He loved her, though every part of him wished he didn't.

He'd liked her the first moment he'd locked eyes on her, and even though he refused to acknowledge love until much, much later, he wasn't so dense as to not be able to acknowledge that he'd had these feelings for her since the first time he'd met her. And no matter what any of the others said, he knew she was heads and tails above them, both in intelligence and personality. She was muggle-born, for sure, but Hermione was a wizard in a class above all the others.

They'd been married for years after the siege at Hogwarts, and their wedding day had been the happiest day of his life. She had looked beautiful in her light porcelain dress, and the ring's diamonds glittered perfectly on her dainty hand. It had reminded him that there was good and perfect magic left in a world that he had always struggled to succeed in, in a world that took away his father and so many other friends at Hogwarts.

In some ways, he knew everything about his life. And because of that, it made another thing he knew that much more difficult to swallow, because he hated how true it was. He hated that he knew this one simple fact, and he hated that he could do nothing about. Because out of all the things in his life, there was nothing he could do about this simple fact.

His wife, his beautiful, intelligent, and incredible wife Hermione had never loved him. Her heart had never been his. Her beautiful, loving heart had belonged to someone else since the first year at Hogwarts. He'd tried, and she had married him, but he'd always had the impression that he'd been a consolation prize.

For years and years and years, he'd tried to ask her that one simple question of if he was truly loved. When he'd tell her that she was loved, he'd always receive the same response, the same utterly canned response, and while he sensed emotion behind it, he couldn't help but think that she was saying "I love you, but-" or she was substituting his name for the one she truly wanted to be saying.

Whoever it was, was an idiot not to realize who they'd had for the taking. Because he'd valued every moment that he'd spent with her. For that, he hoped she was happy, that she had someone so dedicated to her. He hoped that if she couldn't love with the person she wanted, she found happiness with the one she was with.

And as he passed into the great beyond, Draco Malfoy hoped that this, his final hope, was enough.

This was again a new foray for me. I'm sure Draco is out of character, but I had a muse that ran away before I could stop it. I hope this isn't too bad, and I hope you enjoy it. It was a nice break from Bleach and Clouded Horizons stuff.