A/N: Thank you for the wonderful reviews for my first two oneshots, A Thousand Paper Cranes and No Tissues Needed. If you haven't read them but you're currently reading this, you could check those out, too. I think I have the skill to make readers cry once again. This idea was from a tragic story I found on the internet ages ago. Another Tragedy story for my favorite HP couple. Happy reading and R&R please!
Credits to the owner of the said story for giving me an idea, and to J.K. Rowling for the wonderful Draco and Hermione. You would hate me for this very tragic story, I swear. So I'm sorry if I had to do something again. :(
Hermione glared resentfully at the sight of her two best friends gaily running around the wide field with their significant others. It was another day off work and just like the usual, the three of them went out on their weekly 'date'.
It was a pact they made after they got their first jobs: that they would meet every Friday to have their 'grown-up bonding time' where they would do everything from shopping for clothes and other trivial things together.
However, the past few weeks were not very thrilling for Hermione Granger. Ron, her former boyfriend had been seeing the former Ravenclaw and still very peculiar, Luna Lovegood. They had been reunited a few weeks ago while shopping in the Magical Menagerie in Diagon Alley. Coincidentally, they were both looking for a new cat, a Siamese to be specific, that day and got their hands on the last Siamese cat on the store at the same time. They had that brief magical moment as they argued that the other could take the cat. The owner broke their banter and told them that apparently, there was a new Siamese cat delivered at the store so Ron conceded to Luna and let her get the first cat while he took the second. Since they haven't seen each other in years, Ron asked her out before she could go. A rather smooth move, if Hermione was to be asked.
Harry Potter, on the other hand, was still very much in love with Ron's youngest sister, Ginny Weasley. However, the two had a very big argument last week concerning their current living status. Ginny wanted to live in her parents' house until Harry asks her to marry him while Harry wanted her to live with him in his flat in Muggle London. They argued in the Auror office and even on their last group date. But yesterday, they had kissed and made up and came up with a united decision to spend equal days on each place, seeing that they were already mature adults. And Hermione could safely say that they were back to being a sickeningly sweet couple again.
She frowned deeply as Ron raced with Luna and caught her by the waist from behind and proceeded to hug her senselessly. Her frown even more darkened when Harry and Ginny laid down on the grass and snogged thoroughly. She groaned internally.
If Hermione was not in denial, she would probably say that she was jealous. They have found their significant others in the company of past schoolmates. They didn't have to look far. If she just resumed her relationship with Oliver Wood before, then maybe, just maybe, she'll be enjoying this date a little more.
But she knew Oliver was not an option anymore. He was a hopeless case and she could only treat him as a friend, a confidant, and a shoulder to cry on, nothing more and nothing less.
She picked up an apple from the picnic basket and munched on it silently. She almost didn't notice a person jump down from the tree she was leaning on and stealthily creeping up behind her.
"Don't even come near me if you intended to catch me off guard because I already felt your presence before you even jumped down from that tree," Hermione muttered bitterly, cursing as she bit the apple hard. She slowly turned and saw the carefree look on Draco Malfoy's face as he inclined by the trunk. His lips were curled into a smirk, his silvery blond hair swayed with the wind, and his eyes twinkled in repressed amusement as he stared at her. "What are you doing here, Malfoy?"
Draco stood up straight and pulled out imaginary lint from his turtleneck sweater as if he didn't have a care in the world. He looked smug as he continued to smirk with his eyes on his fingernails. Malfoy has been a nuisance to her for almost all of her life and that fact still didn't change now that they were both mature adults. She wasn't sure that Malfoy has indeed matured throughout the years. They hadn't seen each other for ages and she was not even interested in his affairs but he has heard enough of him through the Daily Prophet and other known publications, wizard and muggle alike. He was apparently a famous bachelor and a successful businessman known not only in the wizarding world, but also in Muggle London.
She couldn't deny the fact that he was indeed a nice catch. He has the lean and slim yet fit body that models would certainly die for. He has the most silver of eyes and whenever he felt intense emotions, which he often did, they would light up even more. He has the finest silvery blond hair that she was sure it was once strands of gold. He also had the bad boy attitude that could attract any woman in his line of sight. He could charm anyone but that didn't change his past one bit. He was still a Death Eater in Hermione's eyes. Yet that didn't mean she was immune to his so-called charms.
"You were frowning at your boyfriends and their little key chains over there like you have the deepest desire to erase them from the Earth's surface," he drawled in a casual tone, still not looking directly at her. He was actually looking pointedly at the two couples racing around the field. "Jealous?"
She scoffed. "As if. They could prance around all they could and I wouldn't care a bit. They deserve to be happy once in a while."
She had to say she sounded sincere enough. But the former Slytherin didn't look convinced. He looked at her for a long time before he smiled a small smile. "Yes, they do. But that didn't mean you have to be all pissed off about it. That's not very nice."
"Since when did you know something about being nice?" she asked, smiling back albeit disdainfully.
"Since I underwent rehabilitation. You could use one, too, you know," he uttered in his oh-so-casual voice that she had the urge to whip her head toward him to gauge his reaction so she did. He was still looking straight at her friends and their girlfriends but he had the faintest trace of a smile on his lips.
He turned to her unexpectedly and said, "It was not normal to fall in love with two people currently committed to a relationship."
"I'm not in love with my best friends," she spat, in a hushed voice. She leaned over and continued in a seemingly threatening tone, "I was merely envying their companies."
"So you're jealous," he pointed out. She stayed quiet and made no biting comment. "I could help, if you want to."
He was looking away once again when she turned to him for the second time. But as if sensing her stare, he immediately spun around and faced her. He looked dead serious and concerned. "W-Why would I need your help?"
He crouched down beside her and pulled his knees up to his chin. "How about this? We could pretend to be dating so that you would not feel lonely and I would not feel bored to death. Just for a hundred days, we could make-believe that we're together and we are happy. We could flirt relentlessly with nothing holding us back, no attachments involved. We could be intimate without being committed to each other," he started and then straightened up to make her see his overjoyed grin. "We could be anything we want. We would be free to experience dating harmlessly."
"How about your blond hare-brained bimbos you go out with?" she asked although she was picturing the idea of 'them' in her cobwebbed mind. Their pair was most unlikely and impossible but they could work. She knew he was the only one who could match her smarts.
"What about them?" he furrowed his dark blonde eyebrows. She had almost mistaken them as little caterpillars living on his forehead as they moved on their own accord. She smiled at the thought.
Her smile faded when she saw his face had softened up and his forehead had unwrinkled. "Well, wouldn't they be, I don't know, hurt?" she asked, looking down at her hands placed on her lap like they were the most interesting things that graced the planet.
He shook his head merrily. "No, thank Merlin. They know the rules, anyway. We're all looking for the right one for us and we're merely experimenting by being together. That doesn't mean they could get jealous whenever I choose to date someone else."
She nodded, brooding on what he said. He was right, of course. Dating didn't mean committing. They were just seeking out for the forever person they could be with for the rest of their lives and they could continue to venture out for that person through the process called dating, however complicated it could be. He looked like he didn't like to complicate things between him and his dates. He was a relationship virtuoso, she thought. He had experiences while she barely had anything. They could work possibly.
She found herself nodding her assertion. "Is that a yes?" he asked, catching her eye. She successfully steered away from his gaze and whispered cautions to the wind before answering, "Yes, it's a yes. We could try."
"You will not regret this…Hermione," he spoke her name clearly and softly that she felt like she could cry by the sheer gentleness of it. He offered his pale left hand to her and smiled boyishly at her. "So?"
Her heart thudded inside her ribcage and she could feel blood rise to her cheeks, coloring it a faint pink. She blushed profusely that she had to look down before accepting his hand and shaking it firmly with her own. "We have a deal…Draco."
The mention of his first name made him perk up and out of the corner of her eye, she could see that his whole face brightened as he continued to grip her hand and then placed his other hand above it. Sparks flew and fireworks boomed in the distance. Yes, they could definitely work.
The First Date- Day 5
Hermione got off her work early that Friday but not for the weekly date she always had with her friends. No, today was different. She called up both Harry and Ron earlier to inform them about her inability to come. She apologized promptly and told them half-a-truth. She had a date. What they didn't know was with whom.
Draco was leaning by a post looking every bit like a model but she dared not say it and risk ruining their first date. He smiled in her direction and offered her praises that she accepted shyly. She had on a sapphire blue spaghetti-strapped dress with ruffles on its ends. She tied her curly hair in a bun on her head with a fuzzy ponytail she found on a small store beside her flat. She looked pretty good.
But good was an understatement for her date. He looked formidable in his black tuxedo and his hair disheveled fashionably. He told her he just went straight to her office from his own and didn't bother to look good for her, unlike Hermione. He was hiding his blush when he said that as he rubbed the back of his nape. She found it endearing.
He took her to the most unimaginable place for a date: an amusement park. It was a muggle park called "Starry Night" with all kinds of rides and booths to satisfy their kid customers. They looked totally out of place but Hermione didn't mind. She was smiling like there's no tomorrow. She had never been to a park since the Second War and she missed the feeling of being a kid.
In her excitement, she had dragged Draco to all the rides, from the roller coaster to the chugging train intended for toddlers. She was smiling and laughing all the time and Draco had no choice but to mimic her reactions. It was the first time he had experienced 'fun'.
They ate hotdogs on buns, shared a bag of cotton candy (which Draco amazingly ate because he thought they looked like clouds and thought he was really eating clouds), and munched on buttered popcorns.
Hermione was tired at the end of the day. He offered to drive her home, she insisted she could go home alone, but he still swore he would so she conceded.
It was weird to think that this was the first time that her first date had been everything but nauseatingly romantic. It was not a ball (with Viktor Krum), it was not during the War (with Ron, since she considered it their date with the kiss and everything), it was not in a fancy restaurant (which she expected Malfoy would do but didn't), nor it was an opera (which Oliver had taken her to that made her back ache in its run of three straight hours). He was unpredictable. Another first was made that time. It was the first time someone walked her to her door.
She was appalled that Malfoy would be capable of such gentlemanly gesture. Her hand trembled and the keys won't slide in the knob. She was nervous of the close proximity between them. He took her keys and opened her door himself. He held it open for her as she entered, another unpredicted occurrence, and then bid her goodbye before she closed the door. She watched him walk away and when he turned, she inexplicably slammed her door shut and leaned behind it as if her life depended on the thing that separated her from the blond, which in a way did.
Before she could even step away from the door, her mobile phone rang. An unregistered number appeared on the screen but Hermione answered anyway. "Hello?"
"We really should try a second date. Next Tuesday, same time, Paper Lantern," with that he hung up. She looked at her phone curiously for a moment and it rang again. She answered it immediately for it was Draco again. "And you look very beautiful today, Hermione. Keep smiling."
He didn't even let her talk. But it was sweet, nevertheless. Although she didn't know where he got her number and why he had a phone.
The First Hug- Day 27
Draco proved to be loyally devoted to her as he continued to ravish her with gifts after their first date. They both had been busy with their jobs and they barely saw each other for the past few weeks. His gestures melt her resolve and she could feel herself opening up to him. Today was different. Her date visited her personally in her office with a present. It was not the usual flowers and chocolates, for it was better. He gave her a book.
"What's this for?" she asked, reading the title 'Flying for Dummies'.
"That's for our date today," he said, his merry smile stuck on his face. She frowned. She didn't like the sound of it.
"We're riding a broom for our date?" she asked, incredulously. She had a hunch earlier what the fuss on the book was all about. She was too dimwitted to even think that it was entirely something else.
"I know you don't like riding brooms," he started while she gasped in trepidation at the sight of Malfoy carelessly flying and hovering above her. "But this could be fun!"
She shook her head vehemently. No one can make her ride a broom. Not even him. Especially not him. He flew to her side and held out his hand, like a knight in shining armor to the damsel in distress. Yes, she was truly in distress but she bravely accepted his hand when she heard him say the magic word, "Please?"
He placed her in front of him as a hand maneuvered the broom around while the other snaked around her waist in protection. She had her eyes closed as the wind recklessly hit her face. He placed his chin on her shoulder and she felt his minty breath on her ear. She cringed with the tingles that came over her body.
She partly opened her eyes and clutched his hand on her waist tightly. That took him totally off guard as his broom swerved in direction. In her fear and shock, she slightly turned to Draco and encircled her arms around his neck. She held onto him as tight as she could, her face buried in his neck. Her embrace seemed to calm him as his tensed body relaxed and they safely landed on the ground.
She extricated from the hug and she smiled at him in thanks. She had the best broom ride of her life although she didn't really saw the view from above, but because of the company.
He walked her home again, just like last time but this time, before she could close her door, he hugged her from behind and whispered in her ear, "Thank you for riding with me."
She sighed, detached herself from Draco and then turned to face him. She gave him an impish grin and then threw her arms around his neck and shouted her thanks to him over and over that nearly made him deaf.
The First Kiss- Day 45
Hermione was very tired. She had a rough day at work, her head ached like hell and she had a crick on her neck. She rode the lifts to go down to the parking lot on the basement when she noticed someone leaning casually on one side of the elevator. It was Draco Malfoy.
It was one pm and she had no intentions of going on a date with him, not today. She was not feeling very well to be with him. She didn't like looking weak in front of the superior-looking Draco.
She was massaging the back of her neck when she felt him come up behind her and pushed her hands away. She made a move to continue her massage when one of his hands seized her wrists in one hold while the other did the massaging. She groaned. He could be a great therapist.
The feel of his hand on her skin made her insides squirm in unexplainable glee. His touch singed her oversensitive skin that she had half a mind to stop him. But that half didn't win. She was overwhelmed with the soft sensation of his massage on her neck.
"That feels good," she moaned. He stopped. She wanted to ask what was wrong but he beat her to it. He pushed her against the elevator wall and trapped her head with his arms on either side. His head swooped down and claimed her lips in a feverish kiss.
Her whole resolve shattered into million tiny pieces forming a hill of it beneath her feet. Her mind was fogged with desire and her lips acted in its own accord and moved with his own, like she had no control over it. She loved the feel of his lips on hers, not demanding and not harsh. It was breathtakingly sweet.
He pulled away from her after a long moment and looked at her through hooded eyes. He smiled. Oh, shoot. This is her end. This is the end of her pretenses. She could no longer pretend that she didn't have any feelings for this guy.
Well, good riddance.
The First Night- Day 62
She was smiling yet again for no reason. Ron and Harry were bothered but they tried to pay no heed to Hermione's actions. She had been going on 'dates' for the past month and they had yet to meet the mystery guy she's dating. Even in her happy and peculiar state, she still managed to refuse their insistence on meeting her date.
She would be meeting Draco tonight again. He had been away for two weeks for a business trip to France but they still made contact through their mobile phones. He would only call to shower her praises, to say he missed her (so much), to talk to her before she sleeps every night. It was bearable but not good enough for Hermione.
She had prepared something special for him tonight and she hoped to the high Deity that he would love it. She could barely sit around and wait.
Everything was in their respective places and all she was waiting for was for Draco to arrive. The door to his flat creaked open and it revealed him in all his glory. He had bags under his eyes, his shoulders slacked and he was obviously tired out.
She immediately went to his side to accompany him and ask him if he's all right. He nodded cheerfully and threw an arm around her shoulders. When she knew he'd really be okay, she led him to the dining room and said, "Ta-da!"
There were rose petals all around the place. A single scented candle lit up the room and it was placed on the middle of the table. Meals were served in trays beside the candle and they sat. Draco was confused with the gesture but gratefully accepted it. It was not every day that a girl like Hermione would serve him, anyway.
They talked, joked, teased, and mocked away. They didn't have a care in the world after they finished with dessert. Hermione personally prepared them and she was glad he liked them all, not leaving a single stain on the plates. He dragged her to the living room couch and they sat and talked for a while about his trip, her job, his employees, her friends.
But in the middle of their chitchat, Draco paused and just gazed at her. He asked her if he had already told her she was beautiful and she laughed and answered that he had been telling her that all the time he was gone over the phone. He reached over and dragged her to him to embrace her with utmost care, as if she was fragile glass.
They kissed thoroughly and they both didn't seem to have enough. She slowly unbuttoned his shirt and he asked her if she was truly ready. She nodded. He carried her bridal style from the couch to his room. He gently placed her on the bed and deftly removed his clothes as well as hers.
And that was the perfect night of their lives.
The First Fight- Day 81
Hermione was seething as she confronted the red-faced Draco Malfoy. They were having a heated fight inside Draco's flat after she caught him with a woman in his office. It was not really that shallow because she saw with her own eyes that he was smiling and flirting with the sophisticated lady. Of course, the green-eyed monster in her emerged.
She was never a violent person. She always kept her emotions at bay and repressed her intense emotions until it fades away from her system. But this, this was absurd and ridiculous.
She was getting attached to the blond charmer as days go by. They were nearly at the end of the deadline and her feelings grew more and more pronounced. Like today. She was being irrational by not listening to his explanations and continuing to rant.
When she was finished and Draco was red in the face in anger as she, she closed her eyes and breathed deeply. Tears escaped her eyes and she harshly wiped them away before it skimmed down her cheek. She saw Draco stiffen on his place.
"I-I'm sorry," her voice cracked with emotion and she hated it. "I know our deal. No commitments, no attachments, no…this. No jealousy fits. I'm very sorry."
She sobbed, burying her face in her hands. "I-I can't help it. I was used to having you all by myself. I-I…I used to be with you all the time and…it was hard to look at you with another woman. I c-couldn't take it."
He hesitantly approached her and when he was sure she would make no move to attack him, he placed a hand on her shoulder. She shimmied away from his hold and looked away. She didn't want to look pathetic.
He crouched down in front of her, took her hands out of her face and clasped them on his own. He put a hand on her neck and leaned over her tentatively. She made no move again so he kissed her with so much passion. He was gentle, he was kind and most of all, he was repentant. "I'm sorry, Hermione. I promised that I would stay with you until the hundredth day and I would do that. I promise."
She encased him in her arms firmly. She wanted him to feel her unspoken feelings for him and respond to it with fervor. He just hugged her but not with force. It was more like controlled.
But that'll have to do, she thought. They still have time.
The Last Day- Day 99
Draco took Hermione out to the park. It was not crowded but there were enough people around to hear the musical noise of children playing, the adults laughing, the babies in carriages crying, and the soft hum of the choir from a distance.
He told her it was a surprise. She loved surprises. And she loved him.
Yes, she had accepted her fate. She fell in love with Draco Malfoy in a span of less than a hundred days since they met again. It was a wonderful experience, the past month. They had their memorable firsts: the first date, the first hug, the first broom ride, the first kiss, the first fight and the first reconciliation. But tomorrow would be the last day. Would it be unfair if she didn't want this to end?
She was waiting for Draco on a park bench. He was getting his surprise for her. She, on the other hand, was calming her nerves for the confession she intended to make today. She would tell Draco she loved him. It was up to him to decide whether or not he'll take her heart or give it back. She hoped it was the former not the latter.
As she swung her legs back and forth while sitting, a big burly policeman approached her. He covered the sun that was kissing her skin and held out a license. It was Draco's muggle license.
"Do you perhaps, know this man?" he asked in a bass raspy voice. Her smile faded and she gave a nod. She took the license from the man. She could not trust herself to speak.
"Then you should come with us, Ma'am."
He was in the emergency room. The policeman told her that he was rushed immediately to the hospital soon after he was hit by a truck. He was crossing the street to buy ice cream from the vendor for them both. He didn't notice the truck going his way and was hit.
Hermione was crying uncontrollably. She could not bring herself to look on him behind those doors. She couldn't, Merlin help her, she couldn't.
The policeman from earlier approached her again and gave her a doll and a sheet of paper. "This was found in the victim's hands and was thrown on the sidewalk after the accident. I'm sorry."
She opened the paper and read it.
Ugh. I desperately wanted to confess to you I don't really have the courage to so I'll say it in this letter.
I'm sorry if I obligated you to take this home first before reading it. I don't want to be in front of you and see your reactions directly. I wanted you to gauge your feelings and let it show the next time we meet.
The day I approached you by that tree was no coincidence. I had been watching you, you know. I know of your weekly dates with your two Gryffindor friends, Potter and Weasley. I was of timing and I want to applaud myself for that. I was very thankful that you accepted my suggestion, ridiculous it may sound.
The first date we had was out of whim. I ran out of choices. I chose a restaurant but they were full that day. I bought opera tickets but I had to give it as a present to a friend whom I forgot the birthday. But I was happy that you enjoyed that date. I was glad that those things happened or else I wouldn't get to see you smile and laugh.
The broom ride was my first planned date. Your touch brought shivers all over my body and I nearly lost control of the broom so practically, it was all your fault, pretty lady. But I got my reward. That hug I would keep for the rest of my life. It was out of the blue, too, but it was so unexpected that I appreciated it so much.
The first kiss was not my intention. Again. I just wanted to massage your neck, I swear. But your moan made me lose the reign on my emotions. I went overdrive. But I would never regret that kiss because after the hug, it was one of the most prized memories I've had.
The first night needs no words. It was perfect, enough said.
Our first fight I need to say sorry for. I hated that you got jealous of such trivial thing. That woman was nothing. She was merely an acquaintance that I hadn't met for a long time so we got into talking. I was annoyed that you got jealous of that. But when you cried, heck, I could throw away everything just to see you smile again. It haunted my dreams for nights. I was afraid to hug you because I felt fear that if we're really together, I would probably make you cry a lot. Again, it was all your fault.
Yes, Hermione. This was all your fault. You gave me reasons to like you, to admire you…to love you. I love you, Hermione Granger. I have loved you long before. I loved you since that day you punched me in third year. It was very enlightening to me.
Sadly, that was the only physical contact I had with you since then, but I admit I couldn't take my eyes off of you after that.
See? So don't you dare doubt my feelings because I've kept it for so long. Just believe me, take me and I'm all yours.
I hope this would not be our last day. I hope this would be our first day. Our first day to forever.
I know I love you enough so reach into the doll's pocket (because I know you wouldn't reach in mine) and you'll see the token of my feelings. If you let me, I'll take care of you, not just for today, or tomorrow, or next week, but for the coming years, as well.
I'm a coward to say this all in a letter but I'm brave enough to accept whatever your answer is. I hope you'll see me on our hundredth day on the same place we've met again and give me your answer.
I love you, remember that.
Hermione broke down on the corridor of the hospital before she reached into the pocket of the doll. Sure enough, there was gold band inside with both their initials engraved into it. D.M. and H.G.
She prayed to every High Power to let him live. She cried and cried and cried. She didn't know why. She paced back and forth by the door of the emergency room. She ignored all calls from the office and her friends. Her attention was solely focused on the blond idiot behind those doors.
She stayed there until night. She would spend the night here in the corridor if she could. She didn't bother to eat dinner. She would not eat until the doctors tell her he's going to be okay.
The beep, beep, beep on his machine then turned faint. The last thing she heard was the long beep from the machine that indicated his life. She kneeled on the floor. She was weak and she could barely stand anymore. She could hear the fussing of the doctors over the beeping sound. But she let her tears flow.
She just cried again until one of the doctors left the room. "Time of death, 12:00 am," she said. Hermione looked at her wristwatch. It was exactly midnight. Their 100 days is over. And so was his life. She cried some more and shouted her name to the wind. He still kept his promise that he would be there until the hundredth day.
"I promised that I would stay with you until the hundredth day and I would do that. I promise."