Hey to everyone! I've had another touch of writer's bloke and have no idea where this will go but I guess if I just blank everything out and write. It emotional and angsty, kinda! I want you by bon joviis a good listener for the first couple of paragraphs...!

Twice in a lifetime

Weeks went by, then months. The leaves were crimson, gold and orange. The windows were rattled and the rain lashed, Hermione's favourite season, the beauty of autumn now seemed dark and foreboding. The pounding of the rain, once a comfort, was now a nightmare. The howling wind, once treasured. The Gods speaking to her through the mountains, was now a shrill scream that woke her in the night. There were very few clear memories of her lost love; those haunted her in dreams only. She'd wake up sobbing and have no memory of why or who she was crying for.

She went to work, she cooked, she showered but it was routine. It needed to be done, she was on autopilot. Her co-workers often called her name twice or more before she would look at them, solemn eyes and return a weak smile stating she was fine.

xxx

Lucius only ever thought of her when her name was mentioned. He went to social events, balls and fundraisers. Everything was normal, he got up in the mornings, attended any businesses with his usual demure, cold and sharp attitude. Not letting anyone into his private life; unless it was for his pleasure. He used women, as he used to. He drank, he played when he was stressed, gave pleasure as and when necessary. There was no guilt in freely taking what he wanted.

When he sat in his study, cold eyes boring into his skull, then, the only other time, did he think of her spicy sweet warmth and comfort; her softness, her honeyed eyes. When these thoughts came to him, he went to different cities and found different women.

xxx

Another day at the office saw Hermione's mind wandering. She thought of school, of her friends, of her lovers. All the good things in her life were still there. She had her career, her closest friends. As she thought of the positives, she remembered that life wasn't all bad, yes it had been a slightly bumpy road so far, but things only get better. As she thought of the warm autumn days in the grounds of Hogwarts, or the Christmases with the Weasley clan, she smiled and genuinely laughed for the first time in what felt like years. It was then that Harry walked into her office. He noticed her genuine smile and grinned at her.

"About time, Hermione; I haven't seen a smile from you for months! Are you feeling better now?" Harry asked her kindly. She smiled wider, "there was never anything wrong to be honest, Harry. Just the season change I think."

"How about lunch and Martinis in London? It's Friday, only you and Taft are left in the offices. It'll be on me... I owe you at least that!" Harry persuaded. Hermione shut down her computer, grabbed her bag and linked her arm with Harry. "You've persuaded me." She replied with laughter in her eyes.

The afternoon was warm and balmy, they sat on a quiet terrace catching up and discussing each other's cases. Their lunch was leisurely and carefree. They chatted about life, memories of school about their universities. The afternoon was like any other twenty-something's. They finished their cocktails and lunch and strolled through the picnic strewn park.

They said their goodbyes, promising to have dinner and drinks soon. Hermione hugged Harry and waved back at him. She was off to the wizard-side of London. She needed to grab a few quills, inks and parchments for her office and she was running low on personal stationary. She put the headphones in her ears and walked to the leaky cauldron. The ever attentive landlady said hello to her, offered her a drink, gave her the gossip, it had been such a long time since Hermione had been in the wizarding world that she enjoyed the silly chat and gossip. She left the pub singing along to her favourite band.

She shopped for new books to read, treated herself to a Fortescue fruit cooler and a slice of her favourite pumpkin pie. It was only a few days until Halloween. The balmy afternoon turned into a pleasantly breezy dusk as she walked back to the Ministry, needing to grab a few reports and her laptop.

She got to her floor, Taft was still in his office, banging at keys and printers and fax machines. He hadn't quite learned that muggle technology was a force to be reckoned with. She popped her head round his door asking if he needed any help, he looked over his glasses at her and stubbornly said that he didn't. She shrugged and walked to her office.

xxx

Lucius was sat at a muggle cafe in the centre of London. Only muggles can be this dull, he thought coldly as he looked around the white tiled walls and minimalist tables and chairs. The cafe was a muggle hotspot. It had free internet, great food and good coffee. Everything a student needs.

The business associate he was meeting with had big plans for re-organising medical student hospitals and wizard hospital apprentice healers. He was not known in the wizarding world but his father knew Lucius' father. The man was late, very late but he had sent an owl to Lucius saying that he was. Lucius waited, knowing that he and this man had a lot to organise. He sipped his coffee and watched the sun set; sunset and dusk were always his favourite time of day. He decided he would only wait another ten minutes.

The time passed quickly. Lucius left the cafe. As he walked to a safe disapparating spot, he felt a little peculiar. He looked around, not seeing anyone, he shrugged and was about to apparate when he heard a familiar clunk behind him. Without turning round he spoke impatiently "Minister, I need to get home, I have more important business to attend to and cannot be bothered with people who insist on wasting my time." Lucius turned on the spot to face the Minister.

Alastor Moody stood before him, his sharp eye staring him down. "You had orders to follow, Malfoy. Though you are a powerful man, you aren't a King. You still have laws to uphold. The man you were meeting was the very man the Ministry wanted to catch. He killed in his country, he killed many and yet you befriended him. You're going to prison for this for a long time." Lucius looked down at the Minister, a sneer crossing his face, "we will see Minister." At that he apparated before Moody could stop him.

xxx

Hermione caught the train back to the flat she kept in London. As she walked round the corner she saw a flash of silver-white, the smell of fire-whisky caught in her throat. That voice she had been longing, and dreading to hear, spoke to her. "Just the person I wanted to bump into." Then it was black.

A/N: As I've said before, this is AU. I own nothing. R & R as always and thanks for waiting ;) K x x x.