A few things to know before you read:
This story takes place three years after book seven.
Everything in the book happened except for Ron and Hermione getting together. In this story they have only been together for about a year and a half.
I think that's it.
Enjoy & Review :)
It was an ordinary day in Muggle London. Busy shoppers walked up and down the sidewalk in the nearby shopping district, gazing at window displays and contemplating exactly how to spend the money that was burning a hole in their pocket. This was the third day in a row that Hermione had sat on her balcony watching muggles enter stores and exit an hour or so later carrying numerous bags. It was a week before Christmas, and everyone was rushing to get all of their holiday shopping done. It seemed this particularly applied to young males.
Hermione sighed and stirred the coffee that she held in her hand with a small metal spoon. She knew she had to get something for Ron, she just didn't know what. Since when had shopping for her boyfriend become so difficult? She had everyone else's gift picked out and wrapped months ago.
This particular year she had decided to get everyone a muggle gift. This was out of convenience—she did live in Muggle London after all—but also because she had grown to prefer muggle things over most items that came from the magical world. In fact, for the past two years she had began using less and less magic. She still worked at the Department of Ministries, sure, but she truly used her wand only out of necessity. Hermione couldn't pin point exactly when she stopped enjoying magic, which was strange really, but she brushed it off. Things change, after all.
Hermione sighed once more, got up from her chair, and entered her flat through the glass sliding door. She walked into the kitchen and sat her white coffee mug beside the sink. Then, she walked to the closet and retrieved a long, red coat with numerous black buttons lined down the front. She put it on, buttoned it up, and then walked out her front door into the cool air. The bustle was just how it had been when she was looking down from her balcony, only the people no longer looked like tiny ants. It was more intimidating this way. She walked down the stone steps that led from her house to the street and began thinking about where to go first.
Clothes were always a safe choice, so she walked a block to the right until she reached a men's clothing store. Many middle-aged women were in the store, being helped by gray-haired men in perfectly pressed suits. Hermione shook her head. She wouldn't find anything for Ron in there.
Across the street was an electronics store, and Hermione figured it couldn't hurt to have a look. Ron had always been fascinated by muggle electronics. She waited until traffic was clear, and then crossed the street quickly. As she was stepping onto the sidewalk in front of the store, the toe of her right shoe scuffed against the top of the curb. Hermione stumbled forward and knocked into a passerby.
"I am so sorry!" she said, though her voice was muffled by the hair that was currently covering her face. It was one of the few moments when she actually liked her hair, for it covered the blush that crept over her cheeks.
"Are you okay?" a male voice answered. The voice was familiar, but not enough for her to instantly recognize who it was. She flipped her hair out of her face and found herself staring at a pale face with blonde hair and grey eyes.
"Hermione?" The man asked, surprising her so much that her eyes widened. It had to be Draco Malfoy, but he had just used her first name. Not Mudblood, not Granger, but Hermione. Not only that, but he looked genuinely happy to see her. Something incredibly strange was going on.
"Did you just call me Hermione?" she asked incredulously. Draco smirked.
"That is your name, is it not?" he drawled.
"Well, yes, but…" she trailed off. It seemed she didn't know what to say to him. She hadn't seen him since the war had ended, and then they had been the farthest thing from being on good terms. What had changed?
"Are you imperioused?" she blurted out suddenly. His smirk turned into the faintest of smiles.
"Not that I'm aware of," he said.
Hermione stared at him for a moment and then brushed past him and headed toward the entrance of the store.
"I have a lot of Christmas shopping to do," she called as politely as she could behind her. Whatever Malfoy was doing, she was sure it was some trick, and she refused to fall for it. The further away he was, the better she felt.
She walked into the store and headed for the iPod nanos. When she stopped walking she noticed that he had followed her. What was his problem? Was it not enough that he had made her years in school miserable?
"What do you want, Malfoy?" she asked, spinning around to face him.
"Christmas presents, huh?" he asked, ignoring her questions. "Anyone in particular?"
Hermione picked up an orange iPod and pretended to be incredibly interested in the blank screen.
"Ron, if you must know," she answered. Draco scoffed.
"Are you and the weasel dating now?" he asked in mocking voice. "How cute."
Hermione sat the iPod down and looked up at him.
"May I ask why you're following me?" she asked, annoyed.
Draco ran his index finger down the side of the iPod she had just sat down.
"Who said I was?" he asked. "Maybe I wanted to buy…" he looked at the sign above the display, "an iPod for someone special."
Hermione held back a scoff.
"You hate muggle things," she said pointedly. "Just like you hate muggles and muggle-borns."
Draco looked up at her.
"Not all of them," he muttered.
This day was getting a little too strange for Hermione. She wanted to ask 'who are you and what have you done with Draco Malfoy?', but she didn't. She was still convinced this was some sort of ploy.
"Right," she said clearing her throat. "Well, I don't see anything Ron will like, I better check somewhere else."
She walked quickly back to the sidewalk, and began walking to her left. She glanced behind her, but Draco wasn't there. A sigh of relief escaped her lips and she continued down the street, looking in stores for anything that looked like Ron. She passed twenty-eight buildings (yes, she counted) before giving up. Maybe today just wasn't the right day for shopping. Tomorrow would be better, she was sure of it.
She trudged back to her flat—for her feet were tired from all the walking—and walked up the stone steps. She had the strangest feeling of being watched and she turned around to see if anyone was staring at her. Across the road, a pale, blonde man was walking quickly around the corner. Hermione noted that he was in too much of a hurry to be just another holiday shopper.