Well. I thought this was going to be way shorter and fluffier than it ended up being. Plenty of fluff though, plus a bit of a look into Draco's mind after the war. As embarrassed as I am to admit this, I started writing this last year but never finished so I just decided to finish it this year. I know. Shameful. Anyways, Happy New Year!
Once again, I don't own Harry Potter. Nor do I own a house elf.
Draco Malfoy awoke early on the first of January. He had spent the previous evening partying late into the night to ring in the new year, and could definitely feel the aftereffects of the firewhiskey in his pounding head. It was 2013, and it hardly seemed possible that it had been six years since his graduation from Hogwarts and the fall of Lord Voldemort. Six years in which he had learned what it truly meant to be happy, one of the many powerful lessons that Lucius Malfoy had failed to bring to his son's attention as he was growing up.
Draco threw the blankets off his figure carefully and set his feet on the floor, sucking in his breath as the cold stone came into contact with his bare skin. He stood and silently walked to the window, where he looked across his small backyard that bordered the forest. All was white, covered in a thick blanket of gleaming snow that reflected the sun and made the scene breathtakingly dazzling. Draco sighed. Picture perfect.
The years had been good to Draco, or as good as they can be to a former Death Eater. He still looked young—or so he would hope, seeing as he was only twenty-three—but he had lost all the foolish eagerness and carefree joy of a schoolboy. His grey eyes had lost the malicious glimmer that had once resided in them, now replaced with something like happiness, but his bitter past always threatened to rise to the surface.
He was not trusted like his father had been, and probably never would have been anyway. Lucius, of course, had been carted off to Azkaban less than a week after Voldemort had been killed, but somehow, Draco had escaped prison. He suspected that Potter had a hand in it and, of course, Draco offered no complaints.
Potter. Draco had seen almost none of him since the end of the war. He had been the headline of newspapers and magazines for months, and had made his customary appearance at every war funeral, but other than that, there was nothing. Draco suspected that Potter was staying out of public eye and settling down with his wife, Ginny Potter nee Weasley, and Draco didn't blame them. And then, of course, Potter had attended Draco's wedding, but that was mainly because the bride was Hermione Granger.
Draco smiled and turned back toward the bed, where his wife still slept peacefully. His wife. The words twisted through his mind, bringing with them a sense of satisfaction and eventually tumbling from his lips.
"My wife." Never once had he thought that Hermione would marry him, but that all changed when he met her at a three-year reunion ball. She was beautiful, and they had just talked, enjoying their first real conversation in nine years of knowing each other. That was the night he fell in love. They had dated for a year before Draco proposed in the ruins of the ancient library of Alexandria. A smile twisted Draco's lips as he thought of it. They had been married in September of that year. And three months ago, they had celebrated their one year wedding anniversary together.
Draco shook his head at the happy memories, setting his mind back to the reason he had woken up. Resolutions.
New Year's Resolutions are usually decided before the clock strikes 12, but everyone knows that they take some premeditated thought, something Draco just had not had the time for recently. So, unfortunately, it was almost seven hours into the new year, and he had no idea what change he was going to make in his life this year.
And deep down he knew that no matter what his resolution was for the coming year, it would probably be broken within the first three months, because most were. But he was determined, determined to do something for himself, to keep his vow to himself for once. Because all throughout his life, he had been forced to do things for his parents, for Voldemort, for everyone. But for once, he wanted to do something for himself. He wanted to keep a promise that it really wouldn't matter if he broke. He wanted to do something for himself rather than the rest of the world.
Draco chuckled deeply, waking up Hermione, who groaned loudly at the glaring light coming through the window at full force.
"Draco, could you please grab me a potion for this bloody hangover?" she murmured, shielding her eyes from the light and gently resting her head back against the pillow. "I didn't realize we drank quite that much last night."
Draco chuckled again, heading out of their cozy bedroom in search of the deep burgundy liquid in the bathroom cabinet. He carefully closed his fingers around two vials full of the potion and made his way quietly back into the bedroom. His headache was worsening and Hermione's couldn't be too pleasant either. Sitting back on the bed, he handed her one of the potions, drinking the other himself. He shuddered gently at the taste of the foul substance. They really ought to do something to make medicinal potions taste better.
He stood up gingerly, testing the potion's effect on his pounding headache and churning stomach. To his delight, it had already begun to take effect. Draco turned and kissed Hermione's forehead gently before leaving the room again.
"Come down when you're ready for breakfast, 'Mione," he called over his shoulder.
He padded through the house with bare feet, his skin welcoming the slight warmth of the living room carpet but once again recoiling when it touched the frigid tile of the kitchen floor. His plaid pajama pants trailed on the floor behind him a bit, and Draco silently chided himself for not putting on slippers or even socks, for that matter. He drew his wand and quietly muttered a Warming Charm to compensate.
With another swish of his wand, he summoned a few pieces of bread from the counter and sent them into the toaster and headed over to the refrigerator for some eggs, grumbling under his breath about how bloody freezing it was in his own house. It had been snowing, for Merlin's sake. He honestly didn't understand why Hermione wouldn't let him just turn on the heater at night so it would be warmer in the house when they woke up. But no. Heaven forbid they raise the heating bill even the slightest bit. He hated living in a muggle neighborhood. Damn them all.
He agreed though, to some extent. They really didn't have any extra money to put toward anything now. Draco had had his money stripped after his parents had been sent to Azkaban, and he had grumpily told them he honestly would have donated most of it anyway, but it was no use. He was left with next to nothing, and thank heavens Hermione had a little bit of money or they probably wouldn't have been able to afford a wedding at all. Now however, Hermione was in school to become a Healer and Draco was finding it near impossible to get a job with his past, so they were very short on money as of late.
Draco used his wand to crack the eggs—he refused to get his hands dirty with the disgustingly gooey liquid—and sent them into a frying pan on the stove. He personally had no taste for eggs and didn't how anyone could, but Hermione couldn't live without them so he found himself throwing them on the stove much more often than he would have liked.
The toast popped up, and Draco once again found himself busy buttering the toast. He set the two warm slices down and put two more into the toaster for his lovely wife. He walked back over to the stove and flipped the eggs carefully before transferring them to a plate as the rest of the toast popped up.
"Hermione!" he called, setting the eggs and toast on the table and hoisting himself up onto the counter with his own breakfast. He looked up to see her stumbling down the stairs, very much disheveled but nevertheless stunningly beautiful in her nightgown.
"Turn the heat up, won't you, Draco?" she mumbled, taking a bite of the buttery toast. He shot her a bit of a glare but made his way over to the thermostat, more for himself than anything else. As he polished off the rest of his own toast and made his way up the stairs again to take a shower, he smiled. She was still every bit the obnoxious know-it-all from his Hogwarts years, but he loved her more than life itself and he couldn't imagine his life without her.
Once in the shower, he let his mind wander back to thoughts he had been so quickly distracted from earlier.
"This is why you never decided on one before the start of the new year, you bloody idiot. Maybe if you focused a bit more," he quipped to no one in particular. He hated the way his mind worked, really. The war had taken its toll on all of them, but being a Death Eater had changed him more than he ever thought it could. He had thought it would be cool, that he would be glorified and respected, or at the very least praised for joining the Dark Lord so young, but he had been more wrong than he could possibly imagine. He had been mocked for being 'weak' because he wasn't quite ready to murder anyone in cold blood. He had been pushed and prodded for not joining the Dark Lord sooner – honestly he had joined at sixteen. They had nothing to complain about. But it had been torture. He regretted the decision more than anything in his life; it had led to so many other regrets, and had altogether ruined his chances of aspiring to be anything in the world. He was twenty-three years old, and no one wanted to hire him.
Absentmindedly rubbing the Dark Mark still tattooed on his forearm, he ran a hand through his soapy hair. He had been stupid, unbelievably stupid. Most people can say that they were foolish while they were younger, but he was still in his early twenties and probably been more foolish than the majority of teenagers and young adults alike. He shook his head regretfully and directed his thoughts back to the slightly more cheerful idea of New Year's resolutions.
He could vow to be less stupid, but that really wouldn't be too much of a challenge to keep, and he wanted to vow to do something that he really had to work towards. He was less stupid every day, and he knew it. He could never be nearly as foolish as he had been, and he thanked God for that every day. Not that resolution, then.
He stepped out of the shower, shivering at the chilly air in the bathroom and looked in the mirror—at his platinum hair plastered to his forehead, at his stormy grey eyes reflecting a happiness from within, at his sharp chin and slightly upturned nose, and at the two pink stains on his normally pale cheeks. Draco gelled his hair back and threw on a pair of dark jeans and a sweater before making his way downstairs. Hermione was sitting on the couch wrapped in a blanket, transfixed by a thick medical book in her lap. Draco sighed and half-smiled as he took a seat next to her on the couch.
"Anything interesting?" he inquired as she leaned into his warm body.
"Nothing dreadfully so," she returned. "Unless you want to learn exactly what damage Dark Magic can cause and exactly how much the spells can be reversed when they are used for physical harm of another witch or wizard."
"No, no. I think I'm good, 'Mione. I had enough studying back in our Hogwarts days." Stupid, he thought. He should have studied far more. He had been an awfully good student, though. He let his gaze wander to the blank television screen. Stupid muggle contraption. "My father was always furious that I wasn't first in our year, you know," Draco murmured, turning back towards her. "Especially that I wasn't smarter than a girl, much less a," he hesitated, "a m-muggleborn." He still had trouble saying things like that. Stupid, he chided himself mentally again.
Hermione grinned and laughed softly. "If you would have told me that when we were still at Hogwarts, I would have laughed in your face and tried even harder to be smarter than you. Is it bad that I find it somewhat amusing that your father was so angry?"
"Not at all, darling. He was angry about a lot of stuff, much of it not important at all. We had enough money to cover most of the things I did wrong. Except…" he trailed off, knowing his wife would make the connection to his biggest mistake in life.
"Yes, well, we can't all be perfect, dear," she reassured. "At least you were strong enough to fight it. While Harry, Ron, and I were running—er, traveling—together, Ron left us in a fit of anger. I was too upset to do anything about it and, knowing there was no way he could ever find us, all I did was cry. I refused to really do anything useful. I'm a bit ashamed of it, really. I guess I just thought I was in love with him." Hermione winced; her relationship with the redhead had ended rather badly.
"You think I fought it? Are you kidding me, 'Mione? I sat back and let Voldemort and everyone else walk all over me. I was terrified. They manipulated me into torturing and killing hundreds of innocent people, and I refused to do anything about it. I was no better than you, and by the way, as embarrassed as I am to admit this, I spent most of my nights crying myself to sleep because my life was so horribly wrong."
Maybe he could vow to be a better person in the coming year. That certainly could prove to be a challenge.
"Draco," Hermione whispered, gently grasping his chin with her fingers when he looked away from her gaze. "Draco. It's okay. You were pushed into doing something that was nothing like you thought it would be. It's okay. You came back and fought for us—"
"No, I didn't, Hermione," he interjected truthfully.
"Alright," she conceded, "but we – or at least I – knew where your loyalties were. You were just scared, Draco, and you have nothing to be ashamed of. Look at who you are now. Look at how far you've come. You're – "
Her soothing words were cut off by him suddenly jumping off the couch. "No, 'Mione. Don't." He walked sullenly to the kitchen, where he set about putting on tea for the both of them. She watched him quietly, sympathetically. He didn't use magic, which was unusual for him, meaning he was avoiding her a little bit, buying time. He looked back quietly for a moment before turning his attention back to the tea.
After a few minutes of silence, Draco returned to the couch with two steaming mugs of Earl Grey. Hermione thanked him quietly.
"Anyway, 'Mione, have you decided on your New Year resolution yet?" he prompted pleasantly, changing the subject.
"Of course. I hope, well that's not the word. I am determined to finish schooling this year and become a healer."
"Of course," Draco returned, smiling. "Quite achievable, with your determination and your brilliant mind."
She slapped his arm playfully, pretending to blush. "Well? How about you?"
"I'm not really sure, dear," he sighed, leaning back against the couch cushions. "I've been thinking all morning though, and I really would like to be a better person but, more than that, I think I'd like to be a better husband."
Hermione looked into his eyes, studying them fiercely. "You're a wonderful husband, Draco. Don't ever let yourself think differently."
"You know that's not what I mean," he replied, waving a weary hand through the air in front of them. "And also, I think I'd like to apply for the position of Potions teacher at Hogwarts."
"Retired last year," Draco finished. "You know after the war and the attack from that bloody snake. . . Well, it's a miracle he even survived, and he had been struggling the last few years. He can't talk like he used to and he's in quite a bit of pain. I would know; he's my godfather. And I was thinking also, if the bloody proud bastard would accept, we should help support him," he raised a hand to stop her from interrupting, "once we have the money."
"I think that's a wonderful idea, Draco. Did I tell you Harry was offered the Defense Against the Dark Arts position? He took it, I believe."
"Potter? I guess he'd be a. . . tolerable colleage," Draco conceded. Hermione beamed.
She leaned in and kissed him swiftly. "I love you, Draco. And I'm proud of you for getting over your rivalry with him. He really isn't a bad guy at all."
"I know, dear." He sighed again. "I love you, too. Now go get studying. You do want to graduate this year, don't you?"
She giggled and grabbed her books, running down the carpeted hall toward the study. He watched her go, shifting so he was laying down on the couch and closing his eyes carefully. The Hangover Potion had worked wonders on his symptoms, but Merlin, he needed a nap. They had quite the resolutions to fulfill this year.
He sat up again, refusing to procrastinate. He would make Hermione proud this year.
"Katie?" he called, and a large grey owl landed on the coffee table in front of him, taking a small sip of Draco's cooling tea. Because heaven forbid they have a house elf. Draco quickly scrawled a short letter and attached it to the owl's leg. "Take this to Professor McGonagall, Headmistress of Hogwarts, please." The owl pecked his finger affectionately and quickly flew out the window.
Draco sat back, satisfied. Now he was ready for that long-awaited nap.
Because heaven forbid they have a house elf. Oh and I know, I couldn't kill Snape.
Review please! They make me happy. :)