Disclaimer: All things Harry Potter do not belong to me.
Obviously, not entirely compliant with the DH epilogue.
On a Cloudy Day
The park was full of screaming children, their cries grating on the ears as they ran around with arms flailing. It had rained earlier this morning, leaving an overcast sky and puddles all over the asphalt playground, reducing the occasional grassy squares to deathtraps of mud.
Hermione sighed as she sat on a slightly damp bench, dabbing at her skirt with a wet tissue. The purple stain greedily soaked up the water, diluting in color but spreading further out. She should have known better than to wear white with a grape juice toting toddler around.
"You should try some lemon juice on that," Hermione jerked in surprise at the quiet voice, smudging the stain on her skirt even further. She hadn't heard that voice in years, not since the final battle. She looked up.
The years had been kind to Draco Malfoy. His face was still pointed, all angles and sharpness, but had lost that boyish look. He'd filled out a bit, more lean than scrawny now. His eyes, as cold and gray as ever, were no longer hard with hate. Instead, he exuded a sort of resigned acceptance.
"Or white vinegar if that doesn't help," Draco continued, ignoring her wide-eyed gaping. He sat, surreptitiously drying off a section of the bench with the wand up his sleeve. Hermione mentally slapped herself, feeling the damp seep through her own skirt. She was always forgetting she was a witch.
Slouching over and resting his elbows on his denim clad knees, he looked completely at ease. "Grape juice is bloody hard to get out. Haven't found a spell yet that works."
Hermione's juice stained tissue was limp in her grasp. Here was Draco Malfoy, in a muggle children's playground, starting a conversation about stain removal as if they'd just spoken the day before. As if the last time she'd seen him hadn't been on field strewn with bodies. As if he hadn't spent the following year in Azkaban. As if it hadn't been twelve years.
"Scourgify just sets the stain," she finally replied, not knowing what else to say. "Tergeo only works before it soaks in."
His blond head nodded, fine strands falling over his forehead.
It should have been awkward between them. But it just felt like a warm blanket had surrounded them, wrapping them in comfortable silence with no pressure or obligations.
It suddenly occurred to her that he had to be here with a child, judging by his watchful gaze that never strayed from the playground. Either that or he'd grown into a larger creep than he'd been at Hogwarts.
"Which one's yours?"
He pointed a slim finger in the direction he'd been looking. "See that girl with the brown bob cut?"
Hermione nodded. "She's lovely." And she was, in a light pink dress made with an entire country's worth of lace, feet in matching mud encrusted pink mary janes, tugging at a boy's sleeve for her turn on the slide. "You and your wife must be proud."
"Merlin, no!" he laughed, face suddenly animated. "She's Pansy's, thank Salazar, she's a terror. I just have her for the weekend while Pansy and Theo take a well deserved break."
Almost as an afterthought he added, "I'm not married."
"Oh," Hermione flushed. Looking at the girl now, it was hard to believe Hermione had mistaken her for a Malfoy. Her coloring was all wrong, she was most definitely not pointy, and there was that infamous Parkinson pug nose. "I'm sorry-"
He waved it off. "How about yours?"
Hermione pointed in the general direction of a mass of children shoving each other to get up the ladder to the slide. "That's H-"
She broke off and sprang up suddenly. "James Sirius Potter," she shrieked, heading for the slides at a jog. "You get off her this instant!" The rest of her tirade grew too faint to hear, drowned out by the sounds of children playing, as she drew close enough to grasp a boy's arm. He stuck his tongue out at her, unruly black hair sticking out at all angles, his other hand clenched in a tight fist around some poor girl's hair. A girl with a familiar brown bob and a ton of lace.
"Oh bollocks," he nearly rose to help Hermione when he realized she had things well under control already. The boy stood with a petulant expression with Hermione at his back, hands on her hips, obviously apologizing to the smug Pansy look-alike.
He watched her, frizzy hair in an uncontrolled mess, face screwed up in a stern expression. The seat of her skirt was wet from the bench, a flash of a colorful pattern showing through the now sheer white cotton, dotted with bits of green paint that had peeled from the bench. The grape juice stain had triumphed in the end and now occupied most of the space on her right thigh.
She was beautiful.
Hermione returned to their bench, obviously frazzled. "I can't handle much more of him," she said flopping down with a sigh, blowing some of her wild curls from her face.
"That's Potter's spawn, isn't it?"
She gave Draco a dirty glare. "Yes, that's Harry's son," clearly emphasizing the proper word to use. "He may look like his father, but unfortunately he's inherited the Weasley personality. He's as bad as the twins."
"So er, you and Weasley..." Draco trailed off, with a questioning tone to his words.
Hermione shook her head. "It didn't work out like we'd imagined."
She and Ron had dated for a year after the war, but it had felt somehow lacking. Without the threat of Voldemort and a likely unavoidable death, the passion had quickly drained out of their relationship. They'd finally decided they worked better as friends when they realized they spent more time arguing than anything else.
Draco and Hermione sat in silence for a while, quiet breathing and children's shouts the only sounds between them.
He shot her an inscrutable look from the corner of his eyes.
"Fancy a cup of tea?"