A/N: This started out as something a Professor mentioned in class. A poet (I can't remember which one now, this was started months ago) printed an obituary for his rival... who wasn't dead. I thought it would make a good story.
Happy 2012 everyone!
"What the hell is this?" the enraged blond demanded, waving his copy of the Daily Prophet as if the paper had done him personal harm. In a way, it had.
Calmly, Hermione glanced up from the article she'd been editing. "It appears to be a copy of the Prophet."
"I know that. There's an obituary in there for me," he snapped. Frantically, he flipped through the pages to find said article, missing the amusement that flashed across Hermione's face before she could smooth it back into her impassive expression.
When he managed to produce the article, Hermione read it over. "My condolences," she said solemnly. Her voice cracked slightly from the effort to hold in her laughter, but Malfoy was too distraught to properly notice.
"I'M NOT DEAD," Draco yelled, losing what little composure he'd managed to retain. He probably could have maintained his cool if people hadn't been wishing him their condolences all day. One man had even screeched in fear upon seeing and run in the other direction.
Lips twitching with the effort to restrain her laughter, Hermione looked at the paper again. "It appears you are."
All of his movement stopped as he finally took in her appearance, twitching lips and laughter in her eyes.
"You wrote this," he said flatly. No longer distracted by the content of the article, he was free to note that, in tiny letters at the end of the piece, was clearly printed her name.
"In case you don't remember, I'm the smartest witch of our age. As such, am rarely wrong," she said primly.
The rage pumping under his skin wanted to tear the frustrating woman limb from limb, but his clever mind told him that such actions would only land him in Azkaban. No, he was going to have to use all his cunning to punish his bushy-haired nemesis.
"This isn't over, Granger," he said menacingly, putting as much venom as possible into his voice and glare. As he turned to leave, he had to suppress the urge to shove everything off of her desk like a wronged toddler. Malfoys didn't throw tantrums like that in public, they were undignified.
"I expect to be invited to the funeral," she called.
Briefly, he paused, but a slow smirk grew on his face and he started moving again. He'd get her back, and vengeance would be sweet.
Once Malfoy was gone from her office, Hermione burst out laughing, her body curled over her desk with tears running down her cheeks.
Working for the Daily Prophet was a good job, but sometimes she needed to let out a little steam in order to restore joy to her work. She'd been having a particularly stressful day when her little idea had occurred to her.
Malfoy had said something to her at the recent Ministry party celebrating the anniversary of their victory over Voldemort. No one got away with claiming she was a "boring, uptight bitch with no sense of humour and a stick up her arse large enough to rival Percy Weasley's", even if she had stumbled and accidentally spilt her drink on them.
Her little confrontation with the blond had made her week; his reaction was everything she'd been hoping for.
The recent break-up with Ron had left her in a funk for the last few months, but she finally felt like the cloud that had been hanging over her head was starting to lift. Who would have thought it would be Malfoy that made her feel better? It wasn't in a conventional way, but he had still lightened her mood.
She was just starting to nibble on her lunch behind her desk so she could get to work on actual news stories when Malfoy stormed back into the room.
"Today I've had to reassure my estate manager, a team of lawyers, and my mother that I'm not actually dead," he snarled, throwing himself down onto one of the chairs she had for guests.
While it wasn't as amusing as before, Hermione still snorted a little at the idea of Malfoy having to reassure his mother that he was still alive. He had to have tried to do it through owl post; otherwise, she couldn't see the conversation having taken very long.
When she was done with her snickering, she turned her attention back to the silently fuming blond. Never had she seen his usually matte grey eyes look more mercurial and angry.
They were kind of entrancing.
As subtly as possible, Hermione tried to shake those blasphemous thoughts right out of her head. She must be overworked if she was thinking Malfoy was anything besides the annoying prat who had bullied her in school and hadn't grown up enough after graduation to see a reason to stop.
"Why are you back here?" Hermione asked with a sigh.
"People keep owling my office with either condolences or subtly worded letters asking if it was one of them who offed me and congratulating them for it. If I'm not going to get any work done today then neither are you."
Leaning back, he thumped his feet onto her desk, scuffing the papers that had been resting there. An almost petulant expression was on his face.
Irritably, Hermione snatched them from under his feet and glared. Suddenly she wasn't sure that tormenting him was worth the aggravation of having to deal with his constant presence. The bloke had a lot of practice getting under people's skin, and he was good at it.
She turned her full attention to the crinkled and smudged papers, making sure they contained nothing important. Luckily, they were just opinion pieces Percy sent in every few days in hopes that she'd publish them. If he ever wrote something that was even a little bit more entertaining than Professor Binn's classes, then she'd consider publishing it. Until then, his writing would only take up space in her rubbish bin with everything else she knew had no place in the Prophet.
"It's your own fault your coworkers dislike you so much - and so obviously - that people think they may have killed you," Hermione said. She figured that if she angered him enough, then perhaps he'd storm out of her office for the second time that day. It was just a happy coincidence that she could anger him using the truth.
Instead of the rage she'd been expecting, Malfoy deflated slightly, rubbing the bridge of his nose tiredly. "It's not my fault. With the level of incompetence I have to deal with on a daily basis, it's a wonder the Department of International Communication hasn't collapsed."
She couldn't disagree but she kept her eyes on the paper in front of her, not wanting Malfoy to know that she was in agreement with him. Wasn't there a fundamental rule somewhere that a Malfoy and a Muggleborn couldn't be of the same mind about something for fear that the world would implode? It was probably in the Malfoy charter.
When he was silent for too long, Hermione glanced up at him to see Malfoy watching her contemplatively. Apparently he'd burned through his anger and had decided on a cooler approach to his problem with her.
He steepled his fingers and looked at her contemplatively over them. "Granger, I'm wondering if you're aware of who it is owns this paper."
Panicking briefly, Hermione tried to stop the blood from draining from her face. A reaction like that was just what Malfoy wanted. She knew for a fact that the Prophet was owned by a company called Foamly Media Group. Nothing Malfoy-related there; he was just trying to get a rise out of her.
The smirk on his face didn't bode well for her.
"I'm guessing that right now the words 'Foamly Media Group' are running through your head."
She glared, which he took as a yes.
"Let me give you a little history lesson," Malfoy said, looking gleeful enough that Hermione knew she wasn't going to like his 'history lesson'. "Before the war, Malfoy Industries owned a large portion of Diagon Alley, but the whole Voldemort debacle dragged the Malfoy name through the mud and forced us to do a little restructuring."
Hermione stared at him in horror, hoping he wasn't going to tell her what she thought he was. It would be too terrible to comprehend if she actually worked for Malfoy.
Malfoy's smirk widened. "I see you've picked up where I'm going with this story." He reclined more in his chair and placed his arms behind his head, relaxing in order to more fully savour the moment. "Despite decades of being one of the most respected Pureblooded families, we Malfoys discovered that keeping our name on all of our companies was actually a hindrance to business. The solution was a rather simple one; we bought up various smaller companies and kept their names, while renaming some of the existing ones with a jumbled version of our name that Mother decided was a good idea."
This time, Hermione was unable to stop all of the blood draining from her face. She was quickly rearranging the letters of Foamly in her head into Malfoy. Merlin, she'd been a Malfoy employee for years and hadn't even known about it. Harry and Ron were going to laugh their asses off when she told them about it.
Her nose wrinkled in distaste at the thought. She felt kind of dirty for working for the Malfoys. It wasn't like she'd compromised her morals or anything while working for the paper, but it felt like she had.
Some of her conflict must have shown on her face, because Malfoy was entirely too smug. "What's wrong Granger? Don't like the idea of working for your betters?"
At her stricken and furious expression, he left the room, smug and confident that she was going to remember his visit for a long time. She would think again before she published something untrue about a member of his family.
Hermione glanced around her new office. It was bigger than her previous one, but she hadn't had time to unpack any of the personal touches that made it hers.
"What the hell, Granger?"
She turned from organizing her knickknacks on the bookshelf to the blond standing in her doorway. One of her eyebrows rose in question. "Is there a problem, Malfoy?"
Not waiting for an invitation, he stalked into her office and, with the toe of his shoe, poked at one of the many cardboard boxes scattered around the room. "The Department of Magical Accidents and Catastrophes?" he asked in disbelief. "You quit your job at the paper to wipe Muggle memories and clean up after people too stupid to keep their magic under control?"
Hermione didn't even turn to face him. "In case you didn't notice, Malfoy, the plaque on the door you just passed said I'm head of the department. I can do more good here than I ever did at the paper."
Kingsley had been trying to get her to work at the Ministry since before she had even finished her last year at Hogwarts, but she'd resisted, wanting to get a career on her own. Fat lot of good that had done her; she'd ended up working for the worst prat in Britain and not even known it until he decided to show up in her office.
He snorted. "The only good you can do here is completely replacing everyone on the Muggle-Worthy Excuse Committee. I spent entirely too much time last month dealing with an international incident that originated with one horrible excuse from your new department."
Deep breaths, she told herself. If she let it show that he was irritating her, then she'd never get rid of him. Like a child, he'd get bored and wander away if he wasn't getting the attention he wanted... Or was it that he'd throw a temper tantrum in order to get the attention? Hermione wasn't very good with children. Their sticky fingers always ruined her books.
Best to just play his game and shoot a barb back at him, he might get offended and leave again. "I trust you've sorted out the confusion with your estate manager?" she asked in a falsely sweet voice.
When he didn't immediately insult her, she turned around, confused. He'd obviously forgotten that it was his turn to say something infuriating. She found him looking at her with such a piercing stare that she was sure he could see right through her. It was a little eerie.
She had to turn back to the shelves she'd been organising to escape those eyes of his.
"Half the people who see me either think I'm a vampire or some kind of corporeal ghost," he said flatly.
Hermione could just picture the other Ministry employees in Malfoy's department being even more terrified of him than before because they were worried that he'd bite them rather than just hex them. He definitely had the personality for a night-stalking predator.
"Their fear must put a huge damper on your social life," Hermione responded dryly. It didn't take her advanced intellect to figure out that rumours of Malfoy being less than human wouldn't scare away anyone who was actually friends with him, and anyone it did keep away were probably people he didn't want near him in the first place.
Plopping himself down on her still undecorated desk, Malfoy watched her putter around the room, rifling through boxes and unpacking her things.
"I didn't think you were the type to just give up on a career," he said, sounding strangely disappointed for someone who wasn't supposed to have any expectations of her at all.
Hermione whipped around to glare at him. "Is there a reason you're here, or did you just decide to grace me with your irritating presence?"
He scowled at her. Through some trick of the light, Hermione briefly saw an almost hurt look on his face. Strange. There must be a gas leak or something in her office making her hallucinate.
"Apparently there isn't," he snapped. Turning sharply and leaving.
Hermione flinched when he slammed the door behind him.
Three days later and his words were still bothering her. She'd turned them around in her head, trying to look at them from all angles and figure out what exactly he'd meant by them.
He'd seemed almost disappointed in her that she hadn't stayed at her old job and fought with him. But how was he even capable of being disappointed in her? He wasn't supposed to have any expectations of her, so how could she not meet those expectations?
For another day she was tormented by not knowing what was going on in the blond's head. She considered the possibility that he was messing with her on purpose, but somehow she didn't think so.
Hermione sighed and glared at her door from behind her desk. She wasn't going to get any work done until she'd solved the bloody mystery, and to do that, she was going to have to go see Malfoy.
The stupid albino ferret had always been good at getting under her skin, but rarely did he manage to seat himself so firmly in her mind. It shouldn't matter to her that he was disappointed in her, but it did.
It was a short walk from her office to his; too short for her to manage to talk herself out of going to see him, but more than long enough for her to be overrun with doubts. She had to rustle up some righteous anger before she could bring herself to open his office door.
Malfoy's eyes barely flickered to her before going right back to the paper he'd been reading.
"I don't have time for this, Granger," he said, his gaze focused on the paper.
Hermione bristled. He didn't even have the decency to look at her when she was about to confront him. Never mind that she had done the same thing to him when he'd been in her office, she was there to talk to him, the least he could do was pay her attention while she berated him to make herself feel better.
"And what exactly do you think this is?" she demanded scathingly.
When he continued to ignore her, Hermione stomped over to his desk, leaned over it, and slammed a palm down on the paper that was so fascinating to him. Didn't he know how rude it was to read when someone was trying to talk to you? Hermione ignored the fact that she had done the same thing on numerous occasions to people she liked more than Malfoy liked her.
He glanced up at her, but his eyes never quite made it to her face. Hermione glanced down to see what he was looking at and squeaked in mortification, jumping away from him with a glare. As she'd been leaning over his desk, her shirt had gaped, giving him a clear view of her bra and the tops of her breasts.
"I think," he said, meeting her eyes, "That you're here to yell at me to make yourself feel better about something stupid, and I don't have time to deal with you right now."
For extra layers between his eyes and her chest, Hermione crossed her arms even though he was no longer staring. He'd actually barely looked; it was the tingles of excitement she'd momentarily felts at his expression that had really thrown her off. They fought and there were sparks between them, but they weren't supposed to be that kind of sparks. The kind that led to torn buttons and inappropriate office behaviour.
To get her mind out of the disturbing loop it had landed itself, Hermione went on the defensive. "For your information, I have a perfectly reasonable explanation for my presence in your office," she said primly.
Skeptically, Malfoy raised an eyebrow. "What is it you wanted then?"
Having not expected him to call her bluff before she had time to think up a response, Hermione blurted out the first thing that came into her head.
"I wanted to know why you sounded disappointed in me about quitting my job."
Merlin, she was an idiot. For someone who was supposed to be smart, she could certainly say some stupid things.
The other eyebrow rose to join its match and he smirked slightly. "Since when do you care what I think?"
"If I ever cared what you think, I would have long ago dropped out of Hogwarts and become a circus clown or something else demeaning that you would deem fitting," she snapped. "Now answer my question."
"Technically, you didn't ask a question."
Hermione gritted her teeth and gave him her best glare, the one that never failed to make Harry and Ron quake in their boots. It didn't seem as effective on Malfoy.
"Answer it anyway," she said through gritted teeth.
Malfoy stood from his chair, still focused on his papers. "Look, Granger, I'm sure this is something very important, but I have a meeting to get to."
He strode past her, close enough that their shoulders brushed as he left the room. "Don't you have a job to get back to?" he called back to her without glancing up from the papers.
Huffily, Hermione stomped back to her office. If the door slammed a little hard behind her, it wasn't her fault.
Days later, Hermione sat at her desk, her cheeks still glowing with anger from Mafoy's dismissal of her. He was allowed to burst into her office and rage at her, but wouldn't let her have the same release? How was that fair?
It wasn't fair. He had publicly embarrassed her, caused her to lose her job (indirectly, but she still blamed him for her change of career), and now he expected to just dismiss her and get away with it?
No. Hermione Granger did not take things like that lying down, she fought back.
Malfoy may own the paper, but none of the reporters there, save for Hermione, had ever been overly concerned with pesky things like journalistic integrity. They were lucky that slander charges and the like were practically unheard of in the wizarding world. Hermione was lucky as well, because she had an idea for another story.
Her smile had a hint of evil in it as she started to write what was sure to be a literary masterpiece.
The very next day, Hermione walked into her office to find a livid blond sitting behind her desk, with all the lights off, just waiting for her. To be honest, it was kind of creepy, but it also filled her with a sense of accomplishment.
She waved her wand to light the room as she walked through the door. Only slightly less creepy with illumination, she observed. That was unfortunate.
"Can I help you with something, Malfoy?" she asked in a falsely innocent voice. It was a decent performance considering she hadn't even had her morning coffee yet. She had thought it would take him longer to confront her about the article.
"Don't play coy with me, Granger, I know you for the devious bitch you are," he snarled, whipping the paper onto her desk.
Ah, it was nice to be on familiar ground with him once more. Cold dismissal just wasn't their thing. There was nothing cold about their relationship, there never had been.
From him, words like those were practically a compliment. In fact, she was pretty sure there was an admiring glint in his eyes... under all that rage. Her primary concern at the moment was the rage, it made it look like he was going to murder her or something. Hermione was confident in her ability to protect herself, but she couldn't have her guard up all the time.
For a brief moment, she felt a thrill of fear, but it was quickly crushed. Malfoy was a git, but he wasn't a bad person. The emotional trauma he could dredge up would be great, but she wouldn't actually be in danger.
In an effort to avoid his enraged gaze, Hermione let her eyes drift down to the paper in front of her. Immediately, she had to clamp a hand over her mouth to stop the laughter to escape.
Recently Deceased Malfoy Heir Secretly Marries War Hero
A reputable source has informed us that Draco Malfoy, son of convicted Death Eater Lucius Malfoy, recently wedded war hero and member of the Golden Trio Ronald Weasley in a secret ceremony open only to close friends. More details to come.
"It appears congratulations are in order," she said between chuckles. It was impossible for her to keep a straight face.
Malfoy did not share her amusement. Not at all.
"If you still worked at the paper, I would fire you and make sure you never work in the industry again. Since you're no longer employed by me, I'm going to have to think of some other way to exact my revenge." Having moved past his initial rage at her, he seemed to settle, steepling his fingers in front of his face and staring at her contemplatively.
Unwilling to take a visitor's seat in her own office, Hermione crossed her arms over her chest. "You don't work at the paper anymore and I have work to do, so if you'd kindly vacate my office..."
"I'm not going anywhere," he said smugly. The statement was accentuated by a wiggle to get more comfortable in his chair and a thump as his shoes planted themselves on her desk.
"If I didn't have it from a good source that you're already spoken for, and playing for the other team besides, I would swear you enjoy my company," Hermione taunted.
Silver eyes narrowed in a glare. "Did it have to be Weaselbee? I think I could have done better..." he muttered.
"You would never have been able to land Harry, he's the saviour of the wizarding world. Way out of your league. Besides, he's happily with Ginny."
Malfoy only continued to glare. He seemed content to just take up her office space and glower menacingly, but only twenty minutes after Hermione had arrived, a paper airplane flew in through the door and landed on her desk. After picking it up and reading it, Malfoy left with one last parting glare.
"Don't think this is over, Granger," he threatened.
Hermione snorted behind him. "I seem to recall you saying something similar before," she called after him.
"Do you have any idea how childish the two of you are acting?"
Hermione blushed and looked down at her hands clasped in her lap, cheeks burning with shame. She hadn't been scolded like a child even when she'd been a child. The situation was only made worse by the fact that it was her boss and Minister of Magic, Kingsley Shacklebolt scolding her and Malfoy.
Shooting a sideways glance at her blond nemesis, Hermione saw that he didn't look anything close to contrite. If she had to put a name on his expression, she'd say he was smug, though what he had to be smug about was a mystery. She had obviously won the last round. Malfoy had started off strong with a jinx that emptied all coffee cups within her immediate vicinity, forcing her to attempt to compete her work without glorious caffeine. She had been banished from her department for removing all the coffee. Naturally, she had stormed into Malfoy's office and made sure he didn't get any coffee wither.
By lunchtime though, Hermione had evened the score somewhat by forcing Malfoy to share her torment or remove the spell. He'd refused to remove the spell and had stalked to the cafeteria for lunch, obviously hoping Hermione wouldn't follow him somewhere so public. His hopes had been in vain. Needles to say, their confrontation in the cafeteria had quickly degraded to name calling and food throwing. Their fellow Ministry employees were not pleased.
Kingsley glared at the both of them. "Draco, you were a model employee until Hermione started working here, and now you're starting food fights in the cafeteria? This is unacceptable. There's only one thing I can see resolving this problem."
Expecting to be fired, Hermione cringed a little in her chair, unconsciously hunching her shoulders.
Kingsley looked between them, disapproving and stern. He seemed to be deliberating punishments.
"Minister," Malfoy started, peeking at Hermione out of the corners of his eyes and looking almost worried about her.
The Minister interrupted Malfoy mid-protest. "Malfoy, you're going to take Hermione on a date and relieve some of that sexual tension between the two of you before the whole Ministry becomes collateral damage."
Hermione and Draco shared a long glance.
"You heard the Minister, Granger. How about this Friday?"
Hermione smiled. "Sounds lovely."
Kingsley nodded approvingly and dismissed them from his office. Hopefully, this would be the end of their newspaper sabotage and Ministry shenanigans. Hermione had passed to close to him earlier in the day and his coffee had disappeared. No one messed with the Minister's coffee. Ever.
Resurrected Malfoy Heir Once Again Secretly Marries War Hero
After a whirlwind courtship, Draco Malfoy and Hermione Granger have officially tied the knot.
Ron Weasley was not available for comment. This reporter can only assume that he has fled the country, nursing a broken heart after a rather messy divorce with Mr. Malfoy. When asked for a comment on his marriage to Mr. Weasley, all that the Malfoy heir had to say was that "Weasley's unnatural obsession with Potter got in the way of the romance".
It seems that Harry Potter also nurses feelings for Mr. Malfoy and he and Mr. Weasley were constantly fighting over the desirable blond. We can only speculate how they feel about Hermione Granger stealing the Malfoy heir right out from under their noses.
Hermione folded the paper and turned to face the blond lounging beside her in bed, an eyebrow raised in question.
"His 'unnatural obsession with Potter got in the way of the romance'?" she asked dryly.
Picking through the breakfast tray resting across his lap, Draco carefully buttered a piece of toast before he looked over at his wife, smirking. "You have to admit, those two were always a little too close during school, if you know what I mean."
She rolled her eyes. "You're going to have to hire some fact checkers at the paper before people start doubting what they read in it."
He tugged her against his side so she could share the breakfast. "Maybe once we get back from our honeymoon."