The war ended two years before. I was nineteen, having the time of my life. I was celebrating myself, still. I was celebrating the fact that I'd found where I belonged in the world; not in some school, not tied down in a marriage at such a young age, but free. Free to roam, free to spend the money my parents had made for me. I didn't like having responsibilities. In a way, I didn't change much. I still focused around myself. The war didn't really make any difference in me. Only one thing had changed. One thing that I tried hard to ignore, so I could celebrate my life. I knew the one thing I wanted I could never have, anyway.
Granger. Or as I more often referred to her has in my dreams, Hermoine. Known to me in the past as Mudblood. A filthy little mudblood. I couldn't stand myself knowing that I'd called her that. She was beautiful to me, and always had been. I'd just been to thick-skulled to take notice.
I had new eyes for her when I saw her in the end, standing by her friends until the end. I never liked the Weasel, but Harry I had learned to tolerate. From a distance, at least. If I got near either of them, I'm sure I would've hexed them.
"Cheers!" Blaise said from beside me at the table, holding his glass rather shakily in his hand. His drink splashed me. I wasn't sure what he was drinking anymore, he'd had so many. Our table was practically covered in empty glasses, mostly from him.
"Exactly what am I cheering for?" I asked, my words slurring together. I'd had more to drink than I thought.
"Ourselves!" Blaise replied, almost inaudible.
Pansy Parkinson jumped up from next to him. As she jumped up, I was sure her chest was going to fall out of her skimpy top. I nearly choked on my drink as I dumped it into my mouth, stifling a drunken laugh. I couldn't believe I'd ever fancied that girl.
I managed to swallow, and then excused myself to the bathroom, placing my glass down heavily on the table.
I swayed a little as I walked, but I managed to control myself pretty well. I hiccupped, and then reached for the door.
I crossed the room in a few wobbly steps, and managed to turn the sink on. I cupped my hands, and let water fill them up. I brought my hands to my face, and let it rest in cool water. Then I sighed, and dropped the water back into the sink, watching it get sucked down the drain.
I crossed the room again, and walked back outside, swaying back to my table. Pansy and Blaise were now tangled in each other's arms, tongues in each other's mouths. I groaned irritably. It always ended this way with Blaise, no matter who it was with. Astoria Greengrass, and even Ginny Weasley one year before. I'd be invited to accompany him, and he'd end up making out with his date, or sometimes, mine.
I picked up another drink that had appeared on the table, and gulped it down. Then, I started towards the door, swaying as I moved. Before I reached the door, a gust of cold wind shot in, as four people rushed inside.
First, I noticed Potter. I nodded to him, but he didn't recognize me. Behind him, and linked to his hand, was Ginny Weasley. Behind her, followed her brother Ron, and inevitably, behind him, came Hermoine. Beautiful Hermoine. Her cheeks were lightly freckled and flushed from the cold, a scarf tightly wrapped around her neck and covering the tip of her chin. She was bundled up in a bulky coat that hid her figure. Her hat barely concealed her bushy hair, it sticking out on the bottom. My eyes traced all the way down to her hand, which was connected to the Weasel in front of her. Instantly, my heart lurched, and I rushed out the door before she was completely through. My thigh brushed up against hers, and electricity shot up my leg.
Quickly, I hurried past her, feeling her eyes burning into the back of my head angrily. Clearly, she recognized me. I knew it was from my hair. I heard her mutter something, and then Harry appeared in the door.
"Draco!" he called.
Hermoine tugged on his sleeve. "First name basis?" she asked in disbelief. Ron just groaned, and dragged her inside after him.
I turned around, regretting the spinning motion. My head whirled.
"Why don't you come in with us?" he called over the sound of the snow.
"I just left! Drank… already!" I managed to yell, slurring some of my words.
He chuckled, and then turned to Ginny. "I'll be there in a minute." He said. Then he walked out into the cold, closing the door behind him. "I can hear that." He said to me.
"I wouldn't want to interrupt your date, either…" I said, making up the stupidest excuse I'd ever heard.
"It's fine. And we don't mind. Come on. Just one drink." He smiled.
"No. One drink too many." I managed to joke.
"One drink, and we'll let you go. Pumpkin Juice." He said, automatically choosing a drink that contained no alcohol.
I sighed. "We're not really friends, Potter." I muttered.
"Well, we could get to be. I want to put the past behind us, Draco. I want everybody else to do that, too. You changed." He said simply.
I groaned. "Fine. One drink. Then I'm leaving. Granger and Weasley didn't seem too thrilled to see me." I grumbled.
He smiled. "Don't mind them. Now, come on!"
An hour later, I was on my fifth glass of firewhiskey, and Potter was singing to some tune I didn't even know, slurring all his words. The only ones seemingly unamused were Granger and Weasley, but even Ginny seemed to be joining in on the fun, occasionally harmonizing with Potter.
"So. You two still together?" I asked, gesturing my drink towards Ginny as soon as Harry quieted down.
"Oh, yes. Engaged, actually." She said excitedly. She held up her ring finger.
"Yes we are!" Harry said, taking a break from his song.
"And you?" I asked, turning to Granger.
She just scoffed in disgust, and then stood up with Weaselbee.
"Come on, Ron. We're leaving." She said angrily. She grabbed Ron's hand, and stood up. She quickly put her gloves on, and jacket and scarf. Then she hurried out of the building with Ron in tow, who hadn't even gotten his jacket on.
"Moine, wait up. I need to get my jacket on." Ron complained, desperately trying to free his arm from Hermoine's grasp.
"Fine. Hurry up." she muttered, releasing his arm briefly before snatching it up again. "Goodbye, Ginny." she called as she pushed open the door, and let it slam behind her.
She hadn't put her gloves on quick enough before I noticed the sparkling engagement ring on her finger.
I felt like my whole world was collapsing, and felt surprisingly in tune with my emotions, despite my many drinks. I loved her. She would never love me. She had just expressed her hate for me, and I'd only said three words. And. You. Granger. She was stuck in the past, stuck with the fact that I had tortured her in our younger years. I could never tell her what felt. She'd laugh in my face. I knew I couldn't live without her, but in the same instant, I knew I could never live with her, either. I would have to stick to my dreams.
The one touch I remembered was when she punched me in third year. I remembered it so well. Partly because it hurt so much, but now I rememberd it as the one time she would touch me without the tip of her wand.
I suddenly didn't have the energy to drink anymore. So I stood up, nodded to Harry, and walked towards the door.
"Aw, come on! The party's just starting!" Potter called after me.
"Harry, I think we need to get you in bed." Ginny said, taking his drink out of his hand.
I smiled weakly at them, before opening the door. I quickly disapperated into the night, reappearing moments later in my secluded home.
I sat down on my white couch, and put my head in my hands. I knew I shouldn't care, and that it wasn't exactly 'manly' or anything, but I couldn't help but let a tear or two fall. She hated me. Truly hated me.
And I loved her.