A/N: Is it just me, or do my one-shots keep getting longer? This one was supposed to be short, but it very quickly became a monster. So the basic idea of this was to look at four of Hermione's different relationships and how they each went wrong. At some point it actually developed a real plotline that I didn't expect. Anyway, the pairings are: Hermione/Viktor, Hermione/Ron, Hermione/Fred, and Hermione/Draco. You'll see which one wins. This is DH compliant--with one minor exception, since Fred is alive--but not epilogue-compliant, so that should tell you who the final pairing is not. I'll admit that I'm quite mean to Hermione through this, and I'll warn that there is some domestic abuse. It's not graphic or anything, but it's there. Please let me know if you find any grammatical or spelling errors, and I'm almost positive that there are tense problems somewhere. I have tense issues when its not three o'clock in the morning, so they're probably a lot worse now. Still, I did try and check, but I probably missed something. Just let me know. Reviews make the world go 'round, and enjoy!
Disclaimer: Never mine.
The first person who cheats on her is Viktor Krum. Their romance is doomed from the beginning of course, certainly not aided by her thriving feeling for Ron Weasley, but his infidelity cuts their relationship even shorter than the distance and her feelings would have.
She notices him immediately in the library. He's not hard to miss, this dark and handsome Bulgarian student being followed by a pack of giggling fangirls—with a few fanboys mixed in as well. She watches him out of the corner of her eye while her nose is buried in a book, and her cheeks burn hotly when she realizes that he is watching her just as much as she is watching him. It's a heady feeling, to be noticed by this famous man that everyone else fawns over. When he comes over and starts conversation with her it is all she can do to not stutter and to try and keep her blush down. And when he asks her to the ball all she can do is smile shyly and stutter out her answer.
The Yule Ball is her first date and it ends poorly—not because of him, but because of a red-haired idiot. But before that ending everything is perfect. Out on the balcony, as they duck into the cool air to escape the heat and catch their breath, she receives her very first kiss from the Quidditch star. It is a crisp, cool night, and the sky is dotted with stars. It's beautiful, she thinks. When they pull apart he asks her, in broken, accented English, to be his girlfriend. Dazed and flushed she pushes down her feelings for Ron—the ones that needle at her from the inside—and agrees.
When the second task rolls around and Professor McGonagall tells her that she, of all people, is the person that Viktor Krum would miss most, well…she is flattered. A little scared, but there is a nervous kind of energy in her, like butterflies in her stomach. She is important to someone. She means something to him, this handsome, kind boy. When they are alone in those few moments after the second task she stands on her tiptoes, pressing a kiss to his lips before she runs off to check on her best friends.
She gives him a kiss for luck, just before he enters the maze, just before he is placed under the Imperio by their deranged Death-Eater professor, just shortly before he attacks two of his fellow contestants.
Of course, after that, nothing is right.
She kisses him goodbye, but it is a stiff, stilted kiss. There is a faint thought inside of her that she is kissing the enemy—more of Ron's stupid perceptions rubbing off on her, she thinks—and even though she tells herself that what happened wasn't his fault she can't shake the feeling. She is worried too, about the summer, about the war that suddenly looms over their heads. But she kisses him goodbye and promises to write and they make plans to visit—plans which fall through, sure enough.
They exchange letters, but the feelings start to dwindle. He's an interesting person, but he's not so articulate, and she is wrapped up in her own little world that revolves around her best friends.
When she sees the magazine article—the one with the picture right next to it, showing him kissing the blonde bombshell who is her opposite in every way—she feels hurt and betrayed, but she's not surprised. She asks him about it in a letter and he doesn't deny it. At least he is honest, she thinks, and she tries to convince herself that it doesn't hurt that much.
After all, it's not like she loves him.
She brushes off the hurt and they continue exchanging letters, ones that are polite and friendly, and sometimes she thinks she reads a touch of regret in his words.
But he lost his chance.
It is after this first bitter ending that she enacts her policy: I, Hermione Granger, will not stay with any man who cheats on me. I am worth more than that. There are no second chances.
The second person who cheats on her is Ronald Weasley.
Viktor Krum is her first in many ways: her first date, her first kiss, her first boyfriend. He is the first boy to truly take a romantic interest in her, the first boy to look at her and truly see her as a girl rather than a walking encyclopedia.
But Ron Weasley is her first love.
She doesn't believe in love at first sight or in soul-mates or in destiny. She believes that people fall in love because they are compatible or because the conditions are right or because of their hormones. Of course, all of her clinical perceptions of love go right out the window when she actually falls in love.
She isn't sure when, exactly, she falls in love with him.
During the beginning of their first year she finds him obnoxious and annoying, crude and rude and uncivilized and she is fairly sure that she hates him. But then a dark-haired, green-eyed boy and his side-kick rescue her from a troll in a bathroom, and everything changes. He changes from the person that she despises and becomes one of her best friends.
And somewhere over the summer between her third and fourth year, her thoughts towards him change from friendship and mild aggravation to something warmer. She starts to see him in a different light. He's still the same friend she's had for three years, but now the way the light hits his hair seems so much more important. Now the way his skin is hot when he accidentally brushes her arm makes her shiver.
When Viktor comes along she is happy, but her feeling for Ron don't go away. They don't change they just…hibernate. Waiting to resurface. Which they do, after she and Viktor. They resurface with a vengeance, only intensifying.
While the world around them dissolves to war, all she wants to do is hold his hand. In between the nightmares about death eaters and people dying she dreams of kissing him. And seeing him risk his life, seeing him nearly die during the battle at the Ministry…she shivers every time she thinks of it.
Somewhere along the way she falls in love—in love, not just a crush—with him.
Seeing him with Lavender Brown, seeing her fawn over him and seeing the love-struck expression on his face makes her stomach churn. She hates every minute of their relationship, and she hates Lavender a little more with every day that it continues. She is jealous but there is nothing she can do. There are times when she wants to scream at him "I love you!" so that he'll stop looking at that blonde bimbo—just like the one that Viktor cheated on her with—and pay attention, but she keeps her mouth clamped tightly shut. She suffers through it.
It is for this reason that it hurts so much when the person he cheats on her with is none other than Lavender Brown.
She waits years for Ron to wake up and realize that she loves him. When he finally does she feels as though she is floating on cloud nine. Kissing him is better in real life than she ever could have dreamed and she loves him so much that hurts sometimes. There is a smile on her face that doesn't fade and her eyes light up every time she sees him.
But there is one fatal flaw to their relationship. She has been waiting for years, and perhaps he has too, because their relationship seems to be on fast forward. Things move so fast, progressing far beyond her relationship with Viktor in a matter of days.
She loves Ron. Loves him with all her heart, but they move so fast and he pushes her to places she isn't comfortable going yet. She stops him and he smiles and nods and says he understands. Says he'll be glad to wait for her.
But, clearly, he isn't. Three months into their relationship she walks into his bedroom and finds a naked Lavender Brown straddling him.
Viktor Krum is the first person to cheat on her.
But Ron Weasley is the first person to break her heart.
The third person to cheat on her is Fred Weasley.
Viktor is her first boyfriend. Ron is her first love.
But Fred is the one she thinks could be the One. She falls in love with Ron long before she even looks at Fred in a romantic light, and it isn't until after Ron breaks her heart that she searches for someone to put it back together again.
Fred is the person who puts her heart back together.
They seem an unlikely pair. The first time she meets him she sees him as nothing more than an upperclassman with a penchant for breaking rules—and she has always held rules in high-regard, so his complete lack of respect for them means that she fundamentally disapproves of him. Still, even she has to admit that he is funny, and he makes her laugh.
Later on, after the troll in the bathroom, she looks at Fred as one of her best friend's older brothers, and she doesn't really give him much thought other than that. When she starts spending time at the Burrow she comes into closer contact with him, but not much. She gets the image that he is loud and can't take anything seriously and that they are such complete opposites that they could never really be friends.
During her fifth year she starts to see him a little differently. She respects him for his sheer audacity in his undermining of Umbridge's authority. And, though she thinks that there are better things he could do with his life than open a joke shop, of all things, she respects him for following his dreams. She recognizes the talent of the Weasley twins as well, and there are moments in time where she finds Fred truly hilarious.
There's no one else in the world who can make her laugh the way he can. Not even George.
When the war really comes calling she finds that there is something more to him than just jokes and pranks. He can be serious.
But seeing him serious breaks her heart a little. She doesn't want to see him frown.
She wants to see him laugh.
There is a little seed of something with phenomenal potential rooted inside of her, the beginnings of the tiniest crush, which is completely overshadowed by love for Ron. And when that relationship starts she only sees Fred as a potential brother-in-law.
It is only after Ron Weasley has taken her heart and ripped it to shreds that Fred even stands a chance. After the cheating and the ensuing argument and break-up she doesn't even want to look at another man with red hair. She holes herself up in her apartment, blocking her floo, not answering her telephone, not even answering the door. Harry and Ginny come by, separately and together, and she either pretends to be somewhere else or cracks the door open wide enough to tell them that yes, I'm is still alive and yes, I'll be fine, it's okay. She doesn't want to put them in an awkward position, because Harry is her best friend but he's also his best friend, and Ginny is her best friend but is also his sister.
It's at that point, when she realizes that her only friends are caught right in the middle of her and her now ex-boyfriend, that she makes a decision to expand her circle of friends.
But she has no willpower to go out and actually find new friends. She lays in her apartment, leaving her bed only in order to curl up in a pitiful ball on the couch, consuming pints of ice cream and bar after bar of chocolate. There are heavy bags under her constantly-red eyes and she is pale, her hair limp and unwashed.
Harry and Ginny honestly do try to get her out of the house, but when they are unsuccessful they fall away, calling to check on her but failing to make any further attempts at dislodging her from her self-imposed isolation.
It is Fred Weasley who becomes her white knight.
When he comes calling she doesn't open the door. Through the closed door she tells him that she is perfectly fine but doesn't really want to see anyone. She doesn't even know what he's doing on her doorstep, since they aren't really friends. She's just the best friend of his sister and the girl whose heart his brother broke.
But Fred Weasley doesn't take 'no' for an answer. She retreats to her couch, expecting him to go away, but he instead pounds relentlessly on the door, talking to her from the other side. She ignores him, having forgotten his persistence. Eventually she hears "I really didn't want to do this, Hermione…," and then there is the sound of something in her lock. Barely a minute later the door swings open and Fred steps across her threshold, while she stares, a spoonful of ice cream stalled half-way to her mouth.
She stares and gapes and stutters out questions about what does he think he's doing? and he walks into the apartment, ignoring her. Calmly, gently, he takes the ice cream out of her hands and puts it back in the freezer. He takes her hands and walks her to the bathroom, and she is in too much of a daze to even protest. He shoves her into the bathroom with a towel and clothes that he hand-picks from her closet and when she finally gathers herself enough to question him he tells her that he's saving her. "I refuse to let you sit in your apartment all alone and mope. You're not letting an idiot like my brother destroy your life," he says, "now take a shower and get dressed. We're going out."
She follows his orders, though she doesn't quite know why. She showers and dresses and lets him take her out to dinner and then they go to a club. She lets him order her a drink and she drinks it, letting the alcohol rush to her head. She dances with guys she doesn't know, forgetting about Ron completely, and she dances with him and feels that familiar fluttering in her stomach.
After that she doesn't hide in her apartment anymore. She starts to pick up her life where she left off, but she is removed from her friends a little. She talks to Harry and Ginny, but she finds herself spending more and more time with Fred. And those same feelings that developed for Ron start to fill her again.
The first time he kisses her is on her doorstep, when their ears still ring from the club and their heads spin from one drink too many. He kisses her and then pulls back, his expression sorry. But he kisses her again anyway and then they part ways, and after that she slumps against her door, pressing her hand to her lips.
The second time he kisses her is when he takes her ice-skating. They fall hundreds of times, laughing, and when they finally stagger off the ice he kisses her. She is freezing, but his lips against hers are like fire. He pretends to have tripped, blushing all the way to his ears, but she knows better.
The third time he kisses her is on her doorstep again. There is no alcohol and their ears aren't ringing, but the sky is dark and the moon is bright and it reminds her of her very first kiss. This time he shows no apology, no regret, and his kiss is slow, deliberate, sweet. This time she realizes that she has fallen in love with him, and she begins to cry. He holds her close, asking what's wrong, and she can't put into words how scared she is that this will end the same way she and Ron did.
He kisses away her tears.
They are together for a year, and during that time she learns to trust again. She forgives Ron—although that always, always hurts—and she loves Fred. Sometimes they talk about the future; sometimes the conversations are silly, but sometimes, sometimes, they aren't. He spends more time at her apartment than at his own, and they talk about moving in together. They talk about someday, in the future, getting married.
And she is deliriously happy, but in the back of her mind she still waits for the shoe to drop. She waits for it all to shatter.
He has a ring, heavy in his pocket, and he paces back and forth, more nervous than he has ever been in his life. He has plans to propose and George takes him out for a drink, telling him that he definitely needs liquid courage if he's going to propose the next day. They go out and they drink and they drink too much. Far too much. There is a flirty girl at the bar, and Fred is a friendly person by nature, even friendlier when drunk. He tells her from the first moment she flirts with him that he has a girlfriend—that he plans to propose to said girlfriend, but she doesn't care. Especially as the drinks run out faster and faster, she doesn't care.
She kisses him. He is too far gone to deflect it before it happens, and he is too far gone to stop it. But he knows—and George knows—that it is definitely not okay and as soon as the kiss breaks off they make a hasty retreat.
The next morning he wakes to a pounding headache and a foul taste in his mouth and guilt that hangs over him like a raincloud. He doesn't want to tell Hermione. He constructs defenses: it was one kiss and it wasn't his fault, he said that he had a girlfriend but the girl did it anyway. Defenses that he uses in the argument that arises when he does tell her.
Defenses that she doesn't care about.
The only thing that matters, the only thing that she sees, that she feels, is betrayal hitting her straight in the heart again. She breaks up with him and she runs. She doesn't go to the apartment; she flees the country entirely. She loves him so much, more than she loved Ron even, but she hates him at the same time.
There is part of her that wants to stay.
She doesn't listen to that part. She holds true to her policy.
I, Hermione Granger, will not stay with any man who cheats on me. I am worth more than that. There are no second chances.
Viktor Krum is the first boy and Ron is the first love and Fred is her white knight.
Viktor is the first to cheat and Ron is the one to rip her heart out and Fred is the one to mend her heart and then break it all over again.
Fred is the one to sit at a bar, staring at a sparkling diamond ring and calling himself a hundred different kinds of idiot.
The last person who cheats on her is Draco Malfoy.
Viktor Krum is first in every way, Ron is the first love and the second to cheat and the first to break her heart, and Fred is the second love but he is the one who would stick around. Ron is the first to destroy her and Fred is the first to save her and Draco Malfoy is the one who will destroy her completely.
Draco Malfoy is the one who will destroy her almost beyond the point of repair.
After her break-up with Fred she literally flees the country. She is sick of England, with its rain and its cold and its heartbreak, and by god, she is sick of men with red hair. She is sick of a lot of things and she needs a change. She doesn't hole herself up in her apartment, not this time.
This time she refuses to stop living just because she wants to cry every second of the day. Fred taught her that much.
She stands in the airport, staring up at the list of flights that are leaving soon. She wants to go and she wants to go now. She doesn't want to stay in the place where her heart has been broken twice already any longer than she has to. There are maybe thirty flights leaving within an hour and she reads the destinations: New York, Philadelphia, Bangkok, Los Angeles, Hong Kong, Sydney, Paris….
Her eyes linger on Sydney. After the war ended her parents chose to stay in Australia, and she could visit them. Australia is bright and sunny and warm and people speak English and she at least knows someone. She hasn't visited her parents in a while and she could stay with them. It would be a change from the cold misery of England.
But ultimately, she finds herself on a plane to Paris. She doesn't want the warm, soft pity that she will find in her parents' eyes. She doesn't want familiar faces. She has good memories of France, memories that are untouched by Weasleys or Krums or even Potters.
She stays there for months, renting a flat in Paris and losing herself in the throngs of people who walk down the streets, letting the foreign language flow around her, washing away her traces of heartbreak. She ignores the letters that come for her, burning the ones that come from Fred and Ron and Viktor without even reading them. The ones that come from Harry and Ginny she reads but lets fall to the floor, unanswered. The ones that come from Neville or Luna, those she responds to every once in a while, as a way of letting her friends know that she hasn't offed herself.
She thinks about making the move permanent. She feels out-of place in Paris, just a touch off-kilter, because it isn't home, but the thought of not having to hide in order to avoid the people she knows makes her very happy.
It is, of course, at this point in time that she literally walks into Draco Malfoy on a street in Paris. Her attention is distracted and she doesn't notice him until she has walked into him; they both lose their balance and stumble backwards. Her hands scrape against the concrete and she looks up, an apology dying on her lips when she looks into his oh-so-familiar gray eyes.
Her mouth drops open and for one moment in time she desperately wants to cry.
The look on his face is one of confusion and then widening recognition. He stands before she does and as he looms over her there is a flash of something she doesn't understand in his eyes. For a moment she thinks he is going to spit on her, kick her while she is down, make a jab and then walk away laughing. Instead he offers his hand, a little smile on his lips. A smile, not a smirk, and she's not sure that she has ever seen him smile before.
It's that smile which makes her heart flutter a little. It's that smile that makes her place her hand in his own. He pulls her to his feet, making a little quip: "Fancy running into you here, Granger." He offers to buy her a cup of coffee, and there is something inside of her that makes her agree. She leads him to a little café, where they sit and they talk, and she realizes that he has grown up. He explains that he is in Paris on business, a trip that lasts two weeks, and asks her what brings her to France. She makes a hasty little explanation pulled out of her arse but he doesn't question it. He smiles at her and sips his coffee and changes the subject. They talk and they argue and he makes her laugh.
It is the first time she truly laughs since breaking up with Fred.
His business trip ends up being extended another week, and she spends every day of those three weeks with him.
The first time he kisses her is on top of the Eiffel Tower, as the sun sinks below the horizon. She is glad that the sky is smeared orange and red, rather than velvety black. She is glad that the sun is sinking down and that the moon and stars are still hidden from sight. It makes things different. She's glad for different.
And when he returns to England she somehow finds herself sitting in the plane seat next to him, smiling at him rather than looking out the window to see her home come back into sight.
Draco is different from those who come before him. Viktor is silent and strong and their relationship is largely based on physical attraction that never progresses beyond kisses and letters. Ron is short-tempered and loud and bordering on rude, but he is her friend and she knows that he can be sweet and kind and brave. Fred is loud and vibrant and friendly and loving and he makes her laugh; he is sweet and kind and gentle and so full of life, bright and intelligent.
Even when she is with Draco, she still misses Fred.
Even when she is with Draco, she still loves him.
Draco is fundamentally different from all the rest. He is cool and calm and collected, suave and sophisticated. He is gentle with her, at first, but later he is passionate and intense and almost demanding.
So intense that sometimes, sometimes, he scares her.
Even when she thinks that she is in love with him she can't help comparing him to Fred. She can't help but think to herself that where Fred always makes her feel safe and comfortable, Draco sometimes makes her feel uneasy. That when Fred touches her she never wants him to stop, but when Draco does she sometimes wants to recoil.
She loves him, although sometimes she doesn't want to. Their relationship changes, little by little. He changes. He is so suave and collected in public, fawning over her, acting like a man in love. But in private he picks at her confidence, picks at her little by little, like a person picking at a scab. And sometimes his fingers clutch her so tightly they leave bruises; sometimes his nails dig in so hard that she bleeds, and its not in passion. It feels more like cold fury than passionate love.
It scares her.
It's the beginning of the deterioration of their relationship. On the outside she puts on a happy face, but on the inside she feels more and more like there is something wrong with her, like she isn't good enough. It's a mind game he plays with her, to make her feel inferior, and on a Hermione Granger who hadn't been heart-broken so many times it wouldn't have worked. But on her, it does.
The first time he truly hurts her it's an accident. At least, that's what he tells her and that's what she believes. He doesn't hit her, but what he does is worse. She finds a bra that certainly doesn't belong to her beneath the bed and she goes flying into a rage when he gets home, screaming at him, throwing the bra at him. He storms across the room and grabs her roughly by the arm, then twists it behind her back. He slams her roughly against the wall and her head slams against it. Her vision fills with black spots and stars—like her first kiss, like her kiss with Fred—and she whimpers. She doesn't have her wand and she isn't sure she would use it if she did have it. She begs him to let go of her, because he's hurting her. He doesn't yell but his voice is so dangerous, venomous and low and it brings tears to her eyes.
There's part of her that feels like she deserves to be treated this way.
Later he apologizes and promises nothing like it will ever happen again and he brings her flowers and looks at her with such honesty in his eyes that she forgives him. But that is the beginning.
The second time he hurts her he does hit her. The argument is stupid and pointless and meaningless, but it ends with her on the floor, holding her cheek and staring up at him. He stands over her, heaving, his hands balled into fists. Then his expression changes to horror and he is on the floor next to her, hands reaching out for her. She flinches but he touches her gently and then he holds her and whispers sorry and she tries to believe him, but wonders if he really changed at all from school, or if the man she fell in love with is really just an act.
It is about a week after he hits her that she runs into Fred Weasley while walking through London. She knows that she can't always avoid him, but she had been hoping that she could hold out forever. He sees her and his course automatically moves to intercept her. He catches her gaze and she tries to smile and the look on his face shifts subtly. She recognizes concern in his eyes, and her heart skips a beat.
He comes to stand in front of her and he smiles and he says hello and they exchange polite greetings and they stand there awkwardly. Finally he grins a little and tilts his head and asks her if she's hungry at all. She's not really and she knows that she should just walk away, but she accepts his invitation and she finds herself sitting at a table across from him in the Leaky Cauldron. They talk and for a moment it feels like it did in the past. But then she sees that concern in his eyes again and he leans forwards.
"'Mione," he says, and the nickname makes her shiver, "where'd you get that bruise on your cheek?"
Her hand flies to her face and her eyes shift away and she makes up some excuse that she can see he doesn't believe. And she stutters out something about being busy and really having to go and she stands to flee. He catches her arm and turns her towards him and she stares into his eyes, caught. His eyes are worried and concerned and angry—but not at her—and she can see love in them that makes her want to throw herself into his arms.
Instead she pulls away and turns and gets as far away as possible.
The third time Draco Malfoy truly hurts her—the last time—is about a month after she has lunch with Fred. She walks into the living room and hears familiar, unwelcome sounds coming from the bedroom. She knows exactly what it means and she can barely control himself. She wants to storm in there and scream at him; she wants to turn around and walk away and just leave, but a little of the old Hermione comes alive again and she finds herself sitting stiffly on the couch, listening to the moans with her teeth ground together.
Eventually the door cracks open and a shapely brunette emerges. The woman pauses in the doorway when she sees Hermione, blushes, and then rushes for the door. Draco emerges after her and stops to stare. She stands, her hands clutching the back of the couch. She glares at him, full of cold anger, hurt drumming inside of her. "Having fun?" She asks with a sneer, which he returns.
She brushes past him, stalking into the bedroom where she pulls a suitcase from under the bed and begins to throw her belongings in it. "What the hell do you think you're doing?" He asks her, still in the doorway.
"Leaving," she shoots back, and then he is next to her, grabbing her, telling her that she is not under any circumstances leaving. She struggles against his grip and his fist catches her in the cheek. She falls onto the bed, struck by a sense of déjà vu, of another time when she looked up with hurt eyes.
This time, though, she has her wand.
She has always been a brilliant witch, and at this point in time she has had just about enough of being hurt. She stuns him and she hexes him and with a flick of a wand her suitcase is packed and she is leaving. She leaves crying, one cheek red, one hand clutching her suitcase, the other clutching her wand. She is a quivering mess, shaking, and she doesn't know where to turn.
Once again, for a last time, she feels completely alone in the world.
She ends up at the Leaky Cauldron, stumbling in and heading straight for Tom, who takes one long look at her and reels backwards. He asks her in a jumble of questions what happened and is she okay? and is there anything he can do for her; she chokes back a sob, touched by his simple concern for her, and asks for a room. He complies quickly, leading her to an empty room, and before he leaves he asks her if there's anyone she wants him to call. For a moment there is an answer on the tip of her tongue, but then she clamps her mouth shut and shakes her head and closes the door.
It's not even ten minutes later that there is a knock on the door. She contemplates not answering it, but then she drags herself out of bed and shuffles to the door and pulls it open, the words I'm fine Tom, really, already half-way out. The words shrivel to nothing when she sees who is at the door, and after a moment of speechlessness she launches herself, sobbing desperately, into the arms of Fred Weasley.
He catches her and holds her close. He carries her into the room, kicking the door closed behind him, and he carries her to the bed, managing to get her to sit. He keeps one arm wrapped tightly around her as she sobs into his chest; the other hand touches her cheek lightly and she can see the anger reflecting in his eyes. He mutters something about "killing and stuffing a bloody ferret" and he casts a healing charm. She feels silly that she didn't remember such a simple thing and that makes her cry harder. He holds her and he smoothes her hair and he whispers to her that he won't let anyone hurt her ever again.
And when her sobs finally subside she tilts her head up and looks him in the eye and whispers "I love you" and then she is kissing him. It is in a dingy room and she can taste the saltiness of her own tears but this kiss is every bit as good as the kiss on her doorstep where she realized she loved him.
She realizes now that she never stopped.
This time she's not afraid, and he kisses away her tears for a second time.
It is at this point in time that she abandons her policy. Some people are worthy of second chances.
Viktor Krum is the first boy to ever kiss her, and Ron Weasley is the first person to ever have her love, and Draco Malfoy is the first and only man to ever hit her.
But Fred Weasley is the only man to ever get a second chance.
Viktor Krum is the first boyfriend and Ron Weasley is the first love. Draco Malfoy is the destroyer and Fred Weasley is the white knight.
Fred Weasley is the one who gets down on one knee four weeks after they get back together, holding out a diamond ring that he has had hidden in the bottom of his drawer for over a year, waiting for a second chance. He does it without the 'liquid courage' this time.
Viktor Krum is first and Ron Weasley is second. Draco Malfoy is fourth.
But Fred Weasley is third and fifth and last and always.
A/N 2: I'm mean to Draco and I know it. I didn't really expect this to turn out to be Fred/Hermione, but what can I say?
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