Harry is going to meet Hermione and Ron for lunch when he bumps into his sometimes-partner and fellow Auror inside the small cafe/bar. He greets Draco with a friendly (but not overly so) pat on the shoulder and gestures over to the table where the engaged couple sit.
"Why don't you join us?"
He notices the Malfoy heir tense slightly but thinks little of it.
"Thanks for the offer Harry," he replies "but I've got to get back. Some other time?"
He watches Malfoy leave, before turning back to his friends, smiling warmly as he sees Ron retract his arm from around Hermione to embrace him.
Harry doesn't like to over-analyse things.
And it is by pure accident (or unlucky coincidence) that he sees them arguing. He only hears the odd word from the pair.
He watches Malfoy reach forward, only for the much smaller brunette to step backwards.
It's a good thing Harry doesn't like to over-analyse, because if her were to (unobjectively) analyse this, he would say it looked very much like a lovers quarrel.
He is attending the engagement party of Blaise Zabini and Daphne Greengrass when he steps out of the patio doors to escape the bustle and noise of the celebrations.
He's looking out onto the gardens of the hotel, sipping occasionally from the champagne flute, when he hears the moans.
They haven't noticed him, but he recognises the silk green dress and the trademark curls of the Griffindor Princess.
Her dress is bunched around her stomach, breasts heaving and exposed to the cold night air. Her legs are wrapped around the blonde mans waist as he pins her up against the wall and thrusts into her with a desperate fervour.
The empty flute drops to the floor and smashes - they don't seem to notice- and Harry runs.
Threats against muggle-borns are still all too common, even with the downfall of Voldemort.
Very few, however actually come to fruition. This doesn't make Harry any less worried when he receives news of one specifically aimed at Hermione Granger - "Mudblood Princess"
Hermione uses logic and statistics to convince Harry that she doesn't need a 24/7 guard at her apartment while Ron is away with work. He insists on checking in on her himself every two hours, just to make sure.
Somewhere between 01:03 and 02:58 Hermione Jean Granger disappears.
He feels so relieved when he gets the news -Hermione is at St. Mungos, injured, but alive. He doesn't care how she got away, he is just glad that he hasn't lost someone else.
Harry sits in the arm chair on the opposite side of the room, waiting for her to wake up and for Ron to finally get back. He's resting his eyes when he hears her stir slightly, a light groan escaping her slightly chapped lips.
"Where is he?" she asks Harry. Her voice is hoarse, it sounds as though she's been screaming.
The door to the private room opens, "I'm here" replies Ron as he walks in accompanied by a pretty young healer, one who has been checking in every few minutes. Hermione smiles grimly as she lets Ron embrace her, even though it obviously causes her some physical discomfort. She looks over his shoulder, her chocolate brown eyes meeting Harry's green ones.
The healer who is now standing next to Harry filling out the chart whispers to him in a hushed tone...
"I don't think thats the 'he' she was looking for"
Ron has left to get some semblance of rest at home while Harry stays on guard.
Harry begins to feel his eyes grow heavy when a blood and sweat smeared Malfoy stumbles in.
Harry pretends to be asleep, able to watch the scene unfolding in front of him from beneath his eyelashes. He always did have a tendency towards morbid curiosity.
He keeps his breathing steady.
Malfoy bends over her sleeping form, his face dangerously close to hers as she watches as Draco places his forehead against hers in a strangely intimate gesture. His left hand lays next to hers on the bed without touching. He had hoped that it was a some kind of desperate, sordid affair. He had hoped for Ron's sake that it was just a meaningless fling.
"You're here" she states, still somewhat groggy from her sleep, the bruises and small cuts already fading slightly.
"I couldn't come... Not until sure he wouldn't come back, that you would be safe. I can't... I can't lose you. You're worth too much, Hermione." Malfoy says in a hushed whisper.
Harry watches as they stare at each other in silence as they stare at each other, tension filling the air.
"Leave him" Malfoy begs.
Hermione closes her eyes, squeezing them shut tightly as to stop the imminent tears. Breaking the physical contact between them, Malfoy stands in silence for what seems like hours, but could only really be seconds before turning away and heading towards to door.
Harry doesn't know what to do, he just sits in a stunned silence, trying to process the situation before him.
Finally, he looks up, directly meeting her eyes and she realises that he's just witnessed the entire fallout.
"How long has this been going on?"
She turns away from him to look out the window next to her bed - the tears flow freely now.
"He worked with me on the Erklings case. It wasn't meant to happen. He just..."
"Do you remember when me and Ron were having issues? After I miscarried? I wasn't coping. And that case, god! There was just so much that didn't make sense and I couldn't sleep, I kept going over things, couldn't work out where I had gone wrong"
He was unsure whether she had meant Ron or her work.
"...and he shouldn't have cared, but I had just snapped. Everything... it was all too much. I just, I broke down. I thought he would mock be for being a weak little mudblood... but, he just sat down opposite and told be this godawful joke about a Kneazle and a Centaur... I forget how it goes, but it made me laugh... And Harry, that was the first time in a very long time I had genuinely laughed"
The corners of her lips were twitching slightly at the memory.
"You're having an affair with Malfoy because he told you some shitty joke?" His voice isn't raised, more disbelieving than anything.
"No Harry, I'm having an affair because I love Ron, but I'm in love with Draco Malfoy
He never bought up that incident again, but he bought me breakfast every morning, some pastries from that lovely place on the market nearby. We'd sit in my office and talk about books, about school, about the war... I liked him, fancied him a little bit - but I just assumed nothing would come of it, you know?
Then our case was solved, and I though we could just go back to normal, and for a while it did. Until you got paired together."
A silence settled between them as he waited for her to continue.
"There was an incident... do you remember, where an eight year old muggleborn was murdered by one of the escaped Death Eaters? Draco and you were the first on the scene. I was working late and just saw him there, sitting at his desk, and he looked so... broken."
Hermione pauses - her voice is still weak, and she sips water from the glass cup next to her bed.
"He had a bottle of Firewhiskey in his desk and we just sat there in silence drinking together."
Harry doesn't expect what she say's next.
"We fucked on his desk that night, right in the middle of the office."
"Were you trying to break it off when I saw you two arguing in the department?"
"I wondered how much you'd figured out. I assumed you would have confronted me if you had"
"I think I'd rather face Voldemort again than know you're in... whatever it is... with Malfoy"
"But to answer your question, yes- yes, I was trying to break it off. You'd invited him to join us for lunch, I was sitting next to Ron and he looked at me... and I just knew"
"That he was in love with me too"
They remained in silence, only occasionally interrupted by Hermione's heaving breathing while she allowed herself intermittent sleep, until Ron entered several hours later. Harry smiled grimly at him as they exchanged places in the seat next to her bed.
"I'm just heading home to get myself cleaned up. Then I'll be back alright, mate?" he says, smiling at the redhead.
"Did you hear about Malfoy?" whispers Ron.
Harry's heart drops.
"He killed Bvorovski, the one who did this to Hermione. Apparently was pretty brutal about it too. Funny thing to do over a 'mudblood' don't you think?"
Ron isn't stupid, he works in logistics and tactics for a reason. He's always been fantastic at chess, something people often forget. But he's always found it easier to play dumb.
Ginny was the one who first mentions it. "Have you seen the way he looks at Hermione?"
He fooled himself into thinking it was one way, that the distance between him and his fiancee is purely because of the miscarriage. It isn't until Harry invites Malfoy to join them for lunch that he finally grasps what has actually occurred. He expects to see the flash of jealousy across Malfoy's usually smug face as he places his arm around Hermione in a gesture of possessiveness, but what he doesn't expect to see is the flash of longing in Hermione's pretty brown eyes when she stares back at the blonde.
No, Ron wasn't easily fooled - as much as he tried to fool himself.
"You're feeling ok, Herms?"
"Just a bit battered and bruised" She smiles weakly, but it doesn't quite meet her eyes.
Ron's smile mirrors hers.
"You don't love me, do you?"
"Of course I do" He looks at her, not an ounce of a lie in her eyes.
"You just aren't in love with me" he states as he kisses the palm of her hand while his eyes meet hers. "I'm sorry, I've been so selfish Hermione. I've known, for a long time, but I just didn't wan't to let you go"
He stands, letting go of her hand, leans forward and kisses her forehead in a gentle gesture as a few tears manage to spill over.
"Ron!" She shouts after him, desperate for him not to leave her, not like this.
"Just let me lick my wounds, Hermione. Maybe in a few months we can start... trying... to be friends again. Harry won't be long now."
He looks at her, smiling weakly "Besides, the Ferret hasn't left the waiting room since he got here, still covered in that psychopaths blood"
And for the first time in a long time, he sees Hermione give a genuine smile. If only it was really because of him.
Draco Malfoy is standing outside the door as he leaves. Ron nods towards him.
"Thank you, Weasley, for what you've done"
"You don't deserve her."
"I know." replies the blonde, "but she deserves to be happy, and I'm going to do everything that I possibly can to ensure that I do."
Ron watches as Draco Malfoy heads into the hospital room, knowing that he's done the right thing.
This was a little experiment of mine I got the bug for, I'll probably re-write this at some point (and get it BETA'd) Just thought it would be interesting to see the relationship develop though someone else's eyes...
Anyway, hopefully you don't think that this has been too overwhelmingly shite! First time I've written anything in about 6 years and I bashed this out in under 2 hours.
Thanks for reading :)