Every step I've taken has led me here to where you are
But all that I believe in is keeping me from seeing too far
Throwing out the questions, waiting for the right reply
Looking for the answers, tell me will it be tonight?
Whenever she didn't know something, Hermione insisted on finding out the answer. As a child, her mother had always teased at her, "Curiosity killed the cat, darling." To which her father had always replied, "Well, it's a very good thing that our Hermione isn't a cat then." It had irritated her at the time, because she couldn't understand how wanting to know more could possibly be a bad thing. It had only been at Hogwarts that she had finally begun to understand, because (though she would never admit it to anyone),
Hermione had always been curious about Draco Malfoy.
There was something about him that drew her attention; it wasn't his looks or money – Merlin knew that she could care less about those – and for sometime, she had thought it to be to the way he carried himself. (Confidence was always attractive in the opposite sex.) For sometime, that had been enough to satisfy her curiosity. However, there was more to it and the question poked at her from the depths of her mind. And if there was one thing Hermione Granger was known for, it was never letting something go unanswered.
It happened the night when she had been uncharacteristically smashed at Ron's party.
His engagement party. To Pansy Parkinson.
The woman he had left Hermione for, mind you.
Now while she prided herself on keeping an open mind, it was just something Hermione could not wrap her head around. One day she had been in her fairy tale relationship – certain that Ron would pop the question any day – and the next he had been telling her that he had met someone else. (He had conveniently left out that it was the former Slytherin Slut at the time.) The night had ended with her throwing every curse she could think of at him, minus the Unforgivable ones (though the thought had crossed her mind).
It had taken her nearly a month before she spoke to him again.
She had received the owl about his engagement only a week after.
(Ron had never quite mastered the sensitivity thing.)
Hermione had shown up, of course. Ron was her friend and she was ever doomed to be the loyal and caring friend. She, however, had found herself in an unsocial mood after only ten minute of watching the happy couple and had settled for sitting at the bar instead. Ignoring the responsible part of her brain, she had consumed more drinks that she cared to admit.
Draco Malfoy had appeared at some part of the night. He had noticed her only after getting his drink. Eyeing her once over, he made some snide remark, which (for reasons she still could not fathom) had sounded particularly funny at that moment and she had laughed. Hermione Granger had (in a non-insulting manner) laughed at one of Draco Malfoy's comments – had she been sober, she would have been shocked. Instead, she had only found his shock vastly amusing and laughed harder.
"Granger…" She could see the wheels turning as he watched her take a sip of her drink. An amused smirk tugged at the corner of his lips. "Are you sloshed?"
She still wasn't completely sure what had happened that night. Everything blurred together and she could only vaguely remember him enjoying his own drinks with her.
The next morning Hermione woke up hung over and naked in a bed that wasn't hers.
It only took one glance at the blonde laying asleep beside her for Hermione to apparate back to her flat, where she collapsed onto the living room floor. Her heart pounded in rhythm with her throbbing head as she tried to piece together what exactly had happened.
She had been smashed and lost control of her better judgment. The part of her that had been curious about him had taken over. But it didn't make sense because he hadn't been drunk, at least not to the degree that she had been. He shouldn't have allowed for it to happen, no matter how wasted she had been, because she was Hermione Granger and he was Draco bloody Malfoy. They were from two completely different worlds – she lived alone in Muggle London and he with his parents and Astoria at the Malfoy Manor.
Hermione's eyes widened and her heard skipped a beat. Astoria.
How could she have forgotten the younger woman? She had covered the Daily Prophet for weeks a few years ago. Right after finishing her Hogwarts schooling, the Slytherin had married into the Malfoy family. Had married Draco Malfoy – was married to Draco Malfoy.
Merlin's Beard, she had slept with a married man.
Hermione suddenly felt as if she were going to be sick.
She needed to take something and tried to recall if she had any potions that could help her. Remembering the one she kept for those nights when she would have to pick up Harry or (more likely) Ron when they had had too much to drink, she began to stand, only to fall back into a puddle on the floor. Her cheeks burned with Hermione realized exactly how sore her legs still were from her previous, er, activities.
She shook it off, however. It was nothing that a simple Accio couldn't fix and she reached for her wand that she had tucked away in her robes last night…only to be met with her own bare skin instead. Her eyes widened and Hermione glanced down only to realize that she had woken up nude and in her attempt to escape this morning, she had forgotten to gather her robes. And her wand.
Merlin, how could she make such an idiotic mistake?
She would just simply apparate back and gather her things and disapperate against before he noticed her. A frown tugged at her lips and Hermione immediately shook her head and tossed the idea. Apparition was dangerous with a clear mind – it was a miracle that she had been able to return to her flat in her current condition without splinching herself. Moreover, she couldn't exactly appear on the doorsteps of the Malfoy Manor and ask for her clothes and wand back.
"Good morning Mr. and Mrs. Malfoy, would you mind if I came in for a moment? You see, even though I'm Harry Potter's Mudblood best friend, Draco and I spent the night together last night… Oh, I know he is married, but we were both incredibly smashed and it didn't mean anything. I just need to sneak into his room and get my things – don't worry, I'll make sure Astoria doesn't see me."
Hermione didn't have to have a clear head to know that wouldn't go over well.
Besides, she highly doubted he would have taken her to the Manor. It would have been too easy to be caught by a house elf or another Malfoy. They had to have been at another one of his estates – Merlin knew he probably had several. But she hadn't exactly taken in the scenery, so she had no idea where to even begin to imagine where they could have been, much less how to get there.
The sun was beginning to rise, peaking through the curtains of her windows. The (Muggle) Grandfather Clock chimed seven times and Hermione winced, the throbbing of her head refusing to be overlooked any longer. Taking a deep breath, she used the coffee table to support herself and stood up, despite the protest of her sore body. Even with the aid of furniture and the wall, it still took Hermione quite a bit longer than she would have preferred to reach her bathroom. (Merlin, exactly how much had she had to drink last night?)
It didn't, however, take her long to find the potion in her cabinet. It wasn't a particularly large bottle, but it was a bright purple color, so it was easy to spot. She only took a sip and nearly spit it back out. The thing tasted bloody awful – no wonder Harry and Ron complained when she gave it to them. Nevertheless, the pounding of her head beat out her taste buds and she wrinkled her nose as she downed the remainder of the potion. It took a couple of moments for it to kick in, but once it did, she felt a warm feeling tingle down her body and the throbbing pain in her head faded.
Any pleasure Hermione felt in the hang over fading quickly faded when caught sight of herself in the mirror. The bun she had tied had fallen out and her hair bushed out horribly for even her and her make up was half faded, her lipstick smudged down her lips to her chin. Both of which paled in comparison to the mark on her neck. Infuriated, she slammed the cabinet shut and let out a frustrated scream.
The bastard had given her a bloody hickey!
Once she finally calmed down, Hermione realized that the safest way to contact Malfoy was by owl. Unfortunately, she had never actually gotten around to purchasing one because she rarely needed it. The only ones she had ever needed to contact from home were Harry and Ron and she could always just apparate to their flats. If she ever needed to owl anyone, she had always just apparated to the post.
After a quick cleaning spell (because while she would have preferred a shower – a long, hot one at that – she had more urgent matters to tend to), Hermione changed into a set of robes that covered her neck. She pulled her hair into a messy ponytail and found a piece of blank parchment to write on. She paused before her quill could reach it, not sure exactly how one approached such a situation. She bit her lip and stared at the parchment for several moments before shaking her head down and scribbling Would appreciate it if you would return my belongings. – H.G.. She stuck it in an envelope, wrote his name on it, and apparated away.
Hermione hadn't even taken two steps from the apparition spot before she heard him from behind her. "Bit warm to be so covered, don't you think, Granger?" She could practically hear him smirking. How he could tease her so casually now was beyond her.
Half infuriated, half flustered, she didn't turn to face him. "What are you doing here, Malfoy?" She glanced around her, making sure that no one was watching them. One couldn't be friends with Harry for so many years and not develop a slight paranoia as well.
"Sending a package, of course." She didn't have to face him to know he was rolling his eyes and Hermione immediately felt foolish for not realizing that he would use an owl that could not be traced back to him so easily. "You see, I woke up this morning to find that some foolish witch left her wand along with some other belongings at one of my estates." He held a parcel in front of her, which she immediately snatched.
"I'm sure she was simply overwhelmed given her situation." There was a slight bulge in the wrapping that Hermione assumed to be her wand and she fingered it through the paper, not daring to open the package in a public area, despite how few people were there to witness.
"I can't imagine why, since she was the one throwing herself at me."
Had her cheeks not been so red, Hermione would have turned around and shown him exactly what she would like to throw at him. "She probably had far too much to drink." She said instead, took a deep breath, and gave her cheeks a moment to return to normal color before finally facing him. "Besides, I can't imagine why you wouldn't stop her given that you have a loving and devoted wife at home, Malfoy."
His smirk immediately faded and a glare replaced it. He took a step closer to her and the Gryffindor in her refused to step back. "Do not be so quick to talk about things you know nothing about, Granger."
He apparated away before she had the chance to ask figure out what exactly that meant.
The first thing Hermione did once she apparated back into her flat was check her wand for any hexes Malfoy might have placed. She doubted he would have, but one could never be too careful when dealing with the former Slytherin. Once she was satisfied that he had done nothing to her wand, she opened the rest of the package to toss the clothing into her laundry hamper. She would wash them first and then decide if she really wanted to keep them or if they lingered with too many unspoken memories.
An envelope fell from the bundle and landed at her feet. Her eyes widened and her breath hitched when she picked it up and found her name written in perfect penmanship (which was a rather ridiculous notion – it had been stuffed between her things, who else could it have possibly been for?). Instinct was telling her to toss it – if he couldn't tell her to her face at the post, it couldn't possibly be good – but her curiosity got the better of her and she opened it.
Inside was a delicate silver bracelet with a single charm of a book; it was simple – there were no intricate patterns on rare gems imbedded in – yet at the same time, there was something about it that nearly took her breath away. The note inside read that it was a portkey to one of his estates and gave the exact time and date when it would activate. She read the letter twice, thrice; it said so little and yet so very much. Anger built in the pits of her stomach and she tossed the letter into the trash bin along with the bracelet.
How dare he insinuate that she would do that again. He was married for Merlin's sake!
But not happily. It seemed that something had gone astray in his marriage to Astoria and Malfoy's words rang in her ears.
"Do not be so quick to talk about things you know nothing about, Granger."
Had their marriage been arranged? It wouldn't have surprised her. She had once read that it wasn't uncommon for parents to choose their children's spouse in pureblood families. It would make sense. While the Malfoys were still among the richest in Britain, their name had been slandered because of the war. At the same time, she had heard that the Greengrass family had taken an incredible financial blow after the war. A union of the two pureblood families would be a perfect solution to both problems.
Except for maybe the two who had actually gotten married.
When she thought about it, Hermione couldn't remember Malfoy and Astoria ever actually acknowledging each other. Granted, she had rarely seen Malfoy outside of class and the witch had been at least two years below them. But even when Hermione had seen him out of class, they had never been together; he had always been with Crabbe or Goyle or Pansy. As far as she knew, the only one Malfoy had dated during Hogwarts was Parkinson and (a tug pulled at her heart) Hermione knew all too well who that particular witch was with now.
She glanced at the bracelet, sitting on the letter she had thrown into the bin. Had it been someone else in her situation, Hermione would have been screaming at her to throw the bloody thing out the window. It was a horrible idea, incredibly stupid really, to even consider going back to him. She meant nothing to him. It went against everything she believed in, but Hermione picked up the bracelet, curious, because of all the witches he could possibly have,
She didn't see Ron or Pansy again until Harry's birthday, two weeks later. It was awful of her, but Hermione had done her best to avoid the happy couple; everyone knew it too, but no one dared to mention it. Of course, they all assumed it was because he had left her for the Slytherin, but that wasn't the whole reason (though it was a very large part). Ron had cheated on her with Pansy Parkinson and it had torn her entire world into shreds. It had taken her weeks to stop crying and to realize that he no longer loved her.
Yet Hermione was considering doing the same to Astoria. To tear her world – her marriage – apart.
Astoria and Malfoy relationship was rooted deeper than hers and Ron's had been. She had only been hoping he would propose; while Astoria and Malfoy had already taken that step and beyond. They had vowed themselves to each other. But they weren't in love; they weren't happy together, not like Hermione and Ron had been. Astoria didn't love Malfoy the way Hermione had loved Ron.
She fingered the bracelet tucked away in her pocket.
"Of course then Hermione found out and wouldn't let us." Ron was in the middle of telling Pansy and Ginny some story from their third year.
"You're lucky I wouldn't. It was a stupid idea and you have had had detention for weeks if you had been caught. Months if it had been Snape." She didn't have to know which story he was telling to know it was foolish; most of the situations he got himself into were.
"It was not stupid! Besides, we wouldn't have been caught." Ron argued. "You just don't know how to have any fun."
"I beg to differ. Just because I didn't find your stupid antics amusing doesn't mean I don't know how to have fun. There are other ways to enjoy one self."
"That don't involve books?" Ron scoffed. "Face it Hermione, you were always kind of a bore."
"I was not." She bit the inside of her cheek to avoid raising her voice, refusing to let Ron know he getting to her.
"You know, we Slytherins always used to wonder if Granger really was as much of a goody-good as she came off to be. There were some who were so sure she wasn't always." Pansy interrupted and Hermione shot her a look to let the witch know she wasn't welcome in their conversation.
If he noticed, Ron paid no attention to it, instead focusing his attention on Pansy. "They were bloody idiots. She always had to have perfect reasons. Hermione's never done anything stupid and reckless just because she could."
It was on the tip of her tongue to remind Ron that she had dated him for Merlin knew how many years, but Ginny smacked him first and told him to shut up. Harry used to the moment to change the subject to something Lily (his and Ginny's four year old, who was staying with her grandmother for the evening) had done the other day. Hermione didn't say anything more, but bit her lip.
She wasn't that uptight, was she?
The bracelet in her pocket felt a lot heavier.
There was a small café right outside of Muggle London that Hermione went to when she needed to think or be alone. It was a Wizarding café, but very few actually knew about it because of its location, so she rarely had to worry about running into someone. She had only found it out of pure luck after needing to clear her head once when she had had a row with Ron.
She shook her head and followed the host to a table. It would do her no good to think of such things now. Once she was seated, she ordered a cup of tea and a slice of crumb cake, which promptly appeared in front of her. Stirring in one spoon of cream and one of sugar, she sighed.
Hermione only had a week left before the portkey would activate and she had yet to come to a decision. She knew it shouldn't be this hard. The answer should be plain and simple – no. It was horrible of her to even be considering it this long. Yet she was, so very much. She had spent the past three weeks bouncing between wanting to do it (because deny as much as she did, she was curious) and knowing she shouldn't.
She had pulled out every old issue of The Prophet she had (Hermione hadn't thrown any away since Hogwarts) and confirmed her suspicions. The Malfoy and the Greengrass families had arranged the marriage as soon as they felt the effects of the war. It had been the event of the century and The Prophet had covered every detail down to the flower arrangements. But it hadn't said anything about the actual bride or groom or their feelings about the wedding. They were pureblooded children and probably expected to do whatever would benefit their families and their bloodlines best. (It made Hermione glad that she had been born of Muggle parents and thus sparing her from such a horrible fate.)
It hadn't been a marriage of love, at least on Malfoy's side; that much had been clear after their encounter at the post. But she still had little to no knowledge of Astoria's side. Even if she hadn't loved him at the time, Hermione was sure that the witch had to have at least grown fond of her husband over the years. It wouldn't have surprised her if Astoria had fallen in love with him, actually. But then again, she could resent him and his family for forcing her into a life she had no say in (Merlin knew Hermione would have).
If only there was a way she could know how the younger witch felt.
But there wasn't and her answer was as obvious.
Hermione put her cup down and sighed, her mind made. Unless there was something that proved to her that Astoria did not care for her husband, there was no one that Hermione could do anything. She couldn't imagine doing to anyone what Ron and Pansy had done to her, not too long ago. She was a horrible person for even considering it for this long.
Fate must have been on her side that day (or very possibly against her), because just as Hermione was ready to leave, she caught a glimpse of blonde hair out of the corner of her eye. At first, she had thought it to be Malfoy, but it only took her a moment to realize that that was not the case – not the Malfoy she had originally thought, at least.
Sitting at a secluded table, across from Astoria Greengrass-Malfoy, was a man with dark skin and high cheekbones. It took Hermione a moment to recognize him – it had been years since she had last seen him – but once she did, there was no doubt about it; it was Blaise Zabini that was with Astoria. They sat stiffly up and far enough from each other that it was almost awkward. His hands were toying with his glass of wine and hers were hidden under the table. And if her past month had been passed differently, Hermione might not have caught the shine in Astoria's eyes or softness in Blaise's smile. But it hadn't, and Hermione knew that not only did Astoria not love her Malfoy,
She was having her own affair.
Their marriage was completely loveless.
Suddenly Hermione felt like she was back to the beginning.
Hermione paced across the room, fingering the bracelet that rested on her left wrist.
She hated the feeling that came with leaving something undone until the last minute. She had always seen it as unnecessary stress. In school, she had always done her assignments early so that she wouldn't have to worry when the deadline approached; she had always revised, but never had to worry about whether or not it would be completed. So when she was down to two hours before the portkey activated, Hermione was going mad.
She couldn't even count how many times she had tossed the bracelet into the trash, only to dig it out again. (Well, actually, she had counted – twenty-two times – but that wasn't the point.) It wasn't like her; Hermione did not wait until the last minute – she made logical decisions from the start. Logically, there were a million reasons for her not to go, starting with him being Draco Malfoy and ending with him being married. But in the depths of her mind, the unanswered question poked at her. What was it about him? Why did he want her? And why did she even care?
Hermione bit her lip and tossed the bracelet into the trash bin.
She did not care.
A moment passed.
She sighed and picked it back up, her mother's words ringing in her years after all these years.
"Curiosity killed the cat, darling"
It figured that curiosity would be the end of Hermione Granger.
That and Draco Malfoy.
It would be so much easier if she had something to aid her. Books had always helped her during Hogwarts. Make fun of her as they did, Harry and Ron would have been at loss had she not spent so much of her time in the library. However, there were no books on this particular subject that could be of assistance to her (she had checked). Moreover, it wasn't as if she knew many witches who had admitted to sleeping with married wizards, much less any who would be honest about the subject.
But there was one person she knew she could count on being painfully blunt with her.
Granted, Hermione and Ron hadn't been married, but they had been serious (or at least she had been) when Pansy had entered the picture. It would be justifiable for Hermione to want answers from the witch who had taken everything from her. It, however, would also mean having to possibly hear a detailed description of Ron and Pansy's formerly secret relationship, which Hermione wasn't entirely sure she was ready for.
She shook her head, a few pieces of her bushy hair falling from her loose ponytail as she did; she was being absolutely ridiculous. She was going to have to see the other witch at some point or another; there was no avoiding her if she really was a part of Ron's life now. Hermione would have to come to terms with Pansy eventually, so she might as well use the other witch to her advantage.
Taking a deep breath, she summoned her Gryffindor courage and apparated to the flat that had once been hers.
Hermione wasn't sure what exactly she had been expecting Parkinson to be doing – certainly not sifting through books on the Dark Arts or plotting ways to some fortune, as her old schoolmates might have once expected if they were in her situation – but laying on a couch, reading a some bridal magazine, certainly was not it. (Which, really, did make perfect sense for her to be doing considering she was engaged to get married.) And judging by her jump, Hermione apparating into her flat on a Friday evening was not what Pansy had been expecting.
"Granger?" The witch stood up, straightening her robes. "Ron's not here right now."
"I know." He would still be at the Joke Shop. After all her years with him, Hermione knew his schedule probably better than he did. "I'm not here to speak to Ronald. I actually wanted a word with you."
"Is that so?" Pansy eyed Hermione's wand, her hands slipping into the pocket that probably contained her own.
"I'm not going to hex you, Parkinson."
The other witch didn't seem convinced. Hermione rolled her eyes and put her wand down on the coffee table. It went against her instincts, but she knew it was probably the only way she could convince Pansy she wasn't going to attack. She couldn't blame the witch for being so paranoid – Hermione actually had considered hexing the pureblood quite a few times a month ago. She had no doubt Pansy would have thought to do the same to her, had their situations been reversed.
Though she still didn't seem completely convinced, Pansy nodded and sat back down on the couch, her arms crossed over her chest, still holding her wand. Hermione rolled her eyes again, but sat on the nearest chair. Pansy didn't bother offering her any refreshments or any of the sort nor did Hermione bother to expect any.
"I have a few questions about your and Ronald's relationship. Given the situation, I feel you at least owe me a few answers." Hermione explained. Pansy stared at her for a moment, but nodded. It wasn't exactly something she could deny. "You knew we were together when you got involved." It wasn't a question, but rather a statement for clarification.
If she felt guilty, she didn't show it. "I did."
"Did you love him? When it started, I mean."
She didn't answer at first. She seemed to be debating whether or not to tell the witch the truth. Finally, she shrugged, not seeming to care. "No, couldn't stand the bloke; he was bloody annoying. We got into some argument about something or other and the next thing I knew, we were shagging at my flat."
It took all of Hermione's strength not to wince. Regardless of whether or not she had accepted it was over between her and Ron, it was still hurt to hear what he had been doing while she believed them to be happy. "But it didn't stop there, so what happened?"
"Honestly? At first, I did it to spite you – oh, don't look at me like that, Granger, we both bloody well know that doesn't surprise you in the slightest." Pansy rolled her eyes. "I was just going to mess around with him for a bit and then leave. I bloody well didn't expect to fall in love with him." (Hermione bit her lip; she wasn't sure she would ever get used to the idea of Pansy genuinely loving Ron.)
She took a deep breath. "Do you regret it?" Four simple words, but they were the reason for Hermione visit. She needed to know from someone who had been where she was now – even if it was Pansy Parkinson – if it was worth it. "Would you make the same choice could go back?"
Pansy's lips pursed together and her eyes glanced at the wand that was still very much within Hermione's grasp. "I'm not sure I would." She hadn't even bothered to really try to pretend the answer was genuine. It was almost as if she wanted to see if it was what Hermione wanted to hear.
The Pureblood smirked. "I suppose I am." She shrugged. "It might have been miserable for you, Granger, but I wouldn't change a thing. I regret nothing." (And Hermione's heart skipped a beat because that was exactly what she had been afraid of – had been hoping for.) "I doubt you'd understand though. Everything always has to be done the proper way with you – Merlin forbid someone does something against the rules." She snorted.
"We Slytherins always used to wonder if Granger really was as much of a goody-good as she came off to be. There were some who were so sure she wasn't always."
Hermione's eyes widened and a new realization struck her. "The night of Harry's birthday when you said the Slytherins used to bet on how I was – you were one of the ones who believed I really was always like that?"
"Of course. I'm no idiot, Granger. You always had to do things according to all the bloody rules. Some of the guys were convinced it was all some charade you put on so no one would ever catch onto what you really did. Most of them were idiots – like Crabbe and Goyle, though I suppose they might have just gone along with it since it was what Draco thought." Her brows furred a little. "Never did understand why he thought that." She shrugged again. "Why do you ask?"
It was what Draco thought.
Hermione wasn't sure whether she was upset that he thought her behavior to be an act or to be pleased that he believed her capable of more, unlike everyone else (including her own friends). She almost liked the latter.
"Face it Hermione, you were always kind of a bore."
She definitely liked the latter.
Hermione shrugged and stood, grabbing her wand and tucking it into her robe in the process. "Curiosity." It was an honest enough answer. "That was all I wanted to know." And more. "But Parkinson?"
"Would you mind not telling Ron I stopped by? I'd rather he didn't know."
Pansy stared at her for a moment before nodding. She must have assumed Hermione was just in need of closure or something and didn't want Ron to know she hadn't gotten it yet. She didn't bother correcting her and apparated away with a pop.
The portkey landed Hermione in the middle of a parlor. It took her a moment to adjust her balance (she still hated traveling by portkeys even after all these years). It was only after that she noticed that the chair Malfoy had been sitting on, parked in front of the fire, had turned to face her. For the slightest of moments, she could have sworn he seemed surprised, but it quickly changed into his usual smug demeanor.
He closed the book that was resting on his lap and moved it to a nearby table. "You came." He stood and walked closer to her.
She rolled her eyes. "Obviously."
He ignored her comment. "I have to admit, I didn't think you would."
That made two of them, but Hermione wasn't about to admit that to him.
He stopped in front of her and she had to look up to see him (because while he wasn't nearly as tall as Ron, he was still quite a bit above her). His fingers brushed a stray bit of hair behind her ear and her breath hitched slightly, more out of surprise than anything else. His smirk grew and she scowled, taking a step back and increasing the distance between them. She crossed her arms over her chest. She had to know before anything more happened.
"What?" He glared at her, obviously not appreciating her stopping him.
She glared back at him. Let him be annoyed. As far as she was concerned, nothing was happening until she got her answer. "Of every possible witch you could have gotten, you asked me here. I want to know why."
Again, he seemed slightly surprised for a moment, but it faded too quickly for her to be completely sure. She wasn't sure if she was expecting him to confess his secret feelings of romance or recite some sort of poetry for her (which, really, was rather ridiculous and utterly unrealistic), but he didn't. Instead, he shrugged and said, as if it were the most obvious thing, "You're Hermione Granger."
She knew she was, which was exactly why it didn't fit together. He could have had one of numerous Pureblooded witches, but instead he came to her, Hermione Granger – Harry Potter's best Muggleborn friend. She was everything he and his kind stood against.
Suddenly, it made sense.
He hadn't wanted to marry Astoria, but had done it because it was what Purebloods do. He had been forced into a loveless marriage with a wife who was having an affair with another man, because it was what was best for his pureblood family. It was something he must have resented (Merlin knew she would have!) and what better way was there for him to rebel than to have his own affair with Hermione Granger, the very witch who stood for everything Purebloods hated? It was a rather impressive plan.
But it meant that he was just using her. That there were no hidden feelings or poetry or any other romantic notion nor would there ever be.
Yet, the thought didn't upset her that much.
Because, really, wasn't she just doing the same?
"Hermione's never done anything stupid and reckless just because she could."
While she had been curious, Hermione was sure it would not have been enough to actually persuade her to come. Agreeing to meet him was completely rash and out of character for her. It didn't make sense for her to do. No one, especially Ron, had believed her able to go against the norm, so she had come just to prove that she could. It didn't matter if she would never tell them, because Ron wouldn't be right about her anymore. He wouldn't know her the way she thought she had known him. And who better to be reckless for than the one person Ron hated most – coincidently, the one person who actually believed her capable of doing it?
She stepped closer to Malfoy and nodded. "Alright." She stood on her toes and brushed her lips against his and he wasted no time deepening the kiss.
It didn't matter that he was just using her, because she was there for the same reason. They would be each other's secret rebellion. Instead of sharing love, she would know that she was capable of doing more than Ron believed her capable of and, in turn, would provide Malfoy with his revenge against the Pureblood traditions that had taken control of his life. There would be worries about being hurt, because she wouldn't love him, wouldn't see him again. After tonight, any curiosity would fade and she would move on with her life.
Hermione had no idea how wrong she was.
But now it's too late, it's taking over me
It feels so supernatural and I'm pulled the other way
It's more than I can take and I'm losing hold of everything
Supernatural – Daughtry