September 16th, 2011
A/N: So I told you guys that when I get writer's block for some stories I come up with an entirely new one, right? Well, it happened again. Gravity is REALLY hard for me to write, it might just end there, I'm not entirely sure…I mean, I know what happens in the beginning, and I know what happens towards the end, but I always get stumped when it comes to the middle. To placate my lovely and dedicated readers, I'm going to post this up! Even this might turn into a one-shot. I'm afraid I'm not very good with sticking to one idea at a time. Sorry about that.
Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter.
Everyone was socializing and having a grand time, it seemed, except for a certain bushy-haired, brilliant Muggleborn, who was sitting on the futon in Ginny Weasley's bedroom at the Burrow.
Hermione should have been feeling cheerful. It was Harry's birthday – he had lived long enough to turn twenty, thank Merlin – and she was surrounded by people she loved. But Hermione couldn't bring herself to forget the one person she had hated since her first day at Hogwarts. Except now, she didn't hate him. In fact, she sympathized with him, although no one could be surprised at that fact.
Of course, Hermione hadn't exactly told Harry or Ron that she had been doing a good deal of thinking about Draco Malfoy recently, lest they spontaneously combusted or something else just as ridiculous. She loved both of the boys to pieces, but they had a tendency to overreact about the simplest of things.
Hermione's eyes drifted to Pig, who was fluttering around the room, hooting happily. He flew over to Hermione and looked at her hopefully, probably eager to get some exercise and see more of the world.
Well, the little owl got his wish granted. Hermione brought out a piece of parchment and grabbed one of the Muggle pens she was so fond of using, and that Mr. Weasley was so curious about.
I know you might not appreciate this, nor pay this letter any mind, but I just wanted to tell you that you did the right thing. I can understand not wanting to participate in the war, I suppose, and the fact that you and your family did not fight for Voldemort's side is most definitely respectable. You might not care what a lowly Mudblood or Harry Potter's best mate thinks, but I just wanted you to know that not everyone close to the Weasley clan despises you.
Hoping you are well,
Before she could regret her decision, Hermione rolled the piece of parchment up and attached it to Pigwidgeon's leg, which he so obediently stuck out. After slipping Ron's pet a treat, Hermione left the room to rejoin the celebration.
She plastered a smile on her face as Ron wrapped his arm around her shoulders. He had never been the most adept at reading emotions, something Hermione often cursed or blessed the gods for.
"I think everyone's getting ready to leave soon. Bill and Fleur looked downright terrified at the thought of keeping Vicky here too long," Ron told his girlfriend, laughing quietly.
Hermione's smile became genuine. "I'm going to say goodbye to them before they leave. Victoire is just so cute!" she exclaimed. Ron rolled her eyes, but his expression was fond. However much he complained about Hermione's baby talk, he loved the way she was indefinitely kind and gentle to every single living being alive.
Once Hermione had said goodnight to all of the members of the Weasley family, adding a kiss when it came to Ron and a hug for Harry, she slipped into the room she shared with Ginny.
She fell asleep the second her head touched the pillow, and all thoughts of pale blonde Slytherin and the letter she had sent to him were gone for the time being.
When Hermione woke, it was more out of habit than anything else. It was a Sunday and she didn't have to be at work, so she dressed herself in a pair of faded Muggle jeans, a t-shirt and trainers before she went for a walk around London, magical or no.
"You're up early, dear," Molly Weasley's maternal voice said as Hermione entered the kitchen.
"I think I'm going to go look around Diagon Alley, maybe get something to eat at a café in London," Hermione replied with a smile. She loved being at the Burrow. Her parents still weren't sure if they could trust her, although they had been nothing but nice since she had restored their memories, but with Mrs. Weasley and everyone else, Hermione was accepted completely.
"Have fun, dear. Is anyone going with you?"
Hermione snorted. "At this hour? I highly doubt that Harry, Ron, or Ginny would roll out of bed at this 'unholy time' just to accompany me."
Mrs. Weasley chuckled softly. "You're probably right. Enjoy yourself!"
"I will, thanks!"
Using an undetectable extension charm on one of her pockets, Hermione transferred many of the things from her small beaded bag into it before she left the comfort of what she now called 'home.'
She apparated to an alley near The Leaky Cauldron, for she always stopped there to give Tom, the bartender and owner, some more business and a bit of friendly updates on how Harry, Hagrid, and many others were doing.
Hermione waved to Tom as she entered the shabby yet inviting pub. He beamed at her as she sat down on a stool at the bar and immediately placed a mug of butterbeer in front of one of his most prized customers.
The expected question came, soon after Hermione had paid for and taken a sip of her drink.
"How's the family doing, Hermione?"
"Quite well. Harry turned twenty only yesterday," Hermione said, speaking as if Harry were her son and not someone who was as close to a brother as she would ever get.
"Bless my soul! And to think, I met the boy when he was only eleven years old. He's come so far and grown up much too fast."
Hermione realized that Tom's words had more meaning than he might have been aware of at the time. She had always thought it was unfair that Harry had never had a good, normal childhood. Well, maybe not normal, but at least enjoyable. He should have been able to have fun while he still could.
Not that Harry was a stick-in-the-mud. No, he, Ron and Ginny had Hermione for that. But sometimes, when he smiled, it didn't quite reach his eyes, and he wasn't as quick to laugh as he had been before. Hermione hoped that Ginny would get him out of that state, but even she wasn't getting her hopes up.
"I'd better go. It was nice talking to you!" Hermione gave Tom a little wave and made to enter Diagon Alley.
I think I'll stop at Flourish and Blotts, just to see if they ordered a shipment of that book I wanted…
Humming a song that was very familiar yet whose name escaped her, Hermione entered one of her regular haunts. The cashier looked up and finished ringing a teenager, most likely a Hogwarts student, up before he smiled at Hermione.
"We were wondering when you'd be back. How long are you going to be here this time? An hour? Two? Boss is considering just hiring you so you can read whatever you like, but he knows you wouldn't leave the Ministry and house-elves for anything."
"Hello to you too, Andy," Hermione said with a grin.
The twenty one year old Irish man waved his hand dismissively. "Please, we see you too much to bother with pleasantries." He turned Hermione so she was facing an aisle dedicated to Muggle and wizard books alike. "I think you might find something to pique your interest down that way."
Hermione grinned at Andrew and disappeared between the bookshelves. She plucked a mystery novel from a shelf far too high above her head after a good deal of stretching and read the back while she occasionally scanned the titles of its companions.
By the time she got to the end of the aisle, Hermione had six or seven books in her arms. Andy and his boss absolutely loved Hermione, and no matter how much she protested, let her borrow books whenever she wanted.
Since she had a tower of romance, adventure and murder mystery novels to support, Hermione couldn't see where she was going, and subsequently bumped into someone.
"Oh, I'm so sorry!" she gasped, bending down to pick up the scattered novels. She only looked up when the person she rudely ran into handed her one she had missed. Hermione's eyes widened in surprise. "Malfoy?" she exclaimed.
At the same time, Draco hissed, "Granger?"
"What are you doing here?" Hermione asked, completely baffled.
"I do know how to read, you know," Draco replied, as snarky and sarcastic as ever.
Hermione sighed and checked the books for any sign of harm. "Well, I'd say it was a pleasure to see you, but if you're going to act like that…"
"What do you expect from me when you ask a question like that?"
She opened her mouth to protest and closed it after a moment's though. "I'm sorry, it was rather rude, wasn't it?"
Draco honestly hadn't expected Granger to apologize. She was far, far too nice, and would probably get taken advantage of in the future. Hell, she was probably taken advantage of by Weasel and Pothead. The Mud...Muggleborn had always been doing her friends' homework at Hogwarts, after all.
"Never mind, it's not a problem," Draco said, looking quite frustrated. Hermione's eyebrows furrowed together in confusion, but she remembered that she was still sitting on her bum and got to her feet. She had to set the books down and bend over to retrieve them again, causing Draco to have some unnecessary thoughts.
"I'd better go tell Andy which ones I'm borrowing," Hermione began awkwardly. She hadn't spoken a word to Draco since the letter, and that didn't even count. She had no clue as to how much he had changed, for the better, at that.
As Hermione turned to leave, though, Draco proved himself a different person by gently touching her arm, when only three years prior he would have sent anyone who suggested he would be so close to Granger voluntarily to a mental institution.
"Thanks," he said quietly. "For…saying what you did."
It took Hermione a moment to understand what Draco was talking about. "Oh, that. I wasn't sure how you'd be feeling about the war, and I thought that maybe, if someone told you that you really aren't a bad person, then maybe, I don't know, you'd be a little more…nice…I guess," Hermione finished lamely. "Not that I'm saying you aren't nice!" she added hastily. "For all I know, you could be the sweetest human being in the world nowadays, but, um, yeah."
By the time she was done making a fool of herself, Hermione had turned a shade of red that would have made Godric Gryffindor proud. Draco didn't want to seem heartless, but he found the entire exchange amusing. Him, having a civil conversation with Hermione Granger. Who would have thought?
"I did appreciate it, Granger. And I'm not going to say thank you again," Draco told her, a bit teasingly.
Hermione cracked a small smile. "You do seem like a better person, Draco. And I'd prefer it if you called me Hermione, since we're apparently past that silly loathing each other phase."
"Oh, I never hated you. Strongly disliked you, perhaps, for besting me in many things and being friends with Wonder Boy and Weasel, but it was never hate." Draco wondered why he was telling her that much. He had never told anything that before.
"It'd also be nice if you could call my boyfriend by his proper name."
"You're dating Wonder Boy?" Draco asked, feigning ignorance. "How does the Weaselette feel about that?"
Hermione laughed and swatted at his arm playfully. "You know who I was talking about; you're just saying all that to annoy me."
"And it didn't work," Draco replied, sighing dejectedly. Wait, was he flirting with Granger? Granger? What in the name of Merlin was going on?
Meanwhile, Hermione was thinking along the same lines. Remember Ron, remember Ron! Draco might not be a downright git anymore, but he is a bit frustrating, no matter how attractive he is…God, Hermione, get a hold of yourself! You are in a committed relationship! Don't have such traitorous thoughts!
"I suppose I'll see you around…?" Hermione's voice rose at the last word, turning it into a question. She had let Andy know about her choices and was standing outside of the bookstore with Draco.
"I'd like that, Gra-Hermione. Honestly."
Hermione's smile was dazzlingly. Draco remembered the time when she resembled a beaver; now she looked rather pretty. Bugger that, Hermione was gorgeous, even in a t-shirt, and she probably didn't even know it, if she was dating a loser like Ron Weasley.
"You can owl me whenever you want to talk. About anything. Harry's always telling me I'm a good listener, even if I can't offer the best advice," Hermione said, pulling a messenger bag out of her pocket to put her books in. Draco didn't even ask how she had done it; he knew that the former Gryffindor was talented, extremely so.
"I might just take you up on that." Draco's smirk didn't compare to Hermione's warm smile, but it was hardly the contemptuous one he often wore while he was at school.
"Well…bye Draco." The words sounded reluctant, or maybe that was Draco's wishful thinking. He really had to stop putting in so many extra hours at St. Mungo's. He hadn't been around an attractive woman for far too long.
Hermione vanished in the sea of witches and wizards preparing their children for Hogwarts. She glanced back at Flourish and Blotts to see if Draco was still there, yet he wasn't, and she didn't know how she felt about that.
By the time she was back at the Burrow, Ginny and Harry were having a late breakfast. Being the curious little devils they were, they immediately asked where she had been.
"I went to Diagon Alley and got some books," Hermione said, looking puzzled as she held up her bag for them to see. "What else would I be doing on a Sunday? You know I do this every week or so."
"Then why is it I sense there's something you aren't telling us?"
Trust Ginevra Weasley to be so bloody observant.
"I ran into Malfoy at the shop," Hermione admitted.
"You mean the Amazing Bouncing Ferret?"
Hermione nodded. "The one and only, Gin." Harry was taking the news quietly, and Hermione didn't see his bright green eyes flare with any bad emotion.
"Was he awful to you?" Harry asked, looking worried. Hermione patted his hand, knowing how protective he was of her.
"No, he was actually rather nice. We talked for a little bit and neither one of us ever drew our wands," Hermione said, directing the words towards Harry more so than Ginny. "You have to remember that he chose not to fight on Voldemort's side when it mattered most."
Pleased with the fact that Harry and Ginny seemed to accept the fact that she had an improving relationship with Draco Malfoy, Hermione curled up on the window seat in the living room with one of her books, but for once, she didn't feel like reading.
Ron was still fast asleep, and Hermione tried her best not to compare him to Draco, who could definitely be an early riser, much like herself. And all Ron could really talk about with interest was Quidditch or Auror training. He could only go on for so long before Hermione got completely lost.
Oh, but they both tried. They just didn't have too much in common. Hermione loved Ron with all her heart, though, and knew he felt the same about her, so they made it work. They met each other half-way, and they rarely fought anymore.
Hermione worried her bottom lip and turned her attention back to her book, The Amber Spyglass, but was quickly interrupted.
"G'morning 'Mione," Ron said, yawning. He sat down on the floor, his head resting against Hermione's waist. "How long've you been up?"
"Since six or seven," she replied, running her fingers through Ron's hair.
"Bloody hell. Why?"
"Because not all of us sleep until noon, love," was Hermione's answer. Ron was very good about waking up when it came to training, but on weekends he was awfully lazy.
"Well it is a Sunday," Ron pointed out mildly.
"Oh, Ron, you could be a lawyer with arguments like that."
"What's a lawyer?" Ron asked, saying the word slowly to make sure he got it right. Hermione and her Muggle ways would never stop confusing him. Once she had actually convinced him to cook breakfast without using magic, and needless to say, it hadn't turned out well.
"Um, it's someone who defends or supports a person on trial. You remember when Harry almost lost his wand, back in fifth year, and had to go to the Ministry?" Ron nodded, so Hermione continued. "Dumbledore was kind of acting like his lawyer then. He got him out of a bind using evidence."
"I…see…" Ron said, his tone clearing implying that he did not understand. Hermione sighed, ever so slightly. At least with Harry she didn't have to worry about explaining things that seemed so simple to her.
"Why don't you go get something to eat?" Hermione suggested, wanting to be left alone with her thoughts and book. She cherished every moment she could spend safe with the people she cared about, but right then she needed to figure some things out.
Ron jumped to his feet, kissed Hermione's forehead and headed for the kitchen, whistling.
Hermione ducked her head and tried to go back to reading, but she found that she was reading the same paragraph over and over again.
A tapping on the window distracted her. A beautiful tawny owl flew inside the moment Hermione had made a big enough opening. It landed on the seat next to her, cocked its head to the side and held out its leg.
While she untied the string, Hermione summoned a treat and held it out for the owl. It pecked at it before snatching it up in its beak, but it didn't leave, the way Hermione had expected it to.
How would you feel about going to lunch on Monday? Send a reply back with the owl.
Bewildered, Hermione remembered that she had told Draco he could talk to her whenever he felt the need, and she had to wonder if everything was alright in his life, since he was requesting her company and not Pansy Parkinson's. Even so, Hermione said yes, and sent the owl on its way.
With the war over, Hermione had thought things would go back to normal. Obviously, that was not to be the case.
A/N: Again, I'm sorry if I don't keep up with my other stories, but I do think Hermione would be kind enough to try and reassure Draco about everything. She's just that kind of person. She hated him because he was prejudiced and cruel to her friends, but what if he's not anymore? Anyway, J.K. Rowling stated that Draco was mean to Hermione only because he had romantic feelings for her, and that said feelings would linger, much like Severus Snape's. Please review, because I'd like to know how I could make the characters seem more realistic, or at least act their age a little better. The closest I am to being twenty is having a twenty two year old brother, which is technically not the same.