A/N: A huge thanks to Krissy and AnnHarrisForever for both looking this over. I appreciate it. I hope you all enjoy the start of this new story!
Disclaimer: JKR owns the world and characters of Harry Potter, not me. I am making no money from the posting of this story.
Hermione Granger sat in her office, a sigh escaping her lips. She glanced at the stack of papers that she needed to go through and sign and groaned. She let her head fall forward and bang her desk. She absolutely loathed paperwork.
After the war, Hermione was the only one of the Trio who returned to Hogwarts to finish her "seventh" year. Ron and Harry had immediately accepted their honorary NEWTS and went straight into Auror Training.
Hermione couldn't accept those NEWTS. She didn't feel right taking something she didn't achieve herself. She wanted to sit down and do the hard work herself. Professor McGonagall was pleased when Hermione expressed interest in returning to the school. A few other students returned as well.
Hermione was surprised to see that Draco Malfoy had returned to Hogwarts to re-do his final year. He claimed that the stress of having Voldemort live in his home caused his focus and grades to suffer. The school board agreed to let him re-do the year.
At first, there was a lot of awkwardness and tension between the two of them. However, after a shouting match, which then turned into a sob fest, the two of them instantly became friends.
Draco was still the cocky prick she had known for all those years, but she found that he could be nice when he wanted to be. He was also an incredibly loyal friend.
They bonded over the fact that they were both victims in the war and they had both lost people they loved.
Narcissa Malfoy had been killed in a rogue Death Eater attack a few months after the war had ended. Draco was devastated by the loss of his mother and Hermione had offered him all the comfort that she could. Despite the years that have gone by, she knew that he was still hurting.
Hermione had lost both of her parents during the war. Despite the fact that she had wiped their memories and sent them to Australia, they had still been found. She had suspected it was the work of Bellatrix Lestrange, but Hermione couldn't be sure. Her efforts to protect them had been for nothing, thanks to that vile witch.
Bellatrix was currently locked in Azkaban awaiting the kiss. They hadn't notified anyone of when it would be as of yet, but Hermione hoped it would be soon. Subconsciously, she touched her left arm. The woman still plagued Hermione's dreams and would often cause her to wake up in the middle of night drenched in sweat. She shuddered at the thought.
The door to her office swung open and Draco strolled in. Dropping down into a chair, he put his feet up on her desk.
"Merlin, Draco," Hermione hissed, shoving his feet off her desk. They landed onto the wooden floor with a thud.
He grinned. "Let's go out."
Hermione laughed, shaking her head. "I don't think so, Draco. As you can see, I have all this paperwork to go through."
Leaning forward, Draco put his hands on his knees. "Merlin, Hermione, you look like absolute shit."
Hermione rolled her eyes. "Thanks. You're so kind."
Draco stood, walking around the desk to stand next to her. "No, really Hermione, you don't look too good at all."
Hermione closed her eyes. "I'm exhausted."
Draco crossed his arms. "You work too much; that's your problem."
"Well, maybe I have a boss that expects far too much of me," she replied, sticking her tongue out.
Draco held his hands up in mock protest. "I do no such thing. And I know for a fact that my father isn't pushing you too hard either. Hermione, you set your own hours. You know that."
Hermione remained quiet as she knew he was right. After they had both received their NEWTS, Draco had taken over his share of Malfoy Industries. He had decided to use some of the funds to dabble in the Muggle medical world. He had originally hired Hermione as a consultant, but she had soon taken over most of the affairs.
Hermione's job was to make sure that Malfoy Industries didn't break the code of Secrecy and that they remained free of all legal implications. It was harder than it sounded.
Draco could sense he had upset her. "Look, Hermione, I'm just saying I know you're still upset because of what happened with Ron. You need to let it go."
Hermione glared at him. "I'm not upset—"
"Yes you are," Draco cut her off. "When you're upset, you throw yourself into your work. It's your natural defense, Hermione, and I understand, really I do." He moved forward and took her hands in his. "But it isn't healthy. I'm worried about you."
She nodded, feeling a silent tear slide down her cheek.
"Hermione, don't cry! I didn't mean to upset you…" Draco trailed off.
She sniffled. "It's alright. Just listening to you makes me realize how right you are. I'm so bloody miserable!"
"Hermione, it's all right to be upset."
"I'm not upset!" she cried. "'I'm lonely! When I'm not here, I'm at home moping around and being miserable. It's pathetic!"
Draco pulled her into a tight hug. "You're not pathetic."
Hermione hugged him back tightly. She opened her mouth to speak but was cut off by a knock on the door.
Hermione broke away from the embrace, quickly wiping away her tears. Clearing her throat, she muttered, "Come in."
The door opened to reveal Mr. Malfoy standing in the doorway. Glancing at him, she saw he looked as regal as ever. Hermione never understood why he always looked like perfection.
"Ah, Miss Granger, I was looking for Draco. And here he is," Malfoy Sr. said. Lucius Malfoy had spent two years in Azkaban for his crimes during the War. Now, still the Head of Malfoy Industries, he controlled the financial area of the business.
Hermione still felt on the fence about Lucius. He seemed to have changed since the War, but she still felt wary of him. He was always polite to her and seemed to have no qualms about her working for the family company, and yet, Hermione couldn't help but feel cautious.
In a way she pitied the older man. He had lost so much in the war, just like everyone else. Losing his wife and his reputation must have been difficult. People treated him terribly, and she felt bad for him.
He wasn't an evil person, but much of the Wizarding community was too blind with prejudice to see past the fact that he was an ex-Death Eater.
Hermione waved them away. "I'm going home for the day."
Draco nodded, walking off with his father. "Hermione, this conversation isn't over!" he shouted over his shoulder.
Hermione ignored him, quickly grabbing her papers and disappearing through the Floo Network.
Lucius walked down the hall to his study. Draco trailed behind him. He just wanted to check on Draco's progress on his son's latest project.
"How are things?" he asked as Draco sat down on the sofa.
"Fine," Draco answered stiffly. "Hermione's in the process of finding a Muggle college to allow us to test the latest medication."
Lucius nodded. "That's good. What does this one do?"
"It's in the form of a pill. The idea was to put a sleeping and calming draught into pill form. Muggles have their own version of a sleeping pill, but its absolute rubbish," Draco explained.
Lucius nodded. "Miss Granger seems like a very positive asset to this company."
Draco smirked. "Of course she is. She's bloody brilliant."
"Brilliant enough to settle down with?" Lucius asked, raising his eyebrow.
Draco shook his head. "Merlin, no! She's just my friend. Besides, I've been seeing the younger Greengrass girl."
Lucius nodded. "Good."
Draco rolled his eyes. "I have plenty of time to settle down, Father, no need to worry."
Lucius shook his head. "I'm not worried, Draco."
He tilted his head to the side and carefully watched his father. "Why are you so interested?"
"Can't a father take an interest in his son's love life?" Lucius asked, feigning innocence.
Draco snorted, crossing his arms. "No. What are you thinking about?"
"I don't know what you're talking about."
The two remained silent for a few minutes. Suddenly, Draco realized what was going on.
"How's your love life going father?"
Lucius huffed. "There is no love in my life anymore."
Draco rolled his eyes. "Look, I know you loved Mother, and she loved you too, but your marriage wasn't perfect. You know it, I know it, and the whole world knows it. You need to move on, Father, and find someone else."
"I do not and will not," Lucius replied with a huff. He shifted uncomfortably in his seat.
Draco shrugged. "You're lonely, and that's normal. I just don't want to see you so sad."
"I'm not sad," Lucius replied stiffly.
Draco shrugged. "Well, I'll see myself out." He stopped just outside the doorway. "Just think about it, Father. I want you to be happy."
Later that evening, Draco found himself lying on his bed in the Manor. He needed to find a way to help Hermione. He knew she was bloody miserable with her social life and he had to do something to change it.
And at the same time, he needed to do something to help his father as well.
Hell, they were both so bloody lonely.
Draco's eyes flung open. "That's it!" he exclaimed to himself excitedly.
The two of them were being plagued by loneliness, so what better way to fix things than to get them together?
Draco grinned mischievously. He had some planning to do.