Disclaimer: I'm only posting this once as it will never change. I do not own Harry Potter or any other parts of the wonderful universe that J.K. Rowling created and I'm not profiting from this story in any way shape or form.
Hi. I decided to start a new story, so this is it. This is set post-war with all who died remaining dead, and is not DH epilogue compatible. Hopefully I'll be getting updates out regularly as I've just finished drowning in assessment, but I'm not sure as I still have two speeches, an essay and an animation to do. Without further ado, read away!
P.S. I really do love reviews!
She sometimes wondered how she got here.
One year ago she was Hermione Weasley, devoted wife to her husband Ronald Weasley, best friend to Harry and Ginny Potter, career focused and level-headed. She had been working to establish her own charities for the rights of magical creatures and had successfully restarted S.P.E.W. Her life was full of elegant charity functions and balls, long evening gowns and fancy champagne. She rubbed shoulders with the high and mighty of the wizarding world, often dining with the Minster for Magic. Her and Ron lived in a beautiful apartment and owned a holiday house in France which they frequented twice a year. She loved her work, her husband, her friends.
And then it changed.
Marrying into such a large family, Hermione knew it was only a matter of time before her mother-in-law was pressuring her into having children and continuing on the Weasley line. That day came three years into her marriage to Ron at a typical Sunday lunch at The Burrow. In an awkward series of events, Molly had asked when she would be getting grandchildren from the couple. Hermione had said that they were both too busy with their careers to think about having children, but Ron had sided with his mother and asked when Hermione would be ready for kids. Hermione had shifted uncomfortably in her seat, wishing she could sink into the earth. She slowly told them that she wanted to be more established in her career before having children, and she didn't feel quite ready. Molly had been offended and Ron had a scowl on his face for the rest of the lunch. Her dear mother-in-law had reminded her that all of the other Weasley couples had started having children and it was better to have your children young. Hermione had spluttered out that she was only twenty-three and would like to wait at least another two years before having children. Harry had cleared his throat and hastily changed the topic.
Upon returning home, Ron and Hermione had rowed. Ron was angry at how she had spoken to his mother, his face turning as red as his hair and Hermione had stayed calm, stating she was simply not ready for children. Ron had stormed off in a rage and Hermione had felt crushed. When her husband returned in the early hours of the morning he had slept on the couch and ignored her for the rest of the day that followed. The isolation from her husband was unbearable, and Hermione was tossing over in her head whether or not children was such a bad idea. Maybe she could convince Ron into the two of them just having one child. It wouldn't be that hard, would it? They could get a nanny to help look after the baby. After all, Hermione had been raised by a nanny whilst her parents opened their dentist office and she turned out fine. When Ron came home that night she had sprung him with a home cooked meal and a lacy nightgown. Dinner had been forgotten along with the Contraceptive Charm, and a few weeks later Hermione found herself throwing up into the toilet at all hours of the day. Ron was ecstatic. Hermione was regretting her decision.
And then it all went wrong.
Her stomach was sore. Her Healer had said the pregnancy was progressing normally, but something felt off. She was sitting behind her desk at work, trying to concentrate on the task at hand – organizing a charity function to gain more funding for S.P.E.W. – but it was so difficult. The pain in her belly increased and she could feel dampness on her inner thigh. She looked down and gasped at the sight of red staining her robes and reached a tentative hand. The bleeding increased with the pain and she cried out. Her assistant heard her pleas for help and came into the room just in time to catch Hermione's body as she passed out. When the witch regained consciousness she was lying in a bed at St. Mungo's. Ron sat beside her holding her hand, his face deathly pale and posture slumped. A Healer walked in and apologized. She had miscarried. There had been unknown complications. They were sorry.
That was truly the beginning of the end.
Two more pregnancies resulted in two more miscarriages. The relationship grew strained. Molly was more upset than Hermione. And then came the day Hermione had been waiting for. She was sitting in her office, two months after the last miscarriage, writing a letter to one of her major donators when a barn owl soared through the opened window and dropped a letter on her desk, knocking over a pot of ink. She had scowled and cleaned the mess up, trying to shoo the bird from the room. She had too much to do before she read and answered whatever message the owl was delivering, but the pest wouldn't budge. With a sigh she had abandoned the letter to her donator and picked up the envelope. She recognized her name written in Ron's untidy scrawl and her stomach dropped. Inside was an apology letter and divorce papers. The letter said that Ron had been having an affair for the last two months, since the latest miscarriage, and he was sorry that they hadn't worked out as well as they had hoped.
She wasn't surprised. Since the miscarriage he had been working late at the Ministry almost every night, but she had suspected he had found someone else. She felt surprisingly calm at this news and realized that the owl that had delivered the message was waiting for her to sign the papers and tick the right boxes so it could return them to her husband. In a totally businesslike manner she signed and ticked and tucked the papers into an envelope. The papers had signalled that she would receive ownership of the large houses they owned as he would be moving in with his mistress. The owl hooted softly when she tied the letter to its leg before soaring back out through the window. When the bird was no more than a speck in the distance she turned back to her letter and almost forgot about her broken relationship.
That night she had slept soundly.
Her bed had been empty and she hadn't a care in the world when she lay down to sleep. She had dropped off quickly into a dreamless slumber, free of Ron's snores and nightmares of failed pregnancies. She woke feeling refreshed in the morning, a Sunday, having slept in three hours later than normal. Her pleasant mood didn't last long, however, because Ginny appeared in her fireplace at noon that day, her stomach swollen with her first, and successful, pregnancy. The fiery redhead was furious that Hermione had let her brother go so easily and that news of Ron's affair was now splashed all across the wizarding tabloids. Hermione's name was also being dragged through the mud with the reporters going so far as to say that she hadn't miscarried but aborted the pregnancies wilfully and faked the trauma of losing the babies. Furious, Hermione had thanked Ginny for letting her know and had started writing angry letters to the editors of The Daily Prophet and Witch Weekly.
It had gotten better, but now it was going to get a whole lot worse.
As soon as she sent her letters, four owls soared into her study, each a regal looking bird with elegant letters in their beaks. They belonged to her four highest donators, all of whom were writing to inform her that due to the latest scandal in the wizarding world, namely her supposed abortions and another rumour saying the pregnancies hadn't even been Ronald's, they were no longer going to donate to her causes as they couldn't have their names associated with such business. The owls had swooped from the room as soon as she had accepted their letters and now she was left alone, her name battered and bruised and her charities unfunded. How had it all turned so bad in just one morning?
So now here she was.
She sat at the reception desk at a muggle advertising firm, answering the phone whilst emailing her boss (the lowest ranking one of eleven) to remind him of an important meeting. She was nearly the lowest ranking member of the firm, but it was better than being recognized on every street corner in the wizarding world as 'Ron Weasley's promiscuous ex-wife'. She hadn't been a part of that world for six months, scarcely even using her magic anymore. She had sold her holiday house in France and moved into a smaller house. She had lost contact with the majority of the wizarding world, only sending occasional letters to her ex-husband and Harry. Her life had, admittedly, gone downhill, but it was easier this way. She didn't have to fret about reporters waiting around street corners or hidden photographers catching her in compromising positions. Last she heard from Harry was that there was a rumour floating around saying she had run off with Viktor Krum once more. That was three weeks ago.
Life was getting better again.
The glass doors opened and a breeze blew in, ruffling the papers on the desk ever so slightly. It was enough to capture her attention and she looked up to see a black suit waiting patiently for her to hang up the phone and address him. She scribbled down the details of the person on the other end of the line, promising she would talk to her boss and arrange a meeting with them to show new advertisements for some dental floss. She smiled wryly as she thought of her parents. They were overjoyed that she was spending more time in the muggle world. She visited them every Sunday for lunch, and they had never been happier. She hung up the phone with a click and looked up to face the wearer of the black suit. Her eyes widened slightly.
Draco Malfoy was standing at her desk.
As much as he sometimes hated to admit it, Draco Malfoy had been wrong.
He had been wrong in blindly following his father's lead. He had been wrong in how he had treated all those he had believed to be lesser than him at school. He had been wrong on so many levels that sometimes he didn't even know where to begin. So when the war was over and he was given a chance to start afresh, old prejudices aside, he grasped the opportunity eagerly and made plans to reinvent himself. The reinventing hadn't gone exactly to plan, however. His father who had been spared a stint in Azkaban had arranged Draco to marry another pureblood, Astoria Greengrass, and had consequently planned the rest of his son's life out.
Astoria Greengrass was worse than Pansy Parkinson.
Draco had struggled to remain in a relationship with Astoria. The younger witch was clingy and possessive, jealous and spoilt. She would laugh in a high, shrill cackle whenever Draco said anything and dug her false nails into his arm as she clutched onto him. She would throw a tantrum if he denied her anything and those nights would end with Astoria sulking off home to ask her precious daddy for money and Draco with a pounding headache. Then had come the whole pregnancy scandal.
He absolutely could not stand her.
Astoria had bounced into the dining room of Malfoy Manor one morning, grinning from ear to ear. Narcissa, who made no secret of her dislike for the other witch, had politely excused herself and glided from the room, leaving Draco alone with his wife. Oh, how he loathed her. She had seated herself in his lap and tossed her arms around his neck, and then she said the two words that made him want to end it then and there. I'm pregnant. He had choked on his tea and Astoria had laughed, that cackle that was oh so similar to that of a hyena. She latched on tighter and he stood up, knocking her to the ground. She had pouted and announced that he absolutely had to help her up. She was his pregnant wife after all. He had pulled his wand from his pocket and pointed it at her.
She got the wrong idea and screamed murder.
Lucius and Narcissa appeared in an instant. Narcissa cried out to Draco, begging him not to do something he would regret. Lucius had tried to be the peacemaker for once. Draco was confused, but did not look away from Astoria who was cowering on the floor. He muttered a spell and her stomach glowed red. She wasn't pregnant. She had lied. She had hoped that the idea of a baby would make her less repulsive to him. She had been wrong. As usual.
That had been the final straw.
They were divorced by the end of the week and Astoria moved back in with her parents. Draco had told his father to never involve himself in his personal affairs again and informed his mother that he was leaving for a while. He just wanted to live a little without the reign of his father looming overhead. He had packed his bags and moved to London. His first choice for accommodation was The Leaky Cauldron. He stayed there for a week, venturing into Diagon Alley each day to amuse himself, but he soon got tired of shopping. He needed a change.
And then a crazy idea struck him.
With a few monetary offerings and some research, Draco assured himself a place at a muggle university. Perhaps this was what he needed. He rented a flat closer to his new school and mastered the art of dressing like a muggle. He was nineteen, divorced, and studying advertising. He kept his past failure at a marriage unknown to his new muggle companions. After all, it had only lasted two months and was a time in his life he would rather forget. Besides, most people in the muggle world didn't get married until they were at least twenty.
He liked this life.
There were girls, bars, and lots of sex. The sex in the muggle world was amazing. He liked how the women didn't throw themselves on him because of his money and status. They didn't know who he was, and that was how he liked it. He could love them and leave them without feeling guilty. He was well-liked by the males at his university as well, striking up friendships with some. This new relationship was strange for Draco. At Hogwarts he had only had goons who stuck with him because he was rich and powerful. His new friends thought he was strange. He didn't own a phone or know how to use a computer properly. He had an unusual name and often said things that confused them.
University had passed by too quickly for Draco's liking, and he had soon graduated. He moved back in with his parents for a brief time, but the constant use of magic for such simple tasks grew to aggravate him. He had grown used to doing simple, menial tasks by hand. That was the norm for him now, yet his parents looked as him as though he was an alien when he had carried his empty plate from breakfast to the kitchen by hand. They were either used to using magic to do so or allow the house elves to do it. Besides, the magic in the house was interfering with his computer and cell phone which his muggle friends had insisted he purchased.
So he left the manor and travelled back to the muggle world.
He had grown increasingly bored from doing nothing and was itching to put his education into action. He had applied at a few advertising firms as a sales representative and designer, charming female employers and impressing male employers with his ease and relaxation and had managed to secure a position at a small firm that was based just outside of London. He buried himself in his work, enjoying the care and time he put into it to come up with a final product. He drafted new advertisements for all sorts of products, his most successful selling product a muggle car. The firm had been approached by a large car manufacturer and given a chance at advertising their vehicle to hit the big time. The task had been handed to Draco who worked tirelessly for months until he came away with the perfect advertisement which was then splashed across billboards and newspapers.
Success was sweet, but the firm was too small for his likings. He wanted bigger jobs and more of them, so with reluctance he handed in his resignation form and farewelled the small firm. He relocated once more into central London, purchasing a larger flat right in the middle of the city. He scouted around and had been a part of a few interviews but had not yet received any calls back from the prospective employers. Not at all disheartened, he continued to look and finally found the position he had been dreaming of. In the middle of the city, just ten minutes away from his apartment, was a position as a designer in a major company.
He had called ahead and scheduled an interview, and was now hovering outside the building, fifteen minutes early. His excitement had preceded him and he found himself waking far too early and walking far too quickly to the place of the interview. He was dressed in an impeccable muggle suit and had a portfolio under one arm. When he realized the strange looks he was getting from passersby, he ducked into the building and went to the reception desk where a pretty young secretary was typing away at her computer and talking on the phone. She motioned for him to wait and he nodded, confused. This woman looked so familiar, and yet different. He tried to think of where he knew her from but was unsuccessful until she hung up the phone and turned to face him.
Hermione Granger was the pretty secretary behind the desk.