Title: His Angel
Summary: "If she chose you, her life would be simple, easy. With me, a happy ending seems impossible, but that's the beauty of it, Potter: our Hermione has always loved a good challenge."
Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter. The song belongs to Vertical Horizon.
Word count: 6469


Somewhere there's speaking
It's already coming in
It's rising at the back of your mind
You never could get it


Harry hated his job.

It was his deepest secret. He never dared to tell anyone: not Ginny, not Ron, not even Hermione. How could he? How could he admit that he – Harry James Potter, the-boy-who-lived, the best Auror Britain had ever known – despised his job? He hated going in morning after morning, spending night after night searching for rogue Death Eaters. He hated the pressure, the hunt, but most of all, he hated the memories. With every hunt, every mission, every caught Death Eater, Harry remembered the war. He remembered the pain, the hurt, the struggle. He remembered the deaths, the families that were torn apart and he wanted nothing more to do with it.

It was almost comical. Harry Potter, the boy who had defeated the Dark Lord, wanted nothing more to do with the war. He had worked so hard, so long for this. His entire life, ever since he was a child, had been focused on defeating the Dark. So of course he would become an Auror. He didn't know anything else. He couldn't be anything else. He was forever trapped to his position.

That changed the day Harry received McGonagall's owl.

For the past few years, Neville had been teaching Defence Against the Dark Arts. It hadn't taken him long to realise the Auror life was not for him and the following year, he had taken the professor position at Hogwarts. But Professor Sprout had recently retired and, well, Herbology always had been Neville's forte. This, however, left D.A.D.A. without a professor and who better to teach Defence Against the Dark Arts than the boy-who-lived?

Honestly, Harry loved the idea. Not only would he be able to escape his Auror position without some sort of scandal, but he actually enjoyed teaching. Despite Umbridge and the horror his Fifth Year had been, leading D.A. had been one of his favourite Hogwarts memories. If he had been able to help a small group so much in such a little time, imagine what he could do with seven years of lessons. It was brilliant, the perfect job for him.

Except for one rather important detail: full time professors were required to live at Hogwarts. He would be responsible for his students during and outside of class. There was a reason most professors remained with so few friends and unmarried. It would be impossible for him to continue his life as it was now. It would hurt his relationships with his friends, his family, Ron, Hermione.

Hermione.

She was reason enough for Harry to turn the job down. Ever since he entered the Wizarding world, she had been at his side. She stuck with him through thick and thin, for better or for worse. Even during their search for the horcruxes, when Ron had abandoned them, she had never given leaving him a second thought. She had always been there for him. So now when she needed him, how could he leave her?

"Harry." She apparated in with a soft pop. He was off of the sofa and on his feet immediately. "Can I stay here tonight?" Her voice was calm, collected, but her reddened eyes gave her away. She had been crying.

A sad smile tugged at his lips and he nodded. "Of course, 'Mione."

It had been over two years since Hermione had uncharacteristically begun dating Draco Malfoy. When she had told Ron and him, Harry hadn't believed it. His Hermione and Malfoy? It hadn't made any sense – it still didn't make any sense. They were as opposite as possible. She was brilliant, courageous, and good. He was annoying, cowardly, and, well, Malfoy. There was no other way Harry could put it. They were absolutely horrible for one another. He would only hurt her.

Except the first time he had tried to tell her that, they'd had a royal spat; almost as bad as the ridiculous one they'd had over his Firebolt when he was thirteen. It had taken three weeks until she had spoken to either Ron or him again and even then, it was because they had finally apologized to her. She had made them swear to behave, because, whether they liked it or not, she was dating Malfoy now. They had no right to dictate who she could or couldn't see. It was her decision and, even if they chose not to support it, they would respect her decision. The next two months passed in peace and, for a little time, it actually seemed as if they would last. But then, as quickly as it came, Harry came to his senses.

One night, three months into her relationship with Malfoy, Hermione appeared at his door, broken hearted. The only thing that had prevented Harry from going and hexing Malfoy into oblivion was the obvious priority his crying friend had. They'd had some spat over the house elves in his flat. Harry didn't know the exact details (Hermione had been rather shaken up when she'd told him), but it had escalated, until she finally left. Harry had spent the night comforting her and reminding her of what a prat Malfoy was. And that night, when she had fallen asleep in his arms, Harry realised how madly in love with her he was. How he always had been.

She was gone the next morning when he woke up.

Malfoy and she were together again within two days.

Harry didn't understand it, but, for the next two years, he watched Hermione and Malfoy go through fight after fight, break-up after break-up, only to get back together again each and every time. But he knew it was only a matter of time before it all came to an end. Hermione had nothing in common with Malfoy, their fights – ranging from politics to his parents to the bloody type of tea she drank – more than proved that. She would come to her senses soon enough and realise that Malfoy was all wrong for her.

His friends thought he was mad. They warned him to give up on her, to move on. There were plenty of other witches; Hermione was a lost cause. Even Ron, who had initially been more opposed to Hermione and Malfoy than Harry, had given up. I don't understand it, mate, but, for some bloody mad reason, she picked him. And you know how Hermione gets when she makes up her mind about something.

But Harry refused to give up. Hermione had always been there for him, she had never given up on him, so how could he? He owed it to her to stick with her through this, because, soon enough, she would realise he had always been there for her. That he was perfect for her; that she loved him and not Malfoy.

"Thank you." Hermione called through the door. "I was in such a rush that I didn't think to grab any of my essentials."

Harry smiled. "It's fine." She had come to him after so many of their spats, that he had learn to prepare for them. He always kept a spare toothbrush, a bottle of her favourite shampoo, and any other little essentials she might need. Well, except for one.

She emerged from the toilet. She had washed away any sign of tears, her hair was pulled into a lose plait, and she was wearing only one of his shirts, and well, only that. It was an old, red Muggle shirt that was a size too large for him, so Hermione was nearly swimming in it. It hung off one of her shoulders and reached half away down her thigh. Although he never wore it, of all his shirts, it was his favourite, because it suited her best. She had worn several his shirts countless times, but none seemed to fit her the same.

He knew it was foolish of him. Hermione never brought anything when she came to him, even something to sleep in. He always made sure he had everything she would need, except that. It wouldn't cost him anything to purchase a pair of pyjamas or a nightdress, but he never did. As ridiculous or uncharacteristic it should be for him, he loved to see her in his shirts. Because standing there in front of him, her ridiculous hair trying to escape its plait, her face devoid of any signs of make-up, in his old shirts, she was so beautiful that it took his breath away every time.

Her bare toes tapped against the wooden floor as she crossed the room to his bed. She crawled in and used the blanket to hide her bare legs. It took all of Harry's power not to sigh; trust Hermione to be modest, even after all these years. A tiny smile brushed against his lips and he shook his head clear of any unacceptable thoughts. He took a seat on the other side of the bed, over the covers.

"Really, Harry, thank you. I don't know what I would do without you."

"It's the least I can do. You took care of me for so long, 'Mione, that it's about time I returned the favour." She smiled, but didn't reply. She turned her gaze down to the sheets and her smile quickly faded. Harry frowned. "What happened?"

Hermione flinched ever-so-slightly; it was so small, in fact, that if Harry hadn't been paying exact attention, he wouldn't have noticed. "Can we not talk about that?"

This was bad. She was always more than willing to unload onto him. Never once had she refused to tell him what Malfoy had done (because it always was Malfoy's fault, after all). Harry couldn't imagine what could have happened that she didn't want to share with him. "Hermione…" He would Avada Kedavra Malfoy into oblivion, the law be damned.

"Please, Harry. I'll…" She took a deep breath. "I'll explain in the morning, when my head is clear,

I promise. I just can't talk about it now. Not yet."

His eyes widened slightly. Hermione never stayed very late into the morning. She was always gone before Harry woke; she had never given him any indication to show that it would be different. He was torn between wanting to know what Malfoy had done and pleasing her. In the end, he complied and dropped the topic. Still, his heart skipped a beat. Maybe, just maybe, this was it. The fight he had been waiting for.

The spent the rest of the night in idle chatter. Not the sort awkward sort that seemed to last forever, but rather the pleasant sort. He told her about his latest mission and she told him about a new book she had read. Her summary wasn't of particular interest to him, but she grew so excited when she spoke and her eyes lit up so much, that he couldn't help but grin when she told him. They caught up on the little details – a new café she had found, a brilliant coffee shop he had found in Muggle London. Until the hour grew late and the next thing he knew, he was lying beside her and her head was rested against his chest.

His fingers toyed with the unruly curls that stuck out from her plait and she moved closer towards him as she drifted off to sleep. He couldn't help but smile.

And, just like that, his mind was made: he wouldn't take the job. He would write to McGonagall first thing in the morning and tell her that he couldn't do it. There were plenty of trained Aurors who were tired of the missions and would enjoy the opportunity. Harry wouldn't do it, no matter how perfect the job was, because he had something even more perfect for him. He had Hermione and that was all he needed. It was all he could ask for.

"Draco…"

Harry's breath hitched. Hermione was fast asleep. Was she dreaming about Malfoy? He didn't have to look down to see the smile on her lips; he could hear it in her voice. She still loved him, even now, even after a fight so horrid she couldn't tell him what it was about.

He shook his head. He was being ridiculous. Of course she still loved him. It hadn't even been one night; he couldn't expect her to move on from Malfoy so quickly. She had wasted over two years with him, so naturally it would take time for her to completely move past him. It wasn't anything unexpected. It would take time for her to heal. Harry could give her time. He had all the time in the world.

Still, there was a pain in his chest and he found himself in need of a breath of air. So, careful to avoid waking his sleeping angel, he slipped out from beneath her. She stirred slightly, but quickly settled back into her peaceful sleep. But before he could step away from the bed, her necklace caught his attention.

It was simple, a silver chain with a book shaped charm. On the front cover, hidden from eye, an angel was etched in. He had given it to her for Christmas, along with an actual book, a few weeks prior. He had been unsure whether or not to get it for her, because she had never been on for jewellery. Still, something about it had stuck out to him and he hadn't been able to resist. It must have been tucked into her shirt, because he hadn't noticed she was wearing it sooner. A smile graced his lips. It was the first time he had seen her wearing it. It suited her.

Harry shook his head again. That didn't change anything; he still needed his air. He pulled the covers further over her and leaned down to her. His lips brushed against her curls. "Goodnight, 'Mione."

He made it to the door before he heard her mumble back, "Night, Harry."

He smiled for what must have been the hundredth time that night before he slipped out the door. Yes, he was sure everything would work out now. Slowly, but surely, it would.

The first thing he noticed, before he even stepped into the living room, was the heat. He hadn't lit his fireplace, so it shouldn't have been quite so warm. His eyes narrowed and his Auror instincts took over. He pulled his wand out from his jeans and carefully turned the corner between the hallway and his living room. His heart stopped when he did, because, of all the people that could have been there, he would have taken anyone else, even Voldermort.

Malfoy sat in one of his chairs, drinking from a cup of tea. "About time, Potter." He said, putting Harry's teacup down. "I was wondering what was taking you so long. But I must say, you're pretty damn slow for an Auror. I could have burnt your flat down in the time it took you to get here." He tutted. "And you should update your wards. You obviously haven't changed them from Christmas if I was able to apparate in."

"What are you doing here?" Harry hissed instead, his wand ready.

Malfoy's eyes narrowed. "Put your wand down."

"Answer my question."

They glared at each other for a moment. "I'm here to talk."

"She doesn't want to see you."

"I know. I came to talk to you."

It took all of his Auror training to resist widening his eyes. "And why exactly should I believe that?"

"Because I have been sitting here for over an hour and I haven't done anything. Other than the fire and the tea, I have touched anything in your bloody flat." He replied. "And because I know that Hermione is in your room and has been ever since she left our flat, nearly four hours ago. If I was here to cause problems, don't you think I would have gone in, Potter?"

If he was telling the truth, Malfoy had a point. Judging by how low the wood in the fire was and how warm the room was, he had obviously been here for some time. He knew where Hermione was and how long she had been there. Malfoy had always been one for over dramatics, so if he wanted to cause a scene, he easily could have. But he had remained quiet and waited outside instead. Harry didn't like it, but it seemed as if Malfoy was telling the truth. And if Malfoy, the most impatient git Harry knew, was willing to wait, he had to have something important to say.

He lowered his wand, but didn't put it away. His eyes narrowed at the Slytherin wizard. "You have fifteen minutes. Any longer and I will hex you out."

Malfoy snorted. "I doubt that, but point taken." But he remained silent for another moment. The teapot refilled his cup and then a second cup. Harry stared at it, but didn't move. If Malfoy cared, he didn't show it. He took another sip of his tea and his eyes shifted to the hallway which led to Harry's bedroom. "So this is what she does whenever we have our spats." Whether or not he was speaking to himself, Harry wasn't sure.

Harry half shrugged. "You do have quite a few spats, Malfoy."

The blonde wizard didn't miss a beat. "Oh, you mean over our two years together, Potter."

They glared at one another for a moment. "If you have something to say, say it. If not, get out of my flat. I don't want you to wake Hermione up."

Malfoy rolled his eyes. "She certainly has you whipped. You're more in love with her than Weasley is with a free galleon."

"Just because I don't treat her as awful as you do, doesn't mean I'm whipped." He snapped.

It was only the moment after that he had caught his mistake: he hadn't denied being in love with her. Harry wasn't ashamed of it, not even close, but Malfoy certainly wasn't the person he wanted to be parading his feelings to, especially because he knew the other wizard would use it against him. Mock him that he was in love with the woman Malfoy was (for some mad reason) in a relationship with. His breath hitched and he closed his eyes, bracing himself for some sort of snide attack.

But when nothing came, Harry opened his eyes and looked at him. Malfoy wasn't smirking; he wasn't smug in the slightest. His eyes were also slightly widened and, for a slight moment, he almost seemed nervous. But why in Merlin's name would Malfoy be nervous about that? He should be goading Harry; telling him that he will never have her. Unless...

"She's in love with me." Harry said before Malfoy had a chance to recover. "Hermione loves me and you know it."

Then, as quickly as it had come, Malfoy's nervousness was replaced by his normal smug demeanour. "She didn't tell you what our spat was about, did she? And here I thought she talked to you, Potter." He rolled his eyes and continued before Harry could say anything. "Of course I know that she is. I've known for quite some time now, which, judging by your expression, is far longer than you have known."

"How can you possibly be so smug about that?"

"Because I also happened to know that she loves me more. She chose me, Potter; you lost before you even knew you were in the game."

"Not anymore. I know now. Once I talk to her, she'll finally come to her senses. She'll choose me."

A chilling laugh escaped from Malfoy's lips. "Do you honestly think it's that simple, Potter? Do you know Hermione at all?" He shook his head, an annoyingly smug smirk on his lips. "She won't choose you, because you're too good for her. You're too simple, too easy. The two of you would make an awfully normal, boring match."

Harry's eyes narrowed. "What are you trying to say?"

"You really don't know, do you?" He let out an overly dramatic sigh, as if he were explaining basic Potions to a Seventh Year. "If she chose you, her life would be simple, easy. She wouldn't have to worry about a thing in the world; it would all come naturally. With me, however, well, perhaps a happy ending seems impossible, but that's the beauty of it, Potter: our Hermione has always loved a good challenge."

"Don't call her that." Harry's snapped. "She isn't our Hermione."

"Oh, right. My Hermione; do forgive me."

"I swear to Merlin, Malfoy – "

"Careful, Potter, you don't want to wake her now, do you?" Harry wanted nothing more than to hex that damn smirk off of this face. Malfoy continued before he had the chance, however. "That was always the problem with your lot: you always had to be the hero. You can't just let well enough be left alone. No, you have to go and try to fix everything, to save everyone. You Gryffindors have an awful hero complex." He explained. "But Potter, you're too good for her; she can't save you. You're the-boy-who-lived, the big hero, Harry bloody Potter. You don't need rescuing; you need to rescue others. Just like Hermione. And who better to save than Draco Malfoy?"

"Is that all she is to you? Some sort of a game?"

"Don't be foolish, Potter. I wouldn't have stuck around your lot for so long if that were the case. She's the only reason I can even tolerate being in the same room as you."

"Glad to know that the feeling is mutual."

"But," Draco continued. "That doesn't mean I'm blind to her faults. She picked me, because she's too good for me, because I'm not good enough for her. I need to be saved. Just as you think she needs to be saved from me. She's just as fucked up for choosing me as you are for wanting her."

"Don't you dare talk about her like that!" Harry raised his wand instantly.

"Relax. Merlin, Potter. Are you really that subconscious about your feelings? I love her, but she isn't this perfect angel you've built her up to be. She has her flaws."

Harry wasn't daft. He knew Hermione wasn't perfect, but that certainly did not give Malfoy a reason to speak about her like that. So what if she loved him? She still loved Harry and the extent of her feelings could certainly change as well.

His brows furred ever so slightly. "She loves me, Malfoy. How long do you think you can be with her, knowing that? Knowing that you aren't the only wizard in her heart?"

Another chilling laugh came from Malfoy. Hermione had once told Harry that she loved his laugh; Harry couldn't imagine why. "It's been two years and we're still together. She loves me, but, if she wanted, you would be with her in a heartbeat. It wouldn't even matter that you're second best as long as you could have her." Malfoy explained and he was right. Harry hated him all the more for it. "I spent seven years always losing to you, Potter. For once, I won. Do you really think I will let her go simply because you are second best to me?" He snorted. "I can wait for her to let you go, because at least I know that she chose me and not you."

"So that's all you need then? If were to choose me, you would let her go? Just like that?"

Malfoy's eyes narrowed. "She won't do that."

"You can't know that. For two years, I sat on the side and did absolutely nothing. When I do, she can change her mind."

"You haven't listened to a single thing I've said, have you? She won't choose you, because you don't need her. You're too good for her. Are you so daft that you can't understand that at all?" His hand reached into a pocket in his robes. "You might have had the slightest chance if you hadn't waited so long; perhaps if you had done something two years ago, you might have won her, but it's been too long." He put a small black box on the table. "Open it."

Harry shouldn't listen to him. If he obeyed, he was surrendering power to Malfoy; letting him have the control in the conversation. But his heart was pounding in his chest and he had to know. He needed to know what Malfoy was going to do. If he still had time. So with a swish of his wand (Harry didn't dare move any closer to the Slytherin), he opened the box. And although he had already suspected as much, his heart dropped. Inside was a simple, but obviously expensive diamond ring.

"I want to marry her, Potter."

"No!" Part of him knew that he should be cautious of his volume, but he couldn't bring himself to pay attention. "I won't let you!"

Malfoy's expression hardened. "I did not come here to ask for your permission. I am going to ask her, regardless of what you want. I am only warning you."

"And what about your parents? Hermione's a Muggle born. They will never approve."

Harry had hit a nerve, he could tell. Malfoy tensed slightly and hesitated before he spoke. "They won't be happy about it; they might cut me off for some time, but that isn't important. I do have a job, Potter, I don't need my parents to support me. I would prefer it, obviously, but it isn't necessary. I can survive without them. I've been aware of that ever since I began seeing Hermione. But they will come to terms with it eventually. I am their only son, after all. If they disown me for good, their line will perish. They need me more than I need them."

"How can you expect the marriage to even last? The two of you are always having such huge spats. It will only get worse when you get married."

He rolled his eyes. "We argue from time to time, but that's normal. She used to quarrel with Weasel, but I never saw you take offense to that. It isn't as if I beat her or some rubbish."

"I'll tell her what you told me tonight. Every last bit, Malfoy."

"Be my guest."

"What?"

"I didn't come here to start anything; I came to warn you. I've sat here, calmly and patiently, knowing that she's asleep in your bedroom. I haven't started screaming or threatening to hex anyone; that's you. I haven't told you anything that I wouldn't say to her. Believe it or not, I'm the good guy here." His smirk grew. "So feel free to tell her. She will love me all the more for it. But, you know, Potter, there is one excuse you haven't given me."

"What?"

"You never once told me that she will say no. You never said that she won't want to marry me."

Malfoy's words hit him harder than they should have. He knew that he should defend himself, say that it was too obvious for him to say; that, of course, she won't marry him. Only he couldn't, because Harry wasn't sure in the slightest. In fact, he was rather frightened that she would do it. Because once she agreed, she would really be Malfoy's and she might really be lost to him.

"It is happening, Potter. I am going to ask her to marry me and she will agree. So let her go; give up on this ridiculous obsession of yours. You've lost, just admit it like a real wizard and let her go."

"I won't give up on her!"

"And you'll destroy her if you don't!" Malfoy finally snapped. "Don't you see what you're doing to her? You think this bloody mess is only hurting us? It's killing her, Potter. She loves us both and neither of us will let her go."

"So let her go."

"No."

He glared. "Why not? You say you love her, so if she's dying, save her!"

"You're neglecting one important thing: I'm not the hero here." His words were hard, cold. "You're the great Harry Potter, the saviour. I'm just another cowardly Malfoy. We both know that if either of us let her go, if either of us can save her, it has to be you. I won't do it. I won't let her go. I'm too selfish for that. She's mine, Potter and soon enough, she will be my wife. She will be Hermione Malfoy."

"Shut up!" Harry snapped, pulling his wand out. Malfoy was on his feet, his wand ready, instantly. The two wizards glared at one another, neither willing to back down. "Get out." He warned.

"Do as I say."

"I said get out!" He raised his wand.

"Expelliarmus!"

Harry and Draco's wands flew out of their hands. Harry turned around to find Hermione standing, three wands in hand. She glared and marched over. "What do you think you're doing?"

"Hermione! When did you wake up?"

"When the two of you decided to make such a loud ruckus. Now, what in Merlin's name are the two of you doing?"

"We were having a discussion."

Her eyes narrowed. "With your wands?" She didn't wait for his answer and turned on her heel so that she could glare at Malfoy. "And why exactly are you so quiet? Don't you have anything to say? It's nearly five in the morning – what in Godric's name are you even doing here? You've never come after me before."

Malfoy didn't answer, but his narrowed eyes glanced over her attire. She was still wearing his shirt. Harry couldn't help but smirk as Malfoy's eyes darkened. It was low and probably uncharacteristic, but he was glad Malfoy could see her like this. He could see what she looked like, what she did, every time one of their spats occurred. A bit of pride swelled in the pits of his stomach.

"It doesn't matter." Malfoy's voice was hard, cold, but his tone never rose above a whisper.

Hermione tugged at the bottom of the shirt. "Draco, I…"

Malfoy took two steps closer so that he hovered over her. His expression was neutral and the only thing that gave his emotions away was the anger dancing in his eyes. "I don't want to hear it." He said. And then, without another word, he plucked his wand out of her hand and walked away. Harry's eyes glanced toward the table, but the box with the ring was already gone. Malfoy must have grabbed it when neither of them were paying attention. "I will be at our flat, Hermione. Feel free to drop by whenever you're done playing slumber party with Potter."

He apparated out with a soft pop.

"Shit!" Hermione cried.

It was one of the few times Harry had heard her use such language so it took him a moment to noticed that she had tossed his wand back at him and rushed back into his room. By the time he came to his senses and followed her, she was already dressed and was pulling her hair into a messy bun. He blocked the doorway and grabbed her shoulders so that she couldn't push past him.

"'Mione, breathe. Malfoy was over reacting. You didn't do anything wrong."

She shook her head. "No, you don't understand. Try to think about it from his point of view. I shouldn't have done that."

"You were trying to prevent us from hexing each other; you had no time to think to change."

"No, it's not that I came out wearing you're clothes, Harry. I shouldn't have been wearing them in the first place. I shouldn't have even come here; this was a mistake. I have to go and talk to him."

"You shouldn't have to apologize for anything."

"I'm not going to apologize!" She snapped. "I know that I didn't do anything wrong, per say, but that doesn't mean I should have done it, especially after the spat we just had. I need to explain to him what happened."

"She didn't tell you what our spat was about, did she? And here I thought she talked to you, Potter."

Before the words could even process, his eyes landed on her neck. "Hermione, where's the necklace? You were wearing it earlier; I saw it on you." She didn't answer him. "This is because of the spat you had with Malfoy, isn't it?"

She didn't meet his gaze. "He told you."

"No." He turned her chin so that she faced him. "What happened? You said you would tell me in the morning. Well, it's morning now, 'Mione. What happened?"

She took a deep breath. "It was about your necklace. Draco wasn't exactly thrilled about me wearing it."

"He overreacted."

She hesitated. "Did he really? Honestly, can you blame him? Especially because…" She shook her head. "Never mind."

He held her in place when she tried to move. "Because you're in love with me. Your spat wasn't about the necklace; it was about your feelings for me."

It suddenly all made sense: her hesitation to tell him what the problem was, saying that she would still be there in the morning, feeling the need to hide the necklace now. It explained why Malfoy had come to see him, his reaction when Harry had realised Hermione's feelings, the ring he had shown Harry. Malfoy wasn't just afraid of them hurting Hermione, he was afraid that she would chose Harry. He hadn't come to rub his relationship in Harry's face; he had come to scare Harry away from Hermione. He was going to lose her and he knew it.

Harry could still save her.

Her eyes widened. "How did you…? Did Draco tell you?"

Harry almost wanted to tell her that he had; to have her trust in Malfoy destroyed. "No." Malfoy hadn't told him. Harry had come to the realisation on his own and he took pride in that. "But that doesn't matter."

"You don't understand."

"I do." He needed to show her exactly how much he understood. "Wait here for just a moment."

"Harry…I…"

"Just one minute, 'Mione. Please." She owed him that much.

She stared at him for a second before she sighed and nodded. A grin spread across his lips and he raced to his study. In the bottom drawer of his desk, atop all his Auror paperwork, sat a single envelope with the Hogwarts emblem. He grabbed it and brought it back to her as quickly as he could. This wasn't the way he had wanted to tell her – he had wanted it to be beautiful, romantic; over a candle light dinner or beneath a starry sky – but he was afraid this was his only chance.

She was waiting for him in the living room.

"I hate my job." He admitted, handing her the letter. "Being an Auror. I despise it. Every last bit."

"You what?"

"Never mind that." He shook his head. "Just read it."

Her brows furred in confusion but she did as he asked. Her eyes widened and a slight smile tugged at her lips. "This is great, Harry! It's perfect for you. It will be like D.A. all over again. You'll even be staying at the castle again." And try as she did, he saw her smile quiver.

"Yeah, I know, but I don't think I'm going to take it." He continued before she had the chance to interrupt him. "I'll turn it down and stay here if you give me a reason to, Hermione."

"I…I don't understand, Harry."

"I love you, 'Mione. I can't even begin to count how many years it's been, but I'm in love you with and I want you to be with me. Not him." He confessed. His heart was pounding a million miles an hour, but the words were falling out of his mouth even quicker. "I know that you love Malfoy now and that maybe you always will and as much as I hate it, I… I will look past it. I will give up everything, even this job, if you give me a reason to. I love you, 'Mione, and I need you to pick me. Leave Malfoy."

He couldn't believe what he had said and, judging by the shock on her face, neither could she. But he meant every last word of it. It didn't matter if she loved Malfoy, because she loved him too. He loved her so much, needed her so much, that he would learn to live with it. He would give up everything, his job, his future, even his pride to be with her. All he needed were those three little words from her.

"Harry, I…" She took a deep breath and met his gaze. "I love you." He grinned and opened his mouth, but she placed stopped him before he could continue. "But I can't do it. I can't tell you that."

If she had stabbed him straight into the heart, it wouldn't have hurt as much. He felt the tears burning behind his eyes, but he blinked them back. He took a deep breath and tried to keep his voice calm. "You love him more." It wasn't a question.

She wouldn't look him in the eye. She pulled the necklace from her pocket and pressed it against his palm. She gave him his secret angel back. "He needs me." She explained, a sad smile on her lips. "I'm sorry, Harry. I really am." She stood on the tips of her toes and pressed her lips against his cheek. Without another word she stepped back and apparated away with a soft pop.

He stared at the necklace and the letter. He wasn't sure how long he stood there, but finally he took a deep breath. The grandfather clock struck seven times. Hermione would have returned to their flat by now; perhaps she was sitting with him in their bed now, staring at her new ring, talking about their future. Harry shook his head and attempted to banish the thoughts. He pocketed the necklace and tossed the letter into the dying fire. He watched it go up in flames, slowly burning away. Hermione had never left his side and he wouldn't leave hers. He wouldn't give up on her. Without another word, another thought, Harry went to bed.

And, as always, Hermione wasn't there in the morning.


But under skinned knees and the skid marks
Past the places where you used to learn
You howl and listen, listen and wait for the
Echoes of angels who won't return
Everything You Want by Vertical Horizon


Note: I was going to wait a while to post this, but after the response to All the Same, I changed my mind. I will NOT change the category of this from HHr to DHr, because it is about Harry's relationship with Hermione, while she's with Draco. If you don't agree, leave me a review or a message and I will be happy to talk about it.

I thought of this while I was wrapping up All the Same, because I saw this AMAZING video on YouTube by Advige to this song. I will post the link on my profile, because you should DEFINITELY check it out. I watched the video and literally within minutes, I had the entire plot down. The main thing I wanted to do was have Draco and Harry actually meet and argue over their relationships with Hermione. I ship both, but they are built on two different Hermiones, so I imagine each character would have to see her differently. Hopefully I got that across.

I am going to ATTEMPT to write an HHr that has a happy ending, so keep an eye out for that. But I'm also going to try to go back to writing some strict DHrs. I really miss Draco. Haha.

At the end of the month, I will be changing my pen name from Inu Star Angel to MuslimBarbie.

Thanks to fadsforwhatever for helping me out with this!

Review, please.