AN: If you've never read this story before, ignore what I am about to say. If not: Um, NO, I didn't steal this off of Mugglenet Fanfiction, because I am – for real and for true – MemMarie.
'Tis mine and as soon as MNFF is back up and running, I'll put something in my bio. Kk? Thank you for listening (or not) 8D
Your reflection is calm and collected, defying the bustling crowds of Muggles that swirl around you with a regal arrogance.
In a moment of vanity you allow yourself to gaze at your own face in the rain-splattered surface of the window. Sharp lines and hard angles greet you, as do cold and flinty eyes of lightest grey. For a moment your own features entrance you. But then you see another face on the other side of the glass - your image superimposed on hers.
It occurs to you how very different she is from you, and the thought makes you smirk sardonically. Ironic, how for every jutting point of your face there is a curve gliding over it – muting it into something more manageable. If you are lines and corners that intersect to form a long and lean (and mean) figure, she is made of colliding circles, meshing together easily into a soft and gentle persona.
The two of you are antitheses.
With brisk steps, you walk the remaining length of the window to the door. In a burst of warmth, light, and coffee – scented air, you are inside the cozy café. Long strides carry you to a small table, and you settle down into the plush armchair directly across from her.
She smiles warmly and pushes your black coffee across the worn wooden surface. "Hello Draco."
You do not smile – not on the outside anyway. Rather, you nod, grab your scalding drink, and mutter, "Hermione."
Her face once again relaxes into a smile, and she chuckles slightly, as though you made a joke. For some reason you don't mind, and allow yourself the small luxury of a not-so-evil smirk.
That was how your relationship worked. Because she is Hermione Granger and you are Draco Malfoy and things could never be quite 'warm' between you.
It had been this way since the end of the war. Well, a bit after the end, actually. You had been on trial (along side your father and mother, but quite alone all the same) and she had been a sort of assistant to your representative. Later you would learn -to your shock and disgust- that she had requested being put on your case.
She never would tell you why, save the angry, "I just didn't think you deserved it, that's all!" you could occasionally glean.
In the end, you supposed it didn't matter. You had been cleared, and you had gained something in the process. In truth, you remember very little of the actual trial. A haze of horror had left most of your memories of that day foggy, but you do remember something. You remember Hermione striding up to you, looking as nervous as you felt, and grabbing your hand.
It was a simple gesture – her merely wrapping her fingers around your own – but it shocked you. No one had touched you in months, and the warmth of another human was strangely comforting. You had looked at her in a questioning disbelief. She had smiled nervously and squeezed your fingers.
At that moment, you decided that perhaps Hermione Granger wasn't just a smart-ass Gryffindor Mudlblood. Maybe, just maybe, she was something more.
That was when you decided you two could at least not hate each other.
And so you two became something like friends. You talked, owled, and met each other every week at this little café in Muggle London for tea or coffee. Her friends – Potter and Weasley – didn't like it. Especially not Weasley. But they never stopped her.
Secretly, you always fancied ripping off Weasley's head if he ever tried.
"How are you?" Her voice jerks you back to present, and you find her honey gaze with your cobalt eyes.
"Fine," is your short, concise reply. "And you?"
She smiles, ridiculously pleased that you would ask. "Great."
She brings her steaming cup of Earl Grey to her face, letting the tendrils of heat curl lazily around her smooth face. You watch, fascinated by the way she closes her eyes and sighs, the noise almost like a purr.
Since she can't see you, you allow yourself the infrequent pleasure of simply starring at her. You drink in each freckle across her nose, each ill-controlled stand of hair that has pulled itself from her braid, and each quirk of her lips as they pull into another contented grin.
In moments like these, you allow yourself to fall into dangerous and murky thoughts. Half-formed fantasies flit about you mind, flickering and ghostly as the flit about the empty spaces of your thoughts. They all center on her and the occasional white-blonde, brown-eyed child with a face that is startlingly familiar…
Her eyes open, and she is staring at you. In a knee-jerk reaction, you look away. Eye contact never was quite easy for you.
Your stare finds her hands, still curled around her cup, and from there to her fingers. Unconsciously you pull back, eyes fixed on her hand.
"Draco?" she questions your sudden movement.
You can't look at her; the object on her finger holds you rigid. Your heart is suddenly pounding, and something large and painful has lodged itself in your throat. You speak through it.
"You're getting married."
It's not a question and she knows it.
Red creeps onto her cheeks and her eyes flash to her finger. She nods. "Yes, yes I am. Ron proposed yesterday. Isn't is wonderful?" Her voice doesn't sound very happy at all, and she is looking at you like she is begging for something.
You don't respond, because you honestly can't.
Behind your eyes, an image flashes. It is your own face, reflected in that black window. Once again, you see the harsh frigidness that is you, this time un-dulled and crystal clear.
And then, even as you watch, the vision shatters. Like glass, your visage cracks and explodes, jagged pieces falling to the ground and splintering farther. Horror fills you, because you know what it means.
There had been a time when you were perfect. Pristine and beautiful in a world that had not yet marred you. But, like a long onyx pane of glass, life had shattered you. Now you were nothing but sharp and cutting fragments that could do nothing but cause pain.
How foolish you were to think she might be able to put you back together. The sharp and biting shards of your fate could not be mended, could only cut those who tried. She had tried – you think – tried to help. But she had failed.
She had failed.
You stand up so sharply that the table between you scuttles towards her, knocked by the force of your movement. Her gaze follows you, a look of shock on her face. Her mouth opens. "Draco, what in the world?"
She has the nerve to sound confused, and that draws a low and angry growl from your throat. This shocks her farther still, but it also confirms something to her. You watch as she too stands, a new glint in her eye. You know that look (you've seen it too many times) – it is the look of an angry Gryffindor, the look of righteous indignation with no reason behind it.
An idiot's fury, you think harshly.
"Sit down," she orders, hands finding their way to her hips.
You don't sit.
"I hope you're happy," you hiss, turning on your heel.
And even though you feel the shards of your life rattling in painful protest, you walk away. Anger drives you, pushing you out the door and out of her reach. Some small part of you knows that you are being foolish, but the hate and despair drown it out quickly.
Because you are Draco Malfoy, and you are sick and twisted and will not be left. Even if it is a lie, you will keep it and pretend that you are the one walking away this time. By leaving now - before she can explain, justify, and reason – you are convincing yourself that it was your choice to let it fall apart.
She had failed you, so you are leaving. Self-delusionment had always been easy for you.
You are nearly running now, your footsteps brisk and stumbling. Around you Muggles swarm like so many rats. You hate them - you hate everything.
Again, you see those broken pieces of dark glass. The broken pieces of a broken man. And you can't imagine how it could possibly be, but you feel the shards of your heart splinter all over again.
All you can hope is that, someday, this pain will just be a memory.