I don't own Harry Potter or its characters. JK Rowling does. And Warner Brothers and Scholastic, to some extent. But mostly JK Rowling.
~Getting over it~
I am aware that you desire peace from me, from our past, and I promise I will try to not disturb you. But I had to write you. Not to try to change your mind. No. I have come to respect your hardheadedness more than to attempt such a thing. I just feel the need to tell you certain things.
I love you. I'm laughing at myself. It must sound desperate to you, the way I kept repeating it incessantly. My point is, that perhaps I have loved you in a lesser way than you deserved it.
The thing is, Hermione, that I always assumed. I'm a proud man. It came naturally to me to assume things about you. Guess you are not the only know-it-all, aye? I assumed your motives where wicked when you asked that loan from me. What did I know? I was a foolish, arrogant man. The same way, I assumed that you would fall into my arms once I put my mind to it. Same way, same foolishness. I apologize.
My apologies must seem redundant to you. But I feel the need to make them. And I ask of you to at least consider them. I beg for your forgiveness for everything loathsome I have done to you since we've known each other. I am deeply sorry for that dark night where I held my pride more dear than another human being's dignity.
I am sorry for what I did to you in Iceland.
What I am most sorry for is that I made you think you are a worse person than you are. You're the best, most selfless and beautiful person I have ever had the fortune of knowing. Just by being near you, I have become more. Better.
I've learned to care like I never cared before. To love like I never loved before. I've been brought up as a selfish being. I'm not making excuses, don't worry. It's just a fact. I loathe to go with clichees in here, but you changed me. Well as much as a ferret can change.
I just want you to know that I saw you as the most fantastic woman I ever had been with. And I ever could be with. Even if it was one-sided. Which I do not under any circumstance blame you for.
I hope one day, when fate helps us meet again, you can consider me, if not a friend, then someone you forgave and can look upon with kindness.
I wish you the best. I wish you every imaginable happiness. I want you to know this. It's important for me that you understand this
Love you always,
Hermione stared numbly at the words, when a fresh batch of sobbing overtook her. She had been crying for two days straight, since she left Malfoy's office. She refused visits from any of her friends.
The next week she spent holed up in her apartment. Trying to fill up the hollow she felt in her chest. It was the worst case scenario: having no work to dive herself in, all she could do is think about their breakup.
The words in Malfoy's letter gravitated around her head in a thunderstorm-like cloud. The problem was that he might have come a long way from being the pompous git he was in the beginning, but even if that was enough of a leverage for Hermione, it was still too late.
It was a cold morning when the scandal hit the Britain's magical business world. Malfoy quit his job as CEO of Chanters Co, and disappeared from under the radar as far as anyone could tell.
Hermione refused to write him back. From what she understood he didn't expect her. Perhaps it was better this way. He could now move on. And she could do the same. She regretted sleeping with him that one last time almost as much as she regretted that one infamous night in the beginning sometimes. His bittersweet touches still lingered on her skin, making it ache with loss.
Her curiosity got the best of her one day when she sat up a meeting with Luna. Luna's journalistic abilities were almost mystical, but whatever her sources were, she trusted her.
'I don't know, Hermione. He disappeared.' the blonde said sympathetically.
'What about your sources?' Hermione tried to act casual, but even to her ears it sounded a tiny bit desperate.
'They don't know, either. Apparently Malfoy needed time to figure some stuff out. Get over himself.' Luna stared at her friend pointedly, 'You wouldn't know anything about that, would you?'
Hermione looked away guiltily. Luna didn't know the whole story, but at this point Hermione wouldn't be surprised if she knew more than herself.
She bid an awkward farewell to her friend, inviting her to the Award Gala next week.
Not being certain if Malfoy was well was a new kind of hell for her. But she couldn't dwell any longer on the what ifs. This was her decision. For once it truly was. It was better this way. She repeated this to herself until she could get out of the bed and take back the control over her life.
The following weeks were filled with plans. She considered finding a new job, but the Merlin Awards granted her an unique opportunity. Going solo. Finally being independent as an Enchantress.
She sat up an anonymous research facility. Having a really bad history with the press, she decided to keep as much as she could private in her life. It took her a few days to get the grants. The Science League was practically her buddy these days.
She showed up at the gala. For some reason she expected to find Malfoy there. He wasn't. Why would he even. He probably didn't want to see her for a long time. Instead she found Nott there.
'Miss Granger!' he exclaimed enthusiastically, 'Our former star Enchantress! We miss you so back at Chanters.'
Hermione smiled in good humour at her ex bosses theatrics.
'And Ms. Lovegood! A pleasure as always.' Nott lowered himself in a bow and took Luna's hand into a kiss. Luna actually blushed.
Hermione looked at Luna suspiciously, and whispered so only the three of them could hear.
'Your sources, huh?' she huffed out amused.
Luna's shade of red deepened.
The Award ceremony went tediously on. She climbed up the stage. Presented some magical diagrams. Smashed her Crystal to the ground in demonstration. Explained some about the formulas and enchantments used. And promised to do it again in three months time at the International Magical Science League's Award Ceremony. For which she was nominated, also, she found out that night.
She parted with Nott, leaving Luna to his charms, and promised to see each other in three months at the next ceremony.
In the next couple of months she went on to create a helping network of associations for the victims of the Magical Leak. All the while doing her very best to remain in the shadows. She knew fame, and she knew what it was like to be infamous as well. She decided she could do without both.
Her mother was happy and healthy. She had the glow of a woman in love. Hermione tried not be envious of it, and wondered if she would ever experience it.
Her thoughts flew to Malfoy and to his warm gazes in their late nights together.
She was due to meet up with one of Augustus' contacts in 10 minutes. She glanced at her watch, and prayed she didn't arrive late at the location. The building she sought for was deep down in south Wales, hidden behind a Muggle library. She smiled as she saw a woman waiting in front of the library. She was clearly a witch judging by her mismatched Muggle clothing.
They greeted each other warmly. The elderly woman, her name was Clarice, she refused to go by her family name, which was Wigglesworth, chattered enthusiastically. All the while dragging her along in the back alley, into a secret entrance. Inside, the building was warm and friendly, a tiny bit creepy from all the nameless magical research equipment lying haphazardly around.
She showed her around, all the while demonstrating an impressive verbal diarrhea.
'Don't worry, Miss. August told me about your need for privacy.' she assured her 'In fact, we have one of our own with just the same needs. Young boy. Quite handsome. Single as far as I can tell.' the woman smiled at Hermione crookedly.
Hermione cleared her throat, she didn't have any particular desire to be set up with a random wizard. But the woman didn't take on her cue, and carried on.
'He is working on an alternative to the Icelandic Leak Disease Curing potion. A less costly alternative. In fact, he's been adamant about that particular fact.'
Hermione's ears peaked up at this. Perhaps, this guy wasn't that uninteresting.
'Really?' Hermione inquired. 'Is he making any progress in that front?'
Clarice beamed at Hermione's interest.
'Oh, yes, yes, he is quite well on his way to find a cost effective cure. Not that money is such a big problem. We received a 5 million Galleon donation in the very beginning. Mind you dearie, it was anonymous, so we never could thank that one properly.'
Hermione's head swirled with possibilities. Who would willingly throw away 5 million Galleons without expecting any advertisement for it? Her mind flashed to Malfoy who gave 1 million Galleons to St. Mungo's. It wouldn't do to dwell on the good things about him. It just made things heavier. And they were heavy enough as it was. Especially on the long hot nights of loneliness.
Clarice carried on, ignoring Hermione's moment of pensiveness.
'So, Peter, the dear, is rather the recluse. Doesn't really like visitors. Stays holed up in that tiny lab all day.'
'I'm sorry who? Hermione snapped his attention back to the woman.
'Peter, sweetie, the guy who works on the cheap cure?' Clarice carried on with her chatter as soon as she was certain that she had the younger woman's attention once again. 'Quite the sweet guy, yeah, I wonder why he doesn't have a girlfriend. You don't have someone special do you?'
Hermione's heart gave a painful tug inside her chest. Someone special... right. She shook her head, trying to ignore the slight sting in her eyes. Thankfully, Clarice began talking again.
'Here we are!' They stopped before a small forest green door. 'It's Peter's lab, dearie. It's just perfect!' she exclaimed a little too loudly. 'You're single, he's single. Someone needs to take him out to the sunlight. I swear he didn't leave that place for two months.'
The bushy haired witch found herself thrust inside the small room, the door almost immediately closing after Clarice shouted an overly cheerful 'have fun' at them.
She turned and stared at the lean, tall figure in front of her. he turned around, and opened his mouth to say something, but the words got stuck in his throat. He had silky black hair, and sharp features. His eyes were a cold shade of blue. He had slightly tanned skin. All in all he was quite gorgeous for someone holed up all day in a lab.
He was still gaping at Hermione, eyes widened in what looked like... mortification. Perhaps he was really incredibly shy around women. Which Hermione supposed could be found endearing. It just made her uncomfortable at the moment. It just made her remember how much of a silvertongue Malfoy was when he wanted to be.
'Um... hello there.' Hermione tried to easy the tension in the air, which she had no idea how it got there in the first place.
He didn't respond, his eyes widened even more and Hermione thought that shouldn't have even been physically possible.
'I'm sorry that I disturbed you. Clarice told me that you don't like visitors down here.' Perhaps he really was allergic to visitors in his working domain. And Hermione just disrespected that.
'But I am really incredibly curious about the research you are doing.' she carried on trying to crack the awkwardness. 'You see my mother suffered from it, and I had an excruciatingly hard time gathering the necessary funds for the cure...' she trailed on.
He let out ... a sound that Hermione was pretty confident was a wail of sort of pain, then he buried his face in his palms groaning. Hermione started to get angry at his obvious lack of politeness.
'Listen, you don't have to be rude about it. It's not like I was harassing you or something!'
He huffed out a laugh at this, which turned to a full-blown rich chuckle. Swiping out his wand, Hermione panicked for a moment. Perhaps his privacy was a sort of obsession for him, and he was going to hex her for violating it. She gripped the edge of her sleeve for the end of her wand. but he wasn't pointing the wand at her, he was pointing it at himself. With a complex swish he murmured an enchantment. Green mist surrounded him, and dissipated just as rapidly.
Dark hair turned to blonde.
'For fuck's sake, Granger...' he was evidently, even if a tiny bit amused by the situation.
She let out an involuntary laugh.
'What the ever-loving fuck, Malfoy?' she had the sudden impulse to jump on him in joy. But she willed her heart to control itself, and her body to follow suit.
'Let's go on a walk.' he offered, opening a portal in one of the mirrors in the lab. He gestured for her to pass through first. She reluctantly did.
On the other side of the portal lay a beautiful herb garden.
'Clarice thinks that I don't go out, but she never questions where I get most of my ingredients from.' he says lightly. 'Nice lady, though.'
'Yeah... she tried to hook us up.' Hermione found herself saying before realizing what came out of her mouth.
Malfoy laughed in good nature.
'She does that all the time. Every time a woman near my age comes through in fact. She once did it with a woman who was evidently married. The mortification was extreme, I tell you.'
Hermione found herself laughing. She was relaxed in his presence. It was as if this was an entirely new person. A much happier version. She felt a pang of misery course through her. This was him without her.
'You disappeared.' she couldn't stop herself. She didn't mean it to be a reproach.
'You never searched.' Malfoy said with a sigh.
'I'm sorry.' she whispered.
'Oh, hey,' he rushed in 'it's perfectly alright. I'm fine.' He added with an odd smile.'How have you been?'
'Fine, as well.' she lied, unable to produce a smile.
'Besides, people can still owl me,' he said with a smirk, glancing pointedly at her, 'Well most people. I tend to re-route Astoria's owls to Yaxley. You know, the guy she cheated on me with.' he continued with a chuckle.
'That's very wicked of you, Malfoy.' she said laughing.
'Oh, well. What can I say? I'm still a Slytherin. I get my batches of evil in small doses these days.' he smiled at her.
'Yes, very evil. You becoming a hermit and secretly doing humanitarian work. Terrible.' she felt her heart tug her toward him. Looking at him, he was more handsome than she ever remembered.
'What can I say... the alpha CEO thing didn't turn out so well for me. Now at least... I'm content.' he said softly.
Hermione looked at him catching her breath. He'd done a great deal to reform himself. Even before this. And she managed to ignore it all in a fit of proud hysteria. Maybe it wasn't too late for them. Maybe just as she found it in her heart to see the new him, he could forget that she left him.
'I've heard about your work, you know.' he said oblivious to the storm of sentiments she was experiencing.
'I guess you are better at being private than me. It never occurred to me to charm my looks. Interesting idea, though.' he said with a smile.
'Yeah? Well look how that worked out for me. I buried myself at the end of the world, and you still managed to find me.' he joked.
'Oh, don't be dramatic. You are in only in Wales.' she shoved him playfully, freezing at the fact that they were having such a lighthearted conversation after everything that happened. Draco didn't seem to consider it that meaningful.
'My point, exactly, Granger.' Draco emphasized.
'I was worried about you.' Hermione said softly, glancing at him from the corner of her eyes. His whole body stiffened, before walking again.
'I was fine. I am fine. I got over...' he paused stealing a glance at her, then turning back to watch the path, 'myself.'
Oh... Hermione felt cold sweat running down her back. She understood fully well what this meant. She hoped he would do this one day, but she never imagined that him getting over her would hurt so damned much.
They arrived back at the portal, and she reluctantly went through at his invitation. More reluctantly than when she entered. He bid her farewell smiling serenely. His lighthearted manner hurt now. It meant that he was happy and content, without her. She supposed that this was what she wanted. Be careful what you wish for and all that crap, that in moments like this was just a clicheed way of processing tragedy.
She was unsure of what kind of physical contact was okay right now between them. She wanted to hug him so badly, but she knew she had her chance of the farewell affection. In the end, she extended her hand for him to shake. He took it without hesitation, smiling at her.
'Don't be a stranger, Hermione. I would love to occasionally have a friendly chat with someone other than my plants.'
Friendly,.. Yeah. Right... friendly.
Hermione could only nod, before urgently exiting. For the rest of the day all she could focus on were the touch of his warm, newly calloused hands on hers.
That night she lay in her bed staring daggers at the ceiling. She was incredibly angry with herself. Malfoy could be so much more than what she pretended he could be. She lay restlessly all night, tossing and turning, being plagued by every image of him being warm and loving and caring.
As dawn rose her tears came too, as she cried herself sorrowfully into a few hours of nightmarish sleep. The shadow of Malfoy's desperate eyes as she left him, haunted her heart and mind.
The worst was when the eyes changed into indifferent.
If she had to drag herself to another blasted award ceremony after this, she swore she'd hire an actress to do her presentation. She looked around at the crowd, she was always surrounded at these things with people eager to congratulate her. The first time she felt somewhat flattered. Now, being used to a life of privacy, she could feel irritation crawling up her skin.
Hermione sipped from a glass of champagne, being eager to get on with her presentation. And just go home. And think about Malfoy being this whole new person that she never will get the chance to know. Or be with.
Luna and Nott came to greet her, but promptly disappeared doing god knows what.
The pre-mixer party was filled with all kinds of unfamiliar faces from around the world. Looking around, she was shell-shocked to spot him. His black illusion of a hair made him almost blend in. He was next to Clarice who was excitedly babbling away beside him. He was chatting and smiling down to a petite red-head, in extremely flattering robes. They fitted her well. Too well. Hermione felt the definite pang of jealousy. He moved on. Truly.
They were herded in the conference hall. Sitting in groups on previously designated tables. Malfoy was on the far end. Next to the scene, sitting at his table, still chatting with the red-head.
Hermione was in a hell of a mood. By the time it was her turn to present the Magical Leak Project she was so out of it she could barely remember the most basic things. She could feel Malfoy's gaze judging her.
This time, because it was an international thing she decided to present in more detail what happened on the site. She brought one of the last specimens of a Dark Beam in a glass container. The host was babbling on and on about research being the end all be all of Magical Society. It was incredibly evident, that this plump middle aged overly enthusiastic little man, had never spent a day of his life on the field. In fact, he looked like all he did at this party was spend his time buried in the punch bowl. He was one grade of drunk away from demonstrating his point in dance.
Eventually, he did get around to calling her on the stage, resuming his position a little close to the Beam. Hermione began to lecture the hall on the brief history of the Leak. Its devastating effects.
She presented the Beam, and how they countered it with Patronuses. She did her perfunctory demonstration with the Icelandic Crystal. This was the only moment she couldn't help herself but glance at Malfoy. He was observing her intently. But his face didn't seem to give away any kind of emotion.
Finishing her presentation, the hall erupted in loud and enthusiastic applause. The plump host was notably the most dynamic clapper. In fact, he was so dynamic that he lost his balance and fell on the glass container. Normally, it would've held, but a tiny crack was enough for the Dark Beam to break free. Instinct told her to act fact, and she wiped out her wand in an instant. Faster than anyone else.
'Expecto Patronum!' she shouted, and she closed her eyes, imagining a warm, loving face and soft blonde hair.
After the spell she momentarily hyperventilated thinking that her Patronus was still broken. When she opened her eyes, however...
A silver Ferret was fighting the Beam valiantly. She blinked a couple of times incredulously. To be fair she was only a tiny bit incredulous. She suspected even then, that this was the reason her Patronus was changing.
She was in love.
Her head was magnetically driven to turn to him. He made an almost comically shocked face. His eyes wide and round, his beautiful mouth hanging slightly open.
Hermione was mortified. Of all the times he could have found out, he found it out in the exact time he got over her.
Other wizards and witches promptly produced a their Patronuses, as well. They managed to subdue the Beam fairly quickly and efficiently. Hermione searched frantically for a way out in the commotion. The room was in a roar, the host tried to calm people and coax them to get on with the ceremony, but at this point he lost all authority he might have possessed.
Hermione started to feel her heart constrict in the middle of the crowd. She spotted a side door, and ran for it. Arriving in the cool corridor, she struggled to catch her breath, hands on her knees.
'I feel like this would be a good moment for that friendly chat we talked about the other day.'
She nearly jumped out of her bones and skin at the voice of the very last person she needed to see in this moment. Malfoy was prompted casually to the wall, inspecting his nails smugly, a tiny smirk gracing his lips. His illusion enchantment disappeared, making way to the familiar handsome face and strong, lean body of his. His gaze turned from his nails to her face, raising an eyebrow in challenge. Hermione could feel her whole body flush in his gaze.
'So...?' he questioned expectantly. 'Was there something you forgot to mention to me?'
He moved away from the wall, advancing on her. With every step he took, she took one back.
'Any little, itsy-bitsy tiny thing, Hermione?' he stopped short before entering her personal space. His entire being was challenging her. She looked him in the eyes, she was taken aback by the great amount of hope they conveyed, behind the mischievous glint. She was officially sick and tired of herself running away. All she wanted was to be with him. Without any boundaries. Without any unnecessary baggage.
'Maybe...' she started coarsely, her voice wasn't quite willing to do her bidding, 'Just a tiny detail or two.'
'Oh, really?' Draco placed his hands next to her head, trapping her in. For the first time in a long while, she didn't mind being trapped. She coveted it.
'I'm listening.' his hot breath brushed her face, his eyes searching her every micro-expression.
'What...' she swallowed, her mouth drying out from emotion 'what do you want me to say?'
Malfoy let out an incredulous chuckle.
'For starters, I think the tale about your new rather ugly Patronus would be fascinating.'
'Rodents are the new black.' she stated more bravely than she felt.
He raised both eyebrows at her, staring at her intently.
'I love you?' she finally breathed out. It was a soft statement, full of uncertainty. She wasn't uncertain of her own feelings. Not anymore. She was uncertain of what it would mean to put herself out there like this. Uncertain of the reaction she would get.
'Try again, Granger.' he said jokingly, but his voice had a stern undertone. 'Or are you asking me?'
Hermione put her hands on his arms softly, lowering them. She searched for his hands, grabbing them firmly.
'I love you, damn it all too hell and back, I love you.' she told him with a passion she had restrained for too long. 'I've loved you for quite some time. And I want you. And I want to be with you. And I don't think I ever wanted something more in my whole life. And I'm sorry, and at the same time I'm not. I'm not sure I would want to change anything, because even if we are fucked up, I love you from the bottom of my heart.'
She let out a long-suffering breath, and waited for his reaction. She prayed to whatever fickle god played with fate today, they would be on her side in this. He extracted his hand from hers, and Hermione's heart plummeted. Soon however, he was producing his Patronus. It was still her Otter... she guessed now it was his.
She smiled at him. He smiled back.
'Now I will take you home, Granger, and we will make love to you until we pass out from too much pleasure.' he breathed hotly in her ear.
She cupped his cheeks with her hands, grinning.
'On one condition.' she breathed out in a laugh. Malfoy's eyes danced with mirth.
'Yeah?' he asked.
'Be mine forever.' she said before kissing his soft and greatly missed lips.
Draco nodded vigorously, grinning into the kiss.
'Theodor, you are in love with me.' Luna stated. It wasn't a question. And even if it were it would've been a damn odd one. Theodor looked at her in astonishment.
'My, oh my, Miss Lovegood. You are quite forthcoming. What makes you affirm such an interesting thought?'
Luna stared at him unblinkingly. He liked this most about her. She was immune to his slippery charms. She could detect his bullshit from miles away and call it out without producing a single drop of sweat.
'The feeling is mutual.' Luna said earnestly.
Theodor blinked in shock, but it didn't take him much to take her into his arms and kiss her thoroughly.
After consuming their love... and let it be affirmed that the odd ones are the best in bed, the twisted things they want and offer are incredibly interesting... but after it... she spoke quietly.
'Theodor, I think we should do something.'
'Right now?' he said tiredly.
'Yes.' her tone didn't even assume there could be an alternative.
'Alright... what exactly did you have in mind.' he asked lecherously.
'Remember Ms. Skeeter? The one that hurt our friends.' she said fiercely.
Theodor nodded, liking the direction this was going towards.
'I think we have a bug problem.' she said airily.
'Only you can suggest we go out on a revenge spree at 3 am, after confessing to each other and making love.' Theodor huffed out a laugh.
Luna looked at him, with an eyebrow raised innocently.
'I thought it might be the kind of thing you enjoyed.'
He kissed her unable to resist her weirdness. This was going to be interesting.
Rita Skeeter lay in a jar for 5 years, magically preserved. She would've lied there for a longer time, as the people who put her there completely forgot about it. In fact, their amnesia went to the extent, that Luna simply tossed it out in the garbage one afternoon, completely absentmindedly.
Rita Skeeter lay another 5 months in the community garbage area, until finally remembering she was actually human.
She decided that journalism was not for her, after all.
A/n: So? What did you think? Was it worth the read? Do tell me.
I am still considering rewriting the story, as in fixing the mistakes and such. Also This is officially the ending I'm going with, however, I have written a few bonus scenes that I might add later on.
Thank you for all the people who consistently reviewed. You lot kept fueling my writing machine. I am immensely grateful.