Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter. No, that would be this lovely British lady called Rowling—perhaps you've heard of her? She's a goddess.


"Hermione, please!"

"I just can't, Draco! Won't you please try and understand? Too much has happened; we'd never get past it all."

"How do you know? How can you know if you won't even try? Please, just let me try to make this work—I know I can make you happy!"

Hermione Granger leaned wearily against the door of Number 12, staring down into those pleading gray eyes, eyes like metal and smoke, intense and mercurial. He was on his knees now, prostrate and utterly vulnerable before her.

"I'm begging you, Hermione—damn my pride and damn yours! This—you, are the one thing I have left that's worth fighting for. I-I love you, and I know you love me. Say it, Hermione. Say it."

She closed her eyes as the first drops of freezing rain fell around her. "I-I can't. I'm sorry. I love him, Draco. I always have. You know that—you've known all along. He's back now, and…"

"And what? That's it?" Draco jerked to his feet, pulling at his pale hair and pacing a small circuit on the pavement. "You'll just run right along to him as though nothing has happened? As though he didn't break your heart and leave you here to pick up the pieces? He doesn't deserve you. He never did, even before he tossed you away like a bit of rubbish."

"Don't! He didn't—it wasn't like that. He'd just lost his brother, he was hurting…"

"Who wasn't hurting? He should have turned to you for comfort, he should have given you comfort. That's what you do when you love someone."

"He isn't perfect."

"He's a selfish prat, Hermione, and he'll never appreciate you, never see you the way I do! You will always come second with him, and you deserve better. I thought I had shown you that."

"You've been a wonderful friend, Draco."

"A friend? Is this what friendship is to you? Last night, was that something you've done often with your other friends?"

Hermione blushed at the memory of Draco's warm body against hers, his hands and mouth exploring her, one mind-shattering inch at a time; the slow, tight curling in the pit of her stomach followed by the release that pulsed through her body in waves, leaving her lost and breathless. And through it all, Draco. His hushed voice murmuring sweet accolades, his scent enveloping her in a grounding familiarity, his strong hands centering her, each touch a promise and a pledge.

"I know you, Hermione. Don't tell me that meant nothing to you."

"Of course it meant something, I just—I can't give you what you're asking for! I do care about you and I want you in my life, but I've been waiting for Ron for years, and he needs me now. I can't abandon him now; I won't."

Draco studied her closely until his shoulders slumped in defeat, rivulets of frigid rainwater running off his fine hair and down his perfect face. And she knew. She knew she'd taken something rare and perfect and broken it, and with it, him. Deep inside her, the part of her that belonged to him splintered and fractured at the look of complete loss on his face.

He stepped forward, took her hand, and gently raised it to his cold lips. "I love you." And then he was gone. Lost in the torrential downpour, lost to himself, lost to her.

She stood a moment, forgetting she was wet and cold and tired. She stared without seeing, and spoke without hearing, his parting words repeating and rolling off her unfeeling tongue, I love you.

The door opened behind her, and Harry gently took her arm, guiding her inside.


18 ½ years later…

Brimming with excitement and unabashed pride, Hermione embraced her children and her oldest friends amidst the teaming throngs crowding Platform 9 ¾. She remembered her first visit there; the wonder, the anxiety, the seemingly endless possibilities that awaited, simply a train ride away. 27 years in its midst and she was still in awe of the magical world.

Ron interrupted her nostalgic musings with a single word and a nod of his head. "Malfoy."

Her head shot up, her eyes immediately locking with the gunmetal gray gaze of Draco Malfoy. Looking closely, she could detect an absence both significant and heartbreaking. His posture was rigid and closed, his face a carefully blank mask, and his eyes—his once tempestuous eyes were flat and bleak like the heavy smog settled over the city. That splintered bit of herself ached softly with the unsettling itch of an as-yet unhealed wound, and her hand fluttered uselessly to her chest in response.

Draco nodded once, tersely, and turned away.

A/N: Just a little (very little, actually) something that wanted to be written. I thought it best to write it as a one-shot instead of ending my WIP this way, so as to, you know, avoid being lynched by angry readers.

Perhaps a bit angsty, perhaps a bit melodramatic. I don't know, you tell me.