Disclaimer: I do not own anything from this fanfic. Most belongs to JK Rowling. Don't sue me!
Daily Prophet Page Six
"How is it that a man can woo a woman for 18 months, make her fall in love with him and then disregard her once he's finished with her?"
Hermione Granger smirked at the article inside the daily prophet's very own page six. She had been a follower since a couple started using this blog type of article as their means of expressing repressed feelings for each other.
Apparently a young witch had fallen in love with her best friend who was seeing another witch. She vented out her frustration about having to keep her feelings to herself. The following day there was a response to the witch's entry. It was a young wizard who empathized with her; sharing his story of having to find another witch he can divert his feelings to preserve his friendship with his best friend. A few days have been dedicated to the couples' replies to each other until one witch suggested that they just meet. The article owner/administrator then released a final article for them stating that the couple did meet only to find out they were talking about each other. Furthermore, the witch that suggested that they meet was the one the wizard was previously dating.
Hermione gave a quick scan of the article before closing the newspaper.
"How is it that a man can woo a woman for 18 months, make her fall in love with him and then disregard her once he's finished with her?" – Frustrated lover
I have known my boyfriend since my first year in wizarding school. We became close friends. When hormones kicked in, we both realized we were attracted to each other. I didn't act on it because I saw him with another witch before and he showed signs of being afraid of commitment. So we acted as friends all throughout school. A few months out in the real world, he started giving me flowers and small gifts. Often I teased him to get him to stop; a few times I tried to divert his attention to other witches. He just laughed and shook his head.
I never told him about my fears as he could easily misinterpret it as trying to tie him down. He continued with the gifts and flowers. He even started Owling romantic messages. Dinner with other friends became dinner with just the two of us. Hugs became long with lingering touches. Pecks on the cheek became pecks on the lips. A year and a half passed, I thought I should just get over my fears and give him his chance.
The first months had been bliss. We were no longer friends with benefits, we were lovers. He became the most important person in my life which is why I hate him right now. He made me fell for him. He made me love him. I opened my heart to him, thinking he had been chasing me all those months and now I had to reciprocate his feelings. But I was wrong. He started making excuses. Frequent romantic dates became late dates, then he just came late. At first I tried to understand him until he started postponing dates for work. Intimacy was the first to go. Now I'm not sure if we're still lovers or even friends. I haven't heard from him for weeks and even our mutual friends have been hiding him from me.
If I could turn back time, I'd warn myself not to face my fears. It's not worth it.
So my question is, "How is it that a man can woo a woman for 18 months, make her fall in love with him and then disregard her once he's finished with her?"
Hermione put the paper down, fixed herself and left her apartment.
The following morning, Hermione took her copy of the daily prophet from the owl by her window.
She prepared coffee and sat by her window. She opened to page six and was pleased to see a response.
To the delusional lover. Your issue should not be with the man but with yourself. No one in his right mind would "woo" anyone for 18 months. This kind of 'dedication' (as you obviously see it) was motivated by the chase. A challenge with oneself, whether he could change a "no" into a "yes". This was quite obvious by your dramatic narrative. He was after a simple desire, the desire that can be felt between your legs.
So stop asking stupid questions. Instead try and answer this, "How do girls make every small gesture of a man into something romantic?" It is your own fault that you got hurt easily because you put meaning to everything. If you want him back, try sleeping with another man and broadcast it to everyone so he'd feel challenge and woo you again.
- Eyes wide open
Hermione almost tore the whole paper. She didn't even bother to read all the other comments. She threw the paper at her couch, fixed herself, and left her apartment.
The next day, Hermione eagerly took the daily prophet and started reading page six while still standing.
To the insensitive prat. While your reply was direct to the point and without the dramatics, you should not lecture anyone about romantic gesture. Obviously you have never fallen in love before. I pity you because it is quite apparent that no respectful woman would ever want you.
And for your information, we do not turn every gesture of a man into something romantic. Your note is proof enough. Only an idiot will see that as romantic.
- Irritated witch
Hermione's lips turned into a smile. She dropped the paper on her couch, fixed herself and left her apartment.
Hermione took the paper by her window and started to read.
To the pitiful woman. I have struck a chord. I didn't think that my thoughts are important enough for you to respond. Since youlove reading my opinions here are a few more: Not all of us men, probably your lover as well, like the prim and proper women. I am assuming that is what you are. Like I said, sleep with another man, have an affair. Shed your inhibitions and he will come running back to you.
- Eyes wide open
Hermione threw the paper at her couch and angrily fixed herself and left her apartment.
Hermione took the daily prophet to her bedroom and started reading on her bed.
To the arrogant prat. Thank you for your opinion. It only makes me appreciate how good it's been to have him as my lover. He is definitely more of a respectable gentleman than you. I would never want nor be attracted to someone that would challenge my principles. I would never cheat on anyone in the same way I would expect my lover to behave.
- Annoyed witch
Hermione frowned but decided to read comments from other readers.
To the simpleton. Do not generalize men as one who looks at relationships as competition wherein the prize is a girl. Some of us want to find that special person who would love us and stay with us for the rest of our days.
To the original sender. Don't let the simpleton's comments get to you. He is still a childish man who is either someone who hasn't fallen in love or someone who was scorned by a woman. He's merely trying to justify his actions. Do not lose hope. I'm sure you will find the man you deserve, even if it's not your current lover.
- the other guy
Hermione smiled. She left her bed, fixed herself and left her apartment.
Hermione was frustrated to find the reply of the annoying writer.
To the still pitiful woman: One would think that the person who defended a non-existent species really is on your side. If you look at his response in an unbiased manner, you would clearly see that it was merely his strategy in this game. He is trying to get your attention and fill your head with gibberish just so he can have you. He is not being romantic but being practical/resourceful.
One more thing, how sure are you that your "lover" is NOT cheating on you? Let's just end this issue. Make him jealous by cheating on him or just leave. Your response is getting too predictable.
- Eyes wide open
Hermione crumpled the paper, fixed herself, and left her apartment.
Hermione arrived at a Muggle inspired bakeshop called Cupcakes. The place had a protective charm which limits the spells or charms that a person can perform inside. This meant manual labor for the servers, baristas and bakers. Hermione loved the warm atmosphere and limited spells & charms meant limited chance to be overheard or photographed by the press.
She gave the cashier her usual order and slipped into a booth at the corner of the bakeshop. A few minutes after, a very familiar face arrived. It was Draco Malfoy. She waved him over after he had ordered.
A couple of years back, Draco and Hermione started a friendship which slowly grew deeper and they eventually became best mates. He was the only person she could discuss her problem with her relationship since he's friend only to her and not her boyfriend.
"Sorry, the meeting went longer than usual." The blonde wizard apologized as he took the seat across her. He took a copy of the daily prophet from his cloak and placed it on the table.
Hermione smiled and took the paper turning it to her favorite column. "I have decided not to reply anymore." She watched his face turn into a smirk. "He's not worth my time."
"Who are you talking about?" Draco took the paper and read the latest article.
"The eyes wide open idiot. Who else?"
"I thought you meant your boyfriend Ron. It will make more sense for you to stop writing when you stop caring about him."
"But I still care for Ron." Hermione admitted.
"Have you confronted him like I told you?"
"I still don't see the benefits that I will get from doing so." She sighed. "If he really doesn't want me anymore I'd just lose him. If I'm just being paranoid, he can think that I'm not happy with him. He could either get offended and leave me or he could feel that he's inadequate for me and leave me so I could find someone better."
"Stop considering all options. You should think about yourself, how you feel-"
"I am thinking about myself. I don't think I would be able to survive without him."
Draco frowned, "You're being a tad bit melodramatic. Are you implying a woman's world revolves around one man?"
"Of course not. I just don't know what to do without him."
"Why don't we just look at this logically? If you confront him and he decided to end your relationship, then well and good. I'm sure there will be someone out there that would treat you the way you want to be treated. On the other hand if he decides to stay, it would still work out for you. You can demand some changes to make your relationship work."
Hermione took a few seconds to consider what he said. "You do make sense. Logically, I want to do what you said. Emotionally, I can't bear to see him go."
"You can fight against the dark lord but not confront your best mate?" He teased.
"You've been more of a friend to me than Harry and Ron combined. Anyway, we only did what we did with Voldemort because we had each other's support."
He smiled in appreciation of the subtle compliment. "I support you."
"And I appreciate that. But will you still support me if said nothing?"
He leaned back as the server put their orders on the table. "I would support you more if you confront him."
"But you'd still support me?" She asked for his reassurance.
"Of course." He took a sip from his coffee. "Tell me, what is the real reason why you think you can't live without Ron?"
Hermione knew in her heart what she really feared, but she was scared of voicing it out. "I don't want to end up alone."
Draco almost laughed. "I guarantee you that there is no way you will be left alone. You're gorgeous, and I'm not saying that because I'm your friend. You're smart, you're confident, you're friend to Harry Potter, and a seasoned Auror."
"It seems like you're preparing my CV." She teased. "Those things are not the attributes that wizards look for. Most of them are intimidated while others only want my connection with Harry."
"The gorgeous thing is not appealing to wizards?" He mockingly started rubbing his chin.
"I suppose being gorgeous is not enough."
Draco smiled. "So what will you do now?"
Hermione sighed. "I'll take your advice and talk to him."
Draco smiled content with her answer.
Hermione knew Ron didn't like surprises, but Draco's words kept ringing in her mind. She wanted to learn the truth.
She was able to track him to his apartment, a place she once thought she'd call home. She knocked softly before calling his name. "Ron? Are you home?"
She heard a female's voice squeal and then giggled. She frowned as she waited for the door to open.
Ron slightly opened his door; his face flushed a deep crimson color. "Hermione, what are you doing here?"
"I wanted to talk to you, but I think you're preoccupied right now." Irritation was evident from her tone.
"You should've warned me…"
"Warned you? I should've warned you so you could schedule your rendezvous another time?" She was getting ready to leave.
Ron went out the door to grab her hand. "Hermione please let me explain."
"There's a girl in your apartment, what other explanation should I hear?" She freed herself from his grip.
"Please, just come inside." He pleaded.
"I don't want to see your whore." She stepped away from him.
"She's not a whore."
"How dare you defend her from me?" She disapparated from his place and apparated to her own apartment.
She summoned a parchment and quill into the receiving area. She walked through her favorite window sill and started writing.
To Eyes Wide Open: You were right. Men have no feelings. They only care about the game. Unfortunately for me, he was playing another game while with me. Since you are so knowledgeable about these kinds of things please meet me on Saturday noon at Cupcakes and enlighten me about these games and their rules. Maybe it's time for women to have their own games.
- Scorned witch
The following day, Hermione searched for her post in the paper. Upon finding it, she went to the bedroom, fixed herself and left her apartment.
Saturday came and Hermione arrived early with the daily prophet on hand. She was getting frustrated by the lack of response from Eyes Wide Open. She hoped he would come. She didn't know exactly what she'd say; she just wanted to scream at someone who was just like Ron.
Noon came and the only arrival that caught her eyes was the arrival of Draco.
He found her easily and sat opposite her.
"I'm waiting for someone else." Hermione didn't want Draco to witness what she was about to do.
"I won't stay long. I just wanted to say something."
"What is it?" Hermione was getting impatient.
"I got hurt when you wanted to talk to someone you don't know rather than confide in me."
She stared into his eyes and realized he was serious. "It's not that I wanted to confide in him. I wanted to shout at him. Since I lost my opportunity to shout at Ron, he was the best alternative."
"I know you're angry. I don't think it's wise for you to talk anyone when you're angry." He stood to leave. He stared into her eyes and said, "I don't think he'll show up today." He turned his back and went on his way.
Hermione was left staring at the empty spot across her.
A couple of months had passed. Ron had been pursuing Hermione but to no avail. She didn't want to give him another chance nor allow him to explain or make excuses.
Hermione stopped reading page six. She focused her attention to breaking news.
She still met with Draco but they rarely talked about their love lives anymore. He had been very supportive of her especially when her anger subsided. He started owling her with uplifting notes in the morning. He had offered to be her escort to social events until she found someone else. He had helped her make Ron jealous. He had been a good listener or companion for when she wanted silence. He was genuinely a good friend.
Unlike Harry, who decided not to get in between Ron and Hermione. He knew that they will sort this out sooner if none of them thought he favored one of them. More importantly, he was away on a highly classified mission. He couldn't be a good friend away from them.
One of those normal days, Draco had invited Hermione for coffee at their favorite bakeshop which she eagerly accepted. She arrived first. She went to the cashier, ordered a cappuccino and blueberry muffin before she went to a booth at the corner of the shop.
Draco came a few minutes after; he ordered at the counter and went to Hermione's chosen booth. This time he sat next to her. He pulled a copy of the daily prophet from his cloak and handed it to her.
"You asked me to meet you to read the paper?" She arched an eyebrow.
"I want your opinion on an article." He opened the paper and turned to page six.
She frowned but did as instructed.
"How do you know when you've done enough?"
I'm in kind of a dilemma. I am a wizard who has fallen for a witch I've met in school. I have never liked her then, or maybe my dislike of her was a manifestation of how I cannot be with her. I'm not sure. But that's not my dilemma. I have met her again, this time out of school. We are both grown adults and had our fair share of relationships, serious for her and a few not so serious relationships for me.
Our differences when we were younger led to misunderstandings, debates, and quarrels. However, we have learned to accept the same differences in our more mature state and they have actually kept us close. Her opinions kept me open-minded in the same way my opinions had kept her open-minded. Needless to say, we have grown to become close friends.
Now what is my dilemma? To answer that question I must start from the beginning.
The witch I had fallen for dated one of her best friends. He had been her confidant for more than a decade. I knew they had been attracted with each other even back at school. However, they did not have time or maybe courage to pursue each other.
This witch has been one of those know-it-all type of student who likes to memorize texts and was adamant about following rules. I have never seen her do anything fun back then. She focused all her energy into excelling in her studies and going on adventures with her friends.
As a young wizard, I always thought she was arrogant and a show-off during class. It's not until now did I realize that she was not arrogant at all (maybe a tad bit of a show-off but definitely not arrogant). You see, she was Muggle-born. Not that this is a disadvantage but coming from a family who did not have magical roots, I understand now the need to prove yourself amongst the whole wizarding community. I started seeing her in a different light.
Her big brown eyes that seemed to judge me all those years are softer now. I love looking into her eyes, the way they glitter when she's ranting about something or the way the corners of her eyes start to wrinkle when she laughs. I even liked her eyes when a final tear fell from it as she forces a smile. That meant she was ready to move on.
I didn't like her nose back then, it seemed like it was always stuck up in air. Later, I found out that her nose can do other more adorable things like wrinkle when she disapproves of something or wriggle when she's deciding something important like what food to order.
Her wavy long brown hair always annoyed me. Until I saw her twirl a few locks around her finger when she was nervous about something or when she ties it back allowing a few tendrils to fall on her face emphasizing its heart shape.
Her mouth I enjoy watching the most even back at school. I liked the way she bit her lower lip when she was put in place or the way she pursed her lips when she was trying to keep harsh words to herself. Now I liked them better when they pout like a child would when she didn't get what she wanted or the way it moves while she talked eagerly about something she was passionate about. What I liked the most was when she smiled, revealing her pearly whites; you can't help but smile along.
Turning away from her physical attributes, I thought that her ideas were so Muggle to me that I did not appreciate it. I started admiring her mind (when she's not correcting me). Her mind works so fast, it's always a step ahead of mine. With it she gives fascinating views which I would never think about. I suppose this is what makes our debates very informative and entertaining (granted she wins most of the time).
Everything about her I started liking. The way she walks gracefully yet intimidating at the same time, the way she blows the steam off her coffee, the way she leans on the table when she's gossiping about something.
The only thing I didn't like was when I saw her with swollen red eyes and hoarse voice when she started crying about her breakup with her best friend. It was also hard for me to listen to her question herself. 'Was I not good enough for him? Do I need to change to fit his preference? Are all men like him? Will I ever find someone who'll appreciate and love me?'
If I only I had the guts to answer all of her questions then, I could've avoided all these complications.
Indeed, I have fallen for the most amazing witch and I've just put a strain in our friendship.
Hermione looked up from the paper and stared at Draco. "Please finish it." He pleaded.
So really my dilemma now is whether I should pursue my feelings or settle for her friendship?
I don't know how it happened but she became my best friend. She listens to you, gives you good advice when needed, and stays close when you need someone to be quiet with. I've never had someone I could do those things before.
The first time I realized I had fallen for her was when I saw her dancing at one of those social events. She looked exquisite in a classic black dress. Her eyes sparkled in the light as she stared lovingly at her then boyfriend. My heart skipped a beat and I knew then that I have fallen for her.
I have hoped that I'd have my chance to be with her. But what does a couple of years of friendship stand against a 15-year relationship?
Thankfully her boyfriend had been an idiot. He had started neglecting her thinking she would always be there in the same way she was there for the past 15 years.
My heart broke when she started sharing what she felt. 'Why is he spending less and less time with me? Am I boring him?' She started asking me. I tried to reassure her with, 'He could be busy with work.' But what I really wanted to say was, 'Can't you see he's not good enough for you? He's taking you for granted.'
Then came, 'Have I suddenly grown ugly and lost my charm?' I'd say 'No.' Then she'd continue asking, 'Why hasn't he been paying attention to me?' Then I kept silent but what I really wanted to say was, 'You only look more and more beautiful to me. Leave him for me and you will find it hard to keep me away from you.'
A few additional but similar questions came and I tried to answer them how a friend would. But they weren't enough. I then suggested that she look for opinions from outsiders, someone neutral. She did but the opinions she got she did not like. I urged her to follow someone's opinion of confronting her boyfriend. Although she was afraid of the consequences I managed to convince her that it would be for her own good.
When she did, she started asking me a different set of questions but I didn't have the courage to answer them as well.
'Was I not good enough for him?' – No, he's not good enough for you or for anyone.
'Do I need to change to fit his preference?' – No, you just need to find someone who appreciates you.
'Are all men like him?' – No' I would never do that to you.
'Will I ever find someone who'll appreciate and love me?' – I will be that someone for you.
All of this I'm sure would not make sense to her, especially since she only sees me as a friend. But after she reads this I hope she could give me a chance to explain.
Now, could you please tell me "Scorned witch" have I done enough?
- Eyes Wide Open
Hermione kept staring at the paper even after she had done reading it. Draco stared at her nervous at how she'd react. "Hermione?"
She put the paper down, "I have to leave."
"Can I at least explain?" Draco couldn't look at her.
He hesitated before he stood. Hermione avoided his gaze as she left the booth.
"Hermione?" He called out before she could leave the shop.
A few weeks have passed; Draco continued to vigilantly look out for a reply to his message. He had tried visiting and owling Hermione but she refused to listen or talk to him. He assumed she would post a reply on the paper. He did get comments but they obviously came from different people especially from those who followed Hermione's earlier letter.
To Eyes Wide Open. Have you gotten together with your friend yet? If not, would you like to have a new best friend?
- Follower of EWO
To Eyes Wide Open. You're a hypocrite. I hope it doesn't work out for you.
- Player hater
To Eyes Wide Open. Get a life.
- Unimpressed witch
Everyday Draco went to Cupcakes hoping this time would be different. He hoped he would find Hermione in their favorite booth with a cup of coffee on hand. However, it seemed like today was not different from the usual. He first glanced at the booth and found it empty. He ordered his usual and proceeded to the booth.
He took a copy of the Daily Prophet from his cloak and flipped to page six. He was surprised to find a letter from scorned witch.
To Eyes Wide Open. I hate you. I hated you before but what you did now is unforgiveable. I hate you even more. How dare you divulge everything to the public! Those words I said were shared in confidence. If I can't trust you to keep my secrets, how else can I trust you with my heart?
I hate you. I hate that I trusted you. I hate that I considered you a friend. Mostly I hate myself for allowing you to hurt me. Is this it? Is this your final revenge against muggle-borns? Show my weakness and humiliate me in front of all the wizarding community? I hate you.
- Scorned witch
Draco could hear her voice saying those last three words to her. It seemed like it echoed inside his head. 'I've lost her now. He pulled out a few coins from his cloak and debated whether he should take the paper with him. 'At least I now know what she thinks.' He sighed, still staring at the letter he just read.
"Can I sit next to you?"
Draco didn't realize there was a witch standing beside him. He looked to see the intruder. "Hermione." Her name escaped his lips.
She smiled as he moved in to give her room. "Have you read the paper?" She asked cautiously.
"Yes." He put the paper down and took her hands. "I know you hate me. I know I've wronged you. Please give me a chance to make it up to you."
She took back her hands, "After your letter, I started to reconnect with Ron."
Draco, confused, frowned at her statement.
"He said, that time when I caught him with another woman in his place was a big misunderstanding. The girl's name was Lucille."
"Lucille?" Draco could not pinpoint why her name sounded so familiar.
"Lucille the jeweler?"
"Oh." Draco looked down not liking where the conversation was going.
"Did you know she made house visits for VIPs?" Hermione continued her story. "Ron was choosing a ring for me. He was going to ask me to marry him."
"And I ruined it for you." Draco still couldn't look her in the eyes.
"He wasn't really a jerk or an idiot like you said in your letter." Hermione stared at her own hands.
"Did he have his chance now?" Draco didn't understand why it pains him to breathe. 'Is this what you call heartbreak?'
"He did." Hermione nodded.
"Congratulations then." He lifted his face and put on a fake smile.
"Silly Draco." Hermione started to caress his face with her left hand.
He frowned at her comment.
"Have you not noticed what's on my left hand?" Hermione gave a gentle smiled.
His right hand captured hers, dreading to see her engagement ring. When he looked at her hand he couldn't help but smile.
"I gave him his chance but I did not accept it." Hermione's eyes were glistening with tears.
He instinctively wiped them with his hands.
"You shouldn't be smiling." Hermione warned.
"I thought you hated me?" Draco was still confused but at least he knew Ron was out of the picture.
"The letter you just read came from a girl who had just finished reading your letter. She was upset about breaking the confidentiality aspects of our relationship."
"I'm really sorry about what I did and how I did it." Draco interjected.
She continued without acknowledging him, "Now, she had time to think and consider his actions. She then realized that any other way would've scared her away from him. His actions, however arrogant it seems, made sense. She started seeing him not just as a friend but something more. She can't really hate him for that."
"I promise not to do it ever again." Draco wanted her to believe him.
"Maybe, one more time?" Hermione stared at him.
"Do you want me to answer your letter?" Draco deliberated whether she was testing him.
"Well, not exactly." She stroked his face once more. "You can tell them that you're off the market."
He frowned once more. "What market?"
"Tell 'Follower of EWO' to keep her thoughts to herself. You have a girlfriend." Hermione was blushing.
Draco grinned. "Are you my girlfriend?"
Draco was thankful they were in a secluded booth. He placed his hands on her face, stared lovingly and gave her a soft kiss on the lips. "I love you Hermione Granger."
"I love you too Draco Malfoy." She gazed into his eyes. "And to answer your question, yes, you've done enough." She pulled him into a kiss.
Hermione brought the Daily Prophet to bed where Draco had been patiently waiting under the covers. She turned to page six and started reading aloud.
To the followers of Scorned witch and Eyes Wide Open. I have had the opportunity of meeting the now very happy couple. I promised anonymity hence, will not be dropping names. They wanted to thank the column for giving their unlikely friendship a boost to becoming a romantic relationship.
Scorned witch, as smart as she is, finally understood after a few weeks why Eyes Wide Open did what he did. This kind of change in a relationship is most delicate. If he had admitted to her that he had feelings for her while she was still with her then boyfriend she might have felt awkward with him and ended their friendship. Instead he bid his time, planned his actions and it paid out.
I am a witness to their love story and would like to share yours if you have any. Please send me an owl at the location below.
Always in love,
Draco took the paper from Hermione and threw it across the room. He pulled her next to him. "Tell me love, why did you post that hate mail."
"So I could get your attention." She nuzzled at his neck.
"Do you have any feelings of hate towards me?" Draco was being paranoid.
"I hate it when you think and talk while I'm trying to be intimate with you."
Draco smirked and pulled her gently so that his lips were a heartbeat away from hers.
"You promise to always be here with me, appreciate me, and love me?" She asked lovingly.
"I promise all that and everything else in my letter." He touched her lips with his finger.
"Good." She smiled with satisfaction.
"I love you my Hermione."
"I love you too my Draco."
He captured her mouth with his and kissed her passionately.