hermione hissed, staring at her friend in disbelief. "Malfoy and I are just two former enemies discussing our lives over dinner."
"That sounds like a date."
"You are absurd."
"And you are in denial."
Hermione rolled her eyes. "I should have known better. You can misconstrue anything."
"Oh, I understand everything perfectly."
"He was being polite, Ginny. I merely asked Malfoy if he wanted to join me for coffee, but he had a meeting. In return, as not to seem rude, Malfoy invited me to the opening of Scorpius' restaurant."
"So you made the first move. What a flirt you are, Hermione." Ginny mused to herself.
"Good seeing you Ginny, now if you excuse me—" though she did not get to finish her sentence as she was pulled into a vice grip.
"Pardon me, but do you have anything to wear tonight?"
"No, but I believe you are going to force me into some intolerable shopping scheme."
"You know me too well, Hermione."
Draco sat back against his chair, finishing up with his exhausting meeting. His financial status was impeccable as always, and he had put more money into his son's inheritance fund. His father and mother had sold off everything they had owned, even the esteemed Malfoy Manor. After the events that partook in the home, none of the Malfoy's saw it beseeming to keep the Manor.
The sudden change of life had left Draco in the hands of a large sum of galleons. Lucius and Narcissa were constant travelers, occasionally visiting their grandson to dote on him. After the divorce, Narcissa began to coddle her son once more, teasing him that he should find another suitable lady of the Malfoy name.
He saw it impossible. Draco knew that love was not for him. The only love he had ever felt was for his son and parents. There had been no mutual affection between him and his wife. She was a pureblood and simply an incentive. The ideal had one to waste after his marriage to the vile woman. She began to indulge on liquor and the company of young men.
"Still reminiscing, Draco?"
He looked up, staring into the eyes of his business partner, Blaise Zabini. "But of course," he sighed, pinching the bridge of his nose.
"She was a bint. Get over it."
"I am over it, but I am angry at her. I would ruin her if it were not for the unpleasant circumstances."
Blaise whistled lowly. "Tough call, mate. Poor Scorpius. How is he holding up?"
"Fine. He opened his restaurant over the summer. I think Rose Weasley will be his future business partner."
"Tristan has told me that Scorpius is in raptures with the young Miss Weasley," Blaise chuckled darkly.
"If I recall correctly, you fancied Ginny Weasley when we were children."
Blaise pursed his lips, his cheeks turning a deep red. "Seems like my son has fallen in Lily Potter's grasp—she is the spitting image of her mother, except she has her father's eyes."
"Speaking of old school mates, I must be off."
"Why? I thought you and I were going to grab drinks."
Draco groaned, slapping his forehead. "I forgot. I have already promised to go to dinner with another."
Blaise raised an eyebrow, smirking. "A lady friend?"
"You could say that."
"Wait. You said an old school mate—please tell me it is not Pansy." Blaise wrinkled his nose in disgust.
Draco made a face. "Of course not! I am having dinner with Hermione Granger, formerly Weasley."
"What?!" Blaise's eyes widened, a hysterical laugh escaping his throat. "Granger? My, my, Draco. You are nutters!"
"What do you mean?" He asked, staring blankly at his friend.
The dark haired man stared at his friend as if he were daft. "You are having dinner with Hermione Granger tonight, am I right?"
"So you are dating her."
Draco snorted, amused at Blaise's comment. "Don't be an idiot! We are but two old school chums going out to dinner to discuss our lives, get pissed drunk, and bitch about our divorces."
"Sounds like quite the riot," Blaise snickered, delighted at the situation. "Is this some sort of publicity stunt?"
"I do not share the same enjoyment as you, Zabini."
"So you two are not an item?"
"No," Draco scoffed, rolling his eyes in the process.
"Hey—I would not blame you for getting with Granger. She has become quite the looker over the years," Blaise said, whistling lowly. "That arse of hers—"
"Goodbye, Zabini." Draco shouted, drowning out his friend's voice as he walked out of the room. He stepped into the building's fireplace, called out his destination, and threw the floo powder beneath him. His body jolted into a familiar tug, arriving in the fireplace of his home.
The mansion seemed unpleasantly lonely. A frown appeared on his face, his forehead creasing with exhaust. He had been so used to having Scorpius around for the summer, that the profound silence seemed eerie.
It had been a troublesome life for his son. Draco's marriage ended before it even stared, and the only thing that held the relationship together was the birth of Scorpius. Draco rarely let his son see his unhappiness, or the constant fighting between him and Scorpius' mother.
When Draco and Scorpius returned home in the beginning of the summer, neither one of them expected to witness the scene before their eyes. Upon their arrival, the two men had caught the ex Mrs. Malfoy in bed with another man—Scorpius' former Quidditch captain and good friend. The poor boy had been tormented. Draco was livid with anger, not because his wife was drunk and in bed with a mere boy, but at the fact that she had emotionally hurt their son.
Draco shook his head, attempting to get the nasty memory out of his mind. He tugged on his tie, looping it off his neck, and throwing it to the side. A low hoot came from the window, and there was Scorpius' hawk, perched upon a tree branch. With a wave of his wand, the hawk flew in through the open window, sticking out its leg which held a letter.
I have arrived safely to Hogwarts. I am enjoying the Head Boy position quite well, and I take tremendous pleasure in knowing that the Head Girl is none other than Rose Weasley. We are working harmoniously—no need to lecture me on behaving properly with someone who is not in my house. How is the restaurant fairing? I thank you again for watching over it while I am away in school.
I look forward to the holidays so that I may see you again, or perhaps you could make it to my Quidditch match? We are going against Gryffindor, and Rose still gloats about how she knocked me off my broom in our fifth year. I let her, mind you because I am chivalrous. Send grandfather and grandmother my greetings and love. Hope you are not stressing yourself too much over the businesses. Relax. Breath, old chap. Do not overwork yourself.
All my love,
Draco smiled at the letter, stashing it away in his desk. His heart swelled with pride as he recalled Scorpius' accomplishment of becoming Head Boy. The boy was said to be an exact copy of Draco, but Scorpius was different in personality—Draco made sure of that. He would not let his son become the monstrous brat he had been when Draco was a child. No, Scorpius was far more likeable, a bit sensitive, but wore his father's trademark smirk proudly.
"My son," Draco whispered, staring at the picture of Scorpius when he was a baby. His gaze lifted, staring into the mirror. The years had been kind to Draco, but his hairline had not. Faint wrinkles were forever etched on his face, some from worry and others from stress. His reflection showed a pallid visage, silver eyes, and a tired expression.
After checking the time, Draco walked into his bathroom to take a shower. The water rained upon his body, sending waves of relief to his aching muscles. Scars from the war marred his body, each telling a story of their own. The abuse and turmoil he had endured under the Dark Lord's hand still haunted him.
And though his physical wounds had healed, Draco's internal wounds had not—he would not allow it. Forever would those marks remind him of the wrongful doings of his time.
He was not a masochist, no matter how twisted it sounded. No; it was the fact that he had tortured others so ruthlessly without a care. He mocked and ridiculed those whom he had not deemed worthy. Never would he forget the torment he inflicted upon others. He was so consumed by guilt that Draco would suffer from restless nights of sleep. Though his body had been exhausted, all he would vision were nightmares of screaming and eerie green glows.
Wrapping a towel around his waist, Draco walked out of his bathroom to dress himself. A bitter laugh echoed throughout his room as Draco thought of the inescapable torment he was going through. Busying his mind, Draco adorned his body with a suite from a promising young designer. He mused himself at Blaise's words from earlier that day, chuckling at his friend's absurdity.
Dating Hermione Granger? The though was not conceivable. The two were enemies since the beginning, a rivalry just too strong. It could never work out. And yet, there was something about the whole situation that intrigued Draco. He had always been interested by Hermione.
He had been raised to think that people like her were inferior. Half-bloods and people without magic ancestry were supposed to be nothing. But what Draco had been raised to believe was all proven wrong.
Hermione had defied all reason from the first moment Draco laid eye son her. The ambitious girl had been the first one to successfully perform a spell, to prepare a potion flawlessly, and to conjure the unthinkable. Her wit and cunning was amazing. He had always wondered why she did not end up in Ravenclaw—though she showed courage throughout the years of ridicule.
She had always bested him in every subject, and Draco had hated her for it. He made sure to give her hell when they were younger, and specifically made snide remarks towards her blood and family. Though no matter how much he sneered, Hermione had become defiant. She would not step down, but instead, she would retort something fiercer.
When have I become so pensive? Draco thought as he slipped on his jacket and grabbed his reading glasses.
Upon arriving at the restaurant, Draco made sure all was in check. After notifying the concierge of his guest, he walked around the restaurant, and greeted many of the guests and employees on his son's behalf. "How is everyone tonight?" Draco asked as he filed into the kitchen.
The chef gave a small bow. "Wonderful, Mr. Malfoy. I have been told that you have a guest coming tonight."
"Yes," he replied curtly. "An old friend of mine will be joining me."
"Is she fairly short with brown hair?"
"Yes. How do you know this?"
The chef smiled, gazing out of the kitchen window. "Because there is a lovely lady sitting at your special table."
Draco diverted his gaze to the window, seeing that Hermione had arrived. He waved his hand at the chef as he walked out of the kitchen doors, and stopped. A breath escaped his lips as his eyes caught Hermione's. The sight before him was very unexpected. She wore a dress of periwinkle, the same lovely shade had worn during their forth year at the Yule Ball. That was the only other time she had rendered him breathless.
He walked towards the table, flashing a friendly smile. "Good evening."
"You look…lovely," Draco said, placing a light kiss on her cheek. As he retreated, he pretended not to notice the faint blush forming on her face, and pulled her chair out. "Please sit down."
"Thank you," she said hoarsely, and then cleared her throat. "The restaurant is absolutely beautiful."
"I will pass your compliments to my son. So, how has your day faired?"
"It was pleasant. I finished some errands and ran into Ginny Potter." Hermione accepted a glass of wine, taking a sip before starting again. "She is the one that forced me into this get up," she said, waving her hand at the dress.
Draco stared at her, smirking. "The color looks very nice on you."
"You are much too kind, Malfoy."
"Draco, please. I am sure that we can put all this surname business in the past."
Hermione agreed. "Draco." Her eyes scanned the menu for a brief moment before she stared back at him. "What would you suggest?"
"Everything," he said, amused.
"I'd rather not put on any more weight, thank you."
"Putting on some weight would do you some good," Draco said, frowning. "What happened to you?"
"Stress I suppose," she sighed, taking another sip of wine. Her eyes appraised him for a moment. "What happened to you."
"Stress," he chuckled, smoothing a hand over his hair. "I guess that is what comes from marriage and children."
"Rose and Hugo are not too happy with the divorce, but they understand." She stared vacantly at her glass, her eyes glazing over.
"Fine children—even if they are part Weasley," Draco snickered, attempting to lighten the mood. "Scorpius dotes on Rose. Just today he wrote me saying that he could not be happier that she was the Head Girl."
Hermione lifted her head. "She talks constantly of him as well. It is amazing how our children can be such good friends and yet we were bitter enemies." Her lips upturned, a smile not quite reaching her eyes. "Times have changed. I am glad to have reconciled."
"I was a slimey git, wasn't I?" Draco said, mostly to himself. "How unbearable. No wonder everyone hated me."
"Yes. You were a downright prat," she teased. "But you grew up and with aging came wisdom."
"You sound like a fortune cookie."
Hermione laughed. "You know what a fortune cookie is?"
"Scorpius managed to make me get Chinese food," Draco said, refilling his wine glass. "Another suggestion that came from your daughter."
"I cannot believe they will be out of Hogwarts after this year," she said lowly. "It seems so unreal."
The two began to discuss their children, lives, and ambitions. Hermione mentioned her restarting profession as a Healer, shocking Draco. After ordering, they continued their discussion, coming to the subject of their divorces once more. "It was very hard on Scorpius—not the actual separation, but the events that caused it."
Hermione's eyes softened. "I'm sorry to hear that."
"The tabloids do not lie," he whispered gently. "She cheated on me."
"Yes, even worse, it was with Scorpius' old school mate. She was drunk off her sorry arse and belligerent."
"Neither you nor Scorpius deserve such a woman in your life," Hermione said, reaching her hand out to lightly pat Draco's.
They were both silent for a moment, until Draco cleared his throat. "Yes. Well, I'm sure those pestering magazines do get some things right. But not in your case of course…unless—" he raised an eyebrow in suspicion.
"Oh yes. I am a harlot and Ronald does indeed fancy men," Hermione drawled, snorting at the thought. "Honestly, I have been hounded all summer. I can barely go around the Wizarding world without some form of paparazzi."
"Speak of the devil, and the devil shall appear," Draco growled, staring past Hermione.
"What?" Hermione asked, turning. To her utter horror, a man stood in the window, taking pictures of the two.
Draco whipped out his wand to hex the man, not caring about the damage that would be caused, but the photographer ran away into bustling streets. He turned towards the concierge. "Close all the curtains and make sure that no one with a camera steps foot inside this restaurant!" He turned to sit down and found Hermione with her head in her hands. "I'm sorry that his happened, Hermione."
"Now they actually have pictures," she groaned, hitting her head softly. "Think of the story they will come up with next—those vultures."
"They are pathetic." Draco sat back down, thanking the waiter as he brought their meals. "I suppose that is the price to pay for being famous—I'm just used to it."
Hermione coughed. "Lucky you."
Silence overcame them once more as they started on their meals. Only small comments were made, but other than the short exchange of words, the fine music became dominant. Draco stared at Hermione, looking for traces of discontent or anxiety, but merely found a peaceful expression. She ate her food quietly, taking occasional sips of the wine.
"Do I have something on my face?" she asked sarcastically.
"No." He could have sworn he felt a warm blush spread across his pale cheeks. "I was just…"
"Exactly." Draco put down his fork, wiping his mouth with the napkin. He noticed that Hermione had finished with her meal and was now poking at it. "Would you like to dance, Hermione?"
She stared up at him, startled. "O-oh. Sure."
Draco rose from his seat, holding out his hand to Hermione. He led the both of them to the dance floor with the other couples, the two coming into an innocent embrace. Their bodies swayed gracefully to the melodic keys of the piano and notes of the violin. A lover's song. "I truly am sorry."
She looked up and smiled. Remorse washed over his eyes and she knew what it was truly about; the past between them troubled Draco. He was not talking about the paparazzi. "It is not healthy to dwell in such sorrow."
"It is the only way I know that I am alive," he responded, pulling her closer into his arms. "But I have never felt more alive than I do right at this very moment."
"Still a flirt, aren't we, Draco?"
His head bent down as he whispered in her ear. "I'm an admirer of beautiful things."
"You are very nice to say such comments to an old woman," she said jokingly.
"Not old; anything but. Minvera McGonagall is old—" he pulled back for a moment, briefly staring at her body up and down. "—and you, my dear, are breathtaking."
Hermione stifled a gasp as his warm breath caressed her neck. "Why so forward? Why now?"
"I live in the moment, Hermione, and at the moment, I want to live with you."
"And when have you come up with this absurd conclusion?"
"Blaise first mentioned my unrequited affections for you during our business meeting," Draco confessed, his eyes glowing like a silver fire. "And then I saw you today, so fragile and yet though. You captivate me—you intrigue me."
"And what are you suggesting?" Hermione asked breathily, blushing profusely, feeling her youth ignite in her veins.
Draco growled playfully, nipping at her ear. "How about we give the photographers something to talk about?"