Disclaimer: Harry Potter and all things related to his universe belong to JK Rowling, not us.
Authors' notes: This was written for the Hermione Big Bang, in celebration of Hermione's 30th birthday. :D Happy birthday, Hermione! We thought we'd tackle a cliché with a twist. It's our longest fic yet, and as it's finished, we'll be uploading it chapter by chapter but hopefully pretty quickly. Many thanks to our beta, lucillajoanna.
The pale sun was already high up in the sky by the time Hermione Granger opened her eyes. Her head was pounding- how much had she had to drink last night? And in Merlin's name, why? She couldn't even remember.
Moving slightly, she realized that the bed she was in wasn't her bed. It was the most comfortable bed she'd ever been in, yes, but it wasn't her bed. Where was she?
Resolutely ignoring the ache in her head, Hermione sat up and looked around. The room, large and beautiful, was slightly familiar, although she couldn't place it. She supposed one of her friends had taken her home from wherever they had been partying and had given her a room to stay in, since Hermione had obviously been too drunk to do it herself.
She ran her fingers through her hair, trying to get out the worst of the tangles. That was when she realized that she was naked. Completely, utterly naked.
Hermione groaned and buried her head in her hands. She was never touching alcohol again. She had never been too fond of it, and usually stopped when she knew she was getting tipsy. So when, in the name of all things Gryffindor, had she decided to get completely wasted and remove all her clothes?
A sound from the far end of the bed- the bed was massive- recalled Hermione to her senses and she whimpered in shock and mortification as she clutched a blanket to her bare chest. What had she done?
The man groaned again, and Hermione stared at him uncertainly. The blanket was drawn up to his shoulders and he had a pillow over his head, blocking out the morning light. Hermione had no idea who he was, and wasn't sure if she wanted to find out.
Merlin, she couldn't think properly. Maybe she could sneak out while he was sleeping… Hermione wrapped a blanket around herself and stepped out of the bed, picking up the scattered pieces of her clothing, and her wand. It was foolish to hope that she hadn't done anything the night before- her current state of undress and the soreness of her body spoke otherwise. Her heart fell as she realized this- she had meant to wait until her wedding night to give herself to the love of her life, and after a night of drinking that plan had been carelessly tossed out the window. Hermione was quite sure that the man lying a few feet away from her wasn't the love of her life, and the worst part was that she couldn't even remember her first time.
Damn it all to hell, she thought, as she made her way to the bathroom and locked the door. She barely noticed the large, spacious, luxurious bathroom, although her mind dimly registered that her 'lover' (Merlin, she hated that word) was filthy rich. Hermione was too busy staring at the multitude of personal care products, and her eyes widened as she spotted some objects that definitely belonged to a woman. Great, she groaned, wondering if she had just slept with a married man. Choosing not to think about it, Hermione opened a small cabinet and got out a potion that promised to cure hangovers. It tasted awful, but was effective.
Once that was taken care of, she leaned over the sink to splash water on her face. As she did so, she felt something hard scrape her skin.
Blinking water out of her eyes, Hermione looked at her hand and felt her world come to a grinding halt.
"Sweet mother of Merlin," she swore, staring in horror at the wedding ring that adorned her finger. "No. No. No."
Hermione sat down on the floor, wincing as her sore muscles hit the tiles. Why couldn't she remember any of it? Her mind was a complete blank. This was so much worse than just sleeping with some random guy, this was a lifetime commitment. Who the hell was the rotten man who had gotten her drunk, seduced her, and then married her? And just after Valentine's Day, no less! Oh, the Daily Prophet would have a field day. And what would her parents say?
This, she thought as she struggled not to cry, was surely worse than being expelled or fired, which meant it was definitely worse than being killed. She wasn't completely sure of the laws regarding wizard marriages- he must be a wizard to have an anti-hangover potion in his bathroom- but she was pretty certain magical divorce or annulment was very hard to do. But then again, if he was already married…
It was worth a try. She charmed herself clean with a few flicks of her wand, and dressed as quickly as her wobbly legs and mildly spinning head would allow.
A sharp knock on the door made her jump. "Anyone in there?"
Hermione gasped, recognizing the voice. "You!" After a quick glance in the mirror, she flung open the door so violently that he took a step back, squinting at her. "Malfoy!"
Draco stared at her in horror. "Granger?"
"This can't be- I can't have-" Hermione stammered, unable to think clearly. With supreme effort, she pulled herself together. "I have to talk to Ginny. I can't be married to you!" With a crack, she Disapparated, leaving Draco gaping at thin air. He spotted the ring on his finger and groaned.
Hermione knocked frantically on the door of Grimmauld Place. She had half a mind to scream at her friend for not rescuing her from Malfoy, but decided to hold her tongue. She didn't, after all, remember anything that had happened. For once that morning, fate was on her side, as it was Ginny and not her hot-headed husband who opened the door.
"Hermione, what's wrong?" Ginny asked immediately, alarmed by her friend's frazzled appearance. She stepped aside to let Hermione enter.
"Is Harry up yet?" Hermione wrung her hands in agitation, heading to the living room.
"No, should I call him? Hermione, what's the matter?" Ginny moved in the direction of the stairs, presumably to wake Harry. Hermione grabbed her arm.
"Don't call him- I don't want him to know yet. At least, not until I can sort something out." Since Ginny hadn't asked any questions about Malfoy, Hermione decided that the redhead didn't know anything about Hermione leaving with him the previous night.
"What is it? Why haven't you changed out of your clothes from last night?" Now even Ginny sounded scared.
Hermione gave a forced, shaky laugh as she collapsed on the sofa. "You'll never forgive me, Ginny. How could I be so stupid? I must have been incredibly drunk last night." She held up her hand for Ginny's inspection, the ring glittering prominently on her finger.
"What happened?" Ginny asked, not impressed by the ring at all.
"Isn't it obvious? I'm m-married! To M-malfoy," Hermione stuttered, giving into the tears that had long threatened to come.
Ginny knelt down in front of Hermione. "Hey, calm down, Hermione. I know you two fight, but you always work it out. What is it this time?"
"W-work it out?" Hermione wailed. "I hate him!"
"You don't mean that," the redhead said reassuringly. "What happened last night?"
"I don't remember. I was hoping you knew. I just woke up this morning, and I had this massive hangover, and I was in bed with him, and-" Hermione broke off as her tears began falling faster.
Ginny moved to sit next to her on the sofa. "A hangover?" she asked, before laughing in relief. "So that's all this is. I was worried it was something worse. The way you were talking-"
"No, it's not just a hangover! It's the biggest mistake of my life! Ginny, don't you get it?"
"Have you taken a potion? Are you feeling alright?"
Hermione replied in a quavering voice. "Would you be okay if you woke up married? And to that git! He's already married, isn't he?"
"Okay, I think I need to call Harry." Ginny stood up and slowly backed away, but Hermione grabbed her hand and pulled her back.
"No! Don't you see? If he finds out he'll kill me! There must be some way around this, maybe I could get a time-turner?"
"Hermione, listen to me. No, better yet, listen to yourself! You're talking crazy. Are you sick?" Ginny pressed a hand to Hermione's forehead.
Hermione moved away. "I'm not feverish," she snapped. "I'm telling you, I woke up this morning in a strange bed, next to Draco bloody Malfoy! And there's no denying what we did in said bed last night, this morning I was so sore-"
"Enough!" Ginny held up a hand and looked curiously at her clearly distraught friend. "Okay, Hermione, what I'm about to tell you may come as a surprise, but I swear, it's true." Ginny waited until she was sure Hermione understood. "You're Mrs. Draco Malfoy- and you have been for the last four years."
A split-second was all it took for Hermione's brain to process Ginny's words. Time seemed to freeze in that instant, but afterwards Hermione felt ready to faint. Spots began to cloud her vision, and Ginny's voice sounded faint and far away.
"Hermione? Hermione!" Ginny passed her hand in front of Hermione's eyes, but the older girl didn't snap out of her daze. "Harry! Harry, come quick!"
Harry barrelled down the stairs, his clothes having obviously been put on in a hurry. His question died on his lips when he saw his wife bending over Hermione.
"Lie her down," he commanded, rushing over. He took Hermione's clammy hands in his warm ones. "Hermione? Close your eyes and breathe deeply for a while."
Hermione, who was starting to recover, heard his instructions and followed them. When she next opened her eyes, her vision had cleared, and Harry and Ginny were peering at her, worry etched all over their faces.
"What happened, Hermione?" Harry asked concernedly. "Ginny told me that you don't remember being married to Draco."
Hermione pushed them away and sat up, rubbing her temples. "I don't know," she moaned. "I can't remember. It can't be true- I wouldn't marry him!" She looked at Harry for confirmation.
He shook his head. "You did. You shocked us- all of us. We had no idea, you kept it top-secret until you told us about your engagement. You really don't remember any of it?"
"But you love him so much!" Ginny piped up. Hermione wanted to really faint at those words.
She shook her head. "No. I can't. I hate him! This is must be a dream. Please Harry," she turned to her best friend pleadingly, "please tell me this is a dream. It's the only explanation."
"I wish I could," he said, patting her arm sympathetically. "But I'm pretty sure this isn't one."
Hermione groaned. "Harry. Why would I marry him? He's Malfoy! I can't believe you let me!" She looked at him accusingly.
Harry chuckled. "Hermione, since when have you needed our permission to do something?" She grudgingly admitted the validity of his point, and Harry changed the subject. "Does Malfoy remember?"
Hermione shook her head. "No. At least, I don't think so. I didn't exactly hang around to talk to him, but he seemed as surprised to see me as I was to see him." She closed her eyes and lay back down. "What happened last night?"
"Well," Harry began cautiously, "Ginny and I had a party. It was our fifth wedding anniversary. Everyone was there. Nothing extraordinary happened."
"Wait," Ginny said excitedly. "Something did! You and Draco had the most brilliant row you've had in ages. I couldn't quite get it, but it was something about Ralph- Merlin! We forgot about Ralph."
"Ralph?" Hermione asked timidly.
With a resigned sigh, Hermione accepted this new fact. She shouldn't have been surprised, after all, if she and Malfoy normally engaged in the bedroom activities they had done the previous night. In fact, Hermione was grateful there was only one. "Wait- there is only one, right?"
"Yes, but he's the most adorable thing, Hermione! He's so smart for his age- he's three, by the way- but that's not surprising, considering you're his mother. When you see him, you'll want more," Ginny said, before casting a meaningful glance at her ever-oblivious husband.
"But not with his father," Hermione muttered darkly. Thoughts of a son made her realize that she had to take a Morning After Potion, since she couldn't remember if she had taken a Contraceptive Potion or not.
Harry still looked worried. "Maybe it's time you talked to Draco, Hermione. See what he remembers, if any. We can go with you."
"Well, one of us can go with you," Ginny corrected. "We promised to take James and Lily to the zoo today, with their little friends. I can go with her."
"No," Hermione said, sitting up slowly, "you two enjoy your day."
"We can't just leave you."
"I'll talk to Malfoy, look for Ralph, and research in a library or something." She stood up shakily. "I'll be fine. If I need anything, I'll owl you."
"Are you sure?" Harry asked, looking reluctant to leave her. "This could be serious. Maybe we should report it to-"
"To who?" Hermione asked. "The Aurors? St. Mungo's? No. This could be temporary. And besides, I don't want people finding out that I've lost my memory. It's… embarrassing," she admitted. She took a deep breath. "We'll figure this out."
Harry and Ginny exchanged glances but agreed with Hermione. "There's Sunday lunch at the Burrow tomorrow, you can ask everyone if they saw anything."
"Right." Hermione gave them both a wan smile. "Thanks."
Harry gave her a hug. "Don't hesitate to owl."
"I won't." She headed for the fireplace then turned back to her friends. "I can't believe I've been married for four years and I don't remember any of it. And I can't believe I haven't murdered Malfoy yet!"
"Ron prays for it every day," Harry joked. "Just don't kill him until we've gotten to the bottom of this."
Hermione sighed. "You're right, Harry." She grabbed some Floo powder and then hesitated. "Where do I live?"
With a feeling of dread, Hermione Flooed home.