"At least you'll always have a partner. You clams will always come in pairs. And you, tuna are too expensive to be bought. So you'll forever be here with your dear Mrs. Salmon." Draco muttered sadly, staring at the seafood display.
"Dude, that's pathetic." Blaise said, depositing about fifty cans of cream of mushroom soup into Draco's cart. "Get a girl and settle down, Draco. Pick any one of your puppies. Jasmine or what's her name? The blonde? Thea. They'll do."
Draco picked up a can, sneering at the label. "Why do muggles can everything? I think I saw canned pimientos on aisle 45. Disgusting. Anyways, I don't want any of them. I don't even know how you remember their names when I already forgot them. I want someone who I love."
"That's real poetic, Malfoy. Next, you'll be telling me you're gay and moving in with Potter." Blaise sneered. It was really mean, and really Slytherin. But Draco knew better. Blaise was dodging the awkward topic of how he threw away the girl who he loves.
"I'm going to grow old and die alone, Blaise."
"You are growing old. I think I saw a white hair once." Blaise said, pushing the cart to the vegetables section.
"Idiot. I'm blonde. Of course I have white hair." He stuffed his hands into his pockets, moodily staring down at those annoying muggle children who were playing with the apples. Why do children insist on playing in the grocery? Even more, why do children insist to exist?
"Maybe that's – oof." Draco dragged Blaise down in midsentence. They were now crouching behind the potatoes. The children were staring at them peculiarly, their parents looking disapprovingly down at the two wizards.
"What the fuck? Do you want to play hide and seek or something, Hufflepuff?"
Draco barely registered Blaise's snide. She appeared so suddenly that Draco was dumbfounded. He felt like he apparated and accidentally end up in the middle of a highway on mars. While he struggled with his building panic, he can't help but look at her eyes, her mouth, her hair and remember the times that it was all his.
"It's Hermione. By the frozen peas." Draco whispered. Blaise kneeled and peeked out from the potatoes. Sure enough, the brunette was there, struggling to reach a pack of chickpeas on the topmost shelf. Every time she jumped, her shirt hitched up, showing Draco a fine view of what he's been missing.
"Hermione!" Blaise called and waved, grinning like a lunatic.
"Idiot!" Draco hissed, dragging Blaise down to the cover of the potatoes again. The force of his dragging knocked both men down to the floor, also knocking down the potato sacks in the process. The potatoes cascaded down, on and on. Finally the starchy roots stopped, exposing a Blaise Zabini and a Draco Malfoy lying on a bed of spuds.
Blaise, lying on the potato-strewn floor like a GQ model, grinned at the staring Hermione and waved. Draco pressed his lips into a line. The last time he saw her, she was about to get married to the biggest jerk in the world. He braced himself. Hermione would either turn and run away or march toward him and slap him in the face. Surprisingly, she did neither. Hermione smiled confusedly and waved back at Blaise.
Zabini stood up, wiping the potatoes off his shoulder. Draco followed suit. To his dismay, Blaise dragged him towards the frozen shelf.
"Hermione! Long time no see." Blaise said, smoothly picking up a pack of chickpeas and handing it to her.
"Thanks." She said, still smiling weirdly. She looked at Draco, then at Blaise again. "I'm sorry. Do I know you?"
Draco smirked. So this was the game she was going to play. The I-Never-Met-You-Before card. Fine. He turned, ready to leave.
Hermione caught the blonde's expression. "No, wait." She said, resting her palm on his shoulder. Draco looked down, a million regrets igniting in the neurons where her hand touched him. "I'm sorry if I'm supposed to know you. I have permanent amnesia, you see. I had an accident a year a go. Everything from then on, gone. So."
Draco felt a pang in his chest. Hermione got hurt and was in danger. He wasn't there to protect her. Even more, this was worse than her getting over him and finding a new guy. This was worse than Hermione marrying Weasel. She doesn't remember him at all. To her, he never existed; he had never been a part of her life.
"Really? You don't remember? He's –" Blaise was starting to say. Draco interrupted.
"I'm sorry, miss. We have to go, now. Good bye." Draco said icily. He dragged Blaise out before he could say anything else. It was only when they were past Aisle 4 that Draco looked back. Hermione wasn't even looking at them. She was now busy finding a perfect mango, the earlier encounter already forgotten.
"Draco, don't look glum. This is it. The second chance you've been waiting for since you screwed it at the wedding."
"She doesn't remember me. It's over. " Draco said.
"Dude, that's the point. She doesn't remember you and she doesn't remember all the fucked up mistakes you made. It isn't over. This is a beginning. A new one." Blaise grabbed a bag of Cheetos as they passed the rack of chips.
"That's real poetic, Blaise. Next, you'll be telling me you're gay and moving in with Potter."
As Blaise punched him, Draco was thinking. A second chance. Life's always been giving him a second chance. A second chance after the war; a second chance when he started dating Hermione; a second chance now.
"Okay. I'm going to get her. And this time, I'm not going to let her go."
"I don't know what I'm going to do with you, Hermione! I'm going to move in with Harry next week! I want you to get a new room mate ASAP. And the room mate better be male." Ginny said as her hands worked on sewing a ripped hanky.
"I don't want my best friend to grow old and alone, Hermione." Ginny prattled on. "I mean, you're a war hero. A smart girl. Wizards should be lining up to – le gasp! That's it! Maybe not a wizard! A muggle, eh? Hmmm. Do you want someone English? We could always travel to the US before Harry and I get… um… together." No one says the M word around Hermione. Not since twelve months ago.
"Ginny." Hermione sat on the foot of Ginny's bed, facing the other witch. "I saw Draco a while ago."
"What?" The Weasley screeched, indignant. Ginny slammed her wand down, hard. It had been the first mention of D for the past year and was the last name Ginny expected coming from Hermione's lips. Sometimes Ginny acted as if she was the one who Draco broke, not Hermione. "What happened?"
"I panicked. I didn't really think. It was so unexpected. I'm already starting to forget after all these months and suddenly, he's there. Poof. And I-"
"What happened?" The half-sewn handkerchief flew across the room, stopping Hermione in mid-ramble. The interrupted witch started fidgeting under Ginny's imperious glare. Ginny had always been bossy, but she was way past that now. Now, she was morphing into Attack of Molly Weasley, part 2.
"I, um. I pretended I had amnesia from that accident that happened."
Ginny stared at her for five seconds, before bursting out laughing. "What is this? Fifth year? That is so school girl, 'mione. Did he buy it?"
"Yes. I think he did. He looked really upset." Hermione said.
"Well, he didn't deserve that." Ginny said. Hermione blinked, surprised at Ginny's sudden compassion towards Draco. "I mean, he deserves more! His bones should be ground to pulp and his skin should be peeled while he's still alive! Ooh… all that while he's burning at a stake! In Azkaban!"
"You're insane, Ginny." Hermione sighed and stood up from the bed. "It doesn't matter anyway. He's gone now. Again."
"I think your stunt upset you more than it upset him. But you know what, I'm betting my whole life savings that he's going to chase you down and try to win you back."
Hermione looked at Ginny. "Why d'you say that?"
"This is perfect for him. You're amnesiac and don't remember any of his fucking up. He gets a clean slate!" Ginny was so impassioned now that she standing on the bed and jumping up and down. "Le gasp! This is perfect for us too! We can lure him in, and then crush him to pulp!"
Hermione bit her lip and looked away. Sometimes Ginny's perspectives were a bad thing. This for instance, gave Hermione that vain hope. That same hope she held on while she waited for him in the altar.
"Ginny. Why would he try to get back something he already threw away?"
Hermione left, closing the door to Ginny's bedroom as calmly as she can. Her, amnesiac? She wish. If she was amnesiac, then she can forget every pain and every tear Draco Malfoy inflicted on her heart.
For the next few days, it appeared to Blaise like the encounter did not affect Draco at all. His friend went on with his life as he had for the past year. Blaise did his best to pester Draco about his promise of winning back Hermione, despite Draco's touchiness about the topic. He watched the days go by disappointingly as Draco did nothing. Blaise continued his grumbling at Draco's lack of initiative when, during Merlin Day and both men had the day off, Draco dragged him off to broom convention.
"BroomCon? I don't imagine you'll find Hermione there."
Draco, having endured Blaise's relentless prodding for the past days, ignored the comment. "Are you sure you don't want to come?"
"Oh no. I don't want to tag along with moping Draco to a convention where the brooms resemble the bushy hair of moping Draco's love life." The blonde blinked, registering that his best mate just compared Hermione to a broom.
"They're pre-selling the new Firebolt at BroomCon. They're only making five hundred of them. I don't reckon there'd be much left after today…"
"Gah. I hate you, you slithering little ferret."
Before Blaise could apparated to Broom Emporium, Draco grabbed his arm and took him along for side-apparition. After squeezing out of Apparition, Blaise blinked. He hated side-along. Feels like getting squeezed with Malfoy in a pencil-thick tube of time and space. As the queasiness faded, Blaise looked around.
This was not Broom Emporium. Blaise glared at the cheery mascot waving in front of a shop. An enlarged picture of two little girls advertising ribbons was in the opposite store. Definitely not Broom Emporium. Blaise turned around, facing Draco.
"This is not Broom Emporium." He said to Malfoy's smug face.
"You don't say." Draco said, sarcasm dripping all over the place. Blaise smacked him on the head. "Obviously, Blaise, this is a commercial Muggle road. And this is Capture the Magic, Photography for All Occasions. It says so on the sign or have you forgotten how to read?"
"Shut up, Malfoy. So tell me. Why are we wasting my day off on a muggle photo shop in muggle London? Don't tell me. You want to get photos of us. BFFs forever, eh sister? "
"Very funny. I hired an investigator to find Hermione. She works here. And don't you go complaining on me, Zabini. You're the one who's forcing me to get a girl and who's dying to kick me out of our flat."
"Foine. What's the game plan?" Blaise said, winking at a passing muggle girl. The blonde tittered and waved at Blaise.
"The old strategy. Retrieval. But before that, you'll do some reconnaissance first. Think you can handle that?"
"Yessir." Blaise saluted. Their fool-proof girl fishing strategies have been passed on from generation to generation and haven't let down the Slytherins for years. "But you are so taking my turns in dishwashing for the whole week. And do my laundry."
"What? Why don't just hire those wishy washy witches to do your stinking laundry?"
Blaise snorted. "Because I like the smell of that fabric conditioner your mum sends you. Then, we'll smell alike."
Ring ring ring.
The chimes sounded when Blaise opened the door. He sighed as he saw the pastel yellow couches and the pastel blue walls. And yes, there were tulips in a vase. He was in fucking gay land. Theo was never going to let him live this down. Good thing he moved out of their flat three months ago.
"Welcome to Capture the Magic, sir. May I help you?"
Blaise stretched his neck. There was a studio in the back, and someone was taking pictures. Time to find Draco's girl.
"Sir. Can I help you?"
Too bad he was in a muggle shop. He could've just Accio-ed Hermione's glorious ass pronto. He continued to scan the back room.
"Uh, yeah. I want to have, erm, my son's picture taken." He step forward, going past the receptionist table. The receptionist blocked him.
"Here are our packages, sir." The girl pushed him away while she handed him a pamphlet.
"Uh, we're rich. I don't need packages. If I could just see your photogra-"
"Customers behind the table, sir." The girl said icily. Feisty receptionist.
Blaise snapped his eyes from the back room to the girl in front of him. Yikes. It was the Weaselette. Judging from her burning gaze, she remembered the good ol' school days and the good ol' days when his best friend dated her best friend but then his best friend broke the heart of her best friend.
Finally, Hermione peeked out of the back room. Yes! But she disappeared almost immediately after seeing Blaise. Not that he noticed. All he cared about was that the mission was accomplished. Target spotted. Hermione was here, and she's about to get Malfoyed.
"When would your son take the pictures?" Weasley said, batting her eyelashes threateningly.
"Uh, I'll just come back when I get someone pregnant."
With a ring ring ring of the door chimes, Blaise left the shop.
"Oh. My. God. Ohmigosh, ohmigosh, ohmigosh! I told you he's going after you!"
Hermione took two more shots. "That's a wrap, Mr. and Mrs. Martinez. Thank you! You can claim your pictures within 2 working days. We also have a delivery and online service, if you're interested."
The couple thanked Hermione and left. "So, will you still play out the amnesia thing?" Ginny said, practically jumping in excitement.
Ring ring ring
"Oh my god!" Ginny squealed before disappearing to the front.
Hermione ran to the door, regretting her lack of extendable ears.
"Oh. It's you again, Mr. Zabini. Did you get Mr. Malfoy pregnant already? My, that was fast."
"Ginevra. I didn't know you ran this shop." It was Draco's familiar drawl. Ever so polite. "We would like to take studio photographs, please."
"It's, uh, our friendship anniversary." Blaise said. Draco stepped on his friend's foot. Hard. What an idiotic bafoon. Friendship anniversary?
"Friendship anniversary. How very masculine." Ginny smirked. "Do you have an appointment?"
"I'm afraid not, Ginny. Perhaps you can grant as a special favor? You see, Blaise is moving to China next year so this would be our last, ahem, friendship anniversary together."
"We don't have an available photographer, I'm afraid. Sorry to ruin your anniversary, Mrs. Zabini. Or are you Blaise Malfoy?"
Draco and Blaise pushed through the studio door, much to Ginny's loud objections. Hermione quickly arranged herself to a less suspicious eavesdropping position. She pretended to be photographing the, er, the wall.
"Ah. There's a photographer."
"Oh." Hermione whipped around, feigning ignorance. "Welcome to Capture the Magic. Would it be a romantic package?"
Blaise inwardly groaned. Why does everyone assume that he and Draco are together? Can't two good-looking guys share a flat in peace?
"You look familiar. Have I seen you before?" Hermione asked.
"Uh, the grocery." Draco blurted. "The other day. We were the ones in the…"
"Potatoes." Blaise finished. Draco smacked his head inwardly. Very smooth.
"Oh, yes. I remember. So anyways. Let's start! What's the occasion?"
Ginny peeked from the front. "It's their friendship anniversary" She said, tittering.
Hermione laughed openly. "Okaayyy. That's new. Here." She threw some funny hats towards the boys. "These would fit nicely."
Two snaps, four funny hats and three sunglasses later, Hermione started talking to the boys.
"So, how exactly did I get to know you, boys? Hmm, I never did get your names." snap
Blaise waited for Draco to speak up. After all, this was his plot to get a girl. When it became apparent that Draco was beyond words, he filled in. "Blaise Zabini. This blond bloke's Draco Malfoy. We we're in the same year in Hogwarts"
Snap. "Oh! Wizards! I thought you were muggles, since I saw you in that muggle grocery. So. You Hufflepuff boys?"
It didn't bother Draco much that his ex-girlfriend thought he was a muggle and a marshmallow Hufflepuff. He was nervous about the fact that Hermione will know he was in Slytherin. She might have forgotten his sins, but she might still have remembered the sins of his house.
"We're from Slytherin, actually. Both of us." Blaise said as he posed for the camera.
"But we're over that now." Draco muttered. Blaise elbowed him. They were now dressed as cowboys, going back to back and holding those muggle weapons. They're called gums. Why would muggles name a weapon after a part of their mouth? Heaven forbid Hermione dress them up as bunnies.
Snap. "Wait." Hermione dropped the camera. "Have I dated any of you before? You have to tell me. I might have hurt you some way. It would be unfair if I didn't know."
"Nu-uh. I like blondes. Sorry." Blaise said, now donning an alien hat. Draco rolled his eyes. Blaise was too much into this friendship photographs cover story. He's going to ruin everything.
"Oh, so you and Draco are together. Nice pick, Blaise. Very, er, blonde. Pose for me, Draco." Snap.
"N-no. " Draco composed himself. He was acting like a smitten thirteen-year-old. But the way she said pose for me, Draco was so… "No. We're not together. We're both straight."
"I meant blonde girls." Blaise muttered uselessly.
"So. Have you been my boyfriend, Draco?" Draco only shook his head.
"Yeah, I didn't think so. Never liked blondies. I seem to prefer gingers." Hermione tried to control her smile as she watched Draco grip the toy gun in fury.
"Well. That's about it, I guess. You can come back for the pictures tomorrow. Thank you!"
Draco stormed out of the room without a word. Blaise followed Draco out the door after a cheery good bye to both of the girls.
"That was fun. Knowing Draco Malfoy though, he won't stop until he has you." Ginny said while Hermione transferred the photos to the computer. One by one, the shots appeared on the monitor. She scrolled down, selecting the last picture she took. Hermione didn't include Blaise in the photo, and only shot her ex-fiancé's face.
"He wants to play tag, then we'll play tag. But I'll never ever be the one to do the chasing again. Let the chase begin." She replied, staring at Draco glaring at the camera.
A/N: I didn't know if you noticed but I tried a different writing approach on this one. Something lighter and happier. I dropped the dramatic adjectives and what not. I'm kinda having second thoughts on Blaise. He seems out of character. In cannon, he struck me as this silent, brooding guy. Not the funky slytherin. What do you think?