She wore a silver ring; he donned a golden one.
No one noticed.
Or if they did, they never asked.
If she was late for a meeting, people paid no mind. After all, she was one of the most brilliant members, with most of the sensible ideas coming from her. They could forgive her tardiness, just this once.
If he did not attend a ceremony, people dismissed it. After all, he was the proud owner and executive of the company they were in, and quite adequate at his tasks. They could tolerate his absence, just this once.
She was usually seen in the company of men, two men to be exact. She would either be laughing with or scolding them, it seemed. Many times she was spotted chatting with the sister of one of the men, and sometimes, sometimes, with the fiancee of the other one. Her smile was always a bit hard during those moments, and her fingers curled to claws. Nevertheless, she would pause and tug at the silver ring on her finger, then smile and resume with the conversation.
He was usually surrounded by his harem, three assistants to be exact. He wore a bored or snide expression when with them. There were times when he could be seen with his colleagues, grinning maniacally and holding hard drinks in the middle of the day. When introduced to a new face he would incline his head and be sneakily charming. Occasionally, he would smirk and thumb the golden ring on his finger, then shake his head and say something bitingly witty.
Notoriety was something she could never quite understand. She did her part in saving the world, and so? Wouldn't anyone do what she did in the light of the same thing? It was tedious. It was a curse. Couldn't she, for once, enter a room without the sounds receding until the only things echoing in her ears were hushed reverence and her own irritated pulse? Yes, yes, I'm that Hermione Granger, of course I'm friends with Harry and Ron and, well, kindly leave me alone thank you very much!
Notoriety was something he could always enjoy. In the battle of good and evil good naturally triumphed and now he was here, basking in the warm afterglow. It was delicious. It was a blessing. The fact that people would actually stop and stare stupidly at him would forever be amusing, and it was very good for his business. Yes, Draco Malfoy at your service... oh, you heard that? Well... clearly I just did what anyone would do in that situation... surely you would, of course...
Even the popular needed a time for herself. She often chose the same place to enjoy the company of nothingness, and she would always occupy the table by the window with her chair facing the grand piano. While listening to a rendered song her expression would soften and her fingers would find a steady rhythm on the cloth. She would hum along until her food arrived and afterwards, with the pleasure of a good meal filling her senses, she would smile and tug at the silver band. Someone would always ask her to dance, and she would often shake her head, but more than a few times she would indeed indulge.
Even the popular needed a time for himself. He often chose the same place to enjoy the silence of a dark night, and his table would always be the farthest one in the room with his chair facing the window. While listening to a rendered song his hand would be swirling the wine in his glass, his foot tapping in tune with the song. He would nod sagely when his food arrived. Afterwards, with a touch on his golden ring he would rise to his feet and ask someone to dance. He could be turned down, but there were those times when he would not be, and the dance would always be worth the previous rejections.
She was not seeing anyone, it seemed. Of course there was that infamous one time when she almost had a more-than-platonic relationship with someone, but then things got more complicated and they stopped before anything remotely interesting even began. She was at the age where she was seeing other people walk down the aisle, and as she watched a newly wedded couple kiss she touched her silver ring and smiled wistfully.
He was not seeing anyone, and it was confirmed. His intended got married to a former fiend of theirs, and no one was happier than him the day she got tied and the newlyweds could officially begin making each other's lives hell. Now he was at that wedding and as he looked around the church he gave his golden ring a tug. He saw the tearful eyes and wistful smiles and he smirked; women could be so damn weepy sometimes.
It was inevitable, it seemed, because their world was a small town of streets and lights and society often dictated that the popular be separated from the nonentity, and since they were both notorious their paths would surely collide.
They had not seen each other in years, or so it seemed. It was not intentional on her part; it was just that they moved in different cliques, liked different things, belonged in different worlds. She was the first to realize it long ago, and he had called her stupid then. But it was still true, and even he got to accept it.
They had not seen each other in years, or so it seemed. It was not intentional on his part, and proof of that was how he looked out for her in his own small way. He scoured the news just to know where she would be, and reschedule so they would not bump into each other. But it was something he wasn't fond of doing, and she knew it.
And now they were here.
No escape, no excuse.
Most eyes were on them, even if they were very discreet in their watching.
Such was the fate of the notorious; always in the limelight, unwanted or not.
Thus, it did not escape society's attention when he stretched out his hand to her, and she hesitated - perhaps, for a moment - before accepting it.
It did not escape society's eyes when these two danced the first set, the second... and the rest.
She looked radiant in his arms.
He seemed to relish her company.
You're wearing my ring.
Of course I am. You gave it to me, remember? Yes. And I'm wearing yours. Funny, isn't it?
Of course I am. You gave it to me, remember?
Yes. And I'm wearing yours. Funny, isn't it?
They stayed together for most of the night, looking quite the distinguished pair indeed, and people only shook their heads and wondered why they did.
Will I see you again?
They smiled at each other for the longest time, before he did something notoriously shocking.
He drew her close and kissed her, in society's full view.
I'm quite tired of hiding. Aren't you?
Yes. Merlin, yes.
Yes. Merlin, yes.
And people shook their heads and marveled how this escaped them.
He wore a golden ring, and she donned a silver one.
And now everyone knew.
Notes: This was something I've written months ago... I think some time last year. It was an exercise in writing something completely different from my usual style. I hope it wasn't too vague; the original version was vaguer, believe me :D Thank you for reading!